One day, I saw a small write-up in Deccan Herald about the work that Justice D.M.Chandrashekar was doing. He was involved in a lot of charitable activities in and around Bangalore and he had given a public speech urging the young to take to rural development. On reading this, I decided to get in touch with him. I traced down his address from the telephone directory of Bangalore and went and met him at his house. Only those who have interacted with him can ever gauge this extraordinary person. He was so simple and humble. He was such a great listener that never did he interrupt my narration of the SVYM story to him. After about an hour of my speaking, he asked me to wait and went in. Along with a hot cup of coffee came a check for Rs.5000. It did not stop there. He asked me to write to the editor of Deccan Herald about our work and ask for support. He also assured me that he would visit us when he came to Mysore next.
This was the same person who had the courage to go against the might of the then Indian Prime Minister, Ms Indira Gandhi and release her political opponents like L K Advani and A B Vajpayee. She had got them arrested using the emergency powers that she had given herself. She had then transferred him to the Allahabad high court to show her displeasure. He had also served as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court from 1978 to 82.
Throughout the time I have known him, I found him to be friendly, full of advice and always helpful. There were only a few occasions that I can remember when I came empty handed from his house. He would always give me a list of people to contact. He would ask me to write to one or call on another. If one day he would ask me to go and meet Justice M.N.Venkatachalliah, then the next time it would be a directive to write to the Lotus Trust. Thus, over the next many years, he helped us build our contact base and credibility.
From 1988 when I first met him, till his demise in 2003, he must have visited us 3-4 times. He was one of those few people who saw us grow from the small clinic at Brahmagiri. It was always his desire to visit us at Saragur, but he could not do so. In his death, many a charitable cause and numerous voluntary organizations lost a friend and supporter. Justice DMC (as we used to fondly called him) will be remembered for his generosity not just in life, but also in his death. He donated his body to a medical college to be used for learning by students of Anatomy.
Photo courtesy: Website of Allahabad High Court