SP Hinduja passed away in London on May 17
By Dr. Navin C. Shah
Prominent businessman and philanthropist Srichand Parmanand Hinduja, known among family members and friends as SP, passed away in London at 87, on May 17.
The eldest son of Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja, founder of the Hinduja Group, SP was born in Karachi, on November 28, 1935. He and his three brothers, Gopichand, Prakash, and Ashok, expanded the business into a behemoth with footprints across several sectors of the global economy, including banking, automotive, energy, media, and healthcare.
While the world recognized SP as a titan in the business realm, I had the privilege of knowing him as a dedicated philanthropist. Our relationship dates back over 35 years, when I began serving as an advisor to various Hinduja healthcare initiatives.
Throughout his life, SP was actively involved in philanthropy and charitable initiatives. He supported various causes and organizations focused on education, healthcare, and social welfare.
He was actively involved in the running of the P.D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, which was founded by his late father Parmanand Hinduja, in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital, in 1951. The hospital, known as one of the best in India, offers free care for underprivileged patients.
SP ensured that doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff maintained a service-oriented approach in their interactions. Every year, he arranged a dinner and entertainment event with his family for the entire hospital staff, personally meeting each one of them.
He practiced and emphasized a culture of service to all his employees, across all Hinduja Group companies.
As his hospital advisor, I had the privilege of working with SP on multiple projects aimed at continuously improving hospital functions for over three decades. Notably, we collaborated with Johns Hopkins University to introduce Western-style hospital management in India.
In 1996, SP had asked me to help him find a U.S. partner for training hospital management personnel in India, as there was a dearth of qualified hospital administrators. I connected the Hyderabad-based Hinduja Hospital Management Institute with Johns Hopkins and helped the two to negotiate a collaboration deal between them. As per the deal, SP gave $2 million to Hopkins for training hospital management personnel for five years.
Besides that initiative, SP created numerous opportunities for the hospital’s doctors and staff to pursue continued education, ensuring they stay updated with the latest equipment and research. Additionally, he established associations with renowned hospitals such as Mass General Hospital in Boston, as well as major hospitals in the UK and Switzerland, with the aim of continually enhancing the medical care provided by the hospital.
SP, being a global businessman, employed a vast workforce spanning multiple countries, providing livelihoods to thousands of individuals. Despite his immense wealth as a billionaire, he carried himself with humility, which was evident in his interactions. I often had the opportunity to express my criticism to him, and he displayed a remarkable level of patience, attentively listening to my concerns. In response, he would address my points with a warm smile, reflecting his ability to handle feedback graciously.
SP played a crucial role in fostering strong relations between the United States and India, as well as nurturing the ties between India and the United Kingdom. His active involvement in the US-India Business Council in Washington, DC, spanned decades, serving as a platform to advance the interests of India and facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships. Through his efforts, he organized and hosted various functions and events aimed at enhancing bilateral trade, investment, and cooperation between the two nations. SP’s dedication and contributions greatly benefited India and contributed to the growth and strengthening of both U.S.-India relations and India-UK ties.
SP held a deep admiration and affection for India, its rich culture, and its people. His passion for Indian cinema led him to be actively involved in the Bollywood film industry for numerous years, where he played a pivotal role in producing and distributing a multitude of popular movies, contributing to the growth and recognition of Indian cinema on a global scale.
However, SP’s dedication to making a positive impact extended far beyond the realm of entertainment. As the head of the Hinduja family business and the Hinduja Foundation, he embraced the role of a committed philanthropist. His philanthropic endeavors manifested in the form of substantial financial contributions, with millions of dollars being channeled towards public service initiatives and relief efforts during natural calamities, particularly within India. Through these generous donations, SP aimed to alleviate suffering, support development projects, and uplift disadvantaged communities across various regions of the country.
SP’s philanthropic activities showcased his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people in need and his unwavering love for India. His efforts left a lasting impact and demonstrated his dedication to social welfare and humanitarian causes.
The memories of SP’s weekly calls, walks, and dinners in Washington, DC, New York, and Mumbai will forever hold a special place in my heart. These cherished moments and the meetings we shared will remain etched in my memory for the rest of my life.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing and collaborating with SP. Not only was he a mentor and guide to me in my personal and professional life, but he also extended his love and care to my children. His presence and influence brought immense positivity and inspiration into our lives.
My heartfelt prayer goes out to the Almighty God, asking for blessings upon his soul. May his soul find eternal peace and may his legacy continue to inspire and touch the lives of many.