Unveiling of the statue of Dr. S. K. Somaiya


14th December 2017

Dear friends,

The last couple of weeks have been very eventful on our campus.  His Holiness, The Dalai Lama returned to our campus for the 4th time.  He had come for the first time, in 1993, when he inaugurated the K. J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies.  At that time, our founder, Shri K. J. Somaiya was there, Mrs Sakarbai Karamshi Somaiya was there, and my father, Dr. S. K Somaiya (at whose invitation he had come to campus), was very much there.



His Holiness referred to the relationship that he has shared with all three generations on our campus, and hoped that we would carry on the tradition of providing education that promotes well being and warm heartedness towards one other.  He repeated, that whether one's personal belief in the nature of God was one's personal business, but what mattered most, was that we were kind to one other.



Before his public teaching this past Sunday, he unveiled the statue of my father, Dr. Somaiya, who had beed Vice President of Somaiya Vidyavihar since its founding in 1959, and who led it from 1999 till 2010.  Dr. Somaiya did a lot of work, in bringing the idea that religions had much good to teach, an could be a force of bringing people together, and not just dividing them.  For his efforts, he was recognised by the Government of Kazakhstan, and also the Focolare.  He reached out to Islam, Christianity, Buddhism (and also Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism).  Being Hindu, he believed in the tenet, वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् - 'The World Is One Family.'  



His statue on campus was unveiled for this legacy.  I wanted the statue to be life size, on a bench.  To be able to sit next to.  To take a picture with.



It is easy to forget, that we are today, because of what many worked on in the past.  And our culture on our campus, will always be to welcome all, because that is the richness of our culture, our country, and our world.  And, in our busy lives, we often forget this (this thought was immortalised in Sahir's famous song in the movie कभी कभी, where he says 'कल कोई मुझको याद करे, क्यों कोई मुझको याद करे, मसरूफ ज़माना मेरे लिये क्यों वक्त अपना बरबाद करे'।



This statue is meant to show, that for every time we sit next to him, on the bench, we remember that the world is better because of people like you and me.  And that we respect and celebrate our differences, as we strive to make a better world for all of us.





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