Jaswant Gill, who founded Sun Deep Cosmetics in the USA, returned to Panjab University (PU) after about 45 years with a gift to his alma mater. He donated Rs 1.3 crore, whose interest will be able to fund four scholarships every year in the varsity’s pharmacy department.
“I studied free of cost for five years at the university…It was my dream that one day I should pay back…Better late than never,” Gill told HT.
Hailing from Villa Teja village of Gurdaspur district, Gill had limited means since childhood. He first did a two-year pharmacy diploma which enabled him to work as a pharmacist at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. Though he got selected for bachelor’s course at pharmacy department in PU, but PGIMER was not relieving him. Emergency was imposed at that time.
“Our department head at that time Dr KN Gaind told me to tell Dr Santokh Singh (one of the founders of the PGIMER), that if they want more pharmacy students, we all (a batch of 25) could serve at the institute. I told Dr Santokh that I wanted to pursue my career…Had those opportunities not been availed, my career wouldn’t have shaped like this,” said Gill.
He joined PU in 1964 and left in 1969 after his post-graduation.
“I have a lot of good memories at PU. That is why I am back. I am emotionally attached to it. Dr KN Gaind would discipline us in a sophisticated manner without punishing us for mischief,” he said.
He visited the pharmacy department and was surprised to see the transformation. “It has grown two-and-half-times now. We used to have a very small canteen on a cot, but now there is a full-fledged cafe.”
After passing out from PU, Gill migrated to the US. He worked at a number of cosmetic industries there and founded the Sun Deep Cosmetics about 25 years ago. It was named after the name of his youngest son. “We slowly grew into a significant company in 2007 and decided to donate to PU,” he said.
He said he studied on scholarships at PU and if he could pass on that opportunity to others, he would consider himself fortunate.
The interest of his donation will enable three students get a scholarship of Rs 4,000 per month, along with Rs 20,000 per month to a research scholar. “PM Narendra Modi had talked about brain deposit against brain drain and I am just doing that,” said Gill.