64th Foundation Day


9th September 2022

Dear Friends

Somaiya Vidyavihar was founded on the 9th of September, 1959.  Today is our Foundation Day.  The day we were founded.  We normally celebrate on this same day, but have postponed the celebration on account of Ganesh Visarjan today.  But celebrate it, we will.

A Foundation Day is a day when we reflect on our past principles and future dreams.  In light of the current realities.

Sometimes, when I meet alumni on campus, they say to me, 'this was not there when we were students, wish we had it then'.  My response always is that we are always trying to make tomorrow better than yesterday.  

What applies to our campus also applies to our world.  It is the only world we have, and it is our world.  Climate change, sustainability and a world that we are happy to hand over to the next generation is what we have to work for.  And above all, a world that is more beautiful to live in.  In all ways.

Just last month, we created a new Centre for Regenerative Agriculture.  The ideas will be for our students and faculty to have a research site in Northern Karnataka, where we can work on soil science, sustainability, water use, farmer livelihoods, nutrition and more at scale.  We need to ensure that our farmers do well.  Our soil stays healthy.  Our food is nutritious.  Our water resources are well taken care of.  And we keep meeting our needs for food, materials and energy in a sustainable way.  Socially, financially and environmentally.

Similarly, we are working on creating a centre for studying forest ecology and conservation near the Ratapani Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.  Forests are simply beautiful.  One has to just be in one to realise what magic they hold.  And forests, their biodiversity, their majesty, their beauty must be preserved if not grown.  

And an opportunity to look at design with artisans in Kutch.  India is full of gorgeous craft and artisanal work.  In Kutch we have created a centre that works with artisans to teach them marketing and design.  To show them what the world looks like.  Similarly, we need to understand the world of natural colours, the traditional arts, the master craftsmen and women.  

All of what I have mentioned will be 'boots on the ground' initiatives under the broader Somaiya umbrella.  These are real opportunities for our students, faculty and researchers to visit, study, research and work.  To see the world in a different perspective and live the education experience differently.

A couple of months ago, Vishal Gondal (founder of GOQii) released a podcast in which he interviewed me.  The interview was recorded a year ago and in one take.  Vishal asked me a series of questions on our history and much of what he asked digs into the philosophy of our Founder Shri K J Somaiya and the founding principles of all he did.  It is a commitment we continue to follow and take forward.  Do listen!!


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