MAN ‘GROVED’ TO EDUCATION!

Nikhil Ballal

How was your childhood?
VB-I believe that -If one carries childhood
with himself, he never becomes old!
Though I have crossed 70,I still feel young
energetic just like a child! That’s the secret of
my success! I have many fond memories of my
childhood. I grew in a culturally rich family.
My father insisted me to read literature,
scriptures and good books. These books
helped me become a good human being!
My biggest learning experience was in
Panchgani boarding school. There were many
students from foreign soil. We had to
calibrate with their dialects, culture, habits,
behaviour and attitudes. Believe me, it was a
herculean task. But this global exposure
helped me shape my career and strong
enough to withstand adverse conditions or
rough handling. That was my first taste of what
we today call globalisation.

Did you always dream to become a
doctor and educationist?
VB-No. I had never aimed to become a
doctor nor an educationist. My father was
extremely liberal. He gave us complete
freedom to choose our career. Anticipating
my limitations as far as academic excellence
required for medical education was
concerned my father never pinned hopes on
me to follow his footstep (laughs). It was
because of my mother that I became a doctor.
She dreamt to see me as a successful doctor
just like her husband.
I started my journey of pursuing her
dream. As I entered the medical college I
realised that – A dream doesn’t become
reality through magic; it takes sweat,
determination and hard work. The price of
success is hard work, dedication and
determination that whether we win or lose, we
must apply the best.

What do you think are the important
standards to become a professional?
VB-I feel one should have a good
command over languages. If you are planning
to become a doctor, engineer, CA or MBA it is
necessary to be well-versed with languages. I
was good at languages and had a special
love for them since my childhood. A good
orator and an equally good linguist can
succeed both as an employee and as an
employer.

How were your initial days after
becoming a doctor?
VB-They were tough. To carry the legacy
of my father was difficult. Though I and my
father practised in the same hospital, people
would prefer meeting my dad instead of me
(smiles). Many a times I would see my patient
waiting to meet my father to re-confirm
(laughs). This is a problem faced by any
person who has entered his successful father’s
profession.
But that never disturbed me. Instead I
looked at him as my role model. I began
emulating his qualities like discipline,
dedication and devotion towards this noble
profession. My mother told me once that my
father would attend patients in the wee hours
during his college day.My father was
distinctly remembered by his college
authorities for being the most prompt and on
the toes doctor. There was a system in the
hostel where he stayed, that a bell used to be
rung when a patient used to come at odd
hours. Many a times after midnight when
almost all the students used to be fast asleep
due to hectic schedule of any medical student.
However, my father used to jump out of his
bed and run to the ground floor to render his
services to the patient. This compassion was
instilled in us as value which even my children
also followed.

Tell us something about the first college
of Thane founded by your father?
VB-VPM (VidyaPrasarakMandal) was
founded in 1935. My father believed that a
country can only progress by education. During
those days there weren’t that good institutes in
Thane. So he started first school
Dr.BedekarVidyamandir at Naupada. Later an
English school in the same premises was started
in the memory of Dr.Anandibai Joshi which is
now popularly known as A.K.Joshi English
school. It was almost 33 years later, VPM
founded first college of Thane-Joshi-
Bedekarcollege. B. N.Bandodkar College of
science, K.G.Joshi college of Arts and N.G.
Bedekarcollege of commerece, were its off
shoots. VPM’s Joshi Bedekar was Thane’s first
art-science-commerce college. It was a huge
relief to all students who had to travel all the
way to Mumbai to pursue these courses. In the
very first year more than 600 students
enrolled their names in our institute.

It is very difficult to start up an educational
institute and later to maintain it? How
did you manage it?
VB-Yes today it is extremely difficult to
start anything new, whether it may be business,
institute or any moment. Thanks to our
complicated and corrupt system! It is difficult
to deal with today’s bureaucrats and politicians.
During our days these people were
more generous and kind hearted. They were
progressive by nature and supportive in the
overall development of society and mankind.
Mr.SadhashivraoTinhaikar was collector
our good during those days. He saw us
working devotedly in Dr.BedekarVidyamandir.
He called my father one day to his office and
offered this creek land to develop an
educational institute. It is difficult to find such
proactive, developmental officer without any
vested interests.
I believe that one should possess six
managerial skills – Observation, monitor
employee performance, Implementation of
professional development programs,
demonstrate working knowledge and
expertise, decision making and ability to
conduct and evaluate performance.

Tell us something about the huge
engineering complex that you have come up
in Kokan?
VB-Yes. We have established an engineering
college at Velneshwar in Ratnagiri. It is a
huge institute spread across 35 acres of
campus and popularly known as V.P.M’s
MaharshiParashuram College of Engineering.
Here we offer various engineering courses with
top class facilities. Within three years the
strength of the college has risen remarkably. It
is the state of the art facility perhaps one of
the kind in Kokan.

What were the challenges in this project?
VB-It was extremely challenging! The
biggest challenge was to thwart political
interference. But I was confident that tough
times never last, but tough people do! I never
lost hopes nor did I repent over the decision.
I firmly believe- don’t pray when it rains if
you don’t pray when the sun shines. Always ask
for broader shoulders instead of lighter
burden. I feel the true test of a person
character is how they stand during test of
adversity!
You were also associated with Thane
Bharat Sahakari Bank. Tell us about that veture.
When I entered the bank the co-operative
sector was facing rough weather. There were
huge NPA (non-performing assets) during those
days. But we could pull out of the crisis. The
bank is in safe position today.

Tell us something about your great work
in Oriental Sciences?
VB-Oriental studies is the academic field
of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far
Eastern societies and their cultures, languages,
peoples, history and archaeology. In recent
years the subject has been known as Asian and
Middle Eastern studies. We conduct workshops
and seminars based on oriental sciences at
regular intervals in our institute. I strongly
believe if you want gauge any person’s
richness then see how prosperous he is
culturally? I want to develop a culturally strong
generation. That various foreign universities
are attached with VPM is a testimony to that.
Every year our school children visit China too.

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