Dr T A Pai – The man who worked tirelessly to fulfill the goal of true banking


Team Udayavani, Jan 17, 2022, 1:48 PM IST

When Dhirubhai Ambani established Reliance Commercial Corporation in 1968, he needed a loan of Rs 2 lakh without any conditions. His loan application was rejected for want of a guarantor. Dr. TA Pai had lent the money sought by Ambani without the guarantee. “Entrepreneurial zeal should be recognized.  We have to lend as a banker, not as a moneylender,” Dr. Pai had said. This incident was narrated to the senior RBI officials by Ambani himself who had arrived for the funeral of Dr. Pai.

Veteran journalist Patil Puttappa (Papu) who had taken loans to start the ‘Prapancha’ weekly, could not pay his debts and his house was to be auctioned. When Papu approached Dr. Pai with his predicament, he told his officials to find a way to save the home of the journalist, “This man has started a newspaper and burnt his hands. Do something. Tell me how to save the house,” he had instructed and saved the house from being auctioned.

When K S Haridas Bhat was the principal of MGM College, Dr. T A Pai had been the chairman of the MGM Trust. Dr. Pai deposited money from his personal account for the tuition fees of the underprivileged students. “No student should be deprived of education for want of money,” he had said.

It was decided to transfer Vijayanath Shenoy, who later founded the  Heritage Village of Syndicate Bank, for the reason that “he spent his time in reading books and writing articles.”  Dr. Pai called up general manager HN  Rao and said, “Everyone has unique interests. Think about how it can be utilized.” Impressed by a speech delivered by KM Karanth, Dr. Pai gave him a job at the bank.

At a meeting of the Canara Milk Union, KK Pai’s son-in-law, Dr. KPS Kamath asked whether Dr. Pai knows about the problems of villages. Dr. Pai responded by building a cowshed at his home to rear cattle. Now, one lakh liter milk reaches the cities on the coast from the villages. This illustrates Dr. TA Pai’s economic policy.

Dr. T A Pai was instrumental in starting mechanized boating in Maple in the 1960s. When a fire broke out in Malpe in the late 1970s, he asked the insurance companies to disburse the insurance money immediately by saying, “If we work by the book the fishermen will die. Release the money within 24 hours.” Moreover, he had instructed the Syndicate Bank officials to give out additional loans to the affected fishermen. Dr. Pai had no power in the organizations at the time.

-T Ashok Pai
(Youngest son of the founder of Manipal Group, Dr. T M A Pai.
 Secretary and treasurer of Dr. T M A Pai Foundation)

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