Receiving the award from PM Modi, Santhosam said, “Shaking hands with Narendra Modi, a dynamic leader,is an unforgettable day.” Giving a flashback of his rags-to-riches story, Santhosam said that it was the Daily Thanthi, which changed the fortunes of their impoverished family.
“Nearly, 63 years ago, my elder brother VG Panneerdas and I bought a tea shop and subsequently, started a newspaper agency, delivering the Daily Thanthi. I lived in Saidapet back then and used to deliver the paper on bicycle to houses on Kutcheri Road. Chief Minister K Kamaraj was one among my elite customers,” he said with a sense of pride.
“Our hard work paid off and we started VGP Enterprises and the big recognition was the dealership for Murphy radios. During this period, we started the ‘never before’ installment scheme. The same formula we followed in real estate sector which also helped many to build their dream homes,” he added.
After a visit to Disneyland, the VGP brothers wanted to introduce the concept in India. “We returned and took loans and bought close to a hundred acres on ECR. Slowly, we added more features – amusement park and snow park,” he said.
Beyond the boardroom, Santhosam is an avid literary connoisseur, having penned more than 50 books. Besides this, he was honoured for propagating the world epic Tirukkural with the Tiruvalluvar Award in 2016.
Recalling the days when he was a struggling businessman, Santhosam said, “I remember spending time with Periaiyya (Si Pa Aditanar) in his Adyar house. He was my mentor, giving me ideas on expanding my business.”
While delivering the Daily Thanthi, he often dreamt of seeing his name in the publication. “Now, that dream too has come true,” he said.
IAS officer V Irai Anbu receives the Si Pa Aditanar Literary Award for the year 2017 from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Prime Minister confers Si Pa Aditanar Mutha Tamil Arignar award to poet and writer Erode Tamilanban.