Saturday, June 10, 2023

Vijay Prakash Saha – A Modern Day Monk


By RK Behera
The sudden demise of Vijay Prakash Saha my endearing mentor, philosopher and guide on 24th November 2016 was a bolt from the blue and shook me to the core.

We had met about a week earlier and he was as fit as a fiddle and as usual exuded joviality and positivity with no premonition of the impending separation. For nice people death has a queer of arriving like an unannounced unwanted guest who cannot be turned away.

My first meeting with Sahajee was in NIT Jamshedpur, he was my senior in mechanical engineering. For no apparent reason, probably ordained by divinity, he took a liking towards me and since then became like my elder brother. With the passage of time he became a renowned personality both in India and world in the field of foundry and energy and I took to entrepreneurship.

Vijay Ji was a workaholic and voracious reader and was always up to date with the developments both in the technical and business area.

He was a “Big Picture” man and worked with a missionary zeal to make the foundry industry in India modern, profitable, at par with the global standards and contributing to India’s development.

He worked tirelessly to disseminate the emerging technical knowledge among the Indian companies and also managed to get the ears of the government to change the policy to facilitate and incentivize modernization and growth of the foundry industry in India.

He did what he loved till the end – Vijay Ji’s last public engagement was on November 19, 2016 at Pune with “IFO Policy Change Advocacy Forum” to finalize and then submit to the Government of India the policy changes required to make the foundry and automotive components industries grow and fulfill the government’s objectives of growth in manufacturing and employment in the country through its Make in India initiatives. He also immersed himself in the allied areas of activities in energy efficiency, conservation and green energy.

Even though workaholic, Vijayji was personification of cheerfulness. He always radiated happiness and positivity. He was an eternal optimist.

Of course, the reason behind his optimism was his immense dedication, commitment and hard work. His social skills were excellent – he could convert an enemy to a friend in little time. No wonder he was hugely successful in all his endeavors. He was a modern day monk – calm, composed and quietly committed inside, but bubbling with energy and enthusiasm outside.

Sahajee has been an enduring influence on me. He has mentored and guided me through the trials and tribulations in my journey of entrepreneurship.

His words of positivity and encouragement and sheer recall of his commitment and optimism has helped me overcome many despair and tough situations. He has showered affection on me like an elder brother. I constantly endeavor to imbibe his monk like traits.

I am missing him a lot; Vijayji will always resonate in my heart. My prayers to God – to let his sole rest in eternal peace and give courage and strength to his family to bear the irreparable loss and move on with the duty of life.

(RK Behera is the Chairman, RSB Group and was junior to Vijay Prakash Saha during their engineering days at NIT Jamshedpur )

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