Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dr. Mohan Alva

Dr. Mohan Alva

An Educationist par excellence - Transforms Moodbidri into cultural capital of Dakshina Kannada

Give me 100 men with character and courage I will transform India" Said Swami Vivekananda once, If that great saint was alive today he would have chosen Dr. Mohan Alva as one of them! If you think we are exaggerating you must check out his life and work, his concern for culture, education, honesty, poverty and above all the un-ending zeal for transforming unproductive life into fruitful one as a result of his multifarious activities and achievements in varied fields.

Dr. M. Mohan Alva was born in an agrarian family on 31st May, 1952 in Mijar, a small village near Moodbidri. Dr. Alva had his early education in his native village and later he secured his Bachelor's degree in Ayurvedic Medicine in Udupi. With his hard work and dedication he has become an icon in the field of education, Indian medicine, sports and culture to name a few. Today he is an established leader in all these and more. The true self of Dr. Mohan Alva is an embodiment of humaneness and selfless service. These values he has been able to spread in the youth who are studying in various institutions of Alva's Education foundation with over 8,500 students. He is known for his charitable work and concern for the poor in the true sense, cutting across cast, creed, sex and religion. His charitable work reflects a spectrum of areas. Prominently in his concern of those afflicted with HIV. Those with merit and can not pursue education for want of money. Schools that suffer for want of teachers. Inculcating excellence in sports. His concern for environment. Tireless worker for the upkeep and spread of Indian classical and traditional music and dance. His concern for growth of Kannada literature is legendary.

Moodbidri being a small town, the people around it found it very difficult to get quality higher education in professional and non professional courses. They had to travel a long distance of 40-50 kms for graduation. Realizing this difficulty Dr. Alva established Alva's Education Foundation in the year 1995, under this foundation he thought of establishing institutions providing basic education starting from Pre-University, Degree courses in faculties like Arts, Commerce and Science, in general; then he also established institutions in Medical sciences in particular Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Naturopathy and Yoga at Graduate level and Post Graduate courses in Ayurveda and Para Medical Courses like Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medical Laboratory Technology along with this realizing the need for standard Technical education. He has started a full-fledged Engineering college called Alva's Institute of Engineering & Technology.

Altogether 8,500 students are getting quality education at different institutions under Alva's Education Foundation under the leadership of Founder Chairman Dr. M. Mohan Alva. The teaching methodology here does not limit to the syllabus but it is extended to make student perfect by training regularly under personality development, cultural activities, sports and games, fine arts and other social training towards national Integration under trained faculty, is specially executed by Dr. Mohan Alva. Indeed, it is a unique plan of providing complete education which is rare and one of its kind provided under Alva's Education Foundation setup. It is extremely important to stress here the fee charged in Alva's Institutions are nominal to a fault. All the institutions are run without any profit motive. Again it is not exaggerating but one has to visit his institution to believe it. The chain of institutions he has started since 1995 has transformed Moodbidri into an international educational township.

The chain of Institutions has seven institutions affiliated to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences they include Alva's Ayurvedic Medical College (estd in 1996); Alva's College of Naturopathy & Yogic Science - (estd in 1998); Alva's Homoeopathic Medical College (estd in 2005); Alva's College of Nursing (estd in 1996 ); Alva's College of Physiotherapy (estd in 1995); Alva's College of Medical Lab Technology (estd in 2000); and Alva's College of Hospital Administration.

Alva's Institute of Engineering & Technology - 2008-09 has been affiliated to the Vishveshwariah Technological University.

Several of his institutions have been affiliated to Mangalore University also that includes Alva's College - 1998 (B.Sc. - CBZ, Bio-tech, Bo chemistry, Microbiology, Computer Science, Hosp Science, B.F.N.D.), (B.A. - English Journalism, Kannada, BHRD, Computer Science, B.A. in Physical Education, B.Com, B.CA, B.B.M; Alva's College of Social Works - 2000 (B.S.W, M.S.W.) Alva's College of Education - 2005 (B.Ed.) and Alva's College of Physical Education - 2005 (B.P.Ed.)

Alva's Education Foundation was also one of the first educational conglomerates which began PG courses in M.Sc. Analytical Chemistry, M.Sc. Biotechnology, M.Sc. Maths, M.H.R.D., M.Com.

There are few Institutions affiliated to different Technical Boards that includes Alva's Institute of Nursing - 1995 Alva's Institute of Education – 2005; Alva's Pre-University College - 1999 (Arts, Science, Commerce) .

Higher Secondary Education- Alva's Foundation has been granted permission by Karnataka Government to start 8th, 9th & 10th standard in Kannada medium which is going to commence from June 2009.

Some of the special initiatives Dr. Mohan Alva has taken include the Mohini Appaji Nayak Memorial Special School for mentally challenged. Mrs. Late Mohini Appaji Nayak was a lady who had spent her whole life in serving the children with special needs.

Dr. Alva is giving a scholar ship through sponsorship to more than 700 Children with disabilities around Moodbidri which got launched on the eve of commemoration of sacred Mother Theresa.

Dr. Alva believes that finally every act of individual should be for the benefit of the society. He has been always supportive to facilitate the growth of these unfortunate through donations made to schools for challenged in the district.

n the year 2008 he decided to start a school for the mentally challenged for providing a quality life for these children. Presently 25 children are getting trained in the school, where a specially trained teacher and social workers service is made available. The programme is initiated and run by the sole support of the Dr. Alva without an external financial Aid or support.

In the first ever Student Adoption Scheme in this part of the state Dr. Alva has blazed a trail of success- which has been hailed as a step ahead from providing education is 'Free Education' with free Food and Accommodation, and total fees exemption under Adoption Scheme have been offered by Dr. Alva all these years. Out of 8,500 students 700 students are brought under this scheme. The Adopting scheme runs through the graduation. This scheme is open to all the deserving students irrespective of their Caste, Creed, Religion, Community etc.

Needless to say that financial burden to Dr. Alva to keep this noble cause going runs to millions. The beneficiaries chosen are under four categories namely: High Distinction Meritorious Category, Excellence in Sports Category, Excellence in Cultural Performances Category and Physically Challenged Category.

Dr. Alva is also known for his encouraging initiatives in the field of sports.

Being a very good sportsman in his college days, Dr. Alva with his zeal and strong vision to recognize and encourage the young men and Women of Sports and game established ‘Ekalavya Sports Club' in 1984. Since then nearly 600 to 650 students have been adopted under this scheme and where trained properly with free food and accommodation. Out of these nearly 100 sports men and women have earned fame and name for Alva's Institution in State and National Level and now they are well settled in life. In 2008 nearly 200 students have been adopted in sports category with free education, food and accommodation.

Free teaching assistance to needy Rural Schools is yet another initiative that Dr. Alva took in realizing the urgent requirement of teachers to poor rural schools in and around Moodbidri, since 10 years Dr. Alva is sponsoring 25 to 30 teachers whose monthly pay is looked after by Dr. M. Mohan Alva. This year also 30 teachers have been given free to underdeveloped rural schools by Dr. Alva.

Dr. Alva has a unique scheme of adoption of abandoned children, so for nearly 50 abandoned children have been adopted and looked after by him. Later on most of them have found excellent foster parents.

In spite of the risks and uncertainties, he took a bold step of establishing a well equipped 300 bedded hospital 'Alva's Health Centre' with well experienced doctors and multi-specialty medical services. The motivation for this was the fact that people had to go to Mangalore - the nearest city 35-40 kms away putting lot of strain on the poor people of Moodbidri. This reflects on his vision to serve the people of his place. In fact this was the turning point in the health care of people of Moodbidri.

He also established the first Snake bite treatment centre of the district in Moodbidri. As a unique case till now about 6000 cases of snake bite have been treated successfully with the exception of 2 or 3 death cases.

Free Birth Control centre established by him in 1990, thousands of people have taken the benefit of Free Birth control Treatment in Alva's Health Centre. In the year 2003 only nearly 450 such cases have been treated in Alva's Health Centre. This centre was further upgraded into a free treatment to HIV positive realizing the difficulties faced by the HIV positive patients who lead a miserable life in the society. Dr. Alva started doing the job of counseling regularly for about 300 AIDs patients and all the cost of medicines is met by him apart from giving moral support.

Dr. Alva also started an Old age Home which looks after the need for providing food, shelter, moral, physical and mental support to old people has been increasing in this rural setup. Dr. Alva has started constructing 20 cottages in Shobhavana area and it will be ready for inauguration by December 2009. Another Old age Home is already in its service at Kanajar Village in Udupi District, run by Dr. Alva and all rehabilitation services are offered in this unit.

Many persons who were servants of the drinking habit were given solace at the Mother Theresa De-Addiction Centers. Dr. Alva who is a teetotaler realized the intensity of the problem of Consumption of alcohol and narcotics started organizing De-Addiction camps in the selected villages and a new life is given through medicines, treatments, training, advices and counseling in the camps for duration of 15-20 days. All these camps have a record success and the campers are leading a happy and peaceful life now. In addition, he has organized many more such camps through Alva's College of Social Work. The addicts after being treated for fifteen days are brought back again for follow up work to ensure if they have given up addiction completely and are leading a normal and healthy life. A step ahead, Dr. Alva has started constructing 'Mother Theresa De-addiction Centre' or 'Punarjanma Centre' in the Shobhavana area where all treatments and educative programmes can be made available permanently. It is a twenty bedded hospital which employs expert doctors and Psychiatrics to treat and convert the addicted people.

Alva's Shobhavana - A Medicinal Plantation

This is an Herb garden with priceless medicinal plants. Herbal Garden is spread across 100 acres of land having 58 separate vanas or sub sections dedicated to the memory of his wife Late Shobha Alva. It is the best herb garden in India. Herbs of different species have been planted classically with reference to Indian Literature, which makes it unique in India. There are about 2000 different species of medicine plants which have been Organically Cultivated and have been certified by SKAL International. The Garden is well recognized as a study Centre for Botanists and students of Ayurveda.

Many scientists and research students regularly visit the facility to conduct research. One of the most important reason being that the garden is untouched insecticides and inorganic. ‘Shobhavana' is now ten years it is not only first of its kind in Karnataka perhaps in entire south India.

Alva Pharmacy

Alva Pharmacy was established by Dr Mohan Alva in 1981 for providing genuine, classically manufactured Ayurvedic Medicine. To start with, there were 10 classical products, 5 patent products developed by Dr Mohan Alva, Alva's pharmacy went with progressive development by developing classical manufacturing with modern Approach. With the knowledge and experience of Dr Mohan Alva in the practice, he developed new formulations. Modern equipments have been added to the manufacturing techniques to systematize manufacturing work with quality testing equipped laboratory and qualified expert techniques, subject experts and research staff. Raw materials are collected from Herbal Garden of SKAL International approved quality.

Apart from all his educational, social service, Dr.Alva is also known as the cultural ambassador of Dakshina Kannada district. After Udupi was carved out of the district, Moodbidri quickly took its place as a cultural capital of Dakshina Kannada. All this began with the Alva's Virasat - A cultural extravaganza.

Dr. Alva's crowning achievement in the field of dance and music is Alva's Virasat. It is a National Cultural Festival held in Moodbidri every January for the last 10 years. This weeklong cultural festival comprises music concerts in the first sessions and dance performances in the second. Artistes of National and International fame from all parts of India are invited to perform. Some of the renowned artists who have performed are; Pandit Haripraad Chourasia, Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat, Jessudas, Sonal Mansingh, Teejan Bai, Beguam Parveen Sulthana, Shashank, Praveen Godkindi and Anoop Jalota, Zakhir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Hariharan etc.

In another brave initiative Dr. Alva began Alva's Nudisiri. Generally it is felt that the youth have little or no chance to participate and express themselves at district and state level. Dr. Alva, realizing these lacunae, started organizing Mini Kannada Sahithya Sammelana a Literary Meet called Alva's Nudisiri exclusively for the age group of 16-24 yrs. This is regularly held in the last week of November every year. About 3,500 student delegates and 1,000 other delegates attend the event which provides ample scope for paper presentations by eminent scholars and writers, interaction between experts and delegates.

The Social impact of Dr. Alva's works

Large number of jobs created by the Alva's Institutions and accessory structures and systems, as well the presence of 8,500 students a majority of them from other states of India has changed this town of Moodbidri from a second level Tourist place to a bustling town of education Centre.

The role on effect is felt largely in the up swing of economy of this region. Land values has gone up, banks have picked up monetary movement with large number of additional accounts and educational loans to the students. Numbers of new ATMs have come up, benefiting the public at large. Hotel industry has seen a boom with constant flow of parents and friends of the students. It has also increased tourism in this region to a large extant. The Medical Centre, Physiotherapy, Yoga and Naturopathy Centers associated with Alva's Institution have brought excellent medical care at the door step of the poor rural people of adjoining villages of Moodbidri. Hence they do not have to solely depend on Mangalore city for all their medical care, reducing their financial burden and saving precious time.

This is an unsung gigantic achievement of Dr. Mohan Alva.

Awards and Honours

Best Talented Youth in the World - by Oxford University, U.K. – 1980
Best Out-going student of S.D.M. Ayurvedic Medical College, Udupi – 1980
Outstanding Young Person of Karnataka-by Indian Junior Chamber, Karnataka-1991
Karnataka Natak Academy Award - 1998
Aryabhata Rajatha Prashasti -2000
Rajyotsava Prashasti by Govt. of Karnataka – 2005
Sri. M. Vishweshwarayya Award-2001
"Kannada Shree" by All India 70th Kannada Sahithya Sammelana held at Belgaum 2002
Manel Srinivasa Nayak Memorial Award – 2002
Nominated as a member of the Senate of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore - 1997-2000 and again for the year 2000-2003
Nominated as Syndicate Member of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Banglaore (2006-09) by the Governor of Karnataka
Nominated as C.C.I.M. Member for 5 years (2007-2011) by Central Council for Indian Medicine, New Delhi
Awarded with ‘Basavashri' Prashati by his holiness Shri Thontadarya Swamiji In April 2008
‘Vijayashri' Prashasthi by his holiness Shri Pejawar Swamiji In may 2008
Awarded with ‘Shri Shri Vijayindra Puraskara' by his holiness Shri Shri Raghavendra Swamiji of Mantralaya in June 2008
'Sarvabouma Award' by Sukeshtra Gokarna - 2009.

Dr. Alva is an environmentalist to the core of his heart. Under his leadership tens of kilometers of road leading to Moodbidri have been planted with evergreen plants lending greenery to the area.

In his message to the Mangaloreans Dr. Alva feels that "despite 60 years of independence we have a large gap between the very rich and poor. Our vision is to bring down this gap by making ways to improve the livelihood of the poor. Similarly the educational gap between the rich and poor is large. We have to reduce this disparity and educational courses will have to be made affordable to the middle class and the poor are given a helping hand. By this it was possible to give back many folds to the society from which we have taken from the society."

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