I am humbled by the unanimous support of the members of the International Association for electing me as the new President of IofC International. I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason, and so since the election I have been asking myself ‘why have I been chosen as President during this crucial moment in our international IofC work?’
As an engineering student in India, I saw a Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change) musical show performed by 100 young Europeans. The stories of change and the people involved captivated and inspired me with their values of purity, honesty, unselfishness, and love. After that performance, I was inspired to give my time organising training sessions for business and industry at Asia Plateau, the IofC centre in Panchgani, India. I ended up giving nine years of my time to Asia Plateau.
During those years, I worked with many who tried to apply the values of IofC in their businesses. I decided that I should start my own business run on these values. With only 250 rupees ($4 USD) in my pocket and a vision to transform healthcare in Asia, I decided to launch my own company. This company’s purpose would be to manufacture and sell medical equipment at affordable prices and with the best customer service. My 250 rupees were spent very quickly! But I had faith in what Frank Buchman meant when he said, ‘where God guides, he provides.’ I also believed in Mahatma Gandhi’s saying ‘find a purpose, the means will follow.’ With that faith, a friend unexpectedly loaned me money to invest in my business. I used that money to travel internationally and learn more about the medical equipment industry, and soon I became an agent in India for a small Japanese manufacturer. I provided services to my customers and soon gained a good reputation. It wasn’t long and my company, Trans-Asia Bio-Medicals, became a market leader.
After a time, we realised that only a very few Indian doctors could afford to buy Japanese machines. There was no way to make the machines affordable other than to make them in India. Our refusal to pay bribes caused us many struggles, but we maintained that integrity is a good business practice. Now we are India’s number one diagnostic company, employing over 1500 people and exporting quality instruments to over 100 countries, all because we believe in practicing our values. IofC’s values and practices have played a huge role in how my wife, Mala, and I run Trans-Asia. Quiet times and listening to our inner wisdom are a part of our lives as well as a part of our business. Last year the UK Financial Times published an article describing the importance of silence in the daily routines of my company.
Through my time at Asia Plateau, through Trans-Asia, and through my life I have aimed to make a difference to the world. My experience has shown me that trusting and embracing IofC’s values enables us to create a better future. I have seen IofC programmes help thousands recognize that change starts from within, and I have seen them be inspired to help make our world a better place. There are many NGOs who want to change the world, but I believe only IofC can inspire real change, because IofC believes that change starts with oneself. IofC International upholds these values as a way to bridge the many divides across our globe. I believe that no other organization is better at establishing trust and encouraging individuals to discover how they can create change. While we all face many challenges, I do believe that through each challenge, we are led to incredible opportunities.
I would like to take IofC’s values to every country of the world. Every one of us is needed to make lasting changes in our world. I am convinced that together, through trust and modelling these values, we can achieve the impossible. Will you join us?
President IofC International