indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), as the apex national body, has the objective of organizing, supporting and providing a base for expeditions for mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing, trekking at high altitudes and to promote, encourage, support and execute schemes for related adventure activities and environmental protection work in the Himalaya.
N.R. Pillai, ICS
S.S. Khera, ICS
Vice President 1979-1989.
H.C. Sarin, ICS
N.N. Vohra, IAS
Maj. H.P.S. Ahluwalia
ELEVEN HISTORIC YEARS WITH RAJIV GANDHI TO EXPOSE INDIAN YOUTH TO SOME WORLD CLASS ADVENTURES AND TWENTY MORE YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH TO REALISE RAJIV'S DREAM OF EXPOSING YOUTH TO ADVENTURE ON A MASS SCALE
Towards the middle of 1980, Rajiv Gandhi took the momentous decision of leaving his Indian Airlines job to help Indira Gandhi on the political front. High on his agenda was a plan to give a new dimension to adventure among the youth to accelerate the process of India's resurgence. August 7, 1980 was the day when began a new chapter in the history of Indian adventure. Just before lunch that day Captain Kohli received a phone call from Vijay Dhar that Rajiv Gandhi would like to meet him. Vijay said it would take just about five minutes and that he should meet Rajiv before lunch. In less than 10 minutes Kohli was closeted with Rajiv in his office. The meeting lasted almost an hour.
Rajiv was eager to know all about mountaineering and adventure in India. He was a good listener. Kohli gave him a detailed account of the history and development of mountaineering and other adventures in India, starting from the ascent of Everest by Tenzing in 1953 and the subsequent decision by Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr B.C Roy to set up the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. Kohli traced the growth of Indian expeditions, leading to the record-breaking Indian ascent of Everest in 1965, and Air India’s world-wide thrust since 1971 to popularize Himalayan trekking under Kohli’s guidance. Kohli made special mention of the invaluable contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi who had a genuine love for the Himalayas and adventure. Rajiv was all ears. No other thoughts seemed to interrupt his deep concentration.
He quickly made up his mind, and announced "Kohliji, we have already achieved a lot in mountaineering. Let us involve our youth with other major adventures of international class." Several possibilities were discussed - expeditions to Antarctica, sailing around the world, Indian women climbing Everest and so on. He asked for details of the Rolex and Rolls Royce adventure award schemes to consider whether any one of these could be suitable for Indian youth. As Kohli rose to leave, he said, "Let us meet often and finalise all these plans without any delay. We must make a start immediately. Don't ask George for any appointment. You can enter my room anytime".
Kohli was thrilled and excited about the prospect of Indian youth embarking on a number of world class adventures. He met Rajivji almost every week thereafter. Through Air India's worldwide network, adventure schemes from Rolls Royce and several other corporations and institutions started pouring in. Rajiv was eager to make a start. After several weeks of deliberations, for the maiden venture it was decided to use funds from the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust. Indian Mountaineering Foundation rules were amended to include all types of adventure in its Memorandum of Association.