Prof. Varun Arya, Director, Aravali Institute of Management, Jodhpur
Prof. Arya is a first class graduate from IIT Delhi (1976-81 batch) and post-graduate from IIM Ahmedabad (1981-83 batch). Thereafter, he worked for 16 years in senior positions with the leading companies like Indian Rayon, Reliance and American multinational DuPont. After having established and successfully run Aravali Institute of Management for 13 years, he is now associated with his dream project of establishing and shaping up a top quality educational complex Aravali Gurukul Ashram having a cluster of educational institutions, envisioned to be a model of no compromise, blending the best of traditions with the latest in modernity, at Jodhpur in his home state of Rajasthan.
Amongst the various positions held by Prof. Arya, he has been the President of prestigious IIT Delhi Alumni Association – the apex body of over 30000 member alumni based worldwide, alumni representative on the Senate of IIT Delhi, member of the Technology Business Incubation Units Board of IIT Delhi and Secretary of IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Association. He is presently on the Boards and Advisory Councils of various companies, educational institutions and other organisations. He has also been a member of IIM Ahmedabad Governing Society for the last over five years.
Because of his firm belief that education, by definition, is based on ethics, his journey as an educational entrepreneur has been filled with unending hardships, risks, sacrifices and struggles. Some of his major satyagrahs (struggles to ensure that the truth alone triumphs, despite all the odds) during the last over a decade have been :
- In the year 2003, he got drug mafia to vacate a public park at Jodhpur through mobilization of the colony residents, administrative action and filing of Public Interest Litigation in Rajasthan High Court which he won.
- In 2004, he galvanized and organized thousands of IIMs alumni from all over India and abroad to fight the onslaught of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, on IIMs.
- By actively involving the support of villagers and panchayat in 2007, he fought successfully against the onslaught by the local MLA and MP on the Institute campus land.
- In the year 2009, he got the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to confer approval to Aravali strictly on merit alone, after fighting for nine long years.
- With facts and figures, extensive usage of RTI Act, through the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and writs in Rajasthan High Court, after fighting for four years, he succeeded against Commissioner of Income Tax and Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Jodhpur who had been harassing him and Aravali in view of his persistent refusal to compromise.
- After fighting for six years including 145 hours fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi and extensive usage of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he succeeded on 01 November 2011, with the Government of Rajasthan granting conversion approval to 94.4 acres of land for Institute campus, without any compromise.
To build the campus, in the year 2005 he had purchased 236 bighas (around 94.4 acres) of private extremely high salinity wasteland at Village Kaparda, Tehsil Bilara, District Jodhpur in Rajasthan on which nothing could grow, nothing could be constructed and there was no water in/around the land. During the last around nine years, this land has been painstakingly transformed under his leadership and it now has 15 lakes having around 6 crore litres of water capacity with migratory birds visiting, various water harvesting structures including two bridges, over 6000 trees grown upto 20 feet, 60 solar lights, three huge lawns of around 2.5 acres each, six smaller lawns, a natural meditation centre with capacity for 2000 persons on a natural mound surrounded by 1500 plants, and vegetables grown organically.
His endeavours have been extensively appreciated and recognized locally, at the state level, national level and globally with a large number of honours and awards