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Meet KV Ramani, who donated 80% of his wealth to Shirdi Sai Baba and is now building Sai University

The 70-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist is now gearing up for his next mission- to build, in his words, the Stanford of India. Ramani is the founder-chancellor of Sai University,. an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary university that started functioning in August this year.

November 03, 2021 / 01:02 PM IST

When KV Ramani, a co-founder of Nasscom and a software entrepreneur, exited his businesses — Future Software and Hughes Software — in 2004, he did something unusual. Ramani kept just 12 percent for his family and placed more than 85 percent in the Sri Sai Trust, which he had set up. The corpus was worth around Rs 325-350 crore back then. The trust, till date, does not accept donations — it gives thousands of scholarships to first-generation graduates, supports 4,000 people with emergency medical care needs and provides 5,000 meals a day to people all over India. It has also funded  nearly 450 Sai temples all over the country.

 The 70-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist is now gearing up for his next mission—to build, in his words, the Stanford of India. Ramani is the founder-chancellor of Sai University, an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary university that started functioning in August 2021. Located on Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai, it will start with three undergraduate programmes in the liberal arts, science and technology, apart from one postgraduate course in law.

“We are doing education as a service and not education as a business. When you are doing education as a service, you don’t want to take a single rupee out of it; you want to put in more to make sure it succeeds,” says Ramani. He spoke to Moneycontrol on his vision for the university, why India is lacking in this sphere, and how spirituality anchors him. Edited excerpts:

After several years, Sai University has finally come to fruition. How did it start?