Volume 9 - Issue 10
October 2011
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Posted on : Oct 18, 2011

Tribute to Victor Kanu by t r pillay

A Dedicated Champion of EHV

I first met this champion of Education in Human Values (EHV) on my first visit to Puttaparthi in July 1983 to attend the first Bal Vikas camp for overseas teachers. His exposition on EHV delivered in a stentorian voice with authority and conviction was as inspiring as Dr. Jumsai’s composed and reassuring style. Both these doyens of EHV left an indelible impression on me, and our first acquaintance blossomed into what I could only describe as a mentoring relationship.

Since that first meeting, I made it a point to attend practically every workshop/conference in Prasanthi Nilayam where these two unfailingly continued to inspire and motivate me and countless others. Even when there were no conferences, I would drop by the lodgings of the Kanu’s in Prasanthi in my capacity as National Education Coordinator, eager to obtain guidance for our work in Canada from their pioneering and herculean efforts to promote EHV in the UK where they lived and worked as teachers before their move to Zambia to start a school there at the behest of their revered Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.


 It was in Zambia, however, that I had a close-up of Brother Victor Kanu’s breadth of vision, dedication, humility and selflessness when I was his guest in 1998 to view his “Miracle school.”

A man with a broad vision, the school had 22 classrooms and a spacious auditorium catering to elementary and secondary students; brick cottages to house his 40 or more teachers and their families; a foundation for an all girls’ school; a large playground; a huge garden to supply the school with vegetables; a tuck shop and even a brickyard to make bricks for the school - all located on 40 or more acres of land not far from a poor township which was the source of most of his students.

I stayed with the Kanus in their spacious British colonial style home while I was there. The meals were sumptuous. Supper was a treat, cooked and served by a young Zambian whose culinary skills were out of the ordinary. When we were ready for the next course, Brother Victor rang a bell, and in walked the cook cum-waiter with another delicious dish. At my first meal, he advised me that they always ate their meals in silence because his Lord said that food is God. Unaccustomed to such discipline, I often broke the silence with a question or two only to be reprimanded by a firm ”shoo” by my host.

One of these questions concerned how the school was financed. I happened to ask the same question several times, because I marveled at the school infrastructure in this impoverished area. One day at the dinner table, Brother Victor, clearly exasperated, roared: “T.R., have faith, man!”

His faith in and surrender to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Baba knew no bounds. Asked to go to Zambia to start a school, Brother Victor asked where the money would come from. Sai Baba said, “Sell your house.” And this the Kanus did without hesitation, cashing in their insurance policies and selling their Mercedes Benz as well to finance the construction of the school.

I learnt all these details from other sources and not from Brother Victor nor his equally dedicated spouse Genevieve, the Principal of the school. Such was their selflessness, humility, and surrender.

I was moved and energized in other ways. I participated in the school assemblies in the auditorium every morning ably led by Brother Victor. Soulful hymns in the Zambian language sung by rich bass student voices accompanied by the rhythmic beat of African drums were rousing, and student discussions in EHV classes were interesting and insightful.

This visit to Zambia and my next one to Thailand in 1999 to see Dr. Jumsai’s school prepared and motivated us in no small measure to establish a Sathya Sai School of Canada in September 2000.

Death has silenced my mentor’s thunderous voice but his rich legacy lives on to inspire thousands like me.

- Mr. T.R. Pillay
  Director, Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education
  Founding Principal, Sathya Sai School of Toronto



 - Radio Sai team 

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