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The nuke scientist who found his true calling

Ch RS Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on June 10, 2019 Published on June 10, 2019

Dr Bhagavatula Venkata Parameswara Rao (86) breathed his last here on Sunday and his death was mourned by all those familiar his work   -  The Hindu

A remarkable man made a daring decision more than half a century ago — to give up his promising career as a nuclear scientist trained in the US and go back to his native village Dimili, in Visakhapatnam district.

The decision was in response to an irresistible call within himto discover his soul in his own obscure village. The man — Dr Bhagavatula Venkata Parameswara Rao (86) — breathed his last here on Sunday and his death was mourned in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by all those familiar with his work.

The decision to give up his career seemed quite crazy to his peers. They tried to dissuade him but he stood firm and decided to dedicate his life to improving the lot of the rural folk. He founded an NGO and brought about a change in the lives of people by taking up community development in hundreds of villages in Visakhapatnam district.

The NGO serves as a role model for many working in the field of rural development. Many did not know of the remarkable work of Dr BV Parameswara Rao in villages even in Andhra Pradesh till the English magazine, The Week, of the Malayali Manorama Group, featured him on the front page in the early eighties as the Man of the Year.

International recognition

BV Parameswara Rao returned to Dimili in 1967, after getting his Ph.D in nuclear sciences at the Penn State University, US. He first set up a school to provide students across 10 villages easy access to education.

That marked the beginning of many more projects such as employment generation through salt pans near the sea coast, setting up farmers’ cooperatives and several others which culminated in the formation of the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) on November 11, 1976.

The BCT, under his leadership, took up programmes for men, women, and children, providing self-sustaining livelihoods. His pioneering efforts won him and the organisation recognition across the world. His services were also sought by the World Bank. The government sought his services for its various programmes, including the National Literacy Mission. Many prominent personalities, World Bank teams and distinguished intellectuals visited the remote parts of rural Visakhapatnam.

Under his guidance, the BCT has undertaken over a thousand projects in Visakhapatnam district.

In an interview to BusinessLine, he once said it was not a very difficult choice for him to give up his career as a nuclear scientist and go back to his village. “Life, it is often said, is full of difficult choices. But I disagree, we make the choices difficult ourselves. Once you decide upon a particular course of action, with vision and conviction, everything will fall in place,” he said.

Adieu, Dr Parameswara Rao. You live in the villages of Andhra Pradesh and India.

Published on June 10, 2019
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