Sunday, 20 April 2014

Rotary helps us start a new and modern blood bank

Yesterday, we inaugurated a new and modern blood bank at the K. J. Somaiya Hospital, Somaiya Ayurvihar.  The Rotary Club of Mumbai Queen's Necklace gave us all the financial assistance to buy the equipment necessary.  We are grateful to Sanjiv Mehta the President of the club, the Om Kher Charitable Trust, other members of the same club and other Rotary clubs or their support.

We hope that this facility will be a much needed service to the people of the city and beyond.  In keeping with our tradition, the service will be available to those who cannot afford at very reasonable costs.  

I was reminded of my grandfather, who had said, that if the work is worth doing, then go ahead and do it, the means will follow.  Even then, it is difficult to take that leap of faith.  When Sanjiv Mehta came forward, and said that his club would lend full support, I remembered my grandfather's promise.  If you find purpose, means do follow.  

Sanjiv Mehta echoed the same thoughts in his speech, when he mentioned that similarly,his members came forward to lend support to him, as he built on the vision of his past Presidents.  

Lata Subraidu, the District Governor also spoke beautifully.  

Sendurai Mani, Co Director of the Metastasis Research Centre of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas Spoke on the public health causes of cancer, and what measures we could take to prevent the same.  

Sanjiv Mehta was the first blood donor.  Followed by Anita Shantaram, and later by Sendurai Mani.  What a way to inaugurate the blood bank.

Dr. Niyogi, our Dean of the medical college echoed the service mission of Ye institution. My grandfather always quoted न मानुषात् परो धर्म  - no religion other than service to mankind.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On lifelong learning

Started the Somaiya Centre for Lifelong Learning a couple of months ago.  Supriya Rai really helping wonderfully, and shouldering the responsibility to get it going and keep it running.

Ten years ago, when in Cambridge MA, I had a chance to take courses at the Cambridge Centre for Adult Education (Ten years ago, when in Cambridge MA, I had a chance to take courses at the Cambridge Centre for Adult Education (, where so many interesting courses were taught.  And in the same manner as Amrita and I started Kitabkhana (after seeing wonderful bookstores all over the world),  We have now started the Somaiya Centre for Lifelong Learning.

In the past few weeks, we have started a course on Yoga, Tai Chi, Spoken Sanskrit, the Upanishads, A study trip to Patan and Modhera, Sailing, Photography, Spanish Literature, and much more.  In fact, Justice SriKrishna delivered the last lecture on the course on the Upanishads.  What a treat, and what an honour. 

I am myself taking a course in spoken Sanskrit.  My sister and nephew are also taking the course.  Professor Pendse is wonderful.  Really enjoying the course.  I hope I can speak Sanskrit fluently some day.  What a language!!

The Somaiya Centre for Lifelong Learning is located on the second floor of Somaiya Bhavan, Fort, Mumbai.  Above Kitabkhana.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Dean Soumitra Dutta, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University visited Somaiya Vidyavihar earlier this week

Although he was in Mumbai for only a few hours, Dean Dutta made it to the Somaiya Vidyavihar campus, and spoke to the students and faculty of the K. J. Somaiya institute of Management Studies and Research.  

He described how Cornell is spearheading the creation of CornellTech, in New York City.  Mayor Bloomberg invited Universities to put forward their idea for winning a 10 acre parcel of land, on which to create a hub for education, innovation and entrepreneurship. Msp as to create a Silicon Valley type of environment in New York City.

If only our leadership would encourage us, or only help create an enabling environment where we could accomplish so much more.

He mentioned that Cornell University has created one program, where the School of Management, Engineering, and Computer Science will have one admissions, one Programme, common faculty, and one administration, to create a degree without 'boundaries'.  He mentioned that their faculty will not sit in traditional cabins, but in open offices, and will also be required to teach in local schools.  He further mentioned, that entrepreneurship as a subject is being elevated to the same status as traditional feldspar such as marketing, finance, etc. 

When he was asked, what distinguished a USA MBA Programme from an Indian one, he mentioned that Indian programmes had younger students. And almost very little international students and/or faculty.  He added, that to have more meaningful interactions in class, and to get a greater sense on the global world we live in, we should also have class composition that is older, and more international.

In the future, he felt that MOOCs would threaten lower quality programs.  He felt that good education would have to be high quality, and delivered at a big scale. 

It was great to have his perspective.  He really liked our campus, and promised to come back and spend more time.