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Tribute for Dr. Jyotiben Trivedi (Vice Chancellor of SNDT Women's University, Mumbai during 1980-1986)

Dr. JyotibenTrivedi was the Vice Chancellor of SNDT Women’s University from 1980 to 1986. Jyotiben passed away on 14-4-2015. She was kind, sensitive to the problems of all the employees of SNDTWU and took genuine interest in our lives. She helped and guided us at times of difficulty, and was generous in sponsoring education and health expenditure of the needy. Often were the times when she would be heard to ask an employee, "Have you sent money order to your mother? Never neglect your mother. If you don't have enough cash, I will give it to you.” For her everyone working for SNDTWU family. She did not differentiate them on the basis of their designation or position. To her all of them were equally.

To subsequent vice chancellors of the university also, she gave constructive suggestions. She and always stood by me. Jyotiben was very gracious and had a generosity of heart. She was an intellectually alert citizen and always gave serious thoughts to larger issues of society-community health, social change, and social justice. She was duped by her beneficiaries so many times in her life, but she never stopped her philanthropic work.

Once when she asked me,“What should be our goal?" I said, "Academic excellence”. She said, "The most important goal should be hand-holding and enabling young women to enter institutions of higher learning and building their lives.” When I as selected for post-doctoral fellowship at The London School of Economics and Political Science, I was hesitant to go as my eight year old daughter refused to come with me to London.It was Jyotiben and the then Vice Chancellor, Dr.Suma Chitnis who boosted my morale and encouraged me to make the best of the opportunity.

Jyoti Trivedi was always happy when we achieved recognition and laurels in our career. She was also interested in our work in the women's movement and community health. She played a crucial role in the development of Lady Thakersey College of Nursing with her visionary leadership, networking with medical and nursing community and patrons.

At a function to mourn her death at the University, Vasudha Kamath, Vice Chancellor of SNDTWU presided and said, “Dr. Jyoti Trivedi has had a lasting impact on my personality. She was Hon. Vice Chancellor, when I joined as a young teacher in Education Dept. She had interviewed and selected me. M.Ed. lectures used to be in the evening, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. One day, a student started bleeding and fainted in the class. I was zapped and was running around and security guards of our university told me to contact Madam VC, Dr. Jyoti Trivedi. I said, at this hour?Will she be in her office? When I went to her chambers and told her about the medical emergency, she immediately contacted Bombay Hospital and told me to take the student there. The student got medical care and I was in the hospital till her family members arrived at 9 p.m. This sensitive handling by the head of the institution was a great learning for me in the initial period of my teaching career. Jyotiben had great dreams for SNDTWU. During Golden Jubilee Year of L.T. College of Nursing, she asked me, 'Why can't SNDTWU have a medical college? Start efforts in that direction.”

As a Vice-Chancellor,Dr. Jyotiben was always cordial and took interest in personal, professional and Institutional development and carried everybody along. She acknowledged talent and hard work. With her vision and sharp intellect, keenly looked at the development of the SNDT Women’s University in diverse ways, introducing Technology, new programmes in home Science, Pharmacy and Polytechnic. Jyotiben was also keen on creating career paths for people. Hundreds of teachers grew under her guidance as decision makers, education administrators and institution builders. Jyotiben was always keen that every opportunity should be given on merit and would not mind standing alone for upholding her values.

Her honesty of purpose and determination with respect to empowerment of women through higher education made her role model for thousands of university educated graduate and post graduate students as well as education leaders of our country.

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