When Chief Minister of MadhyaPradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chairman of Dainik Bhaskar Group, Rameshchandra Agrawal awarded ShradhaSuhane, CEO of VidhyapeethGroup of Institutions as 'Women Entrepreneurof the Year,' apart from the proud feeling, what would have gone through her mind? Every leader has a story to tell - a story about an incident or person, something that they would like to remember when they achieve a big milestone in their life. To tell Shradha's story, wewill have to go back to her college days, which she spent at Modi University Campus, located in Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan.
Shradha was a representative of many in our country, who was born in a patriarchal Indian society as a girl child. "I belong to a family from the rural areas of Uttar Pradesh where people still believe that sending their girls outside the village for education is a taboo. Hence, I had to fight with my father in order to go out of my village to pursue my education," says Shradha. She managed to finish her schooling at Delhi and then travelled to Modi University to enquire about the facilities at the campus.
"The moment I entered through the gates of Modi University I had a feeling that, yes, this is what I was looking for and I can do anything in my life," remembers Shradha. Far away from the hustle and bustle coupled with city-pollution, the campus of Modi University offers one of the most eco-friendly campus with a peaceful environment to study and reside in. The campus is an ecological haven with 12,000 trees belonging to about 300 species on this 265 acre campus. Today, along with students, teachers and other staff members of Modi University, the campus hosts 96 different species of birds and 12 different species of butterflies, which have been identified by ornithologists and lepidopterologists from World Wildlife Fund (India).
Like any other person who visits Modi University for the first time, it was just a matter of seconds before Shradha fell in love with the atmosphere of the university and eventually applied for a seat in B.Com., Accountancy and Statistics. "When I wanted to apply for further studies, like any orthodox parent, my father told me to concentrate on my studies so that he can find a 'good groom' for me and be free from his responsibilities," says Shradha.
It was during her MBA, Shradha met Prof. KVSM Krishna, who had a different approach to teach students the elements of entrepreneurship. Shradha still remembers everything about her favorite teacher, as he was one such person whose words influenced her to work harder for rest of her days. She says, "KVSM Krishna sir was one among the best teachers I have come across in my life. He was not teaching us theories out of the textbook, rather, he told us many stories of successful entrepreneurs in our country like Tata, Ambani and the founder of Modi University - Rajendra Prasad Mody." However, it is not just about a particular professor. Technically, almost 186 professors from six different colleges of Modi University have been teaching the students through case studies.
Perhaps, this long list of faculties, who are courageous enough to break out from traditional methods of teaching, may be the biggest asset of Modi University. However, that is not the factor which makes Modi University different from 700 universities in India. "University is a place where you create leaders of tomorrow. When you want to create leaders together with education, you have to build the character of the person and you have to provide opportunities for a holistic development. To promote this, we have created a learning model where creativity is a part of campus ambiance," says Dr. Vishwanath Prasad, President, Modi University.
Extracurricular activities, which enhance the creativity of students, have been a part of the Indian education system. There was a time when our universities were producing singers, artists and writers regardless of the stream of study students were pursuing. People were satisfied as they were allowed to follow what they liked to do in their life. Now, it is hard to believe that in a race to prepare successful professional candidates, we are eventually missing out on the power of creativity to produce the leaders of tomorrow. This is where Dr. Prasad believes, he can make a difference.
"Our core philosophy of learning consists of five elements; critical thinking, analysis, application, innovation and communication. You cannot to do critical thinking without having certain level of creative mind. It basically challenges you to think differently to apply the critical thinking principles," explains Dr. Prasad.
Whether it is education or lifestyle, we should adapt the best of the practices. Have we ever thought about why an average student who goes to U.S. or U.K to pursue higher education and comes back as smart as a top student who finished his/her studies in India? Dr. Prasad who joined Modi University with rich experience of 33 years that he has gained from the U.S. higher education sector says, "The education system here is very heavy on course work. We have unnecessarily loaded our programs with too many applied courses which are not teaching the fundamentals. It is limiting the time for students to use their creativity."
Dr. Prasad decided to come back from the U.S. with a purpose. "Back in the U.S., people told me that, you have come from India and that is your homeland and now go back and serve your country. However, for me, going back and serving my country is an old style of thinking. If I were to go back to my motherland, then I would be doing something different, with a creative purpose," says Dr. Prasad. With the vast experience he had, he could have joined any of the premier Universities in India. "I selected this university on purpose, as it is not a large one. If you want to bring about change or implement something new then it is possible to do thathere. Sometimes large universities with 50,000 students will not give you that window to work on innovative methodologies," says Dr. Prasad.
Under the leadership of Dr. Prasadh, Modi University has been revamping their curriculum by combining disciplinary activities such as classroom teaching and labs with a certain level of creativity wherein every class, students are being asked to think differently. By brining extracurricular activities closer to academics, Modi University can prove that it is a rare breed among Indian Universities and more than 95 percent campus placement for the eligible engineering graduates goes to show that they are progressing in the right direction.
"You will get small responsibilities in your college days or in your education lifetime which will teach you how to lead people in certain situations. At Modi University, the opportunities were plenty," says Shradha, a 2006 alumnus of Modi University. However, to apply the leadership qualities, one has to step out of the institution with the freedom to pursue her/his life's passion.
Shradha, who fought hard for her education had to surrender at the end of her MBA program. Her parents fixed her marriage in a business family from Bhopal. "I was just few months away from completing my MBA at Modi University and I had to take a week off to prepare for my own marriage. When I told this to KVSM Krishna sir, the reaction put me in tears," remembers Shradha. KVSM Kirshna, the man who had lot of faith in Shardha was completely dismayed with her decision to get married even before completing her studies. The words were spontaneous from him. He said, "This is the end of your life."
On February 3, 2006, Shardha got married to Ashish Suhane, who belongs to a business family from Bophal. After her marriage, she completed her studies and started her own education institution with her husband in Bophal. "I called KVSM Krishna sir two years after the establishment of my college and told him that I have implemented many good things in my institution, which I had experienced at Modi University. He was the happiest man to hear that news. I cannot convey my gratitude to my professors at Modi University, I owe everything to them," declares Shradha, to the people at Modi University who have transformed her from an ordinary woman to an extraordinary leader. She says, "Women in India need just one opportunity to prove themselves. If they are able to do it, then they should be given chance to work further without any hindrance." Today, Shradha is not just a representative of many in the country, she is an inspiration to all women who want to show the society that the life of a woman is not to spend inside the four walls of a kitchen; they are born to lead.
In India, a woman gives birth to a child in every 2 seconds. Of every 100 children who drop out of school, 66 are girls. According to the 2001 census, there are 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 who are already married and 20 percent or approximately 300,000 are mothers to at least one child. These are the ground realities of our nation. Bringing the women of the country from the shadows to the spotlight, Modi University has been creating close to 600 leaders every year. The country needs many more such great institutions.
Dr. Vishwanath Prasad
Dr. Vishwanath Prasad is the first President of Mody University of Science and Technology. He has served several major U.S. research institutions as a faculty member, researcher, administrator, and academic leader. Dr. Parasah, who is a firm believer of creativity in education says, "We are trying to bring changes at this university where critical thinking and creativity becomes essential component of the classroom discussion and thinking."
About the University
Founded by R.P.Mody - a true visionary who took an idea ahead of his time, Mody University of Science and Technology was established in the year 1998. Located in Lakshmangarh, Rajastan, the university offers numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses of different disciplines like arts, science, commerce, architecture, engineering, management, law, and fashion design.