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Honorary Degree Orations
Public Orator, Professor Rob Thring presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Thursday 13 July at 10.30am
Sudarshan Maini was born into a business family from Punjab. At the time of his birth the family were in Burmah, where his father established the Timber Mills and Rice Trading business, and the family returned to Punjab in 1941.He went to Banaras Hindu University where he achieved a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1954 he won the Loughborough Burmah Shell scholarship and came to Loughborough College, later to become Loughborough University, graduating with a first class DLC (Diploma of Loughborough College, a respected four year degree) also in mechanical engineering. His education at Loughborough included practical training at Loughborough College workshops. On leaving Loughborough he studied industrial administration in the UK while taking graduate training with GKN in Birmingham and later spent five months with Bosch studying their technology, training schemes and management practices before joining Bosch in India.
From 1967 to 1973 he was General Production Manager for MICO-BOSCH in Bangalore India, an Indo-German venture manufacturing fuel injection equipment for diesel engines with over 7000 employees. Under his leadership production doubled in four years.
1973 saw the founding of Maini Industrial Consultants and Maini Precision Products, a company to manufacture high precision automotive components in India. From the humble beginning of 10 people making one component for MICO-BOSCH, this evolved under Sudarshan Maini’s leadership into a multi product, multi unit engineering conglomerate, which is a preferred partner of Fortune 500 companies like General Motors. The Maini group today includes companies like Maini Materials Movement established in 1986,which manufactures a range of products such as electric golf carts, airport vehicles with up to eight seats and fork lift trucks, with Maini Granites another sizable activity.. Maini Precision Products makes components for the automotive industry and will shortly also be supplying the aeronautical industry. Thus Sudarshan Maini is a leading figure in the industrial development of India.
In 2001 the Maini Group launched the REVA electric car, named after Sudarshan Mainis’ wife whom he had married in 1965. The electric car supports a personal philosophy of trying to create “zero pollution city mobility”, a major issue for cities all over the world today. The REVA car was launched in London in 2003; you may have seen it on television at that time and more recently. In the UK it sells under the name of “G-Wiz”. As a zero emission vehicle it is exempt from the London congestion charges as well getting free parking and exemption from UK road tax and costs just a penny a mile to run! Looking to the future, a fuel cell car is under development.
Loughborough has recently announced its intention to become a “green” University, with better recycling, lower energy consumption and the Loughborough Hydrogen Project. We have many research strengths in alternative energy and sustainability issues, so we are especially pleased that one of our alumni has shown such leadership in this field.
Chancellor, for his outstanding service to industry and to India, I have the honour to present to you, and to the whole University, Mr Sudarshan Maini for the degree of DOCTOR OF TECHNOLOGY, honoris causa.