- V. Sundaram
Captain V. Sundaram (
April 22, 1916- May 31, 1997) was a famous Indian pilot and animal welfareactivist. He founded the Blue Cross of India, the largest animal welfare organization of Asia.
Career as a pilot
Captain V. Sundaram became a pilot in 1935 at the age of 19. He trained in
Englandand returned to India to become an instructor at the Madras Flying Club. He flew extensively over the country, and was probably the first person to take a picture of the Taj Mahalfrom air. [http://dimdima.com/bookbuzz/show_books.asp?q_bid=10&q_title=An%20Airman's%20Saga Review of "An Airman's Saga"] ] During World War II, he trained British and American pilots. In 1945 he joined Tata Airlines, and from 1945-1951, served as the pilot of the Maharaja of Mysore. During this time he flew Pandit Jawaharlal Nehruand Sardar Vallabhbhai Patelthroughout India, especially the latter when he was negotiating the merger of princely states with India. His wife, Usha, served as co-pilot in many of these flights. They set a world record for flying a de Havilland Dovefrom Londonto Madrasin 27 hours. This record for a piston-engined aircraft is still unbroken. [ [http://network.bestfriends.org/international/news/7390.html The treatment of animals in India - past and present.] Best Friends Network] Captain Sundaram had an accident-free flying record during the 35 years he served as pilot. He wrote of his experiences as a pilot in a book titled "An Airman's Saga".
Captain V. Sundaram was always known for his compassion for animals. It was known among pilots that he would keep circling around until the runway was cleared of stray animals. He was instrumental in stopping
animal sacrifices at several places. He also organized several seminars speaking against cruel methods of killing animals. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Animal Welfare Board of Indiauntil 1987.
Blue Cross of India
On a rainy day in 1959, Captain Sundaram saw two pups struggling to stay afloat in the flooded roads of
T. Nagar, Chennai. He took them home and founded the Blue Cross of India, a shelter for animals. In his own words, "God had given me so much that I thought I ought to do something in return. There are so many charitable institutions for human beings, but so few for animals." Blue Cross, started with a kennel in his own home, grew under his leadership to become the largest animal welfare organization of Asia. [ [http://www.bluecross.org.in/founder.html Captain Sundaram] at the website of the Blue Cross of India.]
Awards and recognition
Queen Victoria Medalfrom the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1964
Watamull FoundationAward, 1987
* Silver medal from Madras SPCA
* Silver medal from the
* Distinguished Service Award from the
Rotary clubof South Madras
Prani Mitra Award, posthumously
* "An Airman's Saga". Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. ISBN 81-7276-102-3
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.