Introduction to the Edison Daniels Lecture on Life – 2019


October 20, 2019

YMCA Hall, Yelagiri

This morning we’ve listened to some amazing tributes to Professor Ivan Balasingh. From Shim, Priscilla, and Helena who shared their stories during the memorial service in his memory. The fact that we are here at this meet, is in many ways linked to Uncle Ivan’s vision and action. Therefore, the question remains: why have none of the major mission organizations acknowledged or honored his contributions to missions in a way that captures the magnitude of his enduring influence? Many of them waited until his death.

During the trek this morning, some of us had made it to the top of the hill earlier than the others. We were sitting there on one of the rocks, waiting for the rest of the crowd to reach the hilltop, basking in the 7 AM sunlight. One of the boys was standing on a precarious rock at a distance, unsure if he could make the leap onto another equally frightening rock. Among those of us seated in the distance, there was some cheering going on. “Jump man”, “You’re afraid, right?” – people were saying the usual stuff, trying to get him to jump. The slightly dark manifestation of boarding school humor was beginning to show itself when the shouts went on to claim, “If you die also, no problem” and so on.

About that time, it was Jason I think who casually shouted a truth that we don’t often say out loud – “Everybody loves you more when you’re dead”

Everybody loves you more when you’re dead.

However, my response to that is from one of my favorite writer’s most famous book.

The character Holden Caulfield asks the following question to the reader in The Catcher in the Rye –

“Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”

Salinger gives the answer without letting the reader even pause for a moment.


Why is it always too late for people to realize your worth until you’re no longer around?

On this note, I would like to acknowledge the wisdom and foresight of Steve and the Alumni Association in hosting the Edison Daniels Lecture on Life as an annual event at the meets. Today’s lecture will be the third installment in this series. The first Lecture materialized in 2017, but even as early as 2014 and 2015, Steve had this idea and was busy brainstorming the lecture and its format with some members of the alumni.

It must be said at this point that the lecture was not the first of initiatives aimed at honoring Edison Sir’s legacy and contribution. The Dohnavur Post, an earlier initiative could also be considered as antecedents in this endeavor, without stretching it too far, I hope.

Steve modelled the Edison Daniels Lecture around the Cowdrey Lecture. An annual lecture from the world of Cricket. Steve also wanted this to be a formal event. To use his phrase, “a suit and boot affair”. Looking at the colors around the hall this year, that doesn’t seem to be the case, but hopefully, we’ll get there one day, Steve.

I would now like to call upon Steve to introduce the presenter of this year’s Edison Daniels Lecture on Life.

To watch the 2018 Edison Daniels Lecture on Life, please click here.

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