Manju Bharat Ram, who lost her prolonged battle with cancer on Wednesday, lived for the cause of education and philanthropy. She was 66. Founder and chairperson of The Shri Ram Schools, which she established in 1988, she was also vice-chairperson of the SRF Foundation, part of SRF Limited, the New Delhi-based industrial group led by her husband, Arun Bharat Ram. But much before the schools came to be, in 1968, she became closely involved with the Blind Relief Association, where she helped in fund-raising, planning and policy decisions, and even in establishing a computerised Braille press.
Born in Delhi to “quite traditional” parents, she decided to open a school here because institutions in the capital, she felt, had an inordinate focus on textbooks. “Children couldn’t really ask questions. As a result, they would never know where they went wrong. After taking it up with the administration several times, I decided to open my own school,” she had said.
She was the chairperson of SRF Vidyalaya, Chennai; was on the board of governors for New Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College; was a founder-member of Pratham Delhi Education Initiative Trust; had held the position of president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organisation and was a trustee and a governing board member of Bharti Foundation.