In commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s Month, it would be unjust not to recognise the remarkable achievements of “Malaysia’s Mother Teresa,” Datin Paduka Mother A. Mangalam.
A beacon of hope and inspiration for thousands of people, Mother Mangalam has devoted her life to advocating for the disadvantaged in education, empowerment and many other areas of social equitability.
In conjunction with IWD, RYTHM Foundation, the social impact initiative of the QI Group, recently called on the inimitable Co-founder and Life Chairperson of The Pure Life Society to present her with the ‘Excellence Award for Exemplary Female Role Model.’
The QI Group award celebrates Mother Mangalam’s steadfast, decades-long dedication and commitment to improving the lives of underprivileged children, women, families, and communities. Despite her advanced age (she turns 97 in May), she remains committed to her cause, inspiring countless others to positively impact the world as she has.
“What inspires us is her service, which has been based on purity and sincerity for decades,” the Head of RYTHM, Santhi Periasamy, says.
“She has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, including valuable insights into unity, diversity, and the importance of wisely using our time and energy,” Santhi adds.
Watch highlights of our recent visit to PLS and insights into Mother Mangalam’s wisdom:
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Body, Mind and Spirit
Mother Mangalam defines this year’s IWD theme, #EmbraceEquity, as recognising and valuing women’s unique and essential role in family life and society.
“Who is more significant in a family? The woman,” she says matter-of-factly. “The man may go out to earn, but only a woman can accomplish the formation of a child from the womb to life.
“I wish all women Happy (International) Women’s Day, and every one of you bestowed with good health in body, mind, and spirit.”
Also read: Driving Change: How the QI Group Celebrated International Women’s Day
A further core mission of Mother Mangalam has always been fostering unity on the strength of diversity.
“Have a look at the plants around you. We need diversity. There are different types, colours, and shapes. This is important: humans are also like plants, but the only difference is we are thinking reeds,” she explains in her inimitable symbolic charm.
Mother Mangalam firmly believes in the power of collective efforts to create positive change and a better world.
“We are of different colours, attitudes, and life missions. We think differently, yet we are all humans. So, we must relate to one another in that brotherhood or sisterhood.
“The source is the same, (but the) colours are different. That is why we must learn to see unity in the diversity of colours,” she adds.
Mother Mangalam has steadfastly committed to using her providential strength to uplift others. “The name of the organisation is Pure Life Society. We encourage people to use their God-given energy to accomplish tasks that uplift others. And the only way to do that is to tone your body, mind and heart to a level of purity,” she explains.
In her perspective, serving humankind is one of an individual’s most pivotal deeds. This particularly struck her during World War II, which “broadened my vision, seeing and realising that death is always at our doorstep. The period really taught me a lot, especially about service to others.”
However, this path is not without its challenges. Still, Mother Mangalam believes the key to resisting them lies in contemplation and living each day to the fullest.
“Temptations and distractions will be there. However, we must fortify ourselves to not be tempted. The only way to strengthen yourself is through prayer, which is very important. Live well by using the day given to you in the right way.
“Our time here is limited, which makes it all the more important to use it wisely. While we may think that time is infinite, life is short. Though time is eternal, the time in our life is limited. So, we must make good use of our time.”
Mother Managalam emphasises the importance of applying our minds and hearts for the greater good.
“(Use) the heart for the love that can expand to all and the brain to think. Create things that will help you to think intelligently for the good of people and the world.”
Her work is a shining example of what is possible when we dedicate ourselves to improving the world – one act of service at a time.
The QI Group was honoured to pay tribute to the distinguished Mother Mangalam. She remains a remarkable and venerable individual whose lifelong dedication to serving humanity with distinction and integrity inspires us all.
Watch this video for glimpses into the QI Group’s recent IWD celebration:
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Watch QI Group’s Executive Chairman, Dato’ Sri Vijay Eswaran, and RYTHM chairperson, Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran, discuss empowerment, equality, and relationships in honour of women’s issues this month: