The Weekend Leader – VIT ‘Person of the Year’ has been hosted for the past 9 years to honour the social change-makers and entrepreneurs with a cause. This program is unique, for the fact that it is different from regular expert talks, industry lectures. It takes the students through the journey that the awardee and the Chief Guest have walked through. The prospects and problems, social taboos and business hurdles are discussed at length. The take-away from the program goes beyond the bookish concepts and industry practices. It perpetuates the experience, confidence, wisdom that no book or a B-school puts on the platter.
This year the Chief Guest invited for ‘Person of the Year’ is Honourable Justice N Santosh Hegde, a honest, people friendly, social empathiser. The Weekend Leader-VIT Person of the year 2018 awardee is Padma Bhushan Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh International. Bhushan Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak promotes human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education
Justice N Santosh Hegde, former Karnataka Lokayukta, called upon the youth of the country to imbibe two basic values that our forefathers cherished – contentment and humanism – to establish peace and solidarity in the society and said that, youth in the country need to Imbibe the values of contentment and humanism for peace and solidarity in society’.
Justice Hegde was addressing the students of VIT Vellore during The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year (2018) award held during the last week of March 2018. The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year, an annual event at VIT, is essentially meant for management students, to identify the opportunities even in dire situations.
Known for his anti-corruption drive during his tenure as Karnataka Lokayukta between 2006 and 2010 when he exposed the large scale corruption in the mining operations in Karnataka, Hegde listed the various scams in the country starting from the Jeep scam in the 1950s, which resulted in a loss of Rs 52 lakh to the exchequer, to the more recent scams of the current century and said that greed has no limit and is the cause of all corruption in the country. Citing the falling moral standards in the society, he said, “We live in a society today that respects money and power more than anything else. Consequently there is a mad race to earn as much money as possible.”
In his acceptance speech after receiving The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year Award, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh International, shared his journey of building a national movement to restore the human rights and dignity of the manual scavengers.
Pathak said that Sulabh not only liberated the scavengers from the inhuman practice but also rehabilitated the people from the community by training the women and children in different skills.
Talking about the event, Dr. P Subhashree, Dean VIT Business School said, “These events are part of the conscious efforts of the business school to expose the students to positive journalism that instil confidence; equips them with the mind set to strive-achieve even in impossible situations, ability to shackle away the binding psychological, cultural barriers. This is one of the subtle but a strong Value that we give students”.
VIT Registrar Dr. K Sathiyanarayanan, who presided over the function, presented the citation and cash prize of Rs 25,000 to Pathak. P C Vinoj Kumar, Editor, The Weekend Leader, lauded Pathak for his role in ending the inhuman practice of manual scavenging and also rehabilitating them by providing them with jobs and educating their children. “Few people have been responsible for creating social change of this magnitude in their lifetime. In Tamil Nadu, we had Periyar who started a movement that led to the political and socio-economic empowerment of millions of marginalized people,” he said.Dr. N Jayasankaran, Adviser, VIT Business School, Dr. P Subhashree, Dean, VIT Business School, and Sam Rajappa, Consulting Editor, The Weekend Leader, also addressed the students and felicitated the awardee.