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‘Bhishma Pitamah’ of Kota, Chairman of Bansal Classes Passed Away.

The 71-year-old chairman of Bansal Classes passed away after a long battle with muscular dystrophy.

A maths wizard, an IIT engineer and “Bhishma Pitamah” of India’s coaching industry Vinod Kumar Bansal was many things. But the one title he will be remembered for is being the “Bhishma Pitamah” of India’s coaching industry. The man who, starting from a tuition class in his living room, put the small industrial Rajasthan town of Kota at the heart of the country’s education map. And the centre of a Rs 3,000 crore coaching industry.

On Monday, the 71-year-old chairman of Bansal Classes passed away after a long battle with muscular dystrophy. While he had tested positive for  Covid-19 recently and was admitted to hospital, his reports had returned negative two days ago. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Sameer Bansal, his son and managing director of Bansal Classes, said in a statement, “He was the architect of Kota’s coaching industry. For 35 years, he did not think about anything other than his students. He is also an inspiration for those suffering from a disease. As we battle a pandemic , we can all learn from his positive attitude.”

Stories about ‘Bansal sir’ can be heard all over Kota. Born in Jhansi, Bansal studied mechanical engineering at IIT-Banaras Hindu University. And joined J K Synthetics in Kota in the early ’70s. Just a few years later, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy which impaired his physical movement.

In 1985, when one of his students cleared the IIT entrance exams, the numbers in his classes grew.

Many of the measures practised by Kota’s coaching centres have their origins in Bansal’s classrooms, including separate batches for students based on performance.

Lok Sabha Speaker and Kota-Bundi MP Om Birla was among those who mourned Bansal’s death, calling it “an irreparable loss to the entire academic world”.

The demise in a way signals the end of an era for Kota’s coaching industry, that is caught in a tussle between its online and offline identity due to the pandemic. The second Covid-19 wave has again forced institutes shut.

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