Innovation in the mind, compassion in the heart and passion in the belly can help create great enterprises: SB Mujumdar
Innovation in the mind, compassion in the heart and passion in the belly can help create great enterprises,” 83-year-old Shantaram Balwant Mujumdar, founder-president of Symbiosis Society, said here on Thursday, during a candid interview about the inception and growth of Symbiosis.
Chancellor of Symbiosis International Deemed University, Prof SB Mujumdar, as he is known, was a professor of Botany at Fergusson College, when he took the first steps to create Symbiosis in 1971.
While at Fergusson College, he noticed how a girl student would approach a window in the boy’s hostel with a package everyday. When he checked into the hostel room, he saw a Mauritian student lying in bed, pale and sick.
“He kept his head on my shoulder and wept profusely. Believe me, the tears of a foreign student was a turning point,” Mujumdar said during his public interview by Vikrant Vartak, founder of Mavens, a chief executive officers’ peer group.
Mujumdar was the guest at the 20th Senate Talk Show, Pride of Pune series, under the knowledge-sharing initiative for budding entrepreneurs and business professionals.
The Symbiosis founder recalled that students like Patrick Oswasa from Ghana, spoke of the extreme discrimination that he suffered from Punekars simply because he was a black African.
The student told Mujumdar that in the mornings, students in the hostels would “close their eyes or look away because seeing black in the morning was a bad omen.”
In local buses, people would not sit near him because of his colour.
It was to address this discrimination and help foreign students that Mujumdar established Symbiosis.
The octogenarian educationist stressed on values like humility, simplicity and frugality coupled with passion, compassion and innovation that can help in making a valuable contribution to society. He also stressed on the importance of spirituality in one’s life.
Mujumdar credited his parents for these values and said, “Right from childhood, they taught me the importance of values, most importantly, moral values.”
“Humility is not a weakness. You can be polite and get work done. You can be persuasive without being aggressive. These essential values for any institution or organisation,” he said.
On spirituality in one’s life, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi who had said, ‘I continuously pray in the faith that the prayer of a pure heart never goes unanswered.’
When asked for tips, advice and suggestions for budding and aspiring entrepreneurs and youth of the country, he spoke of the importance of passion, compassion and innovation.
He said the word ‘innovationary’ that he had coined to denote massive social change through innovation, was better than the word ‘revolutionary’. “Symbiosis, I believe is a beautiful example of social innovation, passion and compassion,” he said.