Of vision, Drive and Expertise Dr. Zakir Hussain Institute, Patna

With a finality, born out of facing years of challenges, Uttam Kumar Singh declares, "Nationalism, institution building backed with the right principles and policies have been ingrained in me to such an extent that any aberration to that effect and I just cannot take it. " This firmly grounded man with strong convictions further reveals, quot;Besides the rich cultural and traditional influence came a natural affirmation within- that I would never take up a job. I strongly felt I was designed to do just one work and that is ‘institution building’ and nothing else."

One thing led to the other and the year 1979 saw the birth of the Indian Institute of Business Management, that started functioning from a rented hotel suite at the Dak Bungalow Crossing. Many luminaries such as academicians, administrators, educationists, social workers, thinkers and planners were associated with the endeavour. Thus began an incredible journey with a string of professional, technical institutions coming up.

" The ‘Gurukul parampara’, drives our students and our endeavour. "

Dr Zakir Husain Institute for Non-Formal & Continuing Education, Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment (New Delhi), SP Singh Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication, Indian Institute of Human Rights (New Delhi), Nand Kumar Singh Para-Medical College, Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Shatrughan Sharan Singh Institute of Public Administration, Gaya, Asian Institute of Information Technology (Bangalore), Quality Institute of India (Dehradun), Indian Institute Of Bio-informatics and Bio-Technology, The Global University (Raipur), Satya Sai Institute of Information Technology (Bhubaneswar), IGNOU- Dr Zakir Husain Community College (Pune), Asian Institute of Naturopathy and Yog Sciences, Anand Shastri Sangeet-Nritya Kala Vidyalaya, Asian Retail Management Institute, Asian e-Governance Institute, Women Industrial Training Institute (Muzaffarpur), The Global Open University (Nagaland), well the list can go on and on.

"The 'Gurukul parampara', drives our students and our endeavour. This ensures there's no indiscipline on the campus and the focus is on student enlightenment and betterment that in turn leads to profitable employability," says Uttam.

The batches of students that pour out of his institutes every year, bear testimony to the fact that personality grooming is an essential part of the curriculum.

He belonged to a family of freedom fighters in the district of Munger, with fourteen members defying the barriers of gender or age, the nationalistic fire within raging, rising against the might of the Queen's army. Gandhiji's call for boycott of all things English, was followed by Babu Nand Kumar Singh, his grandfather, setting up Vidyapeeth in the undivided Bengal.

"Both my grandfather and Baba, Shree Sachida Nand, were engaged in promoting nationalism, self respect and awareness of human rights, besides academics," says Uttam, adding Rashtriya Vidyapeeth in Haveli, Kharagpur, Munger, Vidyapeeth in Kashi and Wardha were included in a count of one hundred and twenty six such institutions and libraries all over the region. Babu Nand Kumar went on to become a top Congress Party leader, serving the state under Shree Krishna, the first chief minister and the selfless service of the duo was quoted as an ideal example of cooperation for nation building.

Culturally, intellectually and spiritually, Uttam's brush with the doyens of Literature, Arts, Sciences, Medicine, Law and above all, the purest form of Nationalism has left an indelible impression on his self. His oratory skills are par excellence, though he insists, "My father was a far superior orator."

With the strong family influence on him came the blessings of Shree Anand Shankar Madhwan, the Vice Chancellor of Mandar Vidyapeeth. Under his tutelage, guardianship and guidance emerged a new and polished Uttam. After his studies in Bhagalpur he enrolled for an MBA degree with LN Misra College of Business Management, Muzaffarpur. Another figure, Dr. PR Trivedi joined the same institute a year later. And thus came together two minds, two personalities whose unique partnership of nearly four decades dramatically altered the face of professional and technical education in the state.

" ‘I delved into the world of knowledge and literature and read thousands of titles.’ "

"I have no words to describe Prof. Dr. PR Trivedi, he is truly my friend, philosopher and guide. We have thrived in an era and have set a unique example of brothers-in-arms. Dr Priya Ranjan's fine intellect and laborious intent is unmatched," says Uttam with obvious pride. "There was no 'corporate culture' as such. You could call it 'industrial culture' because of the presence of giant Public Sector Undertakings. So both of us started our first College of Management Studies in Samastipur."

The enterprising partners targeted Bhubaneswar as their next location for a management college and then came an institute in Patna. With more than 8000 students in the city of Patna itself, 278 classes to run each day and 600 plus academic and non-academic staff, the magnanimity and smooth operations of the various institutes deserve appreciation. In fact it is indeed difficult completely listing the scores of institutes which the visionary duo set up. A diehard dog lover, Dr Uttam is the president of the Dog Lovers Association in the city. He personally possesses a Labrador and a Pomeranian, in addition to his brood of 22 dogs on the institute campus. An avid reader, books became his companion at an early age. "I delved into the world of knowledge and literature and read thousands of titles. The fact that our family owned so many libraries of repute made my quest simple and easy," he smiles and all this while his 96-year-old mother looks on fondly. His better half, Sobha, is a picture of calm and contentment.

It is her undying commitment to manage the children and the family that has always given Uttam the time and the leverage to achieve as well as contribute freely to his work. The proverbial phrase of the new order changing cannot be ignored. So the husband and wife team of Rohit and Shweta Singh, the son and daughter-in-law of the family now represents the next generation of academicians and professionals. They have slowly but surely aligned their vision with that of the huge group. The soft spoken duo is already making a mark in the academic and administrative kaleidoscope.

" ‘I always start from a zero, but I do not stop till I reach my goal and then I set my meter to zero again.’"

Shweta, has taken on the academic responsibility of the Hotel and Hospitality Institute while Rohit's expertise in Information and Technology would enrich the group in the highly competitive age. "I always start from a zero, but I do not stop till I reach my goal and then I set my meter to zero again," states Uttam, letting us know the thought that continually drives him. Today reinforced by the energy of the younger members of the family, the group is all set to conquer newer frontiers.