Balbir Datta (1946 to 2016)

Balbir was a distinguished human being with a very unique set of characteristics rarely found in combination in one person. Above all else he was supremely self less - as a son, husband, father, father in law, grandfather - and particularly as a humanitarian and ground level worker. Of the many legacies he is remembered by, he will be most proud of the charitable work he has bequeathed to the volunteers in all the charities he was involved with. In October 2016, hundreds of Balbir's family, friends and charity partners gathered in UK and India to pay tribute to him.

In a life dominated by travel, at only a few months of age, he crossed the Indian ocean by ship with his family to start a new life in Kenya. His undertook his early studies in India where he proved to be an outstanding academic gaining entry to the prestigious IIT Delhi to read engineering instead choosing to pursue further education in the UK. After completing degrees in Engneering and Masters in Business from UK Universities in Bradford and Aston, he was appointed the youngest ever director in an industrial British company - an incredible feat for an Indian in a very dominantly white UK in the late 1960s. Balbir was an exceptionally entrepreneurial & innovative personality and before reaching 25y he had already bought his own home in the UK, well ahead of his peers. With an omnipresent, deep sense of adventure, Balbir lead a party of 4 to drive from the UK to India crossing many countries in Europe & Asia along the way.

In 1974 Balbir married Sunita Datta and decided to commence married life with his extended family in Nairobi. In 1983, he took responsibility for moving his extended family out of politically unstable Kenya displaying tremendous courage to move to the UK with his wife and 3 young children first. By now he had successfully progressed a career working for multi national companies but being very free spirited he yearned to create his own business ventures. He lead the development of highly successful family mushroom farming businesses in India, Kenya and latterly in the UK. His incredible powers of persuasion enabled him to secure land and development grants to create a highly innovative farm in inner London. But it wasn't self progression that motivated Balbir. Once he & Sunita had very successfully settled their 3 Children to enjoy hugely successful professional careers and family lives, at the age of 50y he decided to retire from business. He wanted to use his incredible armoury of skills to build capacity amongst the most underprivileged communities in India. He had a strong belief that improving the lives & dignity of fellow humans less fortunate than himself was his true calling in life, everything else was leading up to this point.

In the early 2000s ably assisted by Sunita, Balbir worked closely with with the Deendayal Research Foundation ( . By bringing highly skilled UK professionals and their abundant skills, he was able to build the capacities of local people in villages in Chitrakoot. This has lead to the admirable work carried out today by the Chitrakoot Health care Charity in the UK (

In 2006, Balbir formed Rama Foundation ( ) in the memory of his late mother. Over 10y under Balbir's leadership as CEO and very ably assisted by Sunita and the board of trustees, the charity has benefitted thousands of underprivileged children in Rishikesh and Haridwar through initiatives in education, health and nutrition. Motivated by Balbirji, hundreds of volunteers in the UK & India have given up their precious time and resources to support the work of Rama Foundation and it's partner charities in India & the UK.

We celebrate Balbir's incredible life and use it as an eternal example to continue to unleash the full potential of our skills and resources to act at grass roots level for the betterment of underprivileged people.

To learn more about Shri Balbir Datta's life, please view this short film