Dec 24 2012, 03:22 IST
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SummaryShiv Nadar often says that he is a product of education. Through his philanthropic arm, the founder and chairman of the $6.2 billion, 100,000 people-strong HCL Group is doing what he believes is closest to his heart—to build future leaders from rural India via free high quality school education.

way of giving back to society,” says Roshni Nadar Malhotra, executive-director & CEO, HCL Corporation and Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation. Roshni, who is the daughter of HCL founder, brings a global outlook, strategic vision and passion for social enterprise and institution-building to her varied roles at HCL and the Shiv Nadar Foundation. She is the driving force behind the VidyaGyan schools, an initiative which she calls “social investment and a radical idea to transform meritorious rural children from economically challenged backgrounds.” As a representative of the Foundation, she has also been involved in a joint initiative with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation to promote the education of the Dalit and Muslim girl child in some of the most backward districts of Uttar Pradesh.

There is no doubt that Shiv Nadar has made HCL an engine of invention by turning dreams—especially entrepreneurial—into reality. Under his leadership, HCL revolutionised Indian technology and product innovation with many world firsts to its credit—the first, 8-bit microprocessor -based computer in 1978, the first relational database management in 1983 before some of its global peers, client-server architecture in 1984, world’s first fine-grained multiprocessor UNIX installation in 1989, among others. A pioneer in remote infrastructure management, HCL was instrumental in implementing and managing the infrastructure backbone of one of India’s tallest financial institutions—the National Stock Exchange. HCL Technologies, which spun out of HCL’s R&D unit, is currently a leading IT services company in India and a leading global player in engineering and R&D services.

In 1994, Shiv Nadar established what he was believed was closest to his heart—the philanthropic Shiv Nadar Foundation and created its first initiative in Chennai, the SSN Institutions, that is a top ranked engineering college. Today the Foundation is a significant driver of social change and transformational education through its institutions spanning the entire education spectrum from schools to universities. The Shiv Nadar University is a young and a unique research-led interdisciplinary university established in 2011 at Greater Noida; the Shiv Nadar School – a K12 initiative envisions to set up 25 schools in the next 10 years. So far, the Foundation has invested R1,800-crore in its various activities.

“VidyaGyan, an innovation in school education, reaches out to the top of the bottom of the pyramid and creates leaders from across the cross-section of the society,” says Saurav Adhikari, senior advisor at Shiv Nadar Foundation. “These students have aspirations but are trapped by economic constraints. At VidyaGyan,

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