The legacy of the Shahani Group in the education sector goes back a long way, across generations and geographies, to a visionary named Thadomal Shahani.
Thadomal Shahani was an educationist in the true sense of the term. Born in the mid-nineteenth century in a scholarly Sindhi family, he learnt the value of education early. This encouraged him to devote his life to the cause of education and become the Principal of the D.J. Sind College at Karachi.
He realized early that the best way to lift people out of poverty was to give them an education. While his devotion to the cause of the underprivileged was exemplary, what set him apart was his definition of the word 'education' - he wanted to go beyond the usual 'qualifications'-oriented education system and instil in his students a certain curiosity and willingness to learn.
With such a far-sighted parent, it was only natural that his sons also followed in his footsteps and took up the cause of learning. Thadomal Shahani's eldest son, Jotsing Thadomal Shahani, started a publishing company to provide children school text books. Another son, Anandram Thadomal Shahani, became a renowned author of instructional books to help people learn various languages.
His youngest son, Kishinchand Thadomal Shahani, followed an even more difficult path. Left confounded by the Partition of 1947, he arrived in Mumbai (then Bombay) a penniless immigrant, empty-handed saving the ideals and values he had inherited from his father. These ideals helped him start a new life with focus and determination.
He started off humbly, selling fountain pens on local trains. Slowly, he built up his business, surpassing one milestone after another in his quest for success. He helped to establish more than twenty-four iconic colleges in Mumbai - among them the Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, HR College, KC College and National College.
Today, the branches of the Shahani tree of learning have spread wide. The members of the Shahani family continue to serve on the management of the colleges Kishinchand Thadomal Shahani helped to set up.
Thadomal Shahani's descendants continue to hold the family flag up high in the education sector. Indu Shahani, Thadomal Shahani's grand-daughter, is the Principal of one of Mumbai's top colleges. She is also a committee member of the University Grants Commission, and a member on the Board of the International Baccalaureate Organisation in Geneva & a past Sheriff of Mumbai.
Akhil Shahani is the fourth generation Shahani in the education sector. Akhil has started a range of ventures in the educational sector. He also runs the non-profit SAGE Foundation which provides education and skills training for a hundred villages in Maharashtra. He has received the 'Bharat Shiromani Award' for his work in the education field.
With Akhil Shahani at the helm, the Shahani Group is rapidly expanding its horizons, with a growing number of institutions catering to a wide spectrum of education seekers. Akhil has continued his forefathers' tradition of 'Learn and Let Learn'. The foundation of ideals remains strong, and the Group steadfastly pursues its traditional love for learning with its mission to bring about significant and relevant upgradation in the realm of education.
Through the ages, trees have provided human beings food and protection. We clothed ourselves in the bark and leaves of trees. We used their branches to build our first huts and shelters. We ground their leaves into medicines to heal our sickness and hurt. No wonder then that we have worshipped trees over the centuries, considering them our all-powerful protectors.
The graceful Peepal and the mighty Banyan, the medicinal Neem and the fragrant Sandalwood, the handsome Ashoka and the hardy Bael - all have gained religious significance for us over the years. Trees have also been associated with education and learning for a long time. They were the first schools - it was under their nurturing shade that rishi-munis provided learning to their shishyas. Of all the trees in India, the Peepal tree perhaps has the greatest association with learning and enlightenment. It was under the heart-shaped leaves of a Peepal tree in Bodh Gaya that Lord Gautam Buddha meditated for 49 unbroken days and attained enlightenment. Hindus believe that the Peepal tree symbolizes the Trinity of Gods - the roots are Brahma, the trunk is Vishnu, and the leaves are Shiva. No wonder the Peepal is considered the King of Trees.
Committed as the Shahani Group is to the cause of learning, we draw deep inspiration from the Peepal Tree. For us, it represents the inspiring journey towards enlightenment and liberation that our students embark upon. It symbolizes the myriad aspects of knowledge that we seek to give them, the sound character that we hope to nurture in them, the well-rounded foundation of values we attempt to give them. The sacred Peepal tree signifies the Shahani group's philosophy of 'Ethical Excellence through Education'.
The Shahani Group's century-long experience in the education sector has its roots in scholarly thought and self-guided development. Hence, the group's approach to education is also based on these principles. Most institutions in the education sector in India have a generalized and mass oriented approach to learning. However, the Shahani Group believes that each learner is unique and has distinctive needs.
This is why the Shahani system is tailored towards individual goals and focuses on developing individual attitudes and skills. The Shahani Group's institutions provide a Responsive Learning Environment that is based on a deep understanding of individual learners and is therefore customized to their needs. Such a learning environment results in higher learner engagement, more effective learning and enhanced goal accomplishment. Having undergone an empowering journey in this unique learning environment, the learner becomes more independent, self-driven and curious. This makes the individual a better fit for the dynamic corporate world.