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The Founder

An all-round education must integrate Indian culture, values and morality into the curriculum.



Padma Bhushan K. J. Somaiya


"न त्वहं कामये राज्यं, न स्वर्गं ना पुनर्भवम्।
कामये दु:खतप्तानाम् प्राणिनामार्तिनाशनम्।"

This was the thought that Shri K. J. Somaiya, our founder and my grandfather, had when he founded Somaiya Ayurvihar. The shloka says that he longed not for kingdom, and certainly not for heaven. Instead, what he desired was to keep being reborn, to alleviate the sufferings of all living beings.

He was an entrepreneur. He was born poor, in rural Maharashtra to Kutchi parents. Working hard, he achieved success in the sugar industry (http://www.somaiya.com/). He believed that he owed a debt to the society, and spent much of his life creating institutions that created opportunity and alleviated the suffering of the society around. His work in the Girivanvasi Pragati Mandal was a demonstration of that desire. Every year, for almost 10 years, he traveled to parts of tribal India, and set up medical camps, dedicated to the service of those Indians, to whom no services, let alone health care reached. The best doctors from Mumbai, bogie load of students from Somaiya Vidyavihar as volunteers, and many of us family members would go there to work with them.

Somaiya Vidyavihar was his dream to create education opportunity, for students to enter at kindergarten, and leave at various points - 10th, 12th or with a variety of degrees; to create human beings who are competent, and great citizenship.

Medicine was his final project. He believed, that the Somaiya Trust should also promote medical education, and medical education should be there to create great doctors, who healed patients, and were great human beings.

And it was on this basis, that the K. J. Somaiya Medical College, the K. J. Somaiya Hospital, the K. J. Somaiya Nursing College, K. J. Somaiya College of Physiotherapy were started. The aim and dream, was to create an institution of service, of research, and of medical and health education. And medical education would be accompanied by a hospital. This hospital would be a place of health and wellness. A place of respect. A place of hope. A place of life, and a place for living. A place for finding a cure. A place for relieving suffering.

And he named it सोमैया आयुर्विहार

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

Padmabhushan Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya

Founder

In the 1939 Shri K.J. Somaiya launched 2 sugar factories – in Sakarwadi and in Lakshmiwadi to mark the launch of his own sugar business. He soon came to be known as the Sugar King of India.

At the age of 60 he relinquished the leadership of his economic enterprise to his son Dr Shantilal Somaiya, and fully immersed himself in social service. He was committed to the ideal "what you receive from society give back multifold".

No sketch of Shri K.J. Somaiya can be complete without mentioning his philanthropy. The establishment of various educational institutes was the manifestation of the guiding philosophy of his life. His work in the Girivanvasi Pragati Mandal was also a demonstration of that desire. Every year, for almost 10 years, he traveled to parts of tribal India and set up medical camps, dedicated to the service of those Indians, to whom no services, let alone health care reached. The best doctors from Mumbai, family members and a train load of students from Somaiya Vidyavihar as volunteers, would accompany him.

Shri K.J. Somaiya was warm and endearing. Stately in appearance, immaculately dressed, generally in spotless white hand spun khadi, he exuded a picture of resourcefulness and restraint. He was compassionate and reached out to those in suffering. In all he did, Karamshibhai brought a sense of love and humanism, qualities imbibed in his early youth from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He believed in the ancient Sanskrit saying (na manushit paro dharmah). "There is no religion greater than Man". Karamshibhai's life exemplified this lofty principle through practice.

Shri Karamshibhai Somaiya passed away on May 9, 1999, a week before his 97th birthday. Somaiya Vidyavihar is the living legacy he has left behind, a standing monument to his sagacity, perseverance and foresight.

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