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Dr. S.K. Somaiya

Our guiding light that shone the brightest in all the areas he had tread - from the fields of commercial science to the sphere of divine spirituality.

Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya followed in the footsteps of Shri K. J. Somaiya - his father and our founder. He was a worthy successor to the tradition set by our founder, and also set a new and expanded course, for both Godavari Biorefineries and the Somaiya Trust.

He led the K. J. Somaiya Medical Trust and imagined the creation of a multi-specialty medical centre - a health city that would be a world class centre of research, education, and service. He dreamt for it to provide the best tertiary care and education in India and the world.

He also led the Somaiya Trust and Somaiya Vidyavihar ably. He presided over a period of rapid asset creation at Vidyavihar, and also conceptualized the formation of Sanskritivihar. These institutions teach courses on Indian philosophy, religion, and bring values into the curriculum. The K.J. Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham, K. J. Somaiya Institute of Buddhist Studies, and K. J. Somaiya Jain Centre are all parts of this organic whole.

Through these institutions, he also brought people of diverse backgrounds together. He organized programs on inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican, and was invited by the President of Kazakhstan for discussion on Islam.

"Whatever you do in word or in deed,Do all in the name of the Lord, Giving thanks to Him"

Padmabhushan Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya.


Earlier, Dr. Somaiya excelled in the field of sugarcane research, sugar manufacture and ethanol, and ethanol based chemistry. His contribution to the company was the identification of the site for sugar production in Karnataka, at Sameerwadi, in the late 1960s. At that time, very little cane was grown there. Through the founding of the K. J. Somaiya Institute of Applied Agriculture Research (KIAAR), he taught how to grow cane to the farmers of the area. Today, North Karnataka is among the best cane growing areas of India.

He also visualized that Sameerwadi should be capable of crushing 10,000 tons per day, in a time when average mill outputs were 1,500 tons per day. Even today, India has only a handful of Mills (Sameerwadi being one of them), that have capacities exceeding 10,000 tons per day.

Dr. Somaiya was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by The University of Agriculture Science at Dharwad, for his outstanding contribution to the growth in the prosperity of the area.

Dr. Somaiya also pioneered the production of ethanol from molasses in 1950s; he pioneered the use of ethanol as a feedstock for industrial chemicals. It is only now - in the face of rising energy and petrochemical costs, that the world is revisiting the use of renewable chemistry.

He was a believer in the power of the sugar industry to bring about social as well as financial prosperity. He continuously tried to create new social programs to benefit the rural population. His last program, ‘Ankur’, was an effort to eradicate blindness caused by the deficiency of Vitamin A in diets. This he tried to do by establishing a partnership between the National Association for the Blind (NAB), and various sugar mills.

Dr. S. K. Somaiya left behind a wonderful vision of an integrated development - be it in medicine, business, education, religion, or philosophy. One that engages rather than divides, and encompasses all, reflecting the true spirit of our heritage and tradition!

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