God’s Own Kitchen- The Inspiring Story of Akshaya Patra – A Social Enterprise Run by Monks and CEOs
by Rashmi Bansal
People often asked Madhu Pandit Why did you leave IIT to become a monk? Had he followed the conventional path, Madhu Pandit would have been a big-shot in some large corporation. Instead, he was the CEO of a large temple. Guided by his guru A C Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada. Propelled forward by the Divine Plan. A chance meeting with Mohandas Pai inspired Madhu Pandit to use the spare capacity in the ISKCON kitchen. To start a mid-day meal program for 1500 children, in and around Bangalore. Today, Akshaya Patra is the worlds largest NGO-led mid-day meal program, with 27 kitchens across 11 states. Serving 1.6 million hot lunches to government schools each day. This is the exciting story of spiritualists and capitalists coming together to launch a unique start-up. And taking it to scale. A Made in India success story using the head, the heart and a whole lot of soul.
About The Author
“Rashmi Bansal (born 1985) is an Indian non-fiction writer and public speaker. As of 2016, she has published six best-sellers, all addressing entrepreneurship in an attempt to provide encouragement to young men and especially young women. Her first book, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, which traces the progress of 25 MBAs, has reached sales of over 300,000, breaking the Indian record for non-fiction works. Bansal was born on 8 March 1985. She grew up at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in South Mumbai where her father was an astrophysicist. After attending St Joseph’s High School in Colaba, she studied at Sophia College for Women before earning an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
On graduating from IIM, she first worked as a brand manager for the Times of India. After developing a youth page for The Independent, she went on to found JAM (Just Another Magazine), a youth magazine in collaboration with her husband Yatin Bansal.
She was inspired to write Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (2008) by Rakesh Basant, a professor at IIM Ahmedabad who suggested she should cover the experiences of 25 entrepreneurs from the school. It turned out to be so successful that 100,000 copies were sold in the first 10 months, eventually recording sales of over 350,000. Her next book, Connect the Dots (2010), traced the progress of entrepreneurs without the MBA qualification. It also proved to be a best seller. Her I Have a Dream (2011) focused on social entrepreneurs, introducing an interesting mix of English and Hindi, popularly known as Hinglish, in an attempt to add a more realistic account of her personalities.
In a interview with Heather Timmons of the New York Times, Bansal explained she decided to use Hinglish as it provides a more direct representation of people’s voices and makes them more real. More recently, Bansal has written another four best-sellers on entrepreneurs: Poor Little Rich Slum, Follow Every Rainnbow, Take Me Home and Arise Awake. All are concerned with entrepreneurship with advice on how to succeed. She frequently illustrates her ideas with accounts of those who have risen to unexpected heights.”