Gambhir Watts, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), is the man behind this organization ever since its inception in Sydney from 2003.
Multifaceted personality with many feathers to his hat, Gambhir Watts started his career as a bank officer in 1969 and remained with Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce & Industries Bombay, now Mumbai, till 1980. He also remained the Managing Director and Chief Consultant for Bee Gee Holdings Ltd Mumbai till he moved to Australia in 1992.
Apart from being CEO of BMG Group Australia and a number of other private companies, Gambhir is practicing as Business and Taxation Guru since 1992 in Australia.
“It is not easy to get re-settled in some other country. Actually while working in India I was very distressed because of the g corruption there and wanted to do something different. At that time Australian High Commission was inviting the people from India and one such letter was lying on my table for days. I filled up the form and just within four weeks they contacted us. As my wife is a scientist so she was considered as the prime applicant and all other family was included”, says Gambhir.
“When I came here, my daughter was just 12 and my son 7 years old. We just landed here without knowing anything. For the first few months my life was very hectic as I was continuing my business in Mumbai so I used to travel frequently to Mumbai which I wrapped up after some time to settle in Sydney. I struggled a lot. I studied few credits to upgrade my studies. It was difficult to get work at that time, so I worked free of cost for four months and then got a job. I did that job for 2 and half years and in 1996 started my own business which I am continuing till now”, speaks Gambhir.
“ When the Sydney chapter of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was added in August 2003, I was approached .It was a roller coaster ride for me as there was huge pressure. I was new to Bhavan and its working but slowly and slowly it grew. Since its inception in 2003 it has undertaken a large number of activities related to Indian Culture besides promotion of Sanskrit and Hindi languages. Bhavan literally means the ‘House of Indian Knowledge”, adds Watts.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has started many events after its beginning. Every year Holi Mahotsav is celebrated in Darling Harbor for three days in March / April, Hindi Diwas is celebrated every year on September 14 in Sydney and October 2 is celebrated as the International Day of Non-violence”, elaborates Gambhir.
“In 2004, World Culture Concert was also started as part of Bhavan’s initiative to promote multicultural features of India wherein varied folk dance forms along with classical dances were performed by the community people. The event used to take place at ‘Town Hall’ but after four years, in 2007 ‘Town Hall’ was closed for renovation for 3 years and we could not continue it. We are on tenterhooks to start it again soon. Bhavan even initiated Cricket Masala- Event, a multicultural event wherein there was participation of 12 different community teams. It was for the first time in history that we had team from Afghanistan and China as well in that competition. Even later, every team was assigned a professional player from NSW team, but unfortunately we could carry it on for just three years. Later, Cricket Australia came on Board and they said that we want to take it on National level but unfortunately nothing positive matured”, tells Gambhir.
Bhavan organizes many other events like Inter-faith meeting on January 30 every year, essay competition, World Culture Concert and Arts Festival while supporting various events and organizations so as to promote multiculturalism and to promote Indian culture in Australia. Besides this Bhavan have two publications of its own.
In addition to working with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Gambhir has donned many other roles with poise. He is the Founder and Chief Coordinator for International Centre for Non Violence, Australia. He has also remained the Director of Sydney Community Foundation. Gambhir Watts has also worked as a Director of Advocacy for Inclusion, Canberra (an NGO for disability).
Gambhir has also remained as the Commissioner of the Community Relations Commission for Multicultural NSW and Chair of the Northern Regional Advisory Council from December 2006-2009. He also worked as the National Treasurer of the Australian Business Council.
Being a versatile personality, Gambhir has successfully participated in whatever role has been assigned to him.
Awards and Honours
1.)Order of Australia Medal (OAM ) 10 June 3012
2.)GOPIO Community Service Award (GOPIO CSA) 2011by the US based Global Organization of Persons of Indian Origin
3.)Guest of Honour at the International Symposium on Healthy and Happy Living and Ageing held in Sevagram, India 6-7 December 2010
4.)Special Guest at the Cherie Foundation for Women awards Functions in Mumbai , India 2010
5.)Sardar Ratna (Jewel of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Foundation 2010-11
6.)Bharat Gaurav (Pride of India) Award by India International Friendship Society 2010-11