STUDENTS and teachers of Labasa Sangam College this week celebrated the life and work of a saint and the founder of the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI), Sewak Ratnam Sadhu Kuppuswamy.
Born in the Indian state of Madras in 1980 and later serving in its police force, he came to Fiji in 1912 as an indentured worker and served in Yaladro, Tavua before moving to Rakiraki where he established the present TISI Sangam.
Chief guest and manager of the Bank of the South Pacific's Labasa branch Anand Nair said the life of Sadhuji the saint was full of sacrifices.
"He had a message of hope and he was very effective in taking that message to the masses of people and drawing out of them some of the noblest qualities," he said.
"He could not go to some very large merchants for assistance but he started the TISI movement through sacrifice and giving."
Areas where Sadhu Swamy played a pivotal role in the lives of the Indian people included religion and the Indian culture.
Sadhu Kuppuswamy felt that to kill people one had to kill their language, culture and religion and this three components of society was what he focused his works on during his life.
"Now we have been rendered poorer because we have lost some aspects of our language and our culture," said Mr Nair.
He said Sadhu Kuppuswamy was a great teacher who even though was a founder of the Sangam institution had a wider vision for the country and the people.
Former National Federation Party leader, the late AD Patel once described the late Kuppuswamy as "the greatest Indian in the history of Fiji".