Backed by a vision and a few words of encouragement from Mahatma Gandhi, a small man by the name of KM Munshi set up the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 1938. It’s been seventy-five years since then and the education trust now operates hundreds of schools and colleges around the world.
On Sunday, at the inauguration of the trust’s platinum jubilee celebrations, President Pranab Mukherjee described Munshi, whose 125th birth anniversary was also celebrated this year, as one of the “dreamers” of modern India.
“Athough he was a man of small build, there was nothing small in what he achieved during his life time,” said Mukherjee.
The Bhavans institutions have formed a significant part of the educational fabric of the city, catering to thousands of students every year. “Movements like the Bhavan’s are the need of the day” Mukherjee said. “Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan has stood the test of time guiding Indians and foreigners alike in their path to lead a balanced and wholesome life.”
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, governor K Sankaranarayanan, and congress MP Murli Deora were present at the function.
The institution conferred its rare honorary membership upon veteran Hindustani classical singer Kishori Amonkar, women empowerment campaigner Ila Bhatt and chairman of Inforsys Narayan Murthy.
Among the 40 others who have been bestowed with the membership before are the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and C Rajagopalachari. In the past 75 years, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has set up 395 constituent institutions and 122 centres spread across the country, which teach engineering, commerce, science, arts, management, Indian culture, synthesis of science and human values and so on.
“The Bhavan is rooted, but remains relevant to current time with its newer programmes,” said Chavan.
The trust recently received Rs10 crore from the prime minister’s fund for its new projects in tribal areas that will cater to 4,62,000 students.