19 Jul 2012
Professor Kumar, one of the world’s leading authorities on strategy and marketing, has been a passionate supporter of the arts and a collector of modern Indian visual art for more than a decade.
He was awarded an honorary fellowship by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in recognition of and for his contribution to the world of Asian art.
In her citation, Professor Nirmala Rao, Pro-Director, Learning and Teaching at SOAS said: “We have the opportunity to honour a man who has been one of the most highly regarded in the world of art, culture and education.
“Nirmalya is a passionate supporter of the arts and it is his interest as a collector and enthusiast of modern Indian visual art that brought him to the attention of SOAS and its friends. Over the years, he has put together amongst the largest private collections of Jamini Roy, considered by many to be the father of Indian modern art, and Rabindranath Tagore paintings (the first Asian to win a Nobel Prize).
“Rather than simply seeing it as his personal collection, he sees himself as a custodian to help increase the visibility of these artists and the understanding of the context, part of India’s freedom struggle in the early 20th century, in which modern Indian art emerged.
“As part of his desire to enhance awareness and educate people about these great, but largely underrepresented artists, Nirmalya tries, as often as possible, to write columns and give lectures on this subject. And his collection is open for viewing and is also used for philanthropic purposes.
“As an academic at London Business School, a role in which he has been supporting Indian business and economy, Nirmalya has brought a breadth of vision, a deep reservoir of experience and an intense commitment to enhancing innovation and strategic developments. He has been interpreting India and Indian business for companies in the West and multinational companies have used his works widely.”
Professor Kumar added: “It is with great respect for the institution of SOAS that I am honoured to accept the honorary fellowship bestowed on me. I feel privileged to now be a part of an academic institution that has been so critical in helping understand Africa and Asia.”