Manthan co-founder Ajay Gandhi passes away at 65

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on September 24, 2021

He came up with the platform to ensure healthy democratic discourses

Ajay Gandhi, a chartered accountant by profession, and co-founder of Manthan, has passed away on Wednesday after suffering from an illness briefly. He was 65.

The last rites were performed on Friday in Hyderabad. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.

Born into a Gujarati family settled in Hyderabad, Ajay completed his CA in 1978 and started Gandhi & Gandhi with his brother Kamlesh. Eventually, he founded an accounting software company Wings.

Finding the absence of a healthy public discourse in Hyderabad, Ajay co-founded Manthan with his long-time friend Mamidipudi R Vikram, who is also a CA and runs the firm, M Anandam & Co. “He was a person with maximum empathy. He always longed for a healthy democratic discourse,” Vikram recalls.

He built Manthan on three principles – no scope for personal issues or offensive questions in the discussions, the platform must be free for public and comfort of the audience comes first. “He ensured that the platform remained free for the audience. He always argued that a platform that is not free loses democratic spirit,” Vikram says.

Manthan attracted some top names from various fields from across the country. Musician T M Krishna, former Finance Minister Chidambaram, former RBI governor Y V Reddy and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar are some of the well-known people to have used the platform to speak their mind.

But none of these discourses triggered a row. “It’s because of Ajay’s insistence on discussing the topic alone, giving no scope for asking any personal or offensive questions that these discourses never triggered a controversy,” Vikram says.

Ajay and Vikram spent from their pockets and raised money from like-minded friends and a few corporates to organise the discourses. Manthan’s annual event – Manthan Samvad, is a hugely successful event, packed with day-long speeches and discussions.

Founded in 2005, Manthan has organised 398 speeches so far.

Published on September 24, 2021

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