Happy New Year


1st January 2020

Happy New Year to everyone.

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the passing away of Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya, my father, who led the Somaiya effort in education, healthcare and rural development, after our founder, Shri K. J. Somaiya passed away in 1999.

He had imagined that we could become a University.  He would have been delighted that his dream is now a reality.  

Everyone leaves behind some footsteps that are worth following.  Dr. Somaiya left behind a great tradition of dialogue.  I still remember wondering why he invited so many people to our home, especially when their views were so opposed to ours.  On one such occasion, when one of our guests had a world view that was very different, I asked him, as to why he invited such people home.  He mentioned that if you want to accomplish change, and to create a society that we want to live in or dream of, then we cannot do it by just talking to the people who look like us, or think like us.  He mentioned, that dialogue is necessary between people of different views and perspectives.  Only then change is possible (and we may change as well).

Our news feeds, our social media all are personalised to tailor information to us that we want.  But we cannot afford to remain isolated in this manner.  We must engage.  

And he did engage.  It was because of this that he was invited by the Vatican for work in Hindu Christian dialogue.  This was also the reason that he was invited by the then President of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev, for dialogue between religions.  His is one of 17 signatures in the Baiterek Tower in Astana, to symbolise unity and understanding.  And His Holiness The Dalai Lama has visited us four times, for dialogue and teaching.  

In that spirit of harmony, I wish you all a happy new year.

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