Laying the foundation over cake and coffee; looking in the future (from Left) — Sudhir Mittal, Ramesh Negi, Ashwini Lohani and Maneesh Pandey.
It all started over a lunch. At a casual birthday lunch given by Maneesh Pandey at the India Islamic Centre in New Delhi on December 5, 2010, a few friends and acquaintances talks had veered to the state that India was and things that needed to be done. Then suddenly they became ‘we’ and it was decided to take charge. How long can one hope someone else to think and decide for ‘us’! So instead of discussing the menu on platter and choice of desserts, the group got more engrossed in what the country was going through then — string of corruption cases had started to question the governance and national prestige had been hit hard, globally. Coincidentally, they all were thinking on a similar wave-length. No wonder, the idea to form a think tank by exploiting the international exposure and experience most of those present there in the party was have, a natural outcome. An initial blueprint to find some innovative solutions to ground zero problems was ready, at least in principle that day. Hands were joined and the brains started running in all direction. Innovative minds, leadership potential and impeccable integrity were made the common grounds for membership. Soon the hunt for core leadership team members was launched. It was not that easy as thought, particularly with a Foundation of this nature having its international mindset suited to local core issues. It took more cups of tea and a couple of lunches, the blue print was put to black ink and printout formalized the group, its areas of possible work and thrust areas — Governance, Food Security and Sustainable Living — were inked in the Memorandum of Association, finally. The Foundation was formally registered on August 9, 2011.
This is our story of how some great ideas are born over food and serious intentions.