This institution bears the name of Dr. Brijmohan Lall Munjal, the Founder of the Hero Group, my father and a friend to many.
“Chairman Saab” or “Bauji”, as he was fondly called by those who knew him, passed away in early November after an illustrious and epochal life. He was 92.
I would like to begin this message by sharing with you what he stood for, as well as some of his abiding beliefs that we are trying to inculcate at BMU, based on his value system.
From the ravages of India’s partition in 1947, he and his brothers laid the foundation for an ethical, value based, result oriented business, that today employs over 35,000 people, and has verticals ranging from two wheelers and cycles to auto parts, from BPO and financial services to insurance distribution, clean energy and real estate.
He nurtured several social enterprises in the areas of adult education, women’s empowerment, healthcare and education. The trusts that he set up now successfully run numerous primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education institutes across multiple states.
My father was an unconventional student. At the age of seven, he ran away from home to join a Gurukul – a traditional educational system with Vedic teachings and strong student-teacher relationships.
He never went to college, but what he learnt at the University of Life – his experiences and lessons as a young disciple, as an entrepreneur, and as an institution builder – were probably worth much more than the degrees that the best educational institutions offer.
His views on education and learning were reflective of his personality: grounded in reality and centered on the real world. He endorsed practical training and experience, learning on the job, and he strongly believed in knowledge creation through observation, practice and mentoring. He had great faith in the skills of people and believed that these only needed to be honed and channelized.
While setting up an ancillary base for Hero Cycles in Ludhiana in the 1960’s, in many cases he collaborated with local artisans and helped refine their traditional talents in a way that they were able to make modern parts and components with ease. The same philosophy was applied as the Hero Group continued to grow and to promote and encourage many new enterprises.
As we went about setting up BMU, we tried to incorporate some of this thinking into our structure and pedagogy. Today, even in a very short period, as a result, BMU has already made a mark as a University with a difference: we are trying to offer something other than just the degrees.
Through a high concentration of talented teachers and a phalanx of education and industry partners, we aim to create repositories of life skills and practical knowledge that stay with students over the course of their lives. My father’s life and times encouraged us in the family to create an environment that fosters competitiveness, unrestrained inquiry, critical thinking, innovation and creativity. The very foundation of the University is based on encouraging Innovation, a sense of Inquiry and the ability of the University, its faculty, students, staff and alumni to make a positive Impact on society.
Finally, we cherish our autonomous structure as this ensures that we aren’t bound by excessive outside interference and can focus on building a center of excellence. In this manner, we can plan better and rapidly respond to the needs and requirements of a dynamic and quickly evolving global society and market. Our desire is to build the University into a nursery for future leaders in their chosen field of work.