Local woman nominated for CNN award
It’s not everyday that someone gives away nearly half of his or her salary to ensure that someone else might get a break in life. However, Maharishi University of Management professor Promila Bahadur has been doing that for more than a year now, and she was recently nominated to be a 2017 CNN Hero.
“Promila’s remarkable unbounded determination to eradicate illiteracy and poverty, which has gripped tens, and perhaps hundreds of millions of rural Indians for far too long, is the reason I nominated her for a 2017 CNN Heroes award,” said Craig Shaw, recruiting director for MUM’s computer science graduate program. “Since the age of 14, she has poured her mind, heart and personal finances into bringing a better life to more than 2,000 — mostly young women — in villages near Lucknow, [India]. The world deserves to know about, and whole-heartedly support Promila’s noble, yet humble efforts to elevate life throughout India.”
In 2003, Bahadur, who was obtaining her undergraduate degree, took notice of a village 10 miles away from where she grew up. She noticed that many of the young women were not getting the same opportunities as their male counterparts. On a shoestring budget, she started the Guru (teacher) Institute of Technology in Chinhat Block, Lucknow District in Uttar Pradesh. Since that time, the institute has grown, and trains men and women of all ages in basic to more advanced computer skills.
While continuing her studies, Bahadur continued running the Guru Institute. In 2004, the government of Uttar Pradesh recognized and approved Bahadur as the first Village Level Entrepreneur to start a Common Service Center for improving the day-to-day lives of rural Indians.
In 2015, the Indian government honored Bahadur with a special banner. The Guru Institute was one of only six VLEs out of 500 others countrywide to receive the accolade.
Since it’s inception, thousands of students have graduated from the Guru Institute and advanced both their economic and social standing.
In 2012 she earned her PhD., and she moved to Fairfield in 2015 where she accepted a professorship at MUM.
“Crediting her [Transcendental Meditation] practice, she has juggled teaching, research, family and her institute responsibilities with much balance and success,” Shaw said. “To fund her institute, Promila sends 30-40 percent of her faculty salary to the administrators in India. She guides the activities there by Skyping daily.”
Bahadur said she was humbly surprised to learn that she was nominated for the award.
“When I got the text that I was being nominated, it brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I haven’t done anything so I just feel great,” Bahadur said. “I’m pretty excited, and I’m overwhelmed by the thought of being nominated. I feel as though I’ve already received the award.”
The formal nomination announcement came while she sat with her peers in her faculty development program.
“They gave me a round of applause,” she chortled. “I just feel more modest and humble to think that everyone is appreciating me. They are so sweet to appreciate me.”
Bahadur will be one of thousands from around the country to be nominated for the CNN Heroes Award.
Bahadur will learn the outcome of the nomination later this year.