The story of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement will be incomplete without the mention of Paul Thamil Selvan. He was from Malaysia and had got himself transferred from Davangere Medical College to Mysore Medical College. We had met at the college office and I had helped him with some of the office procedures. Selvan was of Indian origin and was a warm, open and considerate person. Together we found a house for him in Saraswathipuram and he fondly named it ‘Duke’s Mansion’. Within a few months of knowing him, we became very good friends and I spent many an evening discussing issues varying from movies to Indian philosophy to the ‘bhumiputra’ politics of Malaysia.
It was during one of these discussions that I told him about my dream of starting a social service organization modeled on the thoughts of Swami Vivekananda. He supported the idea and urged me on to formalize my dream. And so, when we had to furnish an address for registering the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, he unhesitatingly offered the use of his home, both as our office and as our official registered address. Thus our first office was at 309, ‘Duke’s mansion’, 13th Main, Saraswathipuram, Mysore – 570009. Throughout his stay at Mysore, he supported all our activities and played a major part in putting Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement on a firm footing. I fondly recollect the days when he used to drive me around on his old ‘Luna’ (a moped) to all the Government offices, like the Registrar’s office or the Income Tax office.
Selvan visited India once with his wife and children and we met at Bangalore and spoke of all the good old times. Though he could not visit our projects, he was happy to know of all that we were doing. It is unfortunate that he is one of the few people that I have lost contact with. With the help of a friend in Malaysia, I hope to track his address down and surprise him with at least a letter or an email!