Mr. Narpat Bhandari
Co-Founder and Global Chair-The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE, Inc)
Chairman – Bhandari Foundation California (USA)
Most of us struggle to maintain or commitment to a single cause over five decades. However, this scientist-turned-academic and philanthropist has steadfastly kept his promises to what, some may describe as, diametrically diverse. Half-a-century after Silicon Valley veteran Narpat Bhandari set foot on the shores of the United States, his heart never stopped beating for Rajasthan. Leading a simple life and sharing his wealth, experience and wisdom with the deserving, this outstanding innovator believes that one’s effort to give back to society has to be both meaningful and impactful.
Bhandari one of the few individuals in the 1950s who dared to dream about the Land of Hope and Prosperity as a teenager in Sojat, a Small village in Rajastahn, made the successful voyage on Septembe 12, 1961 when he landed in the United States after a tedious journey by steamer. He was barely 22 then and had precious little but for his big dreams when he set foot in the United States of America. “For being successful, one has to first dream of it, “he says today while recalling the tedious Journey and his early struggles to complete higher education and take up gainful employment.
After graduating from BITS Pilani, Bhandari attended Purdue University and thereafter transformed quickly from a passionate student into a curious scientist and an outstanding innovator. Today, Narpat Bhandari is a living legend of the technology and entrepreneurial revolution of recent decades are in his professional career as a scientist, which is intertwined with the growth of the computer industry. The fast computers of today would not have been possible without the pioneering work of semiconductor scientists such as Bhandari and those lead by him. Beginning in 1976 as a senior scientist at Signetics Corporation, (Now Philips Corporation), Bhandari designed the first I2L microprocessor. He then led a team of engineers at the legendary Fairchild Semiconductor, developing advanced bi-polar and BiCMOS technologies – the heart of many high-speed digital products today.
Bhandari has over 30 patents and papers in the field of semiconductors, software and High Definition Television (HDTV). In the late twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of exceptionally bright engineers and scientists arrived in Silicon Valley to participate in the technology Gold Rush. Narpat Bhandari was one of these leaders – consistently directing developments that increased the power of the chips – by enhancing their speed the bandwidth they could carry or reducing the power they consumed. As founding member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), Narpat guided its early growth across the world by defining the activities, policies and programs. During his tenure as global Chairman, TiE branched out of Silicon Valley and set up 40 chapters and added members by the thousands across the world. He actively spread the message of personal enterprise across the world and shared his notes with students of top Tech Schools like the Indian Institute of Technology.
That he is a true son of the Rajasthan was proved beyond doubt when Narpat Bhandari took on some of America’s technology powerhouses in a legal battle early on in his entrepreneurial life. While most in his place would have preferred to count their gains and move on, this tenacious “Rajput” stuck it out as he belived the fight was more about self – respect, principles of ethical business and entrepreneurial values of the growing Indian community in the United States. An overwhelming victory against the big names is discussed across boardrooms to date by successive generations of immigrant entrepreneurs who believe that the legal battle vaulted the ethical standards of the Indo-American community. They believe Bhandari preserved the value systems of Corporate America with a dignity and perseverance that resembled the best traditions of Mahatma Gandhi’s Philosophy.
Narpat is married to Chandra Bhandari; younger sister of India’s long serving Ambassador to the United Kingdom, late Dr. L.M. Singhvi. She, too, went ot Purdue University and graduated in Political Science in 1965. The couple has two sons – Rakesh and Ravi – Holding PHDs from University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, respectively. They teach at UC Berkeley and St. Mary;s College, Moraga, California. Knowing the value of good education, Chandra joined hands with her husband to share some of their considerable wealth based on their strong belief that wealth creation and sharing are inextricably linked. It was this belief that brought about the establishment of the Bhandari Foundation in 1994 for supporting initiatives in the fields of education and medicine.
Over the next few years, the Foundation supported several initiatives none bigger than its decision to underwrite a chaired professorial position at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This was the Bhandaris’ way of ensuring that the ancient Indian Civilization and its role in shaping world History remained forever etched in the minds of Americans, especially the future generations of Indian Americans. The program brought all aspects of India into the forefront of global perception – right from the country’s economic and political transformation, to the world of arts and science of contemporary India. In fact, this single projects has resulted in bringing tremendous success in the field of technology and the socio-political arena.
Bhandari Foundation sponsored a one year course at UC Berkeley titled “Indian Diaspora in Silicon Valley,” where Indian entrepreneurs’ stories were written by students after intensive research.
Not satisfied with just bringing India’s glory to the world, the Bhandari Foundation took several extra steps to bring educational projects to India, especially to his native region of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The family provides formal education to over 350 children who could not have otherwise attended school. Narpat himself was not new to academcics, having started his teaching career in the 1960s at the University of Southern California while working with Xerox. Thereafter, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley while doing research work at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs. He also established and taught the first batch of the microprocessor curriculum in the early 1970s at the University of California Extension.
The Bhandari Foundation also underwrote several medical technology transfer programs between the United States and India. It underwrote a lecture series in Jaipur and Delhi by renowned oncologist Dr. Willard Fee that showcased several benefits across the country. The family also supported Willard E. Fee Junior on his visiting professorship in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University.
A part from contributing to education, Narpat Bhandari has been constantly involved in the movement to make life much easier for Indian Americans. Like other immigrants in the united States, Indian have their own share of social cultural professional and political issues, too. Both Chandra and Narpat have partnered with other Indian Americans to help Indians face up to these challenges. They have led several offorts to make the Indian voice heard across the united States, at the state and federal levels they have organized fund raising campaigns for political causes, including the election of Governor Gray Davis and President Bill Clinton.
Bhandari also regulary contributed his mite to collaborative business. He served as a board member of the Federal Indo-US sub-commission on Education and culture, a program of the US Information Agency. He is a trustee of the University of Santa Cruz Foundation and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, a Bay Area organization of Indian-born doctors. He also continues to be a Charter member of TiE Silicon Valley, that he helped found.
Overt the past few decades Bhandari has been a phenomenal source of inspiration and has shown the way forward for everyone about the endless possibilities that life presents us, provided we approach it with honor, humility and hard work. The oldest son of Sri Dhanpat Raj Bhandari and Shrimati Lalkanwar Bhandari has made India and Rajasthan proud across the seven seas. He is a true patriot as well as a true global citizen.
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