NRI donates Rs 1.3 Cr to PU for funding yearly scholarships

Chandigarh: US company Sun Deep Cosmetics founder, Jaswant Gill returned to Panjab University (PU) after about 45 years and donated Rs 1.3 crore. The interest from this amount would be able to fund four scholarships every year in the varsity’s pharmacy department.

“I studied free of cost for five years at the university… It was my dream that one day I should pay back… Better late than never,” Gill told HT.

Since childhood, Gill, who hails from Villa Teja village of Gurdaspur district, had limited means. He started work as a pharmacist at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, after completing his two-year pharmacy diploma. Though he got selected for the pharmacy department’s bachelor course in PU, PGIMER was not relieving him. Emergency was then imposed.

“Our department head at that time Dr KN Gaind told me to tell Dr Santokh Singh (one of the founders of the PGIMER), that if they want more pharmacy students, we all (a batch of 25) could serve at the institute. I told Dr Santokh that I wanted to pursue my career… Had those opportunities not been availed, my career wouldn’t have shaped out like this,” said Gill.

Gill joined PU in 1964 and left in 1969 after completing his post-graduation.

“Dr KN Gaind would discipline us in a sophisticated manner without punishing us for mischief. I have a lot of good memories at PU. That is why I am back. I am emotionally attached to it,” he said.

Gill was taken aback at the transformation that the pharmacy department had undergone over the years. “It has grown two-and-half-times now. We used to have a very small canteen on a cot, but now there is a full-fledged cafe.”

Gill migrated to the US after passing out from PU. There, he founded the Sun Deep Cosmetics about 25 years ago after working at a number of cosmetic industries. “We slowly grew into a significant company in 2007 and decided to donate to PU,” he said, adding that the company was named after his youngest son.

Gill had studied on scholarships at PU and said that he would consider himself fortunate if he could pass on that opportunity to others.

Three students would be able to get Rs 4,000 as monthly scholarship from Gill’s donation interest, along with Rs 20,000 per month for a research scholar.

PM Narendra Modi had talked about brain deposit against brain drain and I am just doing that,” concluded Gill.

(Quotes and inputs from Hindustan Times)