In the world of high-flying professionals, one won’t find many other unique personalities like the Andhra Pradesh state (India) born Physician Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla. He is a man of many paths and missions in his life, a multi-faceted personality, raised himself to the international level by sheer hard work and with his inborn leadership characteristics.
Starting a new venture from the ground up is a notoriously difficult task. While wisdom does come in handy in most circumstances, the gentle guide of previous experience adds firmness to the path. However, when the luxury of previous experience is missing, then it is only sheer grit, perseverance, hard work, diligence and persuasion that will combine to move mountains. Heroes are not made overnight. They are forged in the fire of trials and tribulations. It is the ability to rise to the occasion and chart a course when there is none. It is about the larger cause above self or family. It is the about warmth, compassion, selflessness and working to enhance people’s lives.
Our rich and hoary past is filled with innumerable examples, right from Bhageeratha bringing the Ganges down from heaven to achieving independence from colonial rule through non-violent means. Each one had a protagonist. Yet the thread of unity lies in the thinking, diligence and application principles followed.
The story of the construction of the alumni building in the premises of Sri Venkateswara Medical College (SVMC) is one such, and in the midst of it all, standing tall as a one-man army was Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla.
Thousands have graduated from the hallowed grounds of SVMC in Tirupati. For decades, the alumni of SVMC had dreamt of establishing their own building within the campus to support the students and the medical fraternity for medical education upliftment, premises for their activities, and other such activities promoting medical excellence. But not much progress was made. With each passing generation of doctors, the dream only seemed to get more distant.
Finally, the seed was sown in 2010 during the golden jubilee celebrations of SVMC when Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla from UK and all the alumni in India and across the globe came together.
The idea was to offer a ‘concrete contribution’ to the mother medical institution, and none could be better than a building for the alumni association. While there were alumni buildings in other medical colleges in Guntur, Kakinada, Kurnool etc., here right at the foothills of Lord Venkateswara’s Tirumala, there was none for this prestigious institution.
Spot contributions from all alumni from India, U.K and U.S were made amounting to Rs 50 Lakhs instantaneously. A former SVMC Alumnus from U.S had promised a huge sum of Rs 1.5 Crores.
Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla, post his settling down in India, was involved in various philanthropic initiatives across diversified sectors. He had also adopted his village of birth and taken up excellent infrastructure and other improvements in the same. With the requests and encouragement of the Former Alumni Presidents, SVMC Principal and also the Principal Donor Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla took upon his humongous task and monumental challenge of shouldering the responsibility of constructing the building on The Republic Day 26-Jan-2015.
The task had to be completed, which was not taken to completion before, and Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was the ablest person to undertake it.
A journey into uncharted territories had begun!
As Alumni President Dr. Ramesh Nath with his constructive activities in the SVMC had galvanized the medical students and brought many local alumni and NRI to the campus. To the credit of Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla and his team, many events were conducted like:
Plantation drives were undertaken, and regular meetings were conducted to encourage and motivate students. Such meetings also served as a forum for key interactions, knowledge sharing and career guidance. Many students appreciated his gesture of helping them, in giving back his services to the Alma-mater and drew inspiration as they graduated and went on to serve society in different capacities.
The first step to establishing the SVMC alumni building was land acquisition and getting a government order to construct the alumni building on the SVMC campus. Given the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, resulting pandemonium in various departments, legal requirements for obtaining permission, checks and approvals related to the land sought, building plans, periodic transfers of serving government officials and the byzantine bureaucracy, it was no mean task to get the approval and the land for the project. But it was Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla at the helm and the word ‘give-up’ was never in his dictionary.
Even though many alumni colleagues and former alumni presidents were all behind the Dream project in support, unfortunately, they could not spare much time to help Dr. Lingutla either due to their professional commitments or because of involvement in service to the patients. But with his undaunted and relentless focussed efforts Ramesh Nath had worked hard 24 hours × 365 days until the land sanctioned by the Government.
For hours together, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla used to wait to talk to officials, undertake trips on short notice and even fly to Hyderabad many times at his own expense just to obtain permission. As the files moved from department to department, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was meticulous in his follow up and persuasive in his approach. Things were so pressing that Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla personally met the former health minister in the government over 25 times, despite the time limitations of both parties whenever there was a challenge in any department or if some concerns were raised. There were challenges in getting the master plan to start, yet that was also achieved with continuous good communication, follow-ups and perseverance. Constructing the building was a dream which would not allow Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla to sleep and he lived his dream day and night until it was achieved.
These ethics, genuine intentions, selflessness, managerial and leadership skills were at the forefront in every interaction. It was a marathon mission stretching for over 2½ years, yet results were slow in forthcoming. To add fuel to the fire, even in some internal quarters, there were murmurs of the genuineness of intent when the land approval was taking longer than expected. But even at such greatest moments of dissatisfaction, unnecessary noise and resentment, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was the man of immovable calm, having firm faith in his mission, in himself, in the Divine and his reasoning in getting things done ethically, practically and well.
Finally, after many false hopes and when all seemed to have hit an insurmountable wall, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla reposed faith in the Divine and honestly opened his frustrations to a senior government official, come what may the consequences. His gentle yet powerful presence, rectitude, and courage to stand for a good cause shook things up, and finally things took a positive turn and set the ball moving faster. In April 2017, the government order (GO) was issued, and the requested piece of land adjacent to the SVMC UG Men’s hostel was sanctioned for the construction of the alumni building. The momentous event was covered and published in local Telugu newspapers.
Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was immediately applauded from all quarters for his perseverance and given various titles like “One Man Army”, “Untiring Warrior”, etc. But Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was neither the one to be carried away nor stop. The mission was only half complete, and considerable ground was still to be covered. He had worked insofar without any expectation of low fruits, and in the same way, he took inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita and just continued with unwavering focus.
The next phase was one where funds needed to be collected, and it was by no means an easy task.
Many alumni were distributed in all corners of the globe, and there was no common method or platform to reach all of them. The recent graduates also needed to be convinced of the value of the endeavour, and it required a veritable Hercules to chart out a plan.
Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla stood as a pillar and connecting link between the Principal Donor, NRI Alumni and Indian Alumni. He was also the key link between the veterans and the younger generation of doctors. He was well-known for his integrity, honesty and selflessness and all individuals across generations and divides unanimously trusted him and his ability.
Thus, it was again Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla who rose to the occasion for collecting funds for project execution.
He organised many programs of NRIs on the east and west coast of the USA and often drove miles and miles to meet people and convince them of the cause. Never thinking about his own comforts or anything else, many times he even endangered his life and health with his constant travels and continuous efforts. Finally, many donors came around.
Dr.Ramesh was faultlessly accountable in all money matters throughout and ensured that respected and competent persons dealt with all finances. He kept himself away from all financial aspects like signing cheques, releasing funds etc.
Such was his spotless integrity, as it was for a good cause of giving back his services to the mother medical institute besides his restless services over 24 hours × 365 days, sacrificing his family functions and occasions, even all the expenses incurred in his flying over many times to Hyderabad, Vijayawada etc., numerous incidental expenses in going around to meet the officials or alumni etc., all were completely borne by him alone. Additional to the above, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla and his son also contributed to the Lounge at the entrance of the building.
As a matter to note, all finances related to the project were finally double-audited and signed off.
The alumni association building was a dream project and had to be absolutely special and iconic. Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla took superhuman effort in trying to get the best architects and builders to work on the project. The design had to be world-class yet reflect the ethos of the medical profession and the Indian value system. Many discussions were conducted, references sought, due diligence checks made and finally, the key companies and individuals were shortlisted. Midst all this sea of activity stood the rock of Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla who guided, monitored, mentored and set the stage for all interactions and processes throughout.
In addition, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla personally visited many existing alumni buildings around the state like Kakinada, Guntur etc and made extensive notes for discussion with colleagues and the architects. The vision was slowly taking shape, but it had to be the best, and Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was going full steam in achieving so.
Once the funds were raised, appropriate checks, balances and accountability measures put in place and construction formally began, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was involved in all aspects of the project like
The alumni building is built along the Georgian architectural lines, with an imposing entrance and commanding interiors. It has a lounge, reception, backup office, board room, cafeteria and dining hall capable of accommodating about 50 members, digital library, ATM, room for postal services, an air-conditioned auditorium designed according to modern acoustic and sound-proofing principles capable of accommodating 200–250 members.
Today, innumerable medical students benefit from these facilities as doctors from leading institutions not only in India but from around the globe conduct virtual sessions and webinars for the benefit of all. The alumni association also has an office of its own. It thus stands true to its name as The Golden Jubilee Building (Knowledge Home).
Leading dignitaries and all alumni were invited to the ceremony conducted on 11th January 2020 (Saturday).
The big day finally dawned, and the event was well covered in all local Telugu dailies.
While there were tears of joy, camaraderie, hugs, handshakes and congratulatory messages floating all around, one man stood rooted in the surreal moment, ever tall yet humble like the Dwajasthamba in a temple. Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla’s mind raced to offer obeisance to the feet of the Divine – Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala by whose grace and infinite mercy all events came to successful fruition. Having spent a major portion of his life in the foothills of Tirumala and having looked at the majesty of Seshachala every day, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla could not but admire how events unfolded and the silent handiwork of the Divine.
Effusive praise poured in from all quarters and in all formats (online, in-person, offline etc.) for Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla for the magnificent effort taken, the superb planning and construction. Every aspect of his personality was praised right from being multi-faceted to diligent, disciplined yet accountable, an achiever across geographies yet a son of the soil, a revolutionary who united the east, west and centre yet a man of unmatched probity, gentleness and integrity.
There was no question or dispute. The whole setup was for the people, and the inauguration had to be by a ‘Man for the People’. The ribbon had to be cut, and it had to be Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla.
Though he was in the background, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla was ushered to the front to lead the team into the building.
Torrents of memories of the decade of struggle flowed through Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla’s being – the numerous visits to government offices and officials, convincing people and raising funds, the multiple trips to various places, the thousands of phone calls and emails, hundreds of meetings, handling of naysayers, innumerable meetings, late night discussions, delayed meals, driving in tricky conditions in foreign lands, sacrifices by family members and sacrificing quality time with family etc. All the conflicts, struggles and challenges within and outside, from people, events and situations came flooding in…yet it all merged now in the bliss of satisfaction.
It was a moment to reckon and as Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla cut the ribbon, it was a total surrender to the Divine and the Vedic words of lōkāḥ samastāḥ sukhinōbhavantu (May all the beings in all the worlds be blessed and happy) that were ringing in his ears and being.
At his turn on the dais, after the inaugural lamp was lit, Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla gave a moving and powerful speech. What was supposed to be a speech of 2 minutes stretched to a longer time. Yet the audience were in rapt attention. They were just too stunned for words yet humbled by the admiration for a great man who had achieved something that was considered either impossible or a boondoggle depending on where one stood. Profusely thanking all involved, he epitomised the selflessness of a true leader and gave a lesson in leadership to the younger doctors present in the program.
The whole episode of constructing the SVMC alumni association building was a lesson of evolution from karma yoga to jnana yoga to bhakti yoga, per the tenets of the Bhagavad Gita. This was the moment when it finally culminated in a moment of unspeakable devotion, trust and gratitude to the Divine of events past, present or future. Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was in the left, right and centre of everything and every event attached to this moment. It was a key moment of joy – a perfect validation that Divine blessings go hand-in-hand with sincere human effort, love for a positive cause and selfless service to all. His dearest wife Padmavathi, sons and extended family were the pillars of support throughout.
It is usual for people to dreaming about something and nurturing the same. But the very sight of people living a dream was a joy to behold and Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla’s efforts were the catalyst and primary source for everyone’s collective happiness.
Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was in that moment of Sat, Chit and Ananda – of perfect bliss, peace and contentment, and looking at all the joyful faces around gave his being an overwhelming and indescribable sense of satisfaction, joy and peace.
The Ganges flows serenely today. A mother to millions offering her unbounded blessings to all and a lifeline to Bharatha (India), her presence being made possible by the monumental efforts of Bhageeratha who neither lost hope nor courage in pursuing a dream. The stories of the Ganges and Bhageeratha’s efforts are not a legend. They are true in every sense of the term; immortal events and names etched in the ether of history with the visible proof being the presence of the Divine Mother herself.
In a similar vein, are the achievements of Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla, be it personal, professional, in contributing to his alma mater, as a visionary, revolutionary leader, environmentalist, an icon or any of the innumerable areas he has touched remain for posterity. He is an icon who has helped create something iconic, giving life to a vision and wings to a dream.
His memory and work are chiselled in the annals of SVMC, both in the institution and alumni association. Every brick, door and pillar is sure to stand a testament to the huge on-ground work of Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla. As a matter of his contribution and recognising his achievement, he was awarded a valuable certificate of recognition as ‘A Man for the People’ by SVMC in
But above all, he will be forever remembered as the humanitarian, changemaker and guardian who ensured that the lamp of knowledge continues to burn bright across generations.
” In appreciation of your vision, leadership, dedication, guidance and talents in making the dream of SVMC alumni building a reality. You will be remembered as a man for the people by future generations in the history of SVMC alumni. In honour and recognition of your significant contribution to the society“
For his hard work over these years with perseverance and persistence, restless and relentless approach ultimately bearing the fruits at this stage, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was applauded from all quarters, from Alumni colleagues in India and by NRI Doctors around the Globe, especially from the 1st batch of SVMC.
All this was achieved over a period of four (4) SVMC Principals and Two (2) Health Secretaries and that by itself is sufficient to show the amount of effort taken and pain felt. All the members of the SVMC alumni were deeply appreciative and Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla was awarded and overwhelmed with various titles like
Dr.Ramesh Nath Lingutla has epitomised all of the above and much, much more.
Subsequent to the successful construction of the SVMC alumni building, Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla has relinquished his post as the President of the Alumni Association, though exhorted by many well-wishers to continue. Clinging to power beyond a time frame was not in his being. His motto was to give back to the mother medical institution and ‘Serve/Work for a Cause, Not for Applause’. Offers of plum postings, awards or recognition could not change his decision. He was a true hero above and beyond all things superfluous. Serving the greater society and reaching out to the downtrodden was his continued inner call.
The building of the alumni building at SVMC as a service to his motherland and mother medical institution was only an additional feather in his (already full!) cap.
Dr.Ramesh Nath continues to be the unmatched humanitarian that he is serving the people during the times of the COVID pandemic in 2021-22 period, the floods in Tirupati in the November 2021 period etc. His service to society and different aspects like art, culture and environment are also enumerated in different write ups under the appropriate sections.
Since the bifurcation of state the importance of Alumni Association in Institution development has come to the fore.
On the “Republic day”, 26th of January 2015, at the requests of all Former Alumni Presidents and the SVMC Principal Dr. Ramesh Nath Lingutla has shouldered the responsibility as “President of the SVMC Alumni Association”.
He has galvanized the Association by bringing together all those interested in contributing to the development of Alma Mater. He had organised numerous events and programs in the campus of mother’s Medical Institute.
For Dr. Lingutla’s hard work, dedication, commitment, persuasion and perseverance for the two and half years in beginning in getting the land sanctioned by the A.P Government through a G.O and for his untiring and restless work in constructing the Alumni building he was showered with number of titles like “Untiring Warrier”, Pattu Vadalani Vikramarkudu”, “Bhageeratha of SVMC”, “History Maker”, “Real Hero”, “One Man Army”, “Ajatha Sathruvu”, and many more by the members of the alumni association including many NRI doctors.
As a President of the SVMC Alumni Association, Dr Ramesh has tirelessly worked towards building a strong association and organised numerous events and programs in the campus of mother’s medical institute.
As president of the alumni association of his alma mater – SVMC, Dr Ramesh Nath’s vision was to have a grand alumni building on the college campus. During Golden Jubilee celebrations they raised INR 50 Lakh towards the construction of the building. NRI Dr.Prem Reddy assured him of his generous contribution.
However, it took Dr Ramesh Nath two and a half years of relentless persuasion and repeated visits to the concerned officials and Health Minister before he could secure the Government Order to get a land sanctioned and start the construction work. His perseverance and tireless efforts have finally led to the construction of the building.
He was showered with titles like “Untiring Warrior”, “Pattu Vadalani Vikramarkudu”, “Ajata Satruvu” and many more by other members of the association including renowned NRI doctors.
Shouldered responsibilities as President of the SVMC Alumni Association and organised the Republic Day celebrations of 2015.
As the President of SVMC Alumni Association, Dr Ramesh presided over the 2015 Graduation Ceremony of SVMC outgoing batch. He inspired the fresh graduates by telling them to pursue their dreams fearlessly and not wait for opportunities to come to them. He invoked the examples of Swami Vivekananda and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and how their lives serve as ideals for all. He emphasised on the ‘service’ aspect of medicine and how the young doctors should always strive to serve humanity.
Amongst many great Leaders, Warriors, Teachers, Saints and Scientists Dr.Lingutla adores two (2) in particular, one is Sri.Swami Vivekananda and another one is our great missile man Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Always he keeps telling to the youth and students about these two great human beings to inspire and motivate them.
As such even thou Dr. Lingutla was far away at the time of the demise of Dr. Abdul Kalam he could not resist to come away immediately and arrange a “Condolence Meeting” in mother’s Medical Institute.
On the 56th Foundation Day of SVMC, Dr Ramesh Nath was invited to preside over the function where he had a heart-to-heart conversation with the students. He spoke about studying medicine was a boon and that it was a golden opportunity that students must make the most use of.
On this day also, MLA had inaugurated Dr S.L Sagar Memorial Medical Education Unit in Ruia Children’s Hospital.
Conducted an anti-ragging drive on campus to make students aware of the ill-effects of ragging.
Inauguration of the Model Rural Health Research Unit – the only one of its kind in the state – which was possible because of the relentless efforts of Dr Ramesh Nath in pursuing the then Chief Minister.
Organised the 2016 Republic Day and conducted a tree plantation drive.
As a guest speaker on the Graduation Day of 2016 Dr Ramesh Nath motivated the graduates to treat medicine as service and never deter from that goal.
With his concerted efforts, Dr Ramesh Nath brought the different Telugu associations like TANA, NATA, ATA and NATS on to a single forum and requested them to collectively work towards the development of their own villages in India – something that was never possible earlier.
Organised a tree plantation drive in SVMC grounds wiith Health Minister Sri. Kamineni Srinivas Garu and Forest Minister Sri. Bojjala Gopala Krishna Reddy Garu.
On the occasion of 57th Foundation Day, Dr Ramesh Nath advised students not just stick to theories taught in class but focus on acquiring and staying up to date with the latest medical technologies in the world. He urged students never to forget their mother tongue and work towards propagating its greatness.
As part and Lead of the Cheyutha program helped to raise INR 4 Lakh towards social service.
Organised the first annual conference which was a two-day event and saw the participation of many delegates and Health Minister.
The theme for Day 1 was Family Health and Day 2 was Community Medicine. The grand success of the event ensured its continuation in the years to come.
Helping NATA team in NATA Seva days.