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P Dayananda Pai : Balancing Success with Largesse

by Florine Roche

Mar 4, 2009


Courage, conviction and concern – the three C’s are suffice to understand and sketch the life and career graph of one of the most enterprising businessmen and philanthropists of recent times with his roots in Mangalore - Panemangalur Dayanand Pai.   He is Bangalore’s leading real estate baron, the Managing Director of Century Group, who has made a successful foray into an array of fields like housing and construction, hospitality, education, information technology, trading and consumer goods.   His success story is certainly the stuff that can inspire aspiring businessmen and ordinary mortals alike.   But what sets him apart from the rest of his ilk is his largesse and his commitment to give back to the society from which, he says, he has benefited immensely.  


PHILANTHROPHY – THY NAME 


One can but admire and look up to this 63 year old man who has his roots in Mangalore and has built an enormous business empire in Bangalore. Though he has not much of business interests in his native Mangalore, Pai is known more for his big heartedness in the city of his birth. His impish smile is his unmistakable trademark and courtesy his virtue.  Despite his path breaking success in business, he has maintained the man next door image and is easily accessible and approachable to all. Equally well known for his philanthropic activities as much as for his business acumen Dayanand Pai’s has found time to associate himself with myriad social service activities.  “I belonged to a lower middle class family and always dreamt of helping people in need.  I was thinking that if I will be successful, I will be able to help as many people as possible”, he recalls.

 
With Florne Roche


Having become a successful business magnate Dayananda Pai wasted no time in making his dreams a reality.  Today he is known more for his generosity in Mangalore than for his enormous business empire, extending his reward of munificence to a wide array of fields.  Recognizing his service to the society, the Mangalore University recently awarded honorary doctorate to him.  “I feel honored and this doctorate has given me an additional inspiration to work diligently for the betterment of the society”, he says.  

Pai traces his roots to Panemangalur but was born and brought up in Mangalore.  His father was a small time business man in Bunder.  Dayanand Pai was the eldest of the 5 children and had three sisters and a brother to take care of.  “I was very ambitious from my student days”, he says recalling those carefree days of his student life.  In his college days he nursed an ambition to be a politician as he was in awe of stalwarts like TMA Pai and Srinivasa Mallya, as he admired their achievements.  Having had his early education in Canara School and Government College (now University College), Dayananda Pai joined Jayachamarajanagar College of Engineering in Mysore and also had his Law degree from Sharada Vilas Law College in Mysore.  


Dayanand Pai also wanted to be an agriculturist during his college days and was on the look out for vast stretches of land in Mysore.  He tried his hand cultivating sugarcane and vegetables in about 20 acres of land in Mysore.  As he could not lay his hands on vast mass of land area to carry out agricultural activities on a large scale he moved out to Bangalore, never to look back again.     

THE TURNING POINT 


Two instances during his years in Engineering College years changed his life altogether.  First was the death of his father when he was in the third year of engineering and had to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the family. His father had a property in Mangalore and the rent from that sustained the family initially.  Second incident was his association with people like M Govinda Rao, partner of Ganesh Beedi and Tukaram Pai, an advocate, which gave a complete twist to his career.  Even during his college days Mr Pai was involved in social activities as a volunteer and came across these people.  After completion of his studies, along with Govinda Rao he started a small enterprise of structural engineering and construction in Bangalore.  


With wife


Though the association with Govinda Rao continued till his death Pai encountered ego clashes with his partner’s younger generation which made him call it quits with the company.  Finally the business was shelved and Pai made a grand entry into the real estate with the help of his mentor Tukaram Pai.  Along with his younger brother Satish Pai they started the Century Group in 1973 which over the years has become a gigantic multi-million dollar corporate identity. But how could he start his business without capital? “I know the knack of doing business without money.  More than money I had the courage and self confidence.  One must have high aims and ambitions in life to achieve success”, he asserts.  


SOWING BACK WHAT HE REAPED  


Trying to get foothold amidst big sharks in the field in a city like Bangalore was not easy but Pai was undaunted by the tough terrain he had to tread.  Unlike others who usually start from small and then go to bigger projects Pai began with a bang largely due to his association with Tukaram Pai.  His friendly demeanor and give and take policy was the foundation on which Pai built his humungous business empire.  Nevertheless making money was not his sole aim in life.  He felt it was his social responsibility to contribute to the betterment of the society which bolstered him to donate generously to numerous acts of charity and causes including religious, medical aid, promotion of sports, art and culture, old age homes, ashrams, mid day meals to school children and the list goes on…..  He has set up a self funded trust – P Dayananada and P Satish Pai Trust to carry out charity work. 


May God Bless You : With Mother


Commenting on his philanthropic activities he points out “God has given me wealth.   I cannot give it back to god so I am routing it through various charitable activities to benefit the poor and the needy”.  He has no retirement plans as he feels “it denies the opportunity to work and earn”, which actually tantamount to denying an opportunity to espouse charitable cause.  His wife, Mohini Pai who is endowed with an enchanting smile has been equally supportive and renders a helping hand in his endeavor of carrying out societal responsibilities.   Mohini Pai and Pais’s younger brother Satish Pai has been the pillar of strength in business as well as the philanthropic activities he has undertaken. 


POLITICS - THE NEXT DESTINATION? 


His generosity has resulted in giving mid-day meals to about 1500 students in Mangalore and he has plans to extend it to 2500 children from the next academic year.  His largesse has benefited many poor children in Panemangalur who are given scholarship worth more than 35 lakhs every year.  As of now these scholarship are restricted to students from Konkani community and he has plans to extend the facility to more students all over the state.  He has donated generously to his alma mater Canara School and University College and also to Konkani Bhas and Samskrithi Prathistan. In Basrur he has laid the foundation for the 1.5 crore   old age home project funded by his Trust.  Pai was a state-level sportsman during his college days representing the state in weight lifting and body building.  Naturally his generosity is extended to helping talented sport persons like Poovamma and retired sports persons who are in need of financial assistance. 


Pai has contributed to the education field in its own unique way.  He is the co-founder of Vidyashilp and Vidyasagar schools, having student strength of more than 3000 and are considered to be institutions par excellence.  Founded about 15 years back these institutions promoted study without text books and with no exams at high school level.  Plans are afoot to start the same in Mangalore in a year or two.  



Happy Family

With success, name, fame and fortune on his side does he have any further ambitions in life?   He wants to join politics to stretch the ambit of his generosity to a wider section of society.  He feels unlike business, politic requires lot of diplomacy.  “It is an accepted fact that people come into politics to make money.  But for me it is the other way round. I want to join politics to share my riches helping to those in dire needs and for public causes”, he declares.  His grand entry into Raja is more or less finalized and is just a matter of time before nominations to the Raja Sabha are announced. 


BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN...


Apart from getting support from his wife and brother he is helped in the business by his children.  His wife has been his pillar of strength supporting all his philanthropic activities.   His son Raveendra did his engineering in IIM and followed it with MBA.    Daughter Vidya also did her engineering from Manipal and topped it with MS from New York. Both the children are helping out the father in business.  His daughter-in-law is now doing her PhD in education and intends taking care of the education wing of his colossal empire. 
 

Pai is an early bird and being a sportsman is a fitness freak.  His routine includes 1 ½ of daily Badminton and spending time in his lavish garden spread over 14 acres of land in the heart of Bangalore.  Located in Hebbal road enroot Devanahalli Airport his garden is declared as “pride of Bangalore” along with Raj Bhavan and Cubbon Park.  Through this Mr Pai has fulfilled his cherished dream of becoming an agriculturist as he grows a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables for their daily use.  Needless to say his garden bags annual award in the large house category as the best maintained garden by the Urban Art Commission.  “When I built the house in the outskirts 8 to 10 years ago, people termed my decision.  Today I am having the last laugh as I am in the heart of the city”, he chuckles.  



Receiving award from former PM of India Lal Bahadur Shastri


With Puttige Swamiji


Doctorate from Mangalore University


A simple and amiable personality Dayanand Pai is a rare gem endowed with a sparkle that is unparalleled.  It is a matter of pride that such a rare personality grew amidst us and carved out his way to the top.  He has remained true to its roots despite attaining extraordinary success.  Success alone is not a parameter to judge the greatness of a man.  It is generally said that “being rich is having money but being wealthy is having time”.  Dayananda Pai has found ample time to associate himself with various social activities and donate generously to the betterment of the society.  That is what sets him apart from the rest.

Browse the list of 'ACHIEVERS'
Comments on this article
KalavathiMadhav prabhu, alevoorMonday, January 20, 2014
pai mam, am happy that u r amongst us may god give u a long life with a good health happiness.
Comment on this message     

Subbanna, Shirnala/BangaloreSaturday, January 12, 2013
Good to know about all the achievements Mr Dayanand Pai. It is very inspiring.

When I heard about Dayanand Pai about 5 years ago, I thought I met this person. I am not sure it is the same person whom I met around 1987. I think My friend was renting in Dayanand Pai's house near BDA Office. I remember my friend introduced me to Mr. Pai.
Anyway, irrespective of whether it is same Mr Pai or not, I am happy to see such great people living amongst us.
Comment on this message     

Pradeep Shenoy, BangaloreTuesday, August 28, 2012
Its always been a pleasure to listen to Pai mams speech.Its filled with power and confidence with which speaks.He a great motivator and icon for all GSB people."Actions speak louder than words" i think this sentence made to pai mam.Never got an oppurunity to speak directly to him,but have taken alot from his words at kashi math.He shares lot of stories and exp of his life.I have request,could you please bring out a book (Autobiography).I heard some one saying,we should at try become 10 % of dayananda pai.A man so busy yet finds so much time for society is which i admire a lot.Well lets pray god we have many more Pai mams to built our nation.Best wishes !!
Comment on this message     

Anantha Sharma, Perla-KasaragodWednesday, August 03, 2011
Its really good that Mr.Pai is setting the role model how to live,prosper, share, help and make other happy..all in one mann..hats off.
Comment on this message     

M Kodanda Rama Kudva, Sydney, AustraliaWednesday, February 16, 2011
I am really proud of you Pai mam. Hope you would remember me when we used to work together for Konkani Bhasha Mandal,Bangalore during 1994, still I remember for your generosity and support both financial and moral as well. I still remember in one meeting I openly praised you for your leadership quality, personality and social service. I thank this journalist for bringing this colourful article, our konkani society has immensely benefited from your generosity, lacks together our konkani students will never forget you for your help for their education. Me and my wife Poornima Kudva every time remember you when we were successful of our settlement in Sydney and when we bought house in Sydney and Bangalore. You are our model and always we need your blessing too. If possible I will try to meet you in Bangalore. I wish you many more years of good health and successes surrounded by family. I beg almighty for your "Ayurarogya Bhagya".
Comment on this message     

Gowtham, UdupiMonday, January 31, 2011
Its Really inspiring words of him to listen and to practice in our life.I particularly go to kashi matt, Bangalore..every month end to listen his inspiring words. .
Comment on this message     

v.sudhakar, karakunta{vi}kongatom{po}v.kota{md]chittor{dt]a.pWednesday, December 29, 2010
good evening sir iam poor people i want education but my family postion very low sir my mother died my father is labour kindly help me sir
Comment on this message     

K.R.KINI., Vijaya Nagar, BangaloreWednesday, September 15, 2010
Pai Mam is a legend.I regularly hear him in Kashi math,Bangalore.His achievemnts are great.He is an inspiration to all people.God be with him all the time.
Comment on this message     

Padmaprakash. K.R, Mangalore / BangaloreSunday, August 22, 2010
I do not know whether Shri. Dayananda pai and Shri. Satish Pai can remember me or not, I was taking care of one of their Account long ago (about 27 years back...!!) I was merely an Accountant in a Structural Construction Company promoted by the owners of Ganesh Beedi Works during the year 1981 - 1984 when I was so closely interacting with Pai Brothers when I have found them so courteous, helping nature and nearer to their employees. I am now one among the Promoters of a Private Limited Company engaged in the field of Industrial Air Pollution Control Systems having business All Over India. I have been hearing about Pai Bros' achievements all these years - I have a dream to meet them once again, recall the memory of 27 years back and perhaps get into a small venture if they recognise me and my ambitions,it will be a matter of pride for me that I have my contacts with such a blessed personality.
Comment on this message     

sai rao, mangaloreSunday, August 08, 2010
I have heard lots about you thru my friends.Its only today i could see you in daijiworld web site.i am determined that i will also try to do something to soceity.hats off to you.
Comment on this message     

sandeep, yelahanka/bangaloreSunday, July 04, 2010
Sir i am very happy to see a karnataka person reaching great heights and success in life...you r one of my role model sir, i get the pleasure of seeing your house daily enroute to my college...i get the motivation from it and i say to myself, one day i too will become successful and help people in need...wish u more success in life sir:)..
Comment on this message     

NITIN PAI, KALYANTuesday, June 22, 2010
DEAR PAI MAM
PEOPLE LIKE YOU SHOULD BE MORE.IT WILL HELP OUR COMMUNITY A LOT. I WANT TO SEEK YOUR HELP FOR A JOB.
Comment on this message     

K Nagesh Pai, Kundapur/MysoreThursday, April 22, 2010
Great.  smt Mohini Pai& me both studied in Board High School Kundapur.
wish Paimam & his Family every success .



Comment on this message     

Dr.HAREENDRA SARMA, Varapuzha, Kerala, Varapuzha, ErnakulamTuesday, March 23, 2010
Dear Dr.Paimam, Namaskar. Many people have wealth, but very few use their wealth to help the needy. I understand that you are one among these few people. Hearty Congratulations. May God bless you to do more and more charity. With warm Regards,
Dr.SARMA, Varapuzha, Kerala
Comment on this message     

Gita Pandit, MangaloreFriday, March 19, 2010

Believe it or not ! but this is true. I did not know much of Mr Pai earlier until I attend the felicitation event of Prof. Kaveriappa ex-vice chancellor of Mangalore University. I heard his speech.. so simple and promising. Recently I had some academic issue related to Animation college ( Affiliated to Mangalore University). I tried my level best to approach all level to find solution to this. I spent several sleepless nights. One night suddenly one thought came and it was Mr. Dayanada Pai.

Next day afternoon I called him to his mobile, he received it and he gave assurance to me that he will set it right and informed Mr. P.V. Mohan and now my problem is getting solved..( not yet). Later I thought let me find out who is this wonderful person, what is his back ground. Oh. God I was wonderstruck to see his profile. Sir, I don’t want to disturb you calling again and again. U r - Gods gift to earth.

Comment on this message     

RAJESH SHENOY, KALYANWednesday, January 27, 2010
with great respect, keep up good work and charity we all are proud of you.
Comment on this message     

Arun, MumbaiWednesday, November 11, 2009
I had one poorest friend of mine, who lost his government seat due to technical error on his part. On behalf of him, I contacted Sh.Pai. With in no time he could arrange seat in Private Engineeering college and assured to bear the total cost including boarding and lodging. Here I would like to inform that the friend is niether known to him nor Mr.Pai has seen him. The diheartned friend recovered from the shock and could control his emotions. After getting cool, he could get the government seat.
Comment on this message     

jobi antony, aabharan,dubaiThursday, September 10, 2009
MR.pai has done very good to the society by donating a part of his wealth to the society.May god bless him with good health and prosperity..
Comment on this message     

Deepalika, MangaloreTuesday, August 11, 2009
You are the "MAN OF THE CENTURY" a man with a GOLDEN HEART TO BE AS precious as a rare Jewel in the Crown of G.S.B., U have been RIGHTLY conferred as one of the "Navratnas" of the G.S.B. community to improve the face of our society.We all love u & are witness to ur day by day uttarottar abhivruddhi in fame and fortune.
Comment on this message     

Libu Joseph, BangaloreFriday, July 17, 2009
A rare gem in our otherwise mostly selfish society . A simple easy to reach personality who can be adored for his hardwork , business acumen and farsightedness . Very clear in his thoughts and knows what he wants and hence is a pleasure to do business with . What i really envy is his youthfulness at this age of 63 .
Comment on this message     

KARUNAKARA NAYAK, GANGOLLI,UDUPITuesday, July 14, 2009
Mr.Pai has not only made Mangaloreans feel great by his acheivements in the field of business but also gone a step forward and set a precedent for other rich people to do atleast some thing for the society through wchich only we will come up in life.good luck and good wishes to sri dayananda pai.May god give him more wealth to share it with the poor and down trodden.live for hundred years... .
Comment on this message     

The Sekars, IndiaTuesday, April 28, 2009
Achievement is like archery: Before we can aim our arrows successfully we must have targets, and before we can shoot arrows we must have the bow! Our present levels of achievement are in direct correlation to the goals we set for our life and the projectiles we put out into the World to attract success to our self. And Mr.Pai did it! Mr.Pai is known for his helpful nature , god! be it anybody. THIS IS THE PERSON WHO WILL MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE!!
Comment on this message     

ajay, bangaloreThursday, April 23, 2009
I did not know much of Mr Pai  earlier until a friend of mine spoke about his philanthropic nature and the amazing personality that he is, may god bless him with good health  and long life.
Comment on this message     

Gurudatt Prabhu Murje, Belthangady/BangaloreWednesday, April 15, 2009
Mr.Dayananda Pai is a strong pillar of GSB community with leadership qualities. A man with multi tasking capacity.I wish him great success..
Comment on this message     

T.Ganapathi.Pai, Thursday, March 19, 2009
Sri Dayananda.Pai is one of the greatest personalities I have seen.Lot of people have wealth, but very few have the great heart to use their wealth to help the needy. He gets satisfaction in helping the needy and his entire family has the same attitude. In earlier days we had Kings ruling us and people who had difficulties were approaching king for help. Today eventhough Kings are not there, We can crown Sri Pai as King, because across the country when people are in trouble the only name comes to thier mind is Dayananda.Pai and he extends help to everyone who approaches him without looking at caste. May God Bless him and his family and give them strength to do much more for the society. I know him very closely & I see him as a role model. I remember a sentence told by him - "I pray God that Dont Make me Say NO to anyone who approaches me for any kind of help" , I am sure God is aloways with him. Wish we had many more Dayananda.Pais in our country.
Comment on this message     

asha vaswani, bangaloreThursday, March 12, 2009
Great personality, absolutely down to earth and always helpful, Mr. & Mrs. Pai have been our very close family friends and we value their friendship. Congratulations, Mr. Pai, we are proud of you, Suresh, Asha, Neeta & Maneesh
Comment on this message     

SANJAY SHENOY, PUTTUR/AL-KHOR,QATARThursday, March 12, 2009
Hearty Congratulations to Pai Mam.
Comment on this message     

Vasudev Pai, Kumta/SahakaranagarMonday, March 09, 2009
Great personality.I used to see him in Kashi Mutt.Hearty congratulations to Mr Pai
Comment on this message     

Ronald, UdupiSaturday, March 07, 2009
Good inspiration.. Wishing you all the success.
Comment on this message     

Charles D'Mello, PangalaFriday, March 06, 2009
Congratulations Mr. Pai. No doubt one has to have courage to start a business .!
Comment on this message     

Ganesh Nayak.K, ManagaloreFriday, March 06, 2009
I am a admirer of Mr. Pai. He came up in life only through his hard work, self confidence and most important taking the risk. One thing I don't like is his unnecessary spending on religious functions and donating to temples and swamijis which will be misused by the opportunists and there is no ensuring of the end use of the funds for which purpose actually the funds are donated. So please see that each pie of your donated money will help the actual needy people.
Comment on this message     

Chanchala, bangaloreFriday, March 06, 2009
Great personality.My suggestion here is instead of benefiting the students of only konkani community,it would be still more better if he give the scholarship to students who are good in studies & can not afford for it.
Comment on this message     

Vivek Shenoy, UAEThursday, March 05, 2009
hearty congratulations to Mr. Pai. Great achivement.
Comment on this message     

Mr. Saten Patel, Bangalore, IndiaThursday, March 05, 2009
Dr. P. Dayanand Pai's work is a great example of ethical and humanistic capitalism, a system that fosters excellence, dignifies work, and benefits society. We pray that god blesses him and his family to go from strength to strength.
Comment on this message     

Shenoy, MangaloreWednesday, March 04, 2009
Hearty congratulations to Mr Pai.
Comment on this message     

Kamalnath , Mysore/NYWednesday, March 04, 2009
Great personality. I had the pleasure of knowing him personally in Mysore.
Comment on this message     

Uday Kumar, Kateel Wednesday, March 04, 2009
His Success story is amazing.. A Philanthrophyst may shape his Charity Programs in a very different way .. It may be through a chain of small scale industries or a effective distribution chain for the Rural/agricultural products etc...
Comment on this message     

ravindra , mangaloreWednesday, March 04, 2009
Thank, Florine for bringing out this colourful article on Shri Dayanana Pai's personality. Truly, soceity has immensely benifitted from genorosity of Pai mam and he is a guiding spirit and role model for present day youth. May god bestow health, happiness and prosperity to pai mam and his family.
Comment on this message     

Jude, Mangalore DubaiWednesday, March 04, 2009
Dear Mr Pai,It is very interesting to read about your life. I envy your success but understand the years of sweat and hard work that you have put in to reach where you are today. I wish you many more years of good health and successes surrounded by a family that loves and supports you, so that you may continue to serve society for years to come.
Comment on this message     

shahnawaz kukkikatte, udupi/dubaiTuesday, March 03, 2009
We are proud of you Dayanand Mama. May Lord give you good health and long and peaceful life. We love you and pray for you.
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