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CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan...

I have pointed to the passion of Shriram Group’s Founder-Chairman R Thyagarajan (RT) for music, mathematics and insurance. These are quietly, but effectively manifested through significant events. The group had evolved over the last three decades as the leader in the non-banking finance sector with an asset base of over Rs 60,000 crore. The growth over the last 15 years has indeed been spectacular with the group expanding into life and general insurance and consumer finance. The holding company, Shriram Capital Ltd, constantly looks for opportunities to expand the capital base, inducing large banks, prestigious foreign fund managers and most recently the Piramal Group to invest. The group’s insurance companies have been earning profits right from inception, a record not emulated by its peers.

    A connoisseur of music, RT is a great admirer of violin maestro Lalgudi G Jayaraman (LJ). The group presented Visakha Hari, an illustrious disciple of LJ to explain the genius of LJ as a great musician, composer and teacher with a tradition of direct lineage traceable to Saint Tyagaraja. This famous harikatha exponent, a chartered accountant to boot, with deep insights into music paid a handsome tribute to LJ singing several kritis in the Lalgudi baani.

    I mentioned mathematics as the other love of RT. The Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) founded by AC Muthiah in the heydays of SPIC, has been reaching heights after RT took over. RT believes in India’s prowess in mathematics and has been passionately working to expand interest on the part of young brains to study and research in mathematics. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Department of Science and Technology have been extending handsome support. Under renowned mathematicians like C S Seshadri and U Karandikar. CMI has been registering big expansion. RT mobilised around Rs 15 crore making handsome personal contributions by himself, mail members and other colleagues like Kannan. He invited Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan. This helped CMI get further boost. The Infosys Foundation has recently committed funding of Rs 33 crore. R Seshasayee, a Director in the Infosys Board, referred to a detailed presentation at the  CMI that has the promise of taking CMI as a prestigious global research centre in mathematics. With the recent mandate for large companies to commit two per cent of their profits for CSR initiatives, such efforts are bound to receive further growth. RT is now confident of CMI building a corpus of Rs 100 crore in quick time.  So, get ready for another Ramanujan surfacing.

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