REMEMBERING RAMA NAIDU

REMEMBERING RAMA NAIDU

8 October 1940 to 27 November 2004

Rama Naidu was one of those whose services for the Faith shall be well remembered for ages to come. He was constantly on the move with some kind of unparalleled energy, zeal, and commitment from the time he accepted the Faith in 1965 to his last breath. His one and the only desire was to please the heart of the Blessed Beauty through untiring services, and for his soul to wing its flight to the Unseen Realms while still serving, which did come to pass!

Rama Naidu hailing from a humble family was one of the fortunate ones to have gained sound education. His childhood days had prepared him to serve the Cause in great number of ways. He was born Bagan Dato in the state of Perak. That area had the highest number of Telugu speaking community in the country and Rama Naidu himself belongs to that community. His elementary education was in the Bagan Dato Estate Primary School where he completed his standard six in the Telugu language in December 1952. That school had both Telugu and Tamil as the medium of instruction. He got transferred to Ladang Geddes Tamil School on 19 January 1953 where he passed his standard six in the Tamil language in December that year and passed his Telugu language in August 1954. Rama Naidu thus had a good foundation in both the Tamil and Telugu languages. On 1 September 1954, Rama Naidu was appointed as teacher in the Ladang Geddes Estate Telugu Primary School in Bahau, at the tender age of fourteen. As a teacher, he came to be admired and respected by the Indian community for the commitment he showed towards the education of the students.


Fourteen year old teacher Rama Naidu at back row, right, with fellow Telugu teachers.

Thus, his secondary school education was in English medium, with Malay as a compulsory language. When he completed his education, he was well conversant and could read, write, and speak with fluency in the Telugu, Tamil, English and Malay languages. Knowledge of these four languages enabled him to penetrate several communities to teach the Cause in the later days.

In those days whenever someone fell seriously ill, the estate management referred the sick person to a hospital in Malacca town. It so happens that Rama Naidu had a two-year-old sister who had skeletal tuberculosis that affected her legs and was sent to the hospital in Malacca. As it would take some time for the treatment, Rama Naidu had to stay resign his teacher job in Ladang Geddes and get transferred to Malacca to continue his study there. In Malacca he studied at the Methodist English Secondary School.  It was in the same school that three other believers were also studying- Mr. Jami Subramanaim, Mr. M. Maniam and Mr. S.K. Somu. Among them  it was through Jami Subramaniam that he first heard of the Bahá’í Faith but paid more attention to his studies. Rama Naidu passed his Lower Certificate of Education in 1959 with good marks. In 1961, he passed his GCE ‘O’ Level Examinations of what was called the Senior Cambridge Examinations with good results. It has to be noted that Rama Naidu believed in excellence in education and kept trying to improve his academic performance.

In 1964, Rama Naidu underwent training at the Day Training Centre in the town of Seremban. From childhood days Rama Naidu was musically inclined and at the Day Training Centre he took up music and acquired a certificate in Theory of Music in 1965.  Throughout his life Rama Naidu was surrounded by music lovers who sang old Telugu and Tamil cinema songs. It was the teacher training course in Seremban that brought Rama Naidu closer to the Bahá’í Faith. In 1964, Rama Naidu came for a fireside at the Seremban Bahá’í Centre, where Mr. Yankee Leong, the first believer of Malaya was the speaker. Moved by the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, he took a keen interest in the Faith and started investigating deeper into the new religion. The real turning point during his course of investigation was the First Bahá’í Youth Camp held at the Sunshine Camp in Port Dickson at the end of December 1965. At the Youth Camp he witnessed a new spirit and harmonious relationship and sincere fellowship permeating among the participants, something he had not witnessed elsewhere. Convinced with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, Rama Naidu accepted the Faith on 31 December 1965 at the Bahá’í Youth Camp itself. On the following day he reported for his teaching post at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Primary School in Gemas town in the state of Negeri Sembilan. He started his career on the first day as a Bahá’í.

He had developed such talents that could have taken him higher in the outside world. When he moved for the first time from Bagan Dato into Glendale Estate he became a good sportsman, excelling in the football game. He was reputed to have a thunderous kick in the football game. He represented the Negeri Sembilan State Youth Team for the Burnley Cup, the Indian Association in the Baradhan Cup and eventually the State Football Team. Later he was appointed by the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union to be the official of three South East Asian Games. Had he stayed as a sportsman he would have gone much higher. But he decided to use all his time and energy for the promotion of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.


1960 Soccer champions. Rama Naidu is second from left, middle row.

But from the day he accepted the Faith, Rama Naidu had to set aside all those personal interests for something higher. The acceptance of the Faith by Rama Naidu changed the course of his life forever and set aside all his favourite sport of soccer for something nobler. He had well understood the Faith and was clear-eyed on his services for the Cause. He had a singular mind and heart – to please the heart of Bahá’u’lláh through his services for the Cause, which he carried out laboriously and with a relentless determination, and commitment seldom to be seen in many and quite unparalleled as well. Every weekend was devoted for the Faith, and during his school holidays at the end of the year he was always away for travel teaching, either at the domestic front or abroad. Rama Naidu was always on the lookout for services for the Cause and aligned his activities along the plans given by the national institution.

On 26 August 1967, he married his Hindu girl Miss Ramalu, first according to Hindu rights in a Hindu temple in Kuala Pilah town, followed by a Bahá’í wedding at the teachers’ quarters of G. Appala Naidu at the St. Aiden’s Primary School in Bahau town. Auxiliary Board member Leong Tat Chee conducted the wedding and was attended by several believers from the central region of West Malaysia. That was a time when Bahá’í weddings were little known, and this wedding became an occasion for proclamation of the Faith. He had already made Bahá’u’lláh and the Bahá’í Faith centre of his life, and after his marriage he took every effort to create a Bahá’í family, which he successfully accomplished with three lovely sons and one daughter who are serving the Cause well.


South East Asia Bahá’í Youth Conference  of 1968 in Kuala Lumpur. L-R: G. A. Naidu, Rama Naidu, Mrs. Thilaga G. A. Naidu,  Gopal Chandro,  Jami Subramaniam and G. Ramu Naidu.

From Gemas town Rama Naidu had to travel to Bahau town in the same state of Negeri Sembilan. Bahau was the center of activities in that part of the state. G. Appala Naidu and Jami Subramaniam convinced him to get a transfer to Bahau town. Appala Naidu took great efforts by speaking to those in authority in the Ministry of Education and on 1 January 1969 Rama Naidu got transferred to St. Aiden’s Primary School in Bahau town. With this transfer Rama Naidu was able to move around almost daily for teaching in the company of the two other field workers – G. Appala Naidu and Jami Subramaniam. Every evening after work, almost like clockwork they went out for teaching. These three ‘musketeers’ along with several other friends, were highly instrumental in opening up and consolidating many urban areas in the state of Negeri Sembilan such as the towns of Rompin, Gemas, Bahau, Kuala Pilah and Kuala Klawang. Teaching activities grew manifolds. It did not take long before twenty-two estates were opened to the Faith. There was not a single day without the extension teaching taking place or planned deepening held in one of the homes. Bahau area appeared like a mass teaching area. Auxiliary Board members Leong Tat Chee and Yankee Leong were among the many regular visitors offering a helping hand in their teaching activities. The three also focused on giving the Bahá’í Faith to many in the Telugu speaking community, which saw large scale enrolments. G. Appala Naidu and Rama Naidu as teachers brought several of their students into the Faith. The Bahau area surrounded by rubber plantation settlements soon had the highest concentration of Telugu speaking believers who later moved to other parts of the country, with some leaving abroad as travel teachers. Rama Naidu had great passion for teaching the Cause. From the early days he had developed teaching kit to be used during his teaching activities.


The vibrant community of Bahau town, 1972.  On the floor L-R:  G. Appala Naidu and Rama Naidu with children.

Riḍván of 1969 became an important day for Rama Naidu. His wife was well exposed to the teachings through the literature availed to her by Rama Naidu. She had participated in most Bahá’í meetings held in her house or elsewhere, but Rama Naidu did not coerce her into accepting the Faith. He, while giving her the Faith had mentioned that she could accept on her own when the opportune moment came. Deep inside she was already a believer. On Riḍván day of 1969, the Bahá’í community made up of eight adults gathered at the home of Rama Naidu and discussed very sadly that they did not have nine members for forming a Local Spiritual Assembly. Mrs. Rama Naidu who observed a gloomy atmosphere this time around, called her husband to a corner and asked for the reason. As he explained what bothered them, she spontaneously consented to accept the Faith on that day. So, the Assembly was formed by joint declaration and the Assembly was elected again. That was the day when Rama Naidu received added strength for his service in the Cause. The wife had been supportive of his services even earlier but now it has become a case of strength upon strength. True enough, she became his strongest supporter in his services and in building a Bahá’í family, especially in joining him in bringing up their children the Bahá’í way.

ABORIGINAL TEACHING

However, he took greatest liking and commitment for teaching the aboriginal believers called the Asli people. Although he had been undertaking teaching trips to the Asli areas from the late 1960s, his services took a new dimension when he was appointed into the National Asli Teaching Committee in 1971. From then onwards he was passionately attached to this area of service till the last breath of his life. Rama Naidu had undertaken several teaching trips into the Asli villages. Among the friends with whom he had undertaken such trips were Mr. G. Appala Naidu, Mr. S. Satanam, Mr. Isaac DCruz, Mr. Nagendran and Mr. Mari Yariah. Mari had accepted the Faith through Rama Naidu in 1971 and committed himself to teaching the Asli believers to date. Rama Naidu came to be well loved and remembered by the Asli believers in all the places that he had visited, chiefly the Tasek Bera Asli settlement at the border of Pahang and Negeri Sembilan states; and the rest of the Asli villages in the south Perak such as Kampong Jentong near Trolak town; Kampong Gepai, Kampong Kuala Senta, Kampong Chang, and Kampong Soi near Bidor town; Kampong Menderang, Pos Jernang consisting of Kampong Tidong, Kampong Gamus, Kampong Ras, Kampong Sat and Kampong Kejau near Sungkai town; and Kampong Bersih near Slim River town.

A 1974 photo of the Asli Committee taken in Seremban. L-R: Lily Ng, Rama Naidu, N. Nagendran, Isaac DCruz, G. Appala Naidu, Yong Siew Kang, S. Satanam, Tan Hui Chuan and Lawrence Ng. (Missing in the photo is Pauline DCruz).

The National Asli Committee was based in Seremban town, while the concentration of the Asli believers was in the southern part of the state of Perak. He had to make several visits from his hometown in Bahau to the Asli areas in Perak. In order to be closer with the Asli believers, he on his own accord requested for a transfer to Sungkai town in South Perak in 1974 and in 1975 he was posted as teacher at the Sungkai Secondary School. With that he also became a home-front pioneer. Rama Naidu resided at 45, Bidor Park in the town of Bidor, close to Sungkai town, and later moved into a double story house in Taman Kandiah in the same Bidor town. While in Bidor for 14 years, he was one of the prime movers in establishing the Faith in lower Perak stretching from Teluk Intan, Bidor, Tapah, Kampar and Tanjong Malim.


Visit to Rama Naidu’s house in Bidor Park, 1976. L-R: Wong Boon Thock, Richard Ng, Teh Teik Hoe, Mari Yariah, Rajeswary, a niece of Mrs. Rama Naidu, Rama Naidu holding his eldest son Suresh and Mrs. Rama Naidu. Seated on the floor is Chong Boo Haw of Alor Star.

The coming of Rama Naidu to Bidor was a great milestone in the development of the Asli communities in South Perak. All along manpower for the development of the Asli communities in this part had come from Seremban and Kuala Lumpur. But With Rama Naidu coming to settle in Bidor, the much needed manpower was at the very doorstep. Just before the coming of Rama Naidu to Bidor, the official residence of Leong Ho Chiew, Assistant Superintendent of Police, in Tapah town was used as a meeting place for the Asli believers. Leong Ho Chiew, gave much assistance, encouragement, and protection to the Asli believers. Rama Naidu on the other hand focused more on conducting deepening and training sessions for them.


Gathering of Asli believers in Tapah, 1975. Rama Naidu stands at extreme left. Leong Ho Chiew stands at extreme right, with Auxiliary Board member Inbum Chinniah next to him with his face partly hidden. Several Penghulus (Village Heads) and Asli travel teachers from Ulu Kelantan and Cameron Highlands also attended this gathering.

Sungkai and Bidor towns led to jungle tracks into many Asli villages in the interiors. With that transfer to teach in Sungkai, his house in Bidor Park, from where he travelled daily to teach in Sungkai became a perfect home for the Asli believers. Whenever the Asli believers came out from their villages to Sungkai or Bidor town for some reasons, trips to Rama Naidu’s house was never missed. Rama Naidu was there to welcome them round the clock, with his wife Mrs. Ramalu providing the best hospitality for them. In this family the Asli believer saw the true love found in the teachings. The Asli believers too took a natural liking for their hospitability. Rama Naidu, the sole breadwinner in the family had to buy his monthly groceries not only for his family, but also for the Asli friends who came quite often to visit him. Whenever believers drove in the highway from the north to the south or vice versa, they too dropped in his house. There was always a string of visitors at his house in Bidor Park. Rama Naidu’s presence and services were a great factor in strengthening the Asli friends in the Cause. Rama Naidu organized many gatherings and training courses for the Asli believers in his house. There were several occasions when the Asli believers would make it a must to drop into the home of Rama Naidu, when they came out of their jungles to Bidor town to purchase groceries or for medical treatments. The Asli believers would just greet Rama Naidu “Alláh-u-Abhá” converse for a while and return into the jungles.


Visiting Alsi believers in Kampong Keypayan in the interior, 1976. Standing at back row R-L:  Mari Yariah, Rama Naidu and a visitor.


With some Asli friends. L-R: Mari Yariah, Rama Naidu, Penghulu Jambu from Kampong Sigar of Ulu Kelantan and Kedik from Kg Chang who was the  first Asli Auxiliary Board member.

There was an occasion when a group of Asli friends, about 30 of them, who were walking through the jungles for four days from Gerik in north Perak passed through Bidor. They arrived at Rama Naidu’s residence in Bidor Park at 4:00 am. As it was quite early, not wanting to wake them up, they just waited outside the gate. However, as the dogs were barking loud, it woke the neighbour who decided to wake up Rama Naidu. Naturally the surprised and yet happy Rama Naidu invited all of the Asli friends into the house and his wife quickly made some drinks and served some biscuits at that dawn hours. After a while Rama Naidu enquired the purpose of the early morning visit, concerned that there may be some serious matters to be brought to his attention. Instead, the Asli friends just said, “Rindu nak jumpa Cikgu Rama” meaning, “We just loved to visit teacher Rama”. And that was the sole purpose of their visit. When they left, Rama Naidu was silent for some time, with his eyes welling in tears.  He was so moved by the genuine love the Asli friends had for him.

There was another incident that was permanently etched in the heart of Rama Naidu. One Mr. Alang Sembok, an aborigine of the Semai tribe from the state of Pahang came see Rama Naidu in Tapah in 1975 to enquire about the Faith. He not only accepted the Faith but went back and brought hundreds of others into the Faith. That witnessed in 1976 influx of Temiar people from Ulu Kelantan in North Perak as well as other tribes from Grik in North Perak and Kulim in Kedah state. Thousands accepted the Faith in one week in December 1976.  Alang Sembok later married a woman of Temiar tribe from Kelantan. On many occasions Rama Naidu worked with the Asli Committee in organising training sessions for the Asli friends at the Wong Villa and Tony Villa in Brinchang town in Cameron Highlands, and they were well attended by the Asli friends from the interiors.

Rama Naidu receiving contributions to the funds from the Asli believers at the Wong Villa, 1989.

AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBER

In 1975, Rama Naidu was appointed as an Assistant to Auxiliary Board member and in 1976 he was appointed as an Auxiliary Board member by the Continental Board of Counsellors for Asia. Effective 1977 he was working very closely with the primary Counsellor for Malaysia, Mr. Inparaju Chinniah. Mr. Chinniah, who shall ever be remembered as a ‘Jewel Among Men’, often mentioned the selfless service and consecration of Rama Naidu to the Asli teaching work. The appointment of Rama Naidu as an Auxiliary Board member started a new chapter in his Bahá’í life. He stepped up his services for the Cause as required by his new responsibilities. He gave all the support and encouragement to all the plans and projects by the institutions. Quietly and surely, he was on the lookout for talents among the believers, which he tapped for the Cause. He also identified the dormant believers and gave them all the encouragement, in his usual soft-spoken approach to be actively involved in the Faith. The one reason why he is said to be an effective Board member was his utter humility in every way – from dressing to mannerism that he displayed at all times. There was no air about him when serving as a Board member. He considered himself a servant for the Cause and master for none. Counsellor Dr. Chellie Sundram had always admired and appreciated reports from Rama Naidu, written meticulously with such details and good analysis.

Rama Naidu took along Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Collis Featherstone who was on visit to Malaysia to visit the Asli settlement in Kampong Bersih near Ulu Slim in the state of Perak. A large house was specially constructed for that visit. On the day of the event, about 150 believers, some in their traditional appearance came from the jungles across the interiors of the state of Pahang and South Perak. Mr. Featherstone went around greeting and shaking hands with each one of them. The Asli friends were very touched when the Hand of the Cause ate their home-made cakes and tapioca. Mr. Featherstone then spoke in very simple English on various subjects which were well-understood by the Asli friends. The Aslis were moved to their very core when Mr. Featherstone hugged them and uttered words of comfort and affection. Mr. Featherstone himself was touched by those simple people. The Asli friends felt grateful to Rama Naidu for facilitating this visit by the Hand of the Cause of God.

When the National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia organised a talk in early April 1977 at the Stella Maris Bungalow in Port Dickson for Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Muhajir to address the Asli believers on growing opposition, Rama Naidu took every effort, together with other friends like Y. Mari to organise buses to bring the Asli friends to the event. Rama Naidu himself participated and listened attentively to the talk by Dr. Muhajir.

Having moved intimately with the Asli believers for such a long time,Rama Naidu came out with a manuscript containing his recollections with the Asli believers, with the hope of getting it published.  But he passed away before getting this done.

SERVED IN OTHER CAPACITIES

Rama Naidu also served the Cause in other capacities, and he was too heavy for his boots, shouldering divers responsibilities.  When the Malaysia Bahá’í Bulletin was initiated in 1975, Rama Naidu was appointed on the editorial board. He had also served on the Malay Translation Unit. Having the teaching profession as his background, Rama Naidu took a natural inclination towards the education of Bahá’í children.

The first Regional Children’s Institute and Regional Conference was held at Stella Maris bungalow at Port Dickson from 2-5 August 1978. While urging the children to turn up in full force, adults aspiring to be children class teachers were also urged to attend as “on the spot training” was also planned for them. Rama Naidu was one of the coordinators alongside with R. Ganasa Murthi, De` Cruz, Lily Chinniah, Sobhana Kumaran and Daisy Dass. Then followed the “Teen” Institute at Port Dickson from 19-22 July 1979. Auxiliary Board members Rama Naidu and Theresa Chee conducted the institutes catering to different age groups. Many Bahá’í children who were in the early teens were brought together at this institute.


Standing L-R: Ganasa Murthi Ramasamy, Rama Naidu and Isaac DCruz.  Standing second from right is Sobhana Kumaran. Many of these children are now serving the Cause with distinction within Malaysia and abroad.


Teen Institute at Port Dickson from 19-22 July 1979. L-R: Rama Naidu at the extreme left, Isaac DCruz  fifth from left and G. A. Naidu seventh from left. Seated L-R:  R. Kanthakumar, Pauline DCruz, Sue Nagaratnam, Sawathri Nair, Catherine Balasingam, Daisy Dass, Doreen Chee and  Theresa Chee.

When he purposed to build the character of children in the community, he ensured his own children were given the right training at home. Daily prayer sessions as a family and Rama Naidu’s story telling from the books and from his own teaching trips locally and abroad and sharing of the development of the Faith across the globe were part of the domestic syllabus. He always urged his children to look at only the good sides of everyone if they truly wanted to love humanity. He gave them all the encouragement to participate in Bahá’í gatherings at local and national levels. At one particular family gathering he asked his children a very startling question, “Whom do you love more, me or Bahá’u’lláh?” His children went silent for a while, for no child would be able to answer a question of this nature that was shot most unexpectedly. Then Rama Naidu told his children, “Remember this throughout your lives. Your first love should always be for Bahá’u’lláh, then only me and your mother. We ourselves are created by Bahá’u’lláh.” The children were much moved and influenced by this advice.

BAGAN SERAI

He left for Bagan Serai town in Perak in 1988 on promotion to serve as Headmaster of a Tamil school from where he retired in 1993. His transfer to Bagan Serai town itself was a blessing, as that community had been dormant for many years. The family started to round up known believers and initiate several activities. Again, he was supported by several visiting Bahá’ís. When he was in Bagan Serai that he had much financial strains since his children had grown up and studying at higher levels. From the time Rama Naidu accepted the Faith, his income as sole breadwinner was divided between the family and the Faith’s needs. He could not sacrifice one for the other. One midnight unable to bear the stress anymore Rama Naidu went into solitude and prayed for a long time. When he returned to his bedroom the wife asked him why he was praying for such a long time at such an odd hour, to which he did not say much. That night he dreamt of the Master saying that he had given him what was needed. The following morning, he related the dream to his wife and said his prayers were already answered. That week, by a miraculous incident, he came into contact with his close Bahá’í friend Mr. P. U. Suppan from Sungei Petani town in the north, who encouraged him to take up part time insurance job as well. That was a new beginning for Rama Naidu. Business picked up well and soon he was on sound financial footing and able to do many things he could not do before. At long last, he was able to enjoy better life close to his retirement.


Meeting of Counsellors with Auxiliary Board Members, February 1991. Rama Naidu is in the second row, centre.

Upon retirement in 1993, Rama Naidu’s family settled in Ipoh town and rented a spacious house where large scale gatherings could be held. He was a big asset to the community in Ipoh as he moved around visiting families to deepen them. He conducted Ruhi courses for the community. Rama Naidu was able to move with both the English and Tamil speaking believers.

TRIPS ABROAD

Rama Naidu had also undertaken trips abroad. Rama Naidu himself a passionate teacher had undertaken teaching trips to the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. As a schoolteacher who had the privilege of long annual holidays at the end of the year, utilized the holidays for undertaking travel teaching trips to foreign countries such as Tamil Nadu, China, Andhra Pradesh, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Thailand and Myanmar.

Of these the memorable trip was to South India in 1972. When the National Spiritual Assembly of India requested for urgent call for four  travel teachers from Malaysia to be placed in  South India till the end of the Nine Year Plan, Rama Naidu, Krishnan Kandasamy of Seremban, Macchambo of Malacca and T. Maniam of Sungei Way  arose. Together with his two months annual leave that fell in the months of November and December 1972,  Rama Naidu took another additional four months of no-pay leave from January to April 1973 and made a teaching trip to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh for six months. He witnessed miracles in the teaching field. While in India he was most happy to have attended the Spiritualisation institute conducted by Jenabe Caldwell in Panchgani. As he was requested to organise such institutes in Andhra Pradesh, he went to Visakhapatnam but when he landed there, he had to pass the night in the station itself as there was a curfew caused by strikes and demonstrations. When the curfew was lifted briefly the following day he managed to get into the house of an Iranian friend from where they prayed continually. When the curfew was lifted they went out to teach. But to his surprise he found it easier to teach when the curfew was on as people seldom left their homes and that made it possible for them to teach them at their homes. They took advantage of the situation and developed many contacts. When they spoke to a group of police inspectors at the police station, three of them declared. One of them brought another social worker who also accepted the Faith. In in turn organised a meeting of the Jaycees and some medical representatives. From that group another four accepted the Faith. They deepened these new believers and a Local Spiritual Assembly was formed immediately, which became the first Assembly in the whole of Coastal Andhra.  On the receptivity of the people in India, Rama Naidu said, “Teaching in India is fantastic. You  can turn to the right and to the left and give the message to anyone, anywhere! Doctors, lawyers, engineers- all are receptive.”


Spiritualisation Course by Jenabe Caldwell in Panchgani, India, 1972. Seated on floor L-R: E. Mayisvren, Ludher, (unknown) and Rama Naidu. Standing at the extreme left Sree Ganesh with A. Sabapathy next to him, and at the extreme right is Krishnan Kandasamy.


With believers in Madurai City in Tamil Nadu, India, April 1973. Squatting are Malaysian believers who were teaching in Tamil Nadu. L-R: Krishnan Kandasamy, Rama Naidu, Machambu and T. Maniam. Maniam and Krishnan  were on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Madurai City.


Mysore city, Karnataka State, India, 1973. Standing at the extreme left with arms folded is Sreedharan and at the extreme right is Rama Naidu, with Lee Wai Kok next to him. Sreedharan and Lee Wai Kok were medical students at the Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka.

When the institutions requested Rama Naidu to undertake a trip to Vietnam in 1994 to strengthen the community there through deepening sessions, he undertook a teaching trip to Hanoi in the company of Mr. Jayanthan of Kuantan town. In the two weeks they were in Hanoi they stayed in a budget hotel.


Street Teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1994 with Jayanthan, second from right.


Teaching to the inmates of the hostel as well.

They met with a high ranking official in the Ministry of Education, who was a contact given by the local believers. In the next few days, they met two Bahá’í youths who took them to meet with their other friends numbering ten to fifteen. They also gave deepening sessions to the believers. Each day they went to the huge Lake Garden and had conversation with strangers and gave them pamphlets. They also gave the Faith to those in the hotel where they stayed.

In 1996 he went to Beijing, China with Vijayasegaran to visit Gunasegar Ramasamy, brother-in-law of Vijasegaran residing in Tianjin, China. Gunasegar was holding a high position with Motorola, a multinational company. Anxious to reach out to the Chinese they went to a few places to teach, including university called the Normal University. It was cold and surprisingly they got invited to a professor’s flat. He was originally in Ipoh town in the 1950s or 1960s but returned to China and married and settled down in Tianjin. He was warm-hearted and receptive. They invited him to Ipoh. He did come to Ipoh sometime later and met up with them. Gunasegar and his wife Belinda were also instrumental in inviting their Bahá’í friends and also Gunasegar’s colleagues to their comfortable flat in small numbers with whom they shared experiences. In mid-winter which was new year holidays they also travelled to Harbin for a private visit. Rama Naidu could not take the cold and spent the time in the hotel as he succumbed to bronchitis and was unwell with fever and cough as well. The cold was just too much for him to bear.

They had only instant noodles in their long train journey lasting about 19 to 20 hours each way. When they returned to Gunasegar’s house the first thing Rama Naidu did was to go straight to the kitchen and see what was for dinner. It was noodles again. Already a close friend to Gunasegar and Belinda even while in Malaysia, Rama Naidu told Gunasegar in the Tamil language, “No noodles! I want Indian dhal curry!” Belinda went to the supermarket below, bought chicken and cooked a lovely chicken curry which they all enjoyed – especially Rama Naidu. He took a while to recover. What was supposed to be a kind of holiday trip to China ended up, for all practical purposes as a teaching trip.  


Rama Naidu at the extreme left and Vijayasegaran at the extreme right at the apartment of Gunasegar Ramasamy in China.

It needs to be mentioned that the side effects of Rama Naidu’s active and aggressive involvement in the football game in his early days started to surface their ugly face even from the late 1960s. He developed pain in his legs, which became acute as time went by. Yet this servant of God kept service to the Faith uppermost in his mind and persevered in teaching the Cause.

After he was released as Auxiliary Board member in 1990, he was actively involved in the development of the institute process. From October 19 to November 9, 1996 Rama Naidu participated in the Conference and Training on the Institute held in the Philippines, organised by the Bahá’í Institute of the Philippines. The purpose of training institutes was to refocus their efforts, emphasizing a sequence of courses that would create capacity and commitment on the part of the friends to carry out acts of service.


At the Training Institute in the Philippines. L-R: Velayutham Gopal, R. Kanthakumar and Rama Naidu.

In 1997, the National Spiritual Assembly of Sarawak invited him to start off Ruhi classes in the interiors of Sarawak. Despite his health issues he boldly enter the arena of service and undertook a few trips to Sarawak in the months of May, followed by July, August and September 1997. In the trip of July, he took along a youth Saniasi, from Batu Pahat town, known as Arrasu in the community to get him to activate the youth groups. Landing in Kuching they went to places like Serian, Bau, Simunjang and finally Miri town. Sometimes Rama Naidu and Arrasu had to travel for a few hours on boat in the company of the local natives. The Iban people took a great liking for Rama Naidu who moved as one of them. He picked the Iban language fast and was able to win their hearts. Yet at night he suffered from acute pains in the legs, which he treated with herbal medication that he had brought along with him. When the pain in his legs became severe, Arrasu massaged his legs.


At Kampong  Temiang, Simunjan in 1997. Rama Naidu is second from left. Ms. Winnie Lambong is seventh from left and to her left is Miss Mantan Abet.


With a Dayak believer, in the 1998 visit to Sarawak.

Their last place of service was in and around Miri town where another Malaysian believer Mr. Dorai Vedanayagam had married an Iban girl and settled down. He took them into the interiors. While in Miri for two weeks they went to conduct Ruhi Book 1 classes in places like Limbang town bordering Brunei, Niah National Park and Batu Niah. Rama Naidu has made a few more trips to Miri on his own, and in Miri his visits to the interiors were facilitated by Dorai. In Miri area Rama Naidu and Dorai went to Long Tissam where there was a big Bahá’í community, Long Tuyut and Bakong community. Rama Naidu also went to Serian, and then to Mukah to meet up with the late Chandrasekaran and his family. One night Rama Naidu and Dorai went to Mukah to initiate the Ruhi Book and told them to gather the following day. They replied that they would not be able to participate in the session as they wanted to go to their farms. The saddened Rama Naidu and Dorai said prayers that night for their mission to be accomplished. The following morning there was heavy downpour, and the friends could not go to their farms. Well, Rama Naidu and Dorai conducted the Ruhi classes for the friends as planned.

Rama Naidu had made a few trips to India, but one that was memorable was the trip undertaken in 2001 with his wife and their close family friend Mr. Mari Yariah, who was more than a family member. On 15 January 2001 they arrived in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and met some believers. From there they went to Visakhapatnam city in Andhra Pradesh state. The three went to visit their ancestral villages in the interiors. The ancestral villages of Rama Naidu and Mari are close by, and they covered them before returning to Visakhapatnam. After spending two days in Visakhapatnam, they then went to another city called Rajahmundry (today known as Rajamahendravaram) and visited villages for a week. From there they went to serve the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad for a week to meet some believers and involve in teaching work. While in Hyderabad they stayed at the home of Soorosh Fanaian and Janet – Persian pioneers to India. After that they proceeded to New Delhi to serve in the Bahá’í House of Worship. On 9 February, they took a train from New Delhi to Chennai city in Tamil Nadu where they spent a week. Rama Naidu gave a half day talk at the Chennai Bahá’í Centre. On 16 February they returned to Malaysia, after spending some twenty-eight full days in India.


At the village of Ramajogipalem in Andhra Pradesh state of India which was native to Mrs. Rama Naidu. Sharing the Healing Message of Bahá’u’lláh with the villagers.

In early 2004 his wife followed Rama Naidu to India to get Ayurveda treatment for his legs, which were giving pains owing to nerve related problems. After a month of treatment, he returned to Malaysia. Having been a continuous mover for the Faith over the last 40 years, he was very saddened by his impossibility to move around during his last days.

In early 2004, he and his wife made one last trip to Sabah to be with their son Leroy who served as Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly there. But they made it an occasion to meet up friends and to involve in teaching activities as well. They landed in Miri to meet up with R. Kanthakumar who arranged for some meetings in the urban areas. From there the couple went to teach in Bintulu for a few days and returned to Miri. Dorai who happened to come to Miri met them and took them for visiting the interiors. After that the couple proceeded to meet their son in Sabah. In that short trip many friends from Kota Kinabalu came to meet up with him. Upon return to Ipoh, he spent his time praying and going through the Writings.

With excruciating pain in his legs, Rama Naidu was admitted for a week into the Pantai Medical Hospital in Kuala Lumpur and was diagnosed of neurological problems in his legs and the medical experts concluded that there would be no cure for life. And through the recommendation of the hospital Rama Naidu started to use walking stick first, followed by walking hes until his last days. That made his movement very restricted. He was always on constant move from the day he accepted the Faith in 1965 and there is practically no major community in Malaysia that he had not visited, and his name became a household name in the field of teaching. And there was practically no long school holidays that had not been spent for the furtherance of the Cause either within the country or abroad. Now that everything came to a halt, he had to limit his movement within his town of residence. His greatest lamentation during the last few days was his immobility. Mari Yariah who was an Auxiliary Board member at that time felt the pain of Rama Naidu and drove him around. In one of his last days, Rama Naidu had a strong desire to visit the grave of Mr. Yankee Leong, the first enlightened soul to have accepted the Faith in this country, as described by the Supreme Body. There he spent a long time praying and meditating. One day he commented to a close friend that from time to time he dreamt of some light coming towards him.


A 2003 photo taken with  Bah Roti from Kampong Badok in Kelantan, when he came to visit Rama Naidu at his home in Ipoh.


With his wife, his greatest strength.

Despite his ill health he never failed to attend local Bahá’í functions.  And friends, especially the Asli believers who had heard of his failing health came to visit him at his home in Ipoh. One of them was Bah Roti from Kampong Badok in Kelantan. He contacted Mari Yariah and requested him to take him to the home of Rama Naidu. Towards the last days, hew spent time reading the Writings. In one of the last meetings he with his family, he had told them that both their inner and outer lives have to reflect the Faith. And the last activity that he had initiated was the study of Ruhi Book 7 at the Bahá’í Centre in Bercham area of Ipoh town. But since he had difficulties in  climbing stairs at that Bahá’í Centre, the friends decided to come over to his residence for the class on the evening of 27 November that lasted from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Late that night, when the friends had gathered in his house for the observation of the Ascension of `Abdu’l-Bahá, he related some moving stories about the Master. It was then that he developed some difficulties in breathing and passed away peacefully at 9:00 pm, giving his last and loving glance at his wife. Thus, his desire to breath his last while serving the Cause did come to pass, and on an auspicious night!  Even in death, he looked so serene and composed, and those who around his mortal remains felt that it was a clear indication that he was under the tender arms of Bahá’u’lláh.

More than 400 grief-stricken friends from all parts of Malaysia came to pay their last respects. The author gave an eulogy on this star-servant of the Cause, at the request of the family. He was laid to rest following a dignified burial befitting him, at the  Bahá’í Memorial Park in Lahat, near Ipoh town on the evening of 28 November 2004.

One week before passing away he dreamt of the Master in which the Master told Rama Naidu that his sufferings would be only for a few more days, and after that he would be free, happy and jumping around with joy. Rama Naidu related this dream to his wife and their understanding was he would be cured and would be back to active service in the teaching field. But only upon his passing the wife understood the right interpretation of that dream.

The Malaysian Bahá’í community has been robbed of one of the greatest followers who had consecrated his entire effort and energy wholly to the cause of God until his last breath. Throughout his life Rama Naidu had the same advice for those within and without the family – to keep serving the Faith under all circumstances until they dropped dead. And this happened to the preacher himself. Rama Naidu passed away while in service, and what could be more meaningful and memorable to have passed away on the same night on which the entire Bahá’í world would be observing the Ascension of `Abdu’l-Bahá.


The couple with  Jami Subramaniam (L) who gave Rama Naidu the Faith in 1959.

The Malaysian Bahá’í community had always seen Rama Naidu having a passionate and immense love for the Faith which he dearly and sincerely served. He never missed any local gatherings. He was a good organizer of summer and winter schools. He even named his second son after the late Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Leroy Ioas. History would always portray Rama Naidu as one of those who stood firm in the Covenant. He was full of love for the Bahá’ís and the Bahá’í Faith. He was well respected both within and without the Faith for his straight and upright character and the sincere love that he radiated. With a strong sense of humor, his friends took a liking of his company that always elevated high spirit. Even when he had his own sorrows on occasions, he conversed with gaiety and cheerfulness, and that enhanced the spirit of the friends. Rama Naidu had a very soft and firm way of giving counsel to people, without raising his voice. In his early days Rama Naidu was quite hot tempered, but over the years, he became a tender-hearted person, seldom losing his temper – with the Writings exerting so much impact upon his soul. Rama Naidu developed a special talent of teaching the tenets of the Faith or deepening the friends through storytelling – stories taken from the history of the Faith.


The couple with their children. Standing L-R: Leroy, Suresh, Sanjay and Sujatha.

His passing is seen as an irreparable loss to the Malaysian Bahá’í community. His has been a life that had been well lived with high morals and values. Rama Naidu had set a high standard of exemplary way of services for future generations to emulate in many ways. Rama Naidu is sure to receive divine blessings in the other unseen world, which he deserves in every way. He would always be remembered as an eloquent exponent of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, and an indefatigable supporter of the Bahá’í institutions. In him the community has come to lose one of the oldest and most distinguished co-workers of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.

Bahá’í Memorial Park, Lahat, Ipoh

A. Manisegaran

31 August, 2022

Copyright@bahairecollections.com

You may leave your comments at: info@bahairecollections.com

54 thoughts on “REMEMBERING RAMA NAIDU

  1. Rama was indeed one of a kind.
    It was an immensely happy time during every occasion I was with him. It’s sad that some Baha’is go through life as if they were burdened with the ills of the world with hardly a smile for others. Rama was so effervescently happy and he infused others with that joy.

    Our Asli teaching trips into the mountains were a joy with dear Rama around. His way of telling jokes, his laughter and genuine love and affection for those around him was a joy to behold. His sense of sacrifice was truly uplifting because he did it with a gladdened heart.

    I have never missed a close friend as much as I do, of him. Baha’u’llah’s blessings will surely enfold him. Fare thee well, my dear friend.

    I shall have much to say about you when I write about our happiest days together spreading the fragrance of Baha’u’llah’s Word.

    Isaac DCruz
    United Kingdom

  2. I have known Uncle Ramanaidu relatively well as a brilliant teacher of the Faith and had the opportunity to listen to his speech on few occasions as I recollect my memories. He carries himself very professionally and presentable at all times, smartly attired with a high level of code of conduct. His everlasting smile, jokes, singing talent, depth of knowledge in the Faith and of insurance policies and his down to earth simplicity are particularly striking. He was highly respected by both the Bahá’ís and the outside world.

    In September 1994, I pioneered to the Kingdom of Cambodia alongside other friends from the northern state of Kedah and Perlis. Around November 1996, I had the opportunity to represent Cambodia at the Southeast Asia Consultative Conference held at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños in the province of Laguna, Philippines. It was such a pleasant surprise to have met him there alongside other stalwarts of the Faith from Malaysia such as uncle Sinnathamby, uncle Kantha Kumar, Mr. Manjit Singh among others. The late uncle Raymond Peter had also represented Cambodia at the conference. It was such a fun having met the Malaysian Bahá’ís there and particularly uncle Ramanaidu who treated me like his own son. His hilarious jokes with uncle Raymond and those old Tamil songs he sang for me were memorable. He also sang the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme in A. M. Rajah’s old Tamil cinema tune. I remember that during lunch hours, uncle Ramanaidu used to crave for his favourite ‘ooraka’ – mango/lemon pickles to add to taste!

    So many things I personally didn’t know about uncle Ramanaidu; the author has clearly detailed them out in this recollection. I thank the author for his liberality clarifying some of the issues I have raised over the phone. Uncle Ramanaidu’s dreams of the beloved Master were astounding and gave me goose bump. Those were not ordinary dreams—and I think such exceptional experiences not only increase divine assurances and brings one’s life even closer to the creator. “…your sufferings would be only for a few more days, and after that…would be free, happy and jumping around with joy.” The Master’s love and care over uncle Ramanaidu was proven to be so passionate that He wished to have him on the very day of His own Ascension. I am so confident that uncle Ramanaidu’s soul has since been enjoying so thoroughly the highest level of freedom, happiness, simply jumping around with joy as illustrated by the Master. Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá.

    I pray that his soul continues to receive the special bounties and blessings in all the realms of God for evermore. I thank the author once again for this soul-stirring recollections.

    With love and prayers,

    Vela Gopal
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  3. I really did not know much about Mr Rama Naidu, but have met his son Leroy and daughter Sujatha long ago on one or two occasions.

    Two weeks ago I was in Kuala Lumpur for a meeting at our Cyberjaya office. I took a flight from Singapore to Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur and then took an airport taxi. What a suprise and a coincidence! The driver Mr Narayanan Nair is from Bidor town and was a former Soccer Player in the 1970’s. He was sharing his strong passion for soccer game and his team members. Then he mentioned that one of them was Mr Rama Naidu. He has very high regards for Mr Rama Naidu as a man of love and compassion.

    And now I read this story, just two weeks after the taxi ride, and got to know so much unknown details of Mr Rama Naidu, with so many photos I had not seen before. And one of them is Rama Naidu with his Soccer Team.

    Thanks for sharing the remembrance of Mr Rama Naidu.

    Elanchelian Tharumalingam
    Singapore

  4. Dear Mr Manisegaran

    Thank you for penning a story that has really melted my heart and wetted my eyes!
    This is yet one more inspiring story about one of the early history of Bahais in Malaysia.

    This time the story is very special for me because I personally knew Uncle Rama and his wife. On my many visits to their home in Bagan Serai, I was given a great hospitality and was treated as one of their family members. The Indian tea that Aunty Rama prepared with so much love in all my visits is still memorable. The way I sat with Uncle Rama and enjoyed the tea with he sharing of so many stories remain very precious moments for me.

    It was in Bagan Serai where I became personally acquainted with Uncle Rama and his wife, a lovely Bahai lady by any standards, one who had understood the need to be supportive of an active Bahai husband. Uncle Rama himself was so kind and I felt a true Bahai love radiating from his pure heart. The whole family had this virtue of sharing their love with all they met.

    I was living alone in the Parit Buntar town close to Bagan Serai, Uncle Rama Naidu somehow detected the potential in me, and asked me to teach children class for the local children in Parit Buntar as he always cared for the proper education of the children. I was working as teacher in Chersonese Estate Tamil, which is located close to fishing village close to sea. I normally stopped after teaching to conduct children class and then will stop for tea in his house in Bagan Serai before returning home to Parti Buntar.

    Later the year in 1989 he invited me and took me along in a car ride to my first ever encounter with Asli gathering in Wong Villa in Brinchang town in Cameron Highlands. That trip was an important stage in my Bahai life. Uncle Rama Naidu guided me there and that created me in a strong desire to serve as an Asli teacher. After that I went with him a few more times to the Asli gatherings in Cameron Highlands. I am thinking back those days and thanks to him for guiding me to the Asli area for services. From the experiences after mixing and talking with the Asli friends,in Cameron Highlands, I decided to serve the Aslis

    Eventually I requested for transfer to Bidor to be closer to the Asli villages. Following what Uncle Rama Naidu’s family did in 1975, I met Mr Loh Ghee Juan, then working as Director in Ipoh Education Office to get me placement in the Bidor area. In 1990, I was placed in Sungaki Estate Tamil school. I started to serve the Aslis for the next five years till 1995. At that time Uncle Rama Naidu was Board member while I started my services in Asli villages. He was always a resourceful person for me. After I gave him my report of visits to a couple of nearby villages in Bidor, Trolak, Sungkai and Kuala Slim, he appeared very impressed and gave me all the encouragement to start literacy classes in those places. He always gave me tips and advices in all situations. He himself was very humble and loved to tell stories, which I enjoyed. He told me the best way to teach the Aslis is through telling simple stories that carry strong messages.

    Uncle Rama Naidu loved food, humour and old songs from Tamil and Telugu films.

    Thank you so much Mr Manisegaran for bringing out much of his early life and his extensive teaching stories that many of us are not aware of. And the style and emotion with which you have written are God-given gift to you. And the photographs- my God! They are truly historical. Photos speak well they say, and they did speak so much in this story. Things I had not known before are well informed by these photos. The photo taken in Mysore- with Dr. Sreedharan, now serving on the National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia says they had known each other in 1973. Many other photos too speak many other things.

    I truly liked him and had always enjoyed his company, not forgetting his wife’s tea and cooking. I always remember him, my prayers and his family are very special to me.

    Nehru Arunasalam
    Chicago
    USA

  5. Rama Naidu’s words on the stories of the suffering of Baha’u’llah due to the havoc done by His half brother still ringing in my ears…

    Greatly appreciated his efforts to let many of us at winter school to have an understanding on the suffering of the contemporary Manifestations of God. “No one would ever want to claim to be a prophet because all Prophets have been suffering their whole lives… “

    Koh Kuang Wang
    Port Dickson
    Malaysia

  6. This is indeed a very heart warming and very rich teaching materials. for all believers across the world for all generation to come. What a live so well lived, what examples he has set!

    Rama’s examples are needed especially during this time when the world is totally collapsing.

    I am definitely going to share the life story of Rama Naidu with all people in my contacts.

    Friday Ekpe
    Nigeria
    Africa

  7. Rama Naidu and his wife Ramulu became our very close friends. When Rama was a school teacher at Bidor, he, Mari Yariah and Vinayagar were active teachers of the Faith in that area. Rama was appointed An Auxiliary Board member in 1976. On his regular travels for meetings to Kuala Lumpur he stayed with us at our spacious government quarters at 2518 Belfield road. At times he brought his family along to stay with us. Mrs Rama is an excellent cook, became my good friend. She is a compassionate and simple hearted person. Her children and ours became childhood friends. This relationship still remains as an eternal bond between our families.

    Rama and my late husband Ganesan went on several travel teaching trips to Thailand to visit Kannabaran, who was an early pioneer to Laos. Kanna’ s wife Chan Chai was expecting her first baby. There was no clear water at the house Kanna stayed. Chan Chai had to walk quite a distance to collect water. Looking at the situation Ganesan and Rama started digging a well near the house for her to have access to clean water.

    Rama keeps his spirit by his conversations full of humour. Any long journey with him around will be made less tedious with his humorous jokes

    Panjawarnam Ganesan
    Subang Jaya
    Selangor
    Malaysia

  8. Dear Manisegaran
    Thank you for penning a story on beloved Rama Naidu in your blog.

    Just to recall some thoughts, in 1976 you Manisegaran came to Kinta Valley Estate and conducted a fireside at the residence of Tailor Retnam residence. And at the end of the fireside , 16 of them accepted the Faith. Some were above 21years old. On the same year we had Ridvan election. Our Beloved Rama Naidu came to Kinta Valley estate to assist in electing that first Local Spiritual Assembly, Since then Rama Naidu was the driving force for the growth of Kinta Valley community, along with Mrs. Theresa Chee,

    He open his home for the Faith and the believers in Bidor town where he resided. He invited us to Bidor at the end of 1976. At that time Dr. Sreenivasan was screening the film THE GREENLIGHT EXPEDITION about the travels of Amatul Baha in the Amazon jungles in Brazil. We were much enlightened. Later he took us to visit the Alsi village of Kampong Chang.

    After some years I move to East Malaysia. When I was in Sarawak he visited very often on a “Senior Citizen Fare” which was cheaper 1997, he started coming to Sarawak and visited Serian, Kapit ,Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri, and Limbang. In 1998 we had a gathering in Brunei at the late Chin Kah Ting’s residence. Several friends attended including Counsellor George Sorya and Ganasa Murthi. With all these trips I started to move closely with him and became intimate friends!

    What a coincidence. Even on the day of his passing he talked to me on the phone. Then came the saddest news that his soul had winged its flight to the Abha Kingdom

    Such a dedicated soul. I shall miss him forever.

    Dorai Vedanayagam
    Miri
    Sarawak
    Malaysia

  9. Dear Rama Naidu was a blessing to the Malaysian Baha’i Community.

    It was my privilege to have known him and his beloved wife since the mid 1960s and to have developed a friendship and bonding that was stronger than blood ties. My siblings and I cherish his love for our family and the many wonderful times that were spent together with him at Bahai conferences, summer schools, teaching trips and other gatherings.

    His genuine love for all, his contagious smile, his humour and the joy he radiated were his outstanding qualities.

    He served the Cause of Baha’u’llah with all his heart till his last breath.
    Rama is indeed one of the many stalwarts of the Faith whose humble and sacrificial life adds lustre to Malaysian Bahai history. The memory of this wonderful soul will remain etched in my heart forever.

    R. Kanthakumar
    Jitra
    Malaysia

  10. My life as a Bahai will not be complete if not for these two wonderful persons of Mr. Rama Naidu and Mr. G. A. Naidu.

    Although I accepted the Faith in my hometown Malacca, but it was through the efforts of these two Bahai brothers that I am what I am today. Mr Rama Nadu and Mr G. A. Naidu truly nurtured me in the Faith to become a steadfast Bahai. I first met Mr Rama Naidu in Bahau in 1970 when I was posted to the same school where he and Mr G.A. Naidu were teachers. For more than three years I had memorable interactions with them before I left for Johor Baharu to complete my teacher training.

    For Mr. Rama and his wife, I was like their younger brother. Both always had a special care for me. The time spend with them is still fresh in my memory. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Rama Nadu left this mortal world soon and leaving many of our hearts broken.

    May Mr. Rama Naidu’s soul is given a special place in the Abha Kingdom for his tireless work for the Faith until his last days.

    Dr S. Nathesan
    Muar
    Johor
    Malaysia

  11. Dear Mani,
    Many thanks for another most inspiring and true account of a hero of the Faith in Malaysia of our generation. No doubt your ever clear and well researched narratives of all the Star-Servants of Baha’u’llah would inspire Baha’is young and old in years to come.

    Mr. Rama Naidu was indeed a true servant of Baha’u’llah, whose dedicated service to the Cause especially in the orang Asli teaching was most remarkable and memorable. It is indeed my privilege to have met Rama Naidu on several occasions.

    May his noble and valiant soul be richly rewarded in the Abha Kingdom.

    Keng Tong Hua
    Skudai
    Johor
    Malaysia

  12. Dear Mr Manisegaran,

    Your eulogy about this wonderful soul is so beautiful that it brought me so much memories.

    Mr. Ramanaidu was such a lovely soul. Being with him just gives you so much joy. His love is so pure that you can just feel it. He used to come around in my home town Teluk Intan regularly in the 70’s. That was when I really got to know the Faith better. His love and closeness in being with him made me accept this beautiful Faith. Will never forget his gentle smile. His soul will always be in the arms of the Blessed Beauty. Thank you so much.

    Nalinasegaran Krishnan
    Teluk Intan
    Malaysia

  13. Just one mature soul, with spiritual understanding and a profound knowledge of the Faith, can set a whole country ablaze — so great is the power of the Cause to work through a pure and selfless channel.
    (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 223.)

    The story of Rama Naidu’s life is a true reflective of the above quote. Just one consecrated soul. Truly, this amazing story of this one beautiful soul was well researched by our dear historian Manisegaran. We must deeply appreciate him for this hard work and tremendous endeavour.

    As for me, my recollections of Rama Naidu was brief in nature. Have met him occasionally in conferences and conventions. I knew him as an easily approachable, radiant, jovial and spiritual person who loves to make everyone happy always.

    After returning from Macau in January 1993, my wife and I went to Kuala Lumpur to meet with the National Spiritual Assembly in early February.  Rama Naidu happened to be the in the National Centre.  He offered to take care of our child Collins while we met with the National Spiritual Assembly. Collins was about a month old baby. We could see that he loved children as we saw him cuddling and taking care of him.  My wife Cecilia and I met with the National Spiritual Assembly and they suggested that we go to Kuala Terengganu.  Soon after, we packed our bags, took a bus and arrived in Kuala Terengganu in the early hours sometime in the same month. 

    Santhanasamy
    Kuala Terengganu
    Malaysia

  14. What an important person in my life. It was Rama Naidu who
    conducted my Bahai wedding in my house in 1978.

    I had known Rama Naidu as a very dedicated Bahai when I first knew him as an Auxiliary Board member. He had deepened many individuals and many communities in his tireless travels across the country.

    I went to see him in Bidor when he was residing there and teaching in Sungkai town. He d received a lot of visits by Asli believers at his home in Bidor.. The Asli Bahais walked for two to three days across the main range all the way from Gua Musang and Jelai area in Cameron Highlands to visit him. Rama Naidu loved those simple people and they too showed so much love for him.

    Karthi Govindan
    Subang
    Selangor
    Malaysia

  15. Dear Mr. Manisegaran,
    Thank you for writing about Mr. Rama Naidu who was my mentor and best friend.

    In 1975 one fine morning while I was standing outside my house and about to go out, suddenly I saw a small blue color Austin mini car stop in front of my house and Mr. Rama Naidu opened the door and standing outside the car, looked at me. I was attracted by his gentle smile and greeting.

    We introduced each other and he said he was a Bahai and wished to introduced Baha’i Faith to me. I invited him to my next-door coffee shop and listened to him telling me the Baha’i faith. I did not show much interest and he was very smart to give me a book called “The New garden” for me to read. In the next 3 months he used to drop by my place and invite me for a drink and we became good friends. I also asked him some questions concerning the Baha’i Faith and he patiently explained to me and resolved my doubts.

    Few months later Mr. Rama Naidu came with a group of Baha’is from University Malaya visit me. I greeted them and amongst them was Mr. Isaac De Cruz. We went to my next-door coffee shop and they further explained about the Baha’i Faith. I then signed the declaration and became a Baha’i.

    After becoming a new Baha’i, Mr. Rama Naidu used to invite me to Nineteen Day Feasts and deepening classes to know more about Baha’i Faith. Every Saturday Mr. Rama Naidu would come to my office at 1pm and both of us would discuss on where and to whom to teach the Baha’i Faith. We taught the Faith to friends, my brother in law and also to surrounding rubber estates where Indians lived. During the teaching Mr. Y. Mari also joined us and our teaching team covered from Bidor to Tanjong Malim.

    During those years Mr. Rama Naidu travelled with me and introduced me to Baha’i s like Inbum Chinniah and his wife lily Chinniah, Dr. M.M. Sreenivasan, Leong Ho Choo,Uncle Yang Kee Leong, Aunty Theresa Chee of Ipoh, Jami Maniam, Lily Jansz of Penang, Goh Chin Kooi, Chong Boo How, Teh Teik Hoe and Wong Boon Tock.

    I really admired Mr. Rama Naidu. He was such a great personality and a patient Baha’i.

    Later on I joined a Public Listed Company as Accountant in Petaling Jaya and in 1987 I was transferred to Kelantan and stayed in Tanah Merah.

    When I came back to Bidor on the way I used to stop at Mr. Rama Naidu’s house and visited him often. In short, throughout my 47 years as Baha’i I always remember Mr. Rama Naidu’s advice to teach the Bahai Faith to as many as possible to people, which I do til this day. I really miss Mr. Rama Naidu- my best friend and mentor in the Baha’i Faith.

    May his soul live well and happily in the Abha’ kingdom.

    Richard Ng Ki Soong
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  16. I thank Mr. Manisegaran for his tireless endeavors in remembering the late Mr Rama Naidu after 18 years of leaving this mortal life and ascending to the Abha Kingdom. Even though he left us for almost two decades some personal contacts with him are still fresh in my memory.

    It was in late 1968 when I first heard the faith through late Ramanaidu. His parents were also working in the same Estate as mine – Sungei Sabaling Estate, Bahau. He used to come home to see his parents from Gemas during some weekends. One day, he came to our football field and he volunteered to become the referee of a football match. Once the match was over, he invited us to a gathering at the Estate library to talk about God and life after death. The library was almost full with all the players and some young adults. He spoke with such clarity both in Tamil and Telugu about Baha’u’llah and life after death. Few of my friends accepted the faith. Even though I did not accept the faith, he always invited me to his house in Bahau for Baha’i Holy days. I really enjoyed the home cooked food by Mrs. Ramanaidu and Mrs. G. Appala Naidu.

    Every week Mr. Ramanaidu and Mr. G. Appala Naidu will come to Ladang Geddes Estate for deepening classes. Half way through my football practice, he will request me to go and gather all the Baha’is in this Estate for a deepening class at 7.30pm. I too will sit together and attend the classes. Almost three years after hearing about the faith and here when I asked Mr. Ramanaidu that I wanted to become a Baha’i. He told me that I was already a Baha’i a long time ago but I had not signed the Declaration card. It was here on 15.4.1971 at 8.15pm I declared my faith in Baha’u’llah.

    From this day onwards I served many years side by side with him. It was during the December school holiday he would take me along to visit the Asli believers in South Perak. During the first visit itself I fell in love with the Asli believers because of their love and hospitality.
    Another episode which I admired him was his love, dedication and complete reliance on the power of prayers. When the call from the National Spiritual Assembly of India asking for Malaysian Bahai community to send manpower to South India for a teaching campaign for a duration of 6 months, Mr. Ramanaidu and three others immediately arose, as mentioned in the story. The other three were bachelors, while Rama Naidu as a married man was leaving behind a four-year-old son, a 20-month-old daughter and a 40-day old son. He invited me to his house and gave me scrumptious lunch. While serving some fruits, he told me that he will be leaving shortly to India for 6 months and requested me to stay in his house and look after the family until he returned from India. I was only 22 years then. I had a great privilege and bounty to serve the servant of God. Mrs. Ramanaidu and I always look forward for his letters from India every fortnightly.

    I was away to Masai as a home front pioneer for all most two years. My contract with the Japanese Company was about to over and they offered a job in Singapore with a better salary. I wrote to him and told him that I will be leaving for Singapore within a month. He wrote to me and asking me to join him in Bidor to serve together the Asli believers instead. It was somewhere in June 1975 I joined him again.

    I had the opportunity to serve along with him in urban areas, in the Asli region and aboard. He always puts the faith first before anything else. I always admire of his wisdom, audacious and tactfulness while he is in the field of teaching and his deepening classes are of full of joy and laughter. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his love and guidance and for enlightening me and my family to the Cause of God.

    Mari Yariah
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  17. Dear Mani,
    Have known dear Rama ever since I accepted the Faith in 1973. He is one of those early Bahais who was instrumental in teaching the Telugu community. As a result of his efforts in Bahau, he helped in the development of many devoted souls.

    He had this very unassuming smile that drew people to him naturally. He also had this very simple way of sharing the Faith that attracted many people into the Faith.

    Our Asli community will always remember his sacrificial services with fondness. His humility, unshakeable Faith in Baha’u’llah, sacrificial services both in Malaysia and in India will inspire future generations to come. His death deprives Malaysia of yet another valiant soul that contributed to the development of the Faith in this country.

    Sam Appalasami
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  18. Thank you dear Mr Manisegaran for writing with so minute details the life and legacy of Mr Rama Naidu who certainly has a special place in our history and of course in my own heart.

    Dear Rama Naidu was a very close friend of mine. I met him when I was the only pioneer and the only Baha’i in Vizakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh State, India.

    Rama visited that place in order to help me with teaching the Faith to form the first Assembly there. By the Grace of Baha’u’llah, within a short time we had ten new believers with whom we were able to form the first Assembly.

    Rama left for Malaysia. Many years later through Mr S Nagaratnam, saw him with his son in Malaysia airport. Later on we heard from his son that the soul of dear Rama took his flight to Abha Kingdom.

    He may have gone, but he continues to live in the hearts of many who knew him. These are the kind of souls who add weight and value to the Faith that we love.

    It is amazing how he had done so much for the Faith. He seems to have been created for the Faith and he has served well from what I have read in this story.

    Thank you again for inspiring me through this story.

    Freidon Yazdani
    Apia
    Samoa

  19. My dear Baha’i brother, Mr. Manisegaran,

    First of all, congratulations to you and thanking you so much for bringing out another fantastic and wonderful story of one more great teacher of the Baha’i Faith. Hats off to you

    I am also given a great opportunity to receive your greatest stories on a regular basis. I am reading all your stores regularly and giving my comments from time to time occasionally.

    Today evening, I allocated some time to read the story of our Baha’i brother, Mr. Rama Naidu and I completed in one sitting. He has done so much for the Faith in Malaysia, and abroad. I wish to add a few more details of Mr Rama Naidu’s activities in Andhra Pradesh.

    While going through the story with beautiful and colorful photographs, I enjoyed so much. I learned many many more events in the life our Baha’i brother, Mr. Rama Naidu. He and his family members are also chosen by Baha’u’llah for His Cause. He spread the Healing Message of Baha’u’llah in Malaysia and abroad including the Indian Sub-Continent. I know him personally during his Baha’i teaching trip to Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh state of India. Then I was residing with my wife and my only one daughter at Baha’i Institute, now called Baha’i Bhavan of Secunderabad.

    Later on Mr. Rama Naidu, brought his eldest son Mr. Suresh Rama Naidu and introduced him to all of us.

    Mr. Suresh is one of most intelligent youths. I learnt many many positive things including educational points, even though, he is younger to me. We together participated in many Baha’i conferences and Baha’i Teaching Campaigns in Andhra Pradesh and Bangalore city of the Karnataka State.

    Later on Mr. Rama Naidu was searching best Homeopathy Medical Colleges for his son Suresh to be admitted in Andhra Pradesh. Finally, Mr. Suresh was admitted in Allu Rama Lingaiah Homeopathy College in Rajahmundry (Rajamahendravaram) in Andhra Pradesh. Rajahmundry is my father-in-law’s home town where I introduced Mr. Suresh to my father-in-law. He completed his Homeopathy Medical Course there. I regularly visited Mr. Suresh in Rajahmundry.

    Through Mr. G. Sambasiva Rao and his son, Suresh, Mr. Rama Naidu moved with me more closely and he became one of my best friends.

    Mr. Sambasiva Rao and myself involved in a Tribal Teaching Campaign with a longer duration in Rampachodavaram area in East Godavari District.

    Mr. Rama Naidu arrived in Andhra Pradesh on his vacation for his travel teaching and he came to know that we were in that Tribal Teaching Campaign and immediately he rushed to Rampachodavaram Triab area and joined us in the Teaching Campaign.

    I had already made friendships with Principals and teachers of many Residential Schools in Rampachodavaram area and I brought Mr. Rama Naidu and Mr. Sambasiva Rao to those Residential Schools and the Principals arranged meetings with their staffs and students followed by lunch with them in the schools itself. Mr. Rama Naidu enjoyed these Baha’i Teaching Campaigns very much.

    Mr. Rama Naidu along with Mr. Sambasiva Rao visited Ravikampadu village in East Godavari District. In fact, Ravikampadu village is adopted by both Mr. Sambasiva Rao then the Auxiliary Board Member and me as then the Secretary of the State Baha’i Council of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Telangana was not divided then).

    Mr. Rama Naidu used to tell us on several occasions during his visits to Andhra Pradesh, on every school vacations, he wished to dedicate his time to spread healing message of Baha’u’llah to the masses.

    Suresh is still in touch with me. He had asked me to send Baha’i songs and chants of Baha’i Prayers in Telugu for his family members, especially for his mother. Through Suresh his mother also talked with me and she wished to visit Andhra Pradesh. I also asked her to visit Andhra Pradesh along with her son Mr. Suresh.
    So the world is very small. If we explore further we will realise that all of us Bahais are connected with each other in some ways. This story is just the tip of the ice berg. Rama Naidu is one who had built spiritual bridge between Malaysia and Andhra and we all remember him very well. For the matter anyone who serves the Cause is well remembered by Bahaullah even if we mortals may forget! Bahaullah Himself has said, “Make Mention of me on my earth that in My heaven I may remember thee.”

    Thank you once again my dear brother for all your beautiful and wonderful write-ups, which remains forever and they will give inspiration to the readers as well as other believers to serve the Cause of Baha’u’llah.

    Jaya Raju Thota
    Greater Visakhapatnam
    Andhra Pradesh
    INDIA

  20. Dear brother Mani,
    Thank you for writing about one who was my spiritual father.
    I was a new, young Baha’i in a small town in the state of Pahang, Malaysia when I had the precious opportunity and privilege to get to know uncle Ramanaidu and grow in the Faith with his nurturing.

    I was not a Bahai then. I just completed my 6th form. Uncle Ramanaidu and uncle Ganesan,another stalwart, were Auxiliary Board members, and whenever they dropped by, my brother Jayanthan will ask me to guide both of them to a modest hotel in which they always stayed. They never imposed the teachings on me, but it was through their way of life that I was first attracted to the Faith. I was impressed with both their humility, loving kindness, sincere feelings.

    Sometimes I will join them for their meals. I can never forget uncle Ramanaidu taking tea called Teh- C in an Indian eatery. Teh C in Malaysia is black tea with milk but no sugar in it. He told me that he went for Teh C as he had to be careful with his sugar level in his blood.

    Uncle Ramanaidu loves humour. He makes jokes even when discussing spiritual matters. Uncle Ganesan will sompetime complement him. Uncle Ramanaidu hums old Tamil songs. If it’s a Telugu song, he will explain to uncle Ganesan the meaning to my amazement, full of meaning and strong poetic touch in them.

    Anyone will be comfortable in the presence of Uncle Ramanaudu. In a short time, I became close to him. He was already a spiritual father to me even before I accepted the Faith.

    I learned not only on spiritual matters but also on administrative matters when I was serving as the Assembly secretary. Uncle always quoted from the writings. As a young Assembly we faced teething problems. Once I felt a decision was not made in a proper consultative manner. Deep in me I was sad and had the opportunity to meet uncle Ramanaidu in the Yankee Leong Training institute in Balakong. When I confided with uncle, he lovingly asked me not to be distressed. He said once decision made, all must support the decision. If the decision is wrong, Bahaullah will make the wrong right. He quoted a Writing on this. There were many administrative foundational matters I learned from him and am ever grateful to him

    I used to follow both uncle Ramanaidu and uncle Ganesan during their reaching trips and visiting Bahai communities in Pahang. I acquired rudiments of teaching from both these giants. Such a joy to be in their company

    I must not forget to mention uncle Ramanaidu’s teaching partner at later years, the late Mariappan, who was a teacher in the same school with uncle Ramanaidu. He was a perfect partner for uncle Ramanaidu with his wittiness but highly spirited. I was with them on the road at numerous occasions.

    Those days I had not heard the term “accompaniment”, and “nurturing”, but that’s exactly what uncle Ramanaidu did to me and has been part of me in my own teaching posts, especially when pioneering in Brunei quite recently.

    Thank you
    Kavidas Narayanan
    Puchong
    Selangor
    Malaysia

  21. I was very happy to have read such a detailed story on my late elder brother. I wish to thank Mr Manisegaran for putting together so much details, which I had not known earlier. I remember when he became a Bahai, there was opposition within the family, for the family members felt he had betrayed his old religion. But as time passed by they saw that my elder brother was a different man- a man of honesty, integrity and sincerity with several great virtues which he had picked up over time. He was a towering figure.

    I accepted the Faith through G. Appala Naidu who was a close friend of my brother. I must admit that my brother was one of those who had a strong influence on me becoming strong in the Faith.
    I knew my brother was actively involved in the Faith, but only afte reading this write up that I am able to get a fuller picture of the range of his activities and services for the Faith.

    For all the great services he had rendered, he would be well rewarded in the Abha Kingdom

    Subbarao
    Seremban
    Malaysia

  22. Dear Brother Mani

    Thanks for writing about our late Mr Ramanaidu. He was a great teacher of our beloved Faith.

    I went through every sentence and every paragraph of a very well and beautifully written story. At the first reading itself I could imagine the hard work you had put in getting to such great details, mostly unknown to me before. I can only say that it is nothing other than this is Bahaullah’s special gift for you. Bahaullah has not given this gift to all. I am sure you are aware that you are able to write so well all because of His blessings.

    During my early days in Seremban say in the early 70s I got to know Uncle Rama Naidu but I did not get too close to him. I have seen him in the Seremban Bahai centre and in gatherings. I always used to enjoy his talks coated with so much meaningful jokes.

    Then in the year 1983 my family shifted to Ipoh town. After a few years we were able to meet Uncle Rama Naidu and his family as they had moved to Bidor. And finally, they moved into Ipoh town itself and they started visiting my home.

    We used to have firesides in my home, and we invited Uncle and Aunty. His way of sharing the Faith with the friends was very unique in that he shared a lot of storytelling. That made the firesides full of joy , and he moved every hearts. He was very good in giving explanation to every question.

    When my third son was 4 years old, Uncle Rama Naidu came to my home and will bite the hand of my son gently as he was very fond of him. For that reason, my son will call uncle Rama Naidu “biting uncle” Uncle Rama Naidu always loved children. He was a true lover of mankind- rich, poor, young, old, urban, or rural. His true love for the aboriginal people will be remembered for all ages to come.

    Uncle Rama Naidu always mad everybody happy and whenever we met him, he would be joyous in welcoming us.

    Today we have lost a very beautiful soul, not the kind who can easily be replaced for many years to come. Yet he is always within us, and lives in history.

    I only hope this new generation of youths will read and understand how our great our teachers have spent their lives in serving the Cause.

    We all very thankful to you brother Mani, for bringing so much unknown information on Uncle Ramanaidu to light. Shabas Mani

    Praying to God to gives you lots of strength to do what you are doing

    Vincent Chelvam
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  23. It was at the South East Asia Regional Youth Conference of 1968 in Kuala Lumpur that I met Rama Naidu for the first time. Rama Naidu, blessed be his radiant soul, shone like a star in the arena of teaching the Faith. I had known him as a humble servant of Cause not only in Malaysia, but also South East Asia and Central Asia. He was always an exemplar and a model of a devoted and enthusiastic servant of Baha’u’llah.

    How encouraging and assuring it is to see that Rama Naidu, from the moment he became exposed to the Faith at the Teacher Training Centre in Seremban in 1964 and accepted the Faith in 1965 devoted his life to the study and services of the Faith.

    When reading the story, I came to know that he had indeed done so much for the Cause, with no publicity whatsoever. He was never a man of the stage giving talks, but more of a background worker who was only interested in serving the Cause. He is an example for many of us in many ways.

    Dr. Firaydun Mithaq
    Chieng Mai
    Thailand

  24. I had known Mr Rama Naidu from the time I came to work in the National Bahai Centre as a helper in about 1968. I must have met him first at the South East Asia Regional Youth Conference held in December in Kuala Lumpur. Rama Naide came with his other friends from Bahau town. He used to come to the National Bahai Centre for meetings and was sure to attend all summer schools and national conventions. He was a very genuine Bahai.

    Each time he saw me he would come around place his hands on my shoulders and ask for my well being. And whenever he wanted to advice me or guide me or encourage me to serve he did them in private, not in public. This is one virtue I loved him most for. And he had a circle of friends with whom he used to joke a lot. But all his jokes were decent and not at the expense of others. He loved old songs very much.

    Although he was a serious person, especially when there was work to be done for the Cause. When there was some work, he had no time for anything else. This is what I know of Mr Rama Naidu. Many or most things I do not know have been well covered by the researching mind of Mr. Manisegaran. Well done!

    Sandrakasan
    Banting
    Malaysia

  25. My association with Rama Naidu goes back to the days when he was serving as Auxiliary Board member for Perak in the 1970s. His house in Bidor was a half way stop and a satisfying tea break for my many trips for the trips for the National Assembly as well as the National Teaching Committee to the north. In addition when my wife and I visited Bidor to see the Lings (sister-in-law and her husband) we would visit him and his family to have good time chit chat. There was certainly some local activities that went on when the Naidus and the Lings were in Bidor.

    Finally i am deeply moved by the one photo of Rama in clutches and the narration of his last day. He literally died teaching the Faith to his last breath, as he had wanted. He was sincere in his wishes which Bahaullah granted.

    May his soul continue to progress in all the worlds of God.

    Lum Weng Chew
    Toronto
    Canada

  26. Dear Manisegaran
    May I thank you first for your touching penmanship that has brought to life an outstanding servant of the Blessed Cause.
    Mr. Rama Naidu has drank in full the cup of God’s elixir and winged his way to Abha Kingdom fulfilling all his dreams.
    His life full of service is an inspiration to all those who come across Divine Faith of Bahaullah.

    Thanks once again for bringing to us the life a devoted soldier of the Cause.

    Alex Jacob
    Seychelles

  27. Mr Rama Naidu has a special place in history according to our historian Mr. Manisegaran. He also has a very special place in my heart as I learned many things from him, patience, loving care and genuine love for fellow human beings among them. The one month I spent with Mr Rama Naidu shall ever be evergreen in my memory. He was not well throughout those days in Sarawak, and yet he placed the Faith above his health. Not that he wanted to neglect his health, but there was the call from the institution to organise the Ruhi book one that he could not postpone. Wherever he went to the interiors he was most welcomed as a very important person. In order to ensure that the Ruhi books were fully attended by the friends, he wanted me to cook for them. That spared some women participants. And I somehow cooked according to the Indian cuisine which surprisingly was enjoyed by all.

    There is one incident I could not forget. When were were travelling overnight by bus from Miri to Kuching I developed high fever. Mr Rama Naidu placed his palm over my head and recited the Long Healing prayer, and some time after the prayers were read, the fever left me. I know Bahaullah is the True Physician, but it takes an intermediator to call for healing, and that intermediator has to be spiritually connected. And that was Mr Rama Naidu.

    He took a lot of liking for me while in the jungles of Sarawak. One day he told me he had identified a bride for me, but did not give further details. When he met me with my wife Vijayarani later, he told me she was the one he had in his mind for me.
    One of the greatest lessons I learnt from Mr Rama Naidu is to adjust the life according to situations. When in Sarawak this former headmaster lived the simplest life, with no food of his choice or proper bedding. At times he would wake up to the sound of dogs lying next to him. He never complained, as he was one of them among them. In short, I could see he had adopted many of the teachings and virtues called for in the writings

    Arrasu
    Skudai
    Johore
    Malaysia

  28. Reading about Uncle Rama Naidu brought memories of knowing him in the 80’s when he used to be actively engaging the friends in the Butterworth community on regular visits for a host of activities. Friends would especially look forward to his talks and deepening sessions. His friendly disposition and impromptu sense of humor was his trademark quality. He could make anyone feel comfortable in his company.

    Uncle Rama’s passion for teaching was second to none. He was very consummate, very composed, and untiring in the teaching field. He was a typical foot Soldier, ready to serve wherever he was required to render service. It was an inspiration to his friends, seeing him tirelessly serve the Cause. Reading the blog made me understand the capacity and caliber of the person of uncle Rama Naidu from a young age.

    I remembered the period when he took up Insurance after retiring from his teaching profession. It was an incredible effort that in a short period of duration he rose from the rank of an Agent to a Group Sales Manager.

    He was hard working and persuasive in his approach. I recall one December night in 1999 when he and Thinathayallam made a call to our home driving all the way from Bidor to talk to me about an education plan for Arvind, who was then six (6) years old! After a long chat and a night of conversation of sorts, I finally signed up for a policy with their Agency; much to their joy! In hindsight, I did not look back at signing up for the policy then. Young Arvind reaped the reward of the plan 21 years later with the money which came in handy for his expenses. Thank you Uncle Rama Naidu.

    Much can be said about this great soul who was an embodiment of sacrifice, love and selfless contribution to the Faith till his last days and this I think the Author had done justice in detailing his good deeds.

    May we all live with Uncle Rama Naidu’s inspiration and exemplary Teacher of the Cause.

    Sandran Govindasamy
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  29. Mr Rama Naidu was very special, thanks Manisegaran for sharing his life story. His humble, loving and caring attitude attracted everyone.

    He never boasted about himself or his achievements, but quietly dedicated his time to the service of the faith. As a teacher he would always have school holidays and used the time to travel teach. Friends of Perak and the Asli Baha’is definitely miss him and remember him fondly. Our families used to meet often and whenever he came to Teluk Intan he would always request me to make him a cup of tea which he would relish with all his heart. I am sure he is now in the company of all the angles , looking down us and hoping everyone will arise to serve the cause of God.

    Ranee Datwani Sreedharan
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  30. Uncle Ramanaidu, as fondly known among the friends from North to the South left his marks wherever he set his feet writer, Mr Manisegaran has laid down every detail about this great person who has literally given his entire life for the Blessed Beauty.

    I have known Uncle Ramanaidu very soon after I accepted the Baha’i Faith in 1984. I obtained a great deal of knowledge through his regular deepening classes in Bagan Serai, Ipoh and Bidor towns and his Tamil sessions in Tamil Winter and Summer schools.
    I was given the privilege to serve him as one of his Assistants while he served as an Auxiliary Board member. His loving guidance and patience have helped me to place myself in His service from young age. His never ceased extensive travels, particularly in Perak. He had assisted many Baha’is to gain deeper understanding of the Faith and led many souls to recognize Baha’u’llah.
    Uncle Ramanaidu’s far reaching vision of the Faith has helped the Ipoh community to purchase the current Baha’i center in Bercham that is being fully utilized by Local Spiritual Assembly of Ipoh and Northern Regional Baha’i Council for teaching activities.

    Pandiyan Thangapandy
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  31. Thank you Mani, for another heart-warming tribute – this time to the late Rama Naidu. His faith in Bahaullah and services for His Cause are exemplary

    I know Rama from 1978 when he was visiting Mentakab town where I lived. He visited in his capacity as a Board member to strengthen the Local Spiritual Assembly and the community as well especially in the consolidation work. In such trips he also visited Bahai families in the towns of Jerantut, Bentong and Raub which were isolated places in the state of Pahang.

    His simple narratives through stories captured the hearts and they were well liked by anyone who crossed his path. He was a source of encouragement to all. His passion for teaching the Cause never slow down. I accompanied him to Hanoi in Vietnam in 1994. We spent teaching the youths giving pamphlets on the principles of the Faith and built friendship with everyone.

    He was always soft spoken and humble with his trademark ‘smile’. He used to hum old songs and his favourite Hindi singer of the fifties was Hemant Kumar. I got a cassette of his collections as a gift. He was so happy and informed that he listens to them at night.

    For many years we continued our friendship and whenever we met we re-collected those wonderful memories.
    His words still echoes in my ears- “Be humble, make every effort to live the Baha’i life.”

    Jayanthan
    Kuantan
    Malaysia

  32. Dear Mani,
    After reading your detailed write-up on our hero, the late Rama Naidu, I feel that my comments on this Superman would not add any more value as you have covered almost everything that needs to be said…In any case I shall provide a few recollections.

    I had always known him as a humble man with excellent story telling skills , always with a message to share. His stories related to the Faith were always presented in a natural manner with his own brand of humour. Listeners simply got drowned into those stories.

    I got to know him better during his regular visits to Sitiawan town from Bidor. I was at that time in Sitiawan.
    I signed up as an Insurance Agent under him, and with that I established closer relationship as a business associate. Was an effective Insurance Upline/Senior.

    He possessed a unique style of leadership based on his experiences gained from his career and the Faith. His was a soft approach and yet got things done successfully without hurting the feelings of others. This is a talent by itself.

    I remember he was a mentor to many families that had accepted the Faith especially in Sitiawan and Lumut areas.
    He was also a grassroots person, known for his simplicity and friendliness. His strength was his ability to establish good rapport with strangers. Though the man went through challenging times during some parts of his life, Rama Naidu had always demonstrated cheerfulness and confidence. He was a fighter against all odds. He never dwelled on the unpleasant things in life, as he had full and unshakable faith in Bahaullah.

    Rama Naidu is not only a man to be studied, but to be admired and emulated as well. Suffice to say that he was a gift to the Malaysian Bahai community and by extension to the worldwide Bahai community as well.

    Ramachandren Subramaniam
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  33. It was so good to read about Uncle Rama Naidu, whom I came to know when he came to Kuching in December 1998.

    At that time myself and Mantan were working under Literacy Program at the Bahai Centre Kuching. Most of the time we traveled to rural areas. So, we were kind of familiar with most Iban people at the longhouses.

    We took Uncle Rama to Kampong Temiang in Simunjan. Kampong Temiang used to be a very strong community. Many friends coming from neighboring communities to attend the Ruhi institute for the first time. Friends came from Kampong Sekendu, Kampong Batu Mumong Kampong Sungai Lingkau and a few more villages.
    We spent one week to complete Ruhi Book One. I stayed with Uncle rama at Tuai Rumah Hipong who was one of the earliest early Bahais in Simunjan area.

    In the one week I stayed with Uncle Rama we learned a lot about the Faith. At that time, we could see that he was not too well but he never complained. Everyone, mostly elderly believers were very happy while doing Ruhi Book One with him. It was so interesting that nobody ever skipped the classes. He was strict but funny as well. He knew when to be strict and when to relax. He never complained about the Iban food either. He was ready to eat anything and everything that was offered to him with much love. I used to make “teh Tarik” for him every day. That was his favorite drink. Even though he visited Sarawak for a very short period, he was able to speak the Iban language quite well which made the people of the kampongs like him.

    After that we went to Kampong Selampit in Lundu but stayed for one night only. I cannot remember why we did not have Ruhi class there.

    Uncle Rama promised to come again to see me. At that time, there were no mobile phones. So, I totally could not contact him.

    Uncle Rama may have ascended to the Abha Kingdom, but he is always near to my heart even though we knew each other for only two weeks only. That is how I feel about him. He is like a father to me. Thank you Uncle Rama. You are always in my prayers.

    Winnie Lambong
    Kuching
    Sarawak
    Malaysia

  34. I visited Mr. Rama Naidu when he came on transfer to Sungkai but was staying in Bidor. To me, Rama Naidu was born Bahai teacher. Whenever he got an opportunity he will talk of the Faith. Apart from teaching the Faith to the Asli people, he was also teaching in the nearby estates. I remember going with him to the estates to meet one Senior Conductor who became a Bahai. There was a lone Bahai working in a factory in Hutan Melintang. We visited him several times. There were few Tamil speaking Bahais in Teluk Intan and we went to deepen them. Once he visited a doctor to get some treatment. After getting the treatment, he quoted one quotation from the Bahai writings and gave an explanation to the doctor. He never missed any opportunity to teach.

    When he retired from his government service, he settled in Ipoh town and was staying in Bercham area. I often visited the family. Mrs. Rama Naidu was a good host, and she calls me Perianan that is elder brother in the Tamil language. She calls by this name till today.

    When the Regional Bahai Council was established, Rama Naidu was a member of the Council and he played a key role in delineating the boundaries in Perak.

    In 1999, Rama Naidu, his wife and Y. Mari were planning to go to the Holy Land for a three day visit. He invited me to join them. Without hesitation, I joined them. Rama Naidu made all the arrangements. We went by the way of London as Mr. Rama Naidu’s son, Leroy was studying there. We stayed in the house of Mr and Mrs. Issac in Liverpool. We visited the resting place of our beloved Guardian in South Gate Christian Cemetery. It was a wonderful experience. From London we proceeded to the Holy Land where we had the bounty of visiting all the Holy and historical sites. We also had the bounty to celebrate together the birthdays of the Báb and Bahá’ulláh. Every night there was a talk by the resident Hands of the Cause of God, Mr. Ali Akhbar Furutan and Dr. Muhammad Varqa. The former urged the Bahai’s to be firm in the Covenant and not deviate from the writings of Bahá’ulláh. Dr Muhammad Varqa spoke about Huqúqu’lláh. If not for Rama Naidu’s invitation, I would never have gone to England and visited the burial ground of the Guardian. I am ever grateful to Mr. Rama Naidu for this.

    K. Krishnan
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  35. Dear Mani
    Just finished reading your write up of my good friend and guide Mr. Rama Naidu, whom I first met in Bahau town around 1973 during my University break. I was studying at the University Sains Malaysia in Penang at that time. You have portrayed so eloquently, literally the essence of his life and times as one of the great Bahai teachers and servants of the Blessed Beauty. Mr. Rama was intoxicated with the love for Baha’u’llah – unwavering, dedicated and always offering selfless service to the Cause of God.

    I have worked with him on many occasions, visited him especially in Sungkai and Bidor areas. The Faith was his breath. His his spirit of service and the amount of Bahai work is unimaginable, simply a nonstop service with his heart and soul completely dedicated to Faith of God. He shall be always someone I have the greatest respect and love for.

    Your work on his life will be a great inspiration to posterity. Great job Mani as always. God bless you always.

    Professor Dr. Ananthan Krishnan
    Puchong
    Malaysia

  36. Thank you Mani for connecting me to the Bahai Recollections Historical Blog. I really enjoy reading and reconnecting with those moments of long-lasting impressions of the early believers.
    Let me relate how I met with the late Mr Rama Naidu and his family in Malaysia.

    I received a six-month fellowship from UN/ILO/TU (Tribhuwan University) in 1978. That was also my first trip to a foreign country that is the United Kingdom. There I accepted the Faith through Mr. Raymond Peter, after four months of rigorous interaction and clear understanding.
    After completing the fellowship, I returned to Kathmandu in Nepal, with a heartfelt desire to share with my friends and family that I was a Baha’i. It was during end of March 1985 again, I received the same fellowship to go to Malaysia on a three-month attachment with National Electricity Board of Malaysia.

    I was excited to meet the Bahais in Malaysia to renew the relationship with them which was developed in the UK. I had heard a lot about their great activities in Malaysia. My attachment with the National Electricity Board of Malaysia was an advantage as I was assigned to be at the headquarters as well as in several hydropower stations and I could travel places to meet the Bahais.

    I reached Malaysia two days before the fasting, So I had the privilege to observe full fasting; attended the Naw Ruz celebrations, met the late Hand of Cause of God Mr. Collis Featherstone and involved in many other Bahai activities. My respect also goes to Mr. Ramachandran, the Malaysian pioneer in Nepal, who also happened to be in Malaysia at that time of my visit. He coordinated all the activities in Malaysia- thank you, dear Rama.

    One of the evenings, I was invited to the Rama Naidu family. Being a young Baha’i and as my first visit to a Baha’i family, I felt it a great opportunity and an experience. I remember a great dinner thrown by Rama Naidu’s family which went well with Rama Naidu sharing the Baha’i experiences in teaching and other activities.

    Next morning it was a lovely prayer meeting with the children of Rama Naidu. That morning, I could not say goodbye to Mr. Rama Naidu, as he must have left earlier for his work. After having our meals, the two children took me to the shopping mall and amazingly they bought something for me. It was an amazing gift. This was one of the precious gifts from the children and was wondering how Baha’i children should be an examples. I realize how Rama Naidu’s children were trained to add Bahai values which they obtained from the family background.

    The second thing I remember of Mr. Naidu for his passion for teaching. I was placed in one of the hydropower stations. I cannot recall how far it was from his house. But one of the evenings, he visited me to teach the Faith to the senior engineers stationed there. This was the most remarkable moment for me to see his devotion, dedication, and passion for teaching the Faith. I realized that the importance of teaching was the most remarkable moment I have ever watched.
    After completion of my training in Malaysia I left for China for another three months after that we were in touch for another several years. Then I was sad to learn of his passing.
    I always remember Rama Naidu, as meeting him was a blessing and inspiration. In my life he had been a powerful tool that had prepared me to keep my faith strong. I am sure, his children must have grown enough, and now I am happy to add them as my dear friends on Facebook, and hope we can keep in touch regularly.

    Warm regards
    Narendra Pande
    Dhumbarahi
    Kathmandu
    Nepal

  37. Thank you Mani for this wonderful story. I really enjoyed this story only to learn what an amazing guy Rama Naidu is. I had accepted Bahá’u’lláh in December 1974 while staying in the Youth Hostel in Cameron Highlands. I spent about 6 months as a Bahá’í traveling and learning the Faith and involved in teaching activities in West Malaysia during 1975. I also travelled to Thailand and Laos, and joined the Malaysian teaching teams in Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong that year.

    I stayed with Rama Naidu in Bidor in 1975. If I remember correctly he took me to a modern Asli village being built by the government on the edge of town to house Aslis being removed from the jungle. It is Kampong Chang, not too far from his residence. I knew little about the Asli minorities and our Faith at that time. As I remember I spent a night or two with Rama Naidu in Bidor. He warmly welcomed me with open arms, and I remember he was busy with many things and his family, and other visitors – he had a full house, an open house – he was an excellent example of hospitality and generosity for me.

    Over the years I met Rama Naidu many times in Malaysia, Thailand and other places, and he always showed his exuberance, optimism, deep warmth, love, knowledge, sacrifice, happiness and joy.

    He lives in my memory as a great servant of the Cause.

    Vaughan Smith
    Bangkok
    Thailand

  38. Dear Mr Manisegaran

    I read the most fascinating, impressive and moving story on the late Mr. Rama Naidu. I felt so many spiritual emotions flooding my soul. What an exemplary path he has set! What an eventful life he had led. I am touched on how his wife accepted the Faith on her own accord, without Rama Naidu coercing her. What penetrated my soul most was Mr Rama Naidu’s advice to his children to love Bahaullah first, then only him as their father. It takes a great level of understanding the writings well to give such mature and meaningful advice. The miracles that happened in the teaching field in Andhra Pradesh is another aspect that I enjoyed reading. His sincere and genuine love for the aboriginal people in the Malaysian jungles is for all readers to reflect. It is the power of love that moves the world and he had utilised that power to cement the hearts. His dream of Abdul Baha telling his days are nearing will surely send goosebumps into readers . What amazes me deeply is his will power to serve till the end of his life.

    The writer has meticulously combined each and every portion of Mr. Naidu’s life with a great care! The story is not only interesting, but also urges readers to ask what we can do for the Faith, emulating the standards set by Mr. Rama Naidu.

    After reading the story I could not sleep till 4 a.m. Many episodes of his life flashed into my mind.

    Mrs. N. Kasthuribai,
    Chennai
    Tamilnadu
    India

  39. Dear Brother Manisegaran,
    I read your very interesting story about the late Mr. Rama Naidu. You have covered many things of him that I never knew before. I knew he was an active believer, a Board member and an Asli teacher. But your story clearly says Rama Naidu is much more than what I would have imagined.

    His earthly life has been well spent with so many meaningful activities for the Cause. He had given up all his hobbies and desires in life for the sake of the promotion of the Cause of Bahaullah. There were so individual believers who must have benefited through his friendship, advice, guidance, and services. He definitely has assisted in the community building process.

    You have done a wonderful job in recording his services and his legacy for posterity.His is a story that deserves to be shared in the community. The blog has taken Rama Naidu international.

    R. Gopal
    Sungei Petani
    Malaysia

  40. I met Raman Naidu for the first time in Bahau town, probably in the late 1960’s. It was during one of my teaching trips to this region. He received me very well and brought me along in his teaching trips to the surrounding estates, like the Ladang Geddes and Ladang Bahau. Made many friends in Bahau area through him.

    Raman Naidu has also come over to my hometown of Kuantan on a number of occasions for meetings and gatherings. He gave many motivational and inspiring talks while he was in Kuantan.

    The next meeting with Raman Naidu was when I got a transferred to Ipoh. He was a Board member then and was actively involved in many activities, especially in the Asli areas. I have made a number of trips to these Asli areas with him. He seems to get along very well with the Asli friends.

    All went on well with Rama Naidu until he fell sick. Despite him not being able to walk very well he still continued with his service, especially in conducting the Ruhi classes.

    He passed away very peacefully during the commemoration of the Ascension of Abdul Baha as written in the story. It was an unexpected demise and I took the task of organizing the prayers for his funeral service.

    He was loyal, reliable and hard-working and was a stalwart supporter of the Cause of Baha’u’llah. He was a great inspiration to many, including myself. He will be remembered forever.

    G.K. Balan
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  41. Mr Rama Naidu and I were trained as teachers in Seremban. Mr Rama Naidu was posted to Tuanku Abdul Rahman School in Gemas and I was posted to St Aiden’s School in Bahau. Quite often we had the opportunity of meeting in Gemas and wished to serve in the came area. Bahaullah answered our prayers and soon, Mr Rama Naidu was transferred to my school in Bahau. It was a joyous news to learn that we will be together helping each other to undertake manifold activities. Soon S. Nathesan joined us in the same school as a teacher. Soon after that Mr Ting Ching Ching, a Chinese who declared as a Bahai and had a privilege of having a Bahai wedding conducted by our Late Mr Leong Tat Chee.

    Mr Rama Naidu and I planned systematic teaching activities around Bahau. Many teachers and headmasters were given the Faith to investigate. Hundreds of people around Bahau town were given the opportunity to learn about the Faith.

    Both of us started planning to introduce the Faith tom estates around the Bahau town. At this time our late Jami Subramaniam joined us to support our activities. Our syllabus was based on the Nine Point Program. Without fail everyday Mr Rama Naidu and I started to move visiting friends in the estates. Many hundreds of friends accepted the Faith. The Faith spread like a wildfire in the 22 estates and thus 22 Local assemblies were formed.

    With a lot of Bahai activities around the Bahau area, we successfully applied for a burial ground. A three acre land was approved later, and now put to great use.

    I am very grateful to Mr Rama Naidu for the immense assistance he rendered while he was residing in Bahau

    G. Appala Naidu
    Shah Alam
    Malaysia

  42. Again, the life story of Mr. Rama Naidu and the many before him have been meticulously penned by Uncle Manisegaran, our historian. When reading such stories, one, though he may be a stranger, is taken back in time and naturally immersed in these wonderful passages of time.

    School holidays are the most exciting time of the year for us kids, as we get to travel with our parents visiting our close cousins and family friends namely uncles G. Appala Naidu, Rama Naidu’ and the Narasiahs. Apart from attending the Bahai meetings and conferences, the adults had time to catch up and we kids had so much fun.

    As a child and into my early 30s, I had the opportunity to know the late Uncle Rama Naidu and his entire family through ties with my late parents, Mr. Jami Subramaniam. Uncle Rama Naidu though may appear to be a strict and firm person, was indeed a loving and jovial person. At home, he was always cracking jokes in Telugu language and teasing his wife.
    He had many stories to tell us as kids. And I still remember how he would tightly cuddle and nibble the tip of my ears when he surprisingly catches me. I purchased my first life insurance policy from him when I had my first job in the airlines.
    Towards the later years of his life, news of his immobility saddened us as we could hardly meet. And the most shocking news was of his sudden passing in 2004. Our car journey from Kajang to his residence for the funeral was of deep sadness.

    I do not know how to explain this but both the late Uncle Rama Naidu and my dad, Jami Subramaniam passed away on the exact date on 27 November- Uncle Rama Naidu in 2004 and my dad in 2013. With this knowledge, my heart is at peace for the closeness that they both had in this mortal world and I am sure they are together in the Abha Kingdom.

    Rooha Jami
    Seremban
    Malaysia

  43. Dear Uncle Manisegaran,

    I am just overwhelmed for such a beautiful portrayal of a person that has given his best to Baha’u’llah and to his family. After reading the comments of the many friends that have known my Dad, makes me feel utterly inadequate to share my feelings of him.

    Growing up with Dad around was an absolute joy, especially in the later part of our lives, as we were entering adulthood. We constantly turned to him for guidance, which were frank, yet loving. Till today, we recall his jokes or antics. Needless to say, after his sudden passing almost 18 years ago, we still miss him so dearly.

    From early on, we were brought-up to be raised by a certain standard, which was absolutely clear. It was a simple standard, THE FAITH CAME FIRST. Everything else revolved around this standard. There were constant reminders of how to live and make decisions based on what the Faith expected of us. He often reminded us that the Faith is the safety net and we are always to be within that net that will not only protect us but will also ensure our happiness. So there were no excuses for missing any Baha’i gatherings. No school assignments or exams were good enough a reason for not attending Nineteen Day Feast or a devotional gathering. Often this meant not missing any of the summer or winter schools. As those days, most of the gatherings were a distant away, in places like Malacca and Port Dickson.This meant that there were long drives, 7 or 8 hours away. We got used to sitting in our tiny Toyota KE30, making its way on the single carriage way, listening to old Tamil and Telugu songs, so cleverly recorded from the radio by my Mum. When it rains, the windscreen will fog-up as there was no air-condoning. Dad will wipe the fog clear while holding the steering steady, a feat that required excellent co-ordination skills. Mum being the trusted co-pilot will ensure we have sufficient food to nibble all through the journey. The first pit-stop will most definitely be in Kajang, visiting Uncle Jami Subramaniam, who taught Dad the Faith, the person we will eternally be grateful. While the journey to the Bahai gatherings were far, we looked forward to these trips with so much eagerness. Dad reminded us that these gatherings were organised by the Institutions of the Faith, and therefore we must attend. He made it clear that obedience to the Institutions was not a matter of choice.

    We grew up with so much love surrounding our home. There were numerous occasions when the house was just full of visitors. Whether the dearly loved Asli believers who were more like family or just friends that would pop-in unannounced and stay a day or two. Rolling the mat and sleeping in the hall was a common occurrence, a happy one. Dad had a generous heart, whether entertaining visitors or just giving away whatever he had. Dad will receive gifts from others and give it away almost instantly, including those that were meant for my Mum, often to my Mum’s surprise. Dad’s answer will be, not to worry as there will be others. He simply was not attached. He loved to share his jokes that was only funny if it was told by him. He had his own style.

    Growing up, we also had four of our cousins living with us as their parents were staying in remote areas and it was difficult for the children to attend school, so they lived with us. There was never an occasion where Dad made a difference between my cousins and us, we were all the same. Everything was shared, be it clothes, food or house chores. Not only he loved everyone so dearly, he created the atmosphere that we were one family. He made sure we prayed together as a family every single day. So it was literally a full-house. So with so much going-on, we used to wonder how he managed financially as being a teacher those days, the salary was meagre. My sister Sujatha once asked Dad how he managed and his reply was he just didn’t know. He just relied on Baha’u’llah.

    The day Dad passed away, so suddenly, needless to say has left a longing that has not healed to this day. Our only hope is that we the children and their spouses, and their children and generations to come, with all the limitations, will continue to be of service to Baha’u’llah. Nothing else matters. Our humble request is that the dear friends continue to remember Mr Rama Naidu in their prayers.
    Last but not least, my dearest Mum, who has been the backbone of the family, so quietly and lovingly supporting my Dad and the rest of the family, has been an inspiration to say the least. She too kindly requested that the friends remember Dad in your prayers. She further gave assurance that the house is and will always be open to any friends who want a cup of tea, day or night.

    Once again, the entire family extends our heartfelt gratitude to Mr Manisegaran for a remarkable recollection of Dad. Am sure Dad too will be smiling.

    Thank you.
    Leroy Rama Naidu
    Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

  44. Uncle Rama Naidu is one of the most precious gifts of Baha’u’llah to the Baha’is of Malaysia. My family and I were introduced to Uncle Rama Naidu in 1988 at the Perak State Sumner School. We were new Baha’is at the time. We found him to be so nice a person and easy to talk to him.

    When he moved to Ipoh town where we stay he played an important part in deepening my family and my aunt’s family. He conducted deepening class weekly just for my family and my aunt’s family. He was a very committed person.

    I used to follow with him to Kampar town for teaching and conducting Ruhi classes. I also had the opportunity to serve with him in the Regional Bahai Council.

    He was the main person in charge of the Ruhi process in Ipoh town. I had completed most of my Ruhi books through him. He will travel to any part of Ipoh to conduct Ruhi classes

    He initiated the purchase of Baha’i Centre in the Bercham area of Ipoh. It was all his hard work with support coming from the believers there.

    His sudden passing is a great loss for the friends of Malaysia especially Ipoh Baha’is. The Baha’i History in Malaysia will never forget this Stalwart of Faith.

    Thanks a lot to Mr. Manisegaran for giving us a complete history of Uncle Rama Naidu’s life and legacy. Missing Uncle Rama Naidu forever.

    Sathiakumar
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  45. I have known Mr Rama Naidu from the time I learned of this wondrous Faith. I met him at the first large literal fireside held in Ladang Geddes. Everyone was set on real fire. I was perhaps 13 years old. He greeted me and I noticed a beautiful smile, kindness, and warm welcoming heart. I immediate took a liking for him.

    I have met him at several conferences and the most memorable one was a teaching conference held at the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) at Port Dickson. There I volunteered to travel teach. He encouraged me to go to a very remote town of Kuala Lipis, especially to the Padang Tuanku Selborne Estate, where my mum and siblings lived.
    He could have said that I was too young to go to such a place. Instead, he encouraged me by saying that I must have trust in Bahá’u’lláh and that God will aid me with my teaching efforts. Indeed, it was my first formal teaching trip and a successful one indeed and I haven’t quite stopped as yet. The “trust in God” that he lighted up in my soul is still very much alive within me.

    The other heartwarming support he gave me amongst many, was when I had gone for travel teaching taught in East Malaysia in 1982 and eventually settled in Papua New Guinea. While in Papua I decided on my future, to get married. I was in love with Sula, and I needed my mum’s written consent for my marriage. Though I had dealt with it my way, I wanted the National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia to ensure my mum was not being forced in any way to give the consent. The National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia requested Mr Rama Naidu, as a Telugu speaking person to communicate with my mum whose mother tongue as mine is Telugu too. He took a special trip to that remote and far away town of Kuala Lipis, to Selbourne estate and spend nearly a whole day talking to my mum, explaining the Baha’i teachings, laws and obedience to the laws of God. He then told her about the Bahai law of parental consent. My mum was so impressed on this law of Bahaullah and consented for the marriage with thumb print signature on a written letter which was read to her.

    Many years later, in 2015 to be precise, my mum narrated the story of Mr Rama Naidu visiting Selbourne Estate, the impression he left in her heart of the Faith, the teachings and obedience to laws. She was closer to the Faith since then, cleared all doubts cast by uninformed people as me joining a cult. Mr Rama Naidu impressed on her, if the consent she gives is not wholehearted, the marriage would not take place. Mum cried then again in 2015 on my last visit to meet her, that every time she prayed to her Hindu Gods, she would think of Abdul’-Baha alongside so that my marriage will be long lasting, and children will be blessed. Thank God, and thank my mum’s consent, our marriage has lasted over 34 years and still going strong with the blessings of Bahaullah.

    That’s the kind of influence Mr Rama Naidu has on everyone who came across his path. May his noble soul rest in the company of like-minded great souls who progress in every world of God.

    Ramu Sanyasi
    New Zealand.

  46. Dear Mr. Mani

    Thanks to you for giving an appropriate and befitting account on the activities and life history of another valiant teacher of the Cause of the God, who accepted the Faith during the first 9 Year Plan period implemented in 1964 by the Universal House of Justice. I think most of the Malaysian early believers became Bahais during the said plan.

    Mr. Rama Naidu also has done extensive teaching both within the country and abroad. His contribution towards the Asli teaching is simply too great not to acknowledge. I still remember when I landed as a pioneer in Bhubaneswar, Odisha state of India in May 1977, the same night was the Ninteteen Day Feast. I was introduced as a Malaysian to the friends .There in the feast Mr. Feridon Yazdani a guest from Vishakapatnam asked me if I knew Mr. Rama Naidu who was his good friend. I thought to myself how small the world is.

    Mr. Rama Naidu and Mr.G.A Naidu were my mentors from Bahau town. His life was much dedicated to serving the Cause of God. When I was 19 years old, Rama Naidu was instrumental in sending me and my colleague Robin to the 9 days Caldwell Spiritualization course, Coordinated by Mrs Terry Stern and husband Mr. Paul of Alaska in Brinching, Cameron Highlands. That was in March 1974. This course gave me the right direction to serve the Faith. It had a dynamic influence on me that my journey of fasting started in that year.

    Rama Naidu always reads the reality of the situation quickly. His application of wisdom and his diligence and tactfulness in handling difficult issues arising in a teaching enterprise cannot be overlooked. Once in 1968 we were having a 2 day conference in Kepis Division, Bahau. A man interfered and was trying to disrupt our on-going sessions. He instigated and brought a Volunteer Police whose house was in the same Kepis Division. I was astonished to see Mr. Rama Naidu in the forefront speaking fluent Malay and with an eloquent voice trying to pacify this person for the commotion created. After sometime this guy apologised saying he had really misunderstood and they all left. That occasion never got erased from my mind.

    As you have mention he was a lover of sports. He was a good footballer too as well as his younger brother Mr. Subba Rao. I had seen Rama Naidu umpiring the soccer matches of the Bahau Sports Club Tournaments. But, then he gave up all that and turned to Bahaullah as He had entrusted loftier responsibilities for the Cause of God. This was very great and meritorious.

    Today, when we study the Ruhi books, we understand that accompaniment in the path of service is part and parcel of the growth process, infusing the love and giving nourishment to the friends of the wider society is becoming a reality. Hence, these friends those days hold these pillars with firm conviction did not leave us to ourselves. Rama Naidu and his other friends like G. A. Naidu, Jami Subramaniam and S. Nathesan functioned as a nucleus group that always visited the Telugu and Orissa speaking friends in Bahau area. They also guided us and involved us in their teaching activities. Therefore, to say some kind of accompaniment was there in those early days, but in different ways.

    In 1977 a pioneer training institute was organised in the Leong Tat Chee Institute in Malacca by the National Spiritual Assembly for those who were waiting to go and serve overseas. I too attended. For me that was Rama Naidu’s last deepening and sharing of experiences.

    I pray fervently for the soul of Rama Naidu to progress in the worlds of God.

    Pitamboro Komoro Naiko
    Puncak Alam,
    Kuala Selangor
    Malaysia

  47. My dad had surrendered himself to Baha’u’llah. The Baha’i Faith that was first introduced to him by Uncle Jami Subramaniam was as a treasure to him. Rather than keeping it to himself he decided to share it with a great many people who came across his path. He had a natural ability to attract people whenever and wherever he spoke. The listener would connect with him easily, and at times small groups would even gather around him like moths to fire. I had witnessed this happening. He would relate concepts of the Faith, giving down to earth examples that were usually from his own teaching experiences in India, Sarawak and elsewhere.

    Our home was a house of happiness. Friends would come from all over for a free flow of tea and the next minute it is all laughter. Friends like our dear Mr. Nehru now in USA and Mr. Mari from Ipoh can attest to that. He would share anecdotes of his encounters with people he met and how he taught them or created instant jokes. They would leave joyful and happy. He gave advise to friends only when needed. He was a friend of everyone.

    Abdul Baha had said that every child should grow up on a firm spiritual foundation. Dad believed in those words of the Master and tried very much to apply them on my siblings and I. He was our first educator who taught us in deeds and not in words alone. The process of accompanying him began when we were still children. To every deepening or teaching trips he would drag us along. Fortunately, there were no mobile phones or other distracting forces back then and so we paid every attention to whatever he shared.

    His presentation of the Faith to a seeker was very logical and generally followed a sequence. In many instances the listener would embrace the Bahá’í Faith in a matter of an hour of teaching. He was always a tireless teacher of the cause.

    He had a learner’s attitude from the very start- always curious and wanting to know more about the Faith. He wouldn’t miss a single Baha’i Summer School that was held usually at Port Dickson or Malacca as well as other conferences held elsewhere. His humility, kindness, generosity, love, and real affection towards people was something that attracted even our own relatives.

    Home to us while growing up was more like an army training camp, without the guns of course! Other than school work we were free to do whatever we wished but spiritual discipline was top priority. Reading the Writings as a family and sharing our thoughts was a daily feature. So was memorizing of the Hidden Words and selections from other Holy Writings. Holy Day events meant learning Baha’i history and making presentations. Electric power outage during the nights would automatically translate into deepening sessions. Honestly, I did get annoyed more than once with all this discipline, but today I laugh and am thankful to him for if not for him. I would not be what I am today.

    He made sure that we understood that the Bahá’í Faith is serious business. What this meant to me is that, as my brother Leroy mentioned in his comment, we ought to put the Faith first before things like work, entertainment, personal stuff, studies, family and so on. “Everything else is secondary. That’s it. No compromise”, he banged on the table. Putting the cart before the horse messes up things, which we realized many times.

    Absolute obedience to the institutions of the Faith was another thing he drummed into us. When the Ruhi institute was introduced there were many who were cynical about its effectiveness. He told us that you simply do it because the Universal House of Justice had advised us to do so. That is obedience. No questions asked.

    Nurturing a person spiritually is really a multi-faceted thing and involves a long process. You can’t just do one thing and say it is done. In the process of nurturing if something wasn’t right he would tell so and assist the person to set things straight.

    He didn’t leave behind much material things for us but the most precious thing that all the wealth in the world can’t buy he gave to us- the Bahai Faith. During his funeral there were easily over 400 people. Our Hindu relatives were taken aback seeing that many people at his funeral. What they couldn’t fathom till now was how come the aborigine people called the Aslis were weeping for him. “Who is this man exactly?”, they asked. “He is a servant of Baha’u’llah,” we answered.

    When it comes to spiritual matters the word ‘NO” has no place he said. We live and breathe for the Faith and nothing else.

    That was Mr. Rama Naidu, my dad. An indefatigable teacher. Till the sunset of his life he only lived to serve as Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum spoke during the Temple dedication in India, “Teach, teach, teach until you drop dead”.

    Our deep thanks and appreciation our historian Mr Manisegaran for penning the life and legacy of my dad, and to all the friends who have posted moving comments about him in this Bahai Recollections Historical Blog.

    We shall someday meet him again and other radiant souls in another realm.

    Suresh Rama Naidu
    Penampang
    Sabah

  48. Although I am from Jerampadang estate near Bahau town in Negri Sembilan l only met Mr. Rama Naidu in 1969 when I was working as Administrative Assistant in the National Bahai Centre in Kuala Lumpur. When we met first we immediately became good friends. Rama Naidu, Jami Subramaniam and G.Appala Naidu were crisscrossing towns, rubber estates and villages in the Bahau area, teaching, deepening, and working with the youths.

    Mr. Rama Naidu had a special and keen interest in youths, and he got along with them well. At Summer Schools and other conferences, he was often appointed to look after the youths. I remember at one Conference at the Yankee Leong Training Institute in Balakong, youths gathered around him and were having a dialogue past midnight. He always welcomed questions from the youths and patiently answered them. The youths felt they had a confidant with whom they can discuss some of the most sensitive issues.

    The author had covered so well in detail the activities, services, sacrifices of Rama Naidu. Well documented for Bahai history and the family.

    Rama Naidu was throughout his life immersed in Bahai activities and had no moment of rest or leisure for himself. Surely he died as a moth would in fire.

    C. Kanagaratnam
    Arizona
    USA

  49. I read the story of Mr Rama Naidu in one sitting the moment I received the notification. The historian Mr Manisegaran has gone to great length uprooting all he could to pen a very detailed and beautiful story on him. If not for this story I would not have known Mr Rama Naidu this well.

    I had just become a Bahai in Kinta Valley Estate in 1976 and we were all deepened by friends from Ipoh like Mrs Theresa Chee and Mr K. Krishnan and Mr C. Subramaniam from Sungei Siput. I did not move out of my estate. But the first Bahai family ever I stayed with was that of Mr Rama Naidu when he was in Bidor town. His was a full Bahai family providing the best Bahai atmosphere and the best Bahai hospitality. There was a great attraction in his house.

    Later when the family moved into Ipoh town I had more opportunities to move with them. Mr Rama Naidu was very caregiving for the youth. He trained, guided, encouraged and motivated the younger ones. He always made them look into the Writings for living a fruitful and meaningful life. HE got them involved in community activities.
    It is sad such great souls had to leave us so early.

    V. Saamynathan
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  50. I had known Uncle Ramanaidu from the early days of my Baha’i life. l was very privileged to be his student in learning about the Faith through the correspondence courses. He was very involved in dispatching and correcting the lessons of the courses based on the book The New Garden. At summer schools and winter schools he would encourage me to complete the courses. l was greatly affected by his genuine love, strong humour and cheerfulness. I was always looking forward to the visits of uncle and aunty to Sabah. Our family was fortunate to host and listen to his many interesting stories that he shared with us. Uncle Ramanaidu will forever remain in our hearts

    Krishnan Ramasamy
    Kota Kinabalu
    Sabah

  51. Dear Uncle Manisegaran,
    I want to thank you for this wonderful write up about my Dad. So much details that I had never known before have been well recorded for posterity. So many memories started pouring in. Reading this was definitely an emotional ride and even more when I started reading the many comments from across the world There’s nothing more that I can add to which both my brothers already did in terms of their own comments.

    I am very grateful and just want to thank everyone for the wonderful memories. I grew up in a very loving household and we always had activities. The connections we made then last till today. I still clearly remember my Mom waking up at odd hours preparing tea and getting some kind of food ready because somebody was always coming for a visit. She never complained, neither did my dad.

    My only request is that please remember us in your prayers to follow the spirit shown by our dad and of course the Way of the Master as well.

    Thank you.

    Sanjay Ramanaidu
    Putrajaya
    Malaysia.

  52. Dear Manisegaran

    I enjoyed reading the story of Rama Naidu, carrying so much details which have never been published elsewhere. Now his full services and legacy have been recorded for the whole world to read and appreciate that the Malaysian Bahai community has produced a wondrous gem in the form or Rama Naidu.

    It is news that he studied in Malacca and came to learn about the Faith in Malacca, through Jami Subramaniam. No wonder Rama Naidu was ignited by the Malaccan spirit and learned more in Seremban and finally accepted in Port Dickson- all these having earned name and fame for Bahai historical activities.

    Each time I went for Bahai gatherings especially Summer Schools, Rama Naidu would come to me, throw his arms over my shoulder and ask me, “How are you Anthony?” That genuine touch, that sincere gesture, those words of concern were the ones that truly built the early community and cemented the hearts. The early believers would know what I am trying to say.

    This dear friend of mine was truly immersed not only in the writings, but also in Bahai activities from the time he accepted the Faith. He was a sincere believer and his prayers were sincere. He wanted to die while serving and his prayers were answered- as he passed away after conducting the Ruhi book class and while preparing for the ascension of the Master. And as he breathed last, he looked at the face of his wife. What went on in his mind as he looked into the face of his wife is known to him alone. Methinks he was very proud of a wife who stood by him all these years in his service for the Cause and for bringing the children the Bahai way. Mrs Rama Naidu did set an example!

    Having accepted the Faith in 1957, I have lived so long to witness the growth of the Faith in this country. Many of my friends have left the world, and I spend my time reading these stories and reflecting on them. These stories take me in time and I miss more and more those valiant souls who have created history.

    Last, Manisegaran, I think there is a guiding force that made you write this story. I can see so much emotion, eloquence of language and the spirit in the story. May Bahaullah guide you and strengthen you to do more for the cause in enriching the Bahai history.

    Anthony Casimir Louis
    Malacca
    Malaysia

  53. Dear Mani
    I read the story twice as it was so interesting. I have nothing more to add. You have covered all I think. My only comment is that this is a great piece of literary work which is almost a book by itself. You have carried out a splendid research. The services of Rama Naidu are most impressive service. In short it is unbelievable that such people like him lived and served during our own lifetime to make us wonder with awe.

    Ganavathy naidu
    Kuala Kerai
    Kelantan
    Malaysia

  54. 18 years have passed and the memories of my uncle Mr. Rama Naidu, lovingly we call him “Daddy” because he was never like an uncle to us but he was like a father, a guardian angel instead. He is the elder brother of my father Subbarao. Yet he never differentiated between us and his children, my cousins. We too never felt the difference, he loved us the same, he scolded us the same. He was strict but a very loving person.
    I remember every winter school uncle Jami’s family, my uncle Rama Naidu’s fFamily, and uncle G.A Naidu’s family used to stay in our humble home in Kg. Bagan Pinang in Port Dickson town before going to the winter school. My mom used to cook for all of us. Coming to think about it now I have no idea how my parents or my uncle Rama Naidu or Uncle Jami, uncle G.A Naidu managed all their financially but it was the happiest moment in our life.

    They were my spiritual teachers, an example of how to be a devoted and humble servant of Baha’u’llah. We are what we are today, definitely because of them. I still remember staying in my uncle’s house in Taman Kandiah, Bidor. I remember uncle Somu and his family too who lived nearby and they both were good friends. Uncle Somu used to be a bodybuilder and he used to advise us on a lot on balanced diet and health matters whenever we visit him. On the other hand, my uncle used to give each one of us a bookmark containing Bahai quotations first thing in the morning before breakfast and would ask us to memorize them before breakfast. Therefore, we had a balance of spiritual and material food since young. Memorizing holy writings was a daily affair. At that time I felt it was really a torturous moment but today whenever I advise my children to memorize, I will tell them “Petha Tata”, that’s how they call him in Telugu meaning “Big Grandfather”, will be disappointed if you don’t memorize prayers, and they too love him very much. Now they have grown up and this practice has become a natural process.
    My uncle may have left us but what he has taught us like every morning before we start our day we must start with prayers, never miss our obligatory prayers, and before we sleep we must say our prayers. Reading the Holy Writings is a must every day, this advice has become part of our lives now.

    My father, Mr.Subba Rao, and the rest of the 6 siblings, all my aunties, have joined my uncle in the Abha Kingdom except two. They are all very fond of my uncle, he is well respected. He was not only a hero in the Faith of Baha’u’llah but he was also a leader and an advisor to our entire family. Everyone turned to him for advice and sometimes when he is unable to be there he will discuss and request my father to attend. All of them (siblings) were very close and that’s the example all we, including our children, are following today, the bond and the love among the siblings.
    When I was working in Cameron Highlands for 2 years, he was not well and found difficulty in walking. I used to visit him often in Bercham area in Ipoh town. There was a Chinese food court nearby. I used to have some of my favorite dishes there. When I arrive from Cameron highlands, he will ask me to take shower quickly and get ready because he wanted to take me to this food court. My auntie and even me at that time used to worry and advise him not to strain himself to walk there but he will insist ( I am in tears as I am writing this) and of course, for those who know my uncle it was not an easy task to convince him and finally he wins. He always jokes and laughs while we walk there, he never showed any pain.

    Once, My auntie and uncle including my parents stayed with me in my apartment in Cameron highlands during a winter school held there, I still remember when anyone asked him where he was staying, he used to proudly say, ” In my son’s apartment here, he is a big Engineer here you know”( In fact I was only a Junior Project Engineer at that time)
    He was my mentor besides serving the Faith, he used to advise about finance, business, studies, why is important to be a professional, serving in a higher capacity and a lot more. He used to advise me about my eldest son Ashvin Varqa, who was only 6 years old at that time. My second son Suraj was not born yet at that time. He loved Ashvin and his grandchildren a lot. Whenever we visited him, these children get attached to him like a magnet and I remember Paveeithra (My sister’s daughter ) & Ashvin used to get angry with him because he loves to bite their chubby cheeks. My uncle used to call Ashvin “anni thelusonodu” which means “The one who knows everything” the reason being Ashvin used to answer any questions that my uncle asked him and of course at the age of six he just (cooked up the answers. My uncle will laugh and laugh, catch him, and bite his cheeks!

    I still remember, on 27 November 2004 at about 7.30 pm when I was fixing the P.A system for the Ascension of Abdul Baha at the Seremban Bahai center, I received a call from my beloved sister Sujatha that our “Daddy”(uncle Rama Naidu) is no more, My heart broke into pieces. My dad and mom were on a short teaching trip to Sri Lanka at that time. By the Grace of Baha’u’llah, they managed to rush and arrive on time for the funeral. My uncle was blessed with a beautiful family and lovely friends, the Asli Baha’is were always special in his heart, he loved them like brothers and sisters. I can’t wait to meet him again and hug him in the Abha Kingdom. Missing him so much.

    Thank you Uncle Manisegaran for never failing to bring to us all the beautiful memories and histories of the stalwarts of the Faith, Some of the information about my uncle I only came to know when reaging this article, truly appreciate your research work. I pray that you will be always blessed with good health so that you will continue all the great service that you too are rendering there in US and for all the prayers.

    I rarely write any articles, but this is special and close to my heart and I just wanted to be part of this love too. Thanks to my brothers Leroy, Suresh and Sanjay and my beloved sister Sujatha too for continuously showering the love and kindness to my children and our family after daddy left us.

    Murali Subbarao
    Nilai
    Negeri Sembilan
    Malaysia

Leave a Reply