Some Of Our Faculty


Dr Ali Khwaja

Dr.Ali Khwaja - Chairman, principal faculty of BanjaraAcademy

A Montessorian, an engineering graduate of IIT, MIE, MIIM, with a Ph.D in behavioral sciences - Ali Khwaja has always carved out his own path and been a free-lancer, ensuring that work is joy every day.

He is invited regularly to conduct workshops or lectures for Defense, Central Government, prestigious National institutions, schools and colleges, but he prefers to be informal, learning while he teaches, and being honest and congruent in whatever he says or does.

He is the founder and head of Banjara Academy, a unique institution committed to improvement of quality of life. He nurtures and motivates over 200 volunteers to give free service in 10 hospitals and the Academy’s own counselling centers. He conducts a very popular and practical one year part-time Diploma in Counselling Skills and a 5-month Certificate in Life Skills. Yet he finds time for causes as wide as adoption, disability welfare, “true” education, life skills, and counselling.

He has been presenting papers in national workshops, has written over 30 books and 80 booklets on all practical aspects of day-to-day life. He writes regular columns and articles in reputed publications like Deccan Herald, etc., and edits a unique newsletter. He is widely quoted in the media, and has been repeatedly interviewed on radio and TV.

Notwithstanding all that, he loves all human beings alike, is willing to listen, and his prime focus is on empowering individuals to help themselves.

Dr. Ali Khwaja can be contacted at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Perma-link for Ali's page:


Dr Bhavani Ramesh

Bhavani Ramesh - counsellor

Dr. J Bhavani Ramesh is a qualified counsellor with an NGO, Ashwini Charitable Trust which educates, empowers underprivileged children who live below the poverty line and supports them till they are self-reliant emotionally and financially. As a counselor she regularly create opportunities for the children to express their emotions through Drama, Dance, Painting etc She holds a Ph.D. in English specialising in Post-Modernism and Existential philosophy. Her M. Phil thesis applied Carl Gustav Jung's Mid-life Crisis theory to the Hindu married woman. She has completed several courses including Banjara Academy's Certificate in Counselling Skills (CCS) course, Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) course, Louise Hay's Heal Your Life workshop, Neuro Linguistic Programming under Richard McHugh and a post-graduation in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Her work at the NGO keeps her busy throughout the week, however she also counsel’s by appointment. For the last few years she has been a guest faculty with Banjara Academy.



Dr Rajdeep Manwani


Dr. Rajdeep Manwani is an academician, trainer and quizmaster par excellence, both by training and by choice.
He is a triple postgraduate having completed his M. Com., MBA and M. Phil. and also a doctorate in commerce on the topic "Strategic evaluation of training in commercial banks".
He secured the gold medal for topping both the M. Com. and M. Phil. examinations in Mysore University.
An eloquent speaker, he is a winner of the International Tape Speech contest conducted by Toastmasters International.
He has hosted several training programmes and held management talk shows on radio.
At present, he is working as the co-ordinator in the Department of Commerce in Shri Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain college and is a part of the Internal Quality Assurance Cell of the college and also a key member of the research cell of the college. He is presently working on a research project entitled 'The role of management games in business education'.
He has trained, motivated and mentored over 4500 students and executives over a span of fourteen years and received excellent ratings from his corporate and educational clients which include Royal Orchid Hotels, Sobha Developers, AT&T India, etc.
He firmly believes in the motto of his life "Touching lives, making a difference".

All of us at Banjara Academy congratulate Dr Rajdeep Manwani on receiving the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (2013)!

We thank Asha Sathya Narayanan for quickly providing us with this video of Dr Rajdeep receiving the award! Asha Sathya Narayanan is an alumna of the Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) course and the Advanced Certification in Student Counselling (ACSC) course.


Dr Shama Kittur

Dr Shama Kittur, fitness consultant and chief-in-charge, Dendrite Sports and Fitness Medicine Centre, pursued her medical degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum. Her expertise in the area of sports injury and management is augmented by her personal involvement in the field of sports. Having represented India as an international badminton player has empowered her to understand the physical and mental demands of a sports person. She also holds the highly coveted certificate of Health and Fitness Instructor authenticated by the American College of Sports Medicine. She prescribes rehabilitation and fitness protocols to expedite recovery in players thereby enabling them to get back to their mainstream competitive sports.



Dr Asha Sidd


Dr. Asha Sidd, a former banker with twenty years of experience in customer care and projects, she was always interested in human welfare, and hence she qualified herself with a Diploma in Counselling Skills and an Advanced Diploma in Family Counselling. After acquired her Masters in Applied Psychology from Madras University, she successfully completed her Ph.D., researching on effectiveness of training in life skills.

She is a trained assessor for Psycho-social and Educational traits of children and adults, and regularly does assessments as per the requirements of individuals and institutions. She is on the panel of career counselors for the Times of India and has written columns on career counselling in the Education Times and other publications, and has been interviewed on TV, Radio for career guidance.

She is an active counselor for professional, family, and child related issues, associated with Banjara Academy as its Director Academics. She has been regularly conducting training programs and workshops (in English, Kannada and Telugu) on topics as diverse as Stress, Time Management, Study Skills, Parenting, Motivation, Team work for

  • Reserve Bank of India, Customs and Excise, Income Tax Departments
  • Defence Institute of Quality Assurance, etc.
  • Corporate organizations like Infosys, Spiritual Solutions, Quest, Pace Technologies, IBM, etc. Teachers, parents and students of various schools and colleges in Bangalore and other places such as Doha (Qatar), Bellary, Hubli, Bylakuppe, Chennai, Kolkatta, Imphal, Pune, IIM, etc.
  • Prestigious NGOs working in diverse fields and requiring inputs for their staff, faculty and counsellors
  • Above all, she is a very humane and compassionate person, and reaches out genuinely to touch hearts wherever she goes, in her professional and personal capacity


Eshwar Sundaresan


Eshwar Sundaresan At different points in time, I have described myself as a techie, full-time writer, freelance journalist, strategic consultant for SMEs, Life Skills trainer, counsellor etc etc. End of the day, every label seems self-limiting. So I have decided to discard all labels and embrace the infinite nature of Life, even as I continue to perform activities linked to the labels above. For instance: I am the author of Bangalored: The Expat Story and Behind the silicon mask, among other works, and I continue to write both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes, I even ghostwrite on behalf of inspiring people. I counsel as much as I can. I disguise myself as a teacher and pretend to teach Life Skills and counselling skills to classrooms filled with bright people. I end up learning a lot more in the process. I continue to freelance with those media agencies that like my offbeat OP-ED pieces. I believe in preserving the innocence and futures of children. So I am part of an organization named FAiTH which intends to eliminate child sex abuse from our midst.



Husna F. Rahaman

Husna F. Rahaman (B.A., B. Ed) has a diploma in learning disabilities and has done Banjara Academy's Diploma in Counseling Skills (DCS) course. A special educator and a parent of a dyslexic child, she started the Larkspur Educational Trust in 2005, a school specially for dyslexic children. Earlier she had worked with Spastic Society of Karnataka in the research and diagnostic centre and later at Vidya Niketan school in the block for the National Institute of Open Schooling [NIOS]. Larkspur is the only school in Bangalore which caters only to dyslexic children and no other disability.


Purnima Ganesh

Purnima - Coordinator, Helping Hand, Banjara Academy

Purnima is a post graduate in Law and Personnel Management. After working for two decades in the corporate world, she chose to move to her passion area which is social service activities and counseling. She is now a freelance counselor and also conducts workshops. She is associated with counseling military personnel of Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. She is a Hindi film music buff and enjoys reading. She conducts story-telling and puppet shows for children. She has honed her skills as a compere for musical and other programs and is able to establish a very good rapport with the audience. She organizes programs for teenagers and youths, conducts training in different areas, and is the Coordinator of Helping Hand volunteers. She is a Mentor for counselling students.

Perma-link for Purnima's page:



Ratnesh Mathur


Ratnesh Mathur appreciates learning more as a student than as a teacher. With the zest of a child he has been actively involved in studying, understanding and implementing learning and teaching strategies.


He is an engineer & an MBA from IIM but his real passion is in working with children from one year to teenagers.

He has worked intensely with parents and teachers in more than 800 workshops, designs resources and writes profusely in newspapers, magazines and in his hugely popular parenting e-zine. He is available for interviews, consultancy, speaking engagements and training.

He believes in the philosophy borrowed from "Rumi"
"Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field – I shall meet you there".


Reema Hanamshet

Reema A graduate in psychology and English, she developed a passion for behavioural sciences at an early age, completing a Diploma in Counselling Skills and a Diploma in Life Skills. She has wide experience through Newspaper in Education, Banjara Academy’s DCS course, Supervised Practical Programs, Defence Institute of Quality Assurance, Infosys, IBM and various schools and colleges. She is an active counselor on all emotional, developmental and career issues, guides students, and has the sensitivity to handle problems of intense mental trauma. She has been repeatedly interviewed on TV. She is coordinator of Career Guidance Training program, does online counselling, assessment of counselling students, and makes herself available to persons from all background and ages whenever emotional support is required.


Sreedhar M A

Sreedhar MA

Sreedhar did his post-graduation in Management and worked for a brief while in the banking field before quitting and setting to travel his own path. He is in charge of the team involved in all the online activities of Banjara Academy - its website, its Facebook page ; he is also in charge of Banjara Academy's various classroom courses such as the Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) Course and the Certificate in Life Skills (CLS) course and the Academy's online courses such as the International Graduate Diploma in Counselling Skills (IGDCS) course, the Certification in Student Counselling (CSC) course, the unique blended learning course, the Advanced Certification in Student Counselling (ACSC) and other programmes. He is part of the faculty of Banjara Academy, a counsellor and a mentor. He is an eternal learner and loves being with people. He says: "I thoroughly enjoy the experience of sharing and discovering with our students of various courses the various aspects of the human mind, human behaviour, psychological counselling skills and life skills." He warmly welcomes you to connect with him on Facebook. If you'd like to know more about our online courses in counselling skills, you can call him or leave a message on his mobile, 09901625390.


Perma-link for Sreedhar MA's page:

Sreedhar has authored the following articles for this website.


Uma Madan

Uma Madan - training teachers for Mentally Retarded students

Uma Madan has grey hair (she has purposely streaked her hair white), but is a child at heart. She is one of the pioneers in the field of Special Education, having been trained by professionals extensively and is very passionate about the cause..She has an Dip in Special Education(Mental Retardation and a Dip in Special Education(specific Learning Disabilities). She has been Course coordinator for 8 years and a Course Director for the various programs held by KPAMRC. She is currently an Consultant in spl. Ed with the KPAMRC She has conducted workshops, and training sessions for various institutions in life skills and counselling skills, like Christ College, Mount Carmel College, SDMIMD, Mysore, University School of design , Mysore, Rotary club of Akola, maharashtra , ladies’ group in Kolkata. She is currently actively involved in Seva Projects of Art of Living. She has been associated with Banjara Academy for more than 15 years (which is more than her age), and can win the hearts of people from 80 days to 80 years of age. Her classes are excellent, but at times when she forgets what to say, she makes up for it by singing songs.



Usha Shinde

Usha Shinde, on faculty of Banjara Academy's psychological counselling courses

Usha Shinde has done her Masters in Arts from Karnataka University. She has done her postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore.  She is currently working at Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain Hospital as “ Manager- Customer Relations". She has prior experience as Manager, Customer Relations, at Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Heart Centre, Bangalore for a period of seven years. She has also been a Manager for Home Care Services for a period of five years. She has worked with Mallige Medical Centre and for Bangalore Institute of Oncology as Public Relations Officer. She has rich experience in teaching at Banjara Academy for the Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) course. Usha Shinde has received many awards and recognitions. She was declared “The Bangalorean of the Year” in 1997 by the Bangalore Monthly magazine in recognition of her unique and dedicated services for terminally-ill cancer patients. For years she did palliative care work by going in an auto to the huts of dying cancer patients. She has also received the Mahila Sadhaki award from the Women’s Guild of Bangalore for the year 1998. She has attended various international seminars on Psycho-Oncology, Palliative Care and presented various papers and lectures.  Her hobbies are writing short stories and poetry in English, Marathi and Hindi.


Vasantha Sanath


Vasantha Sanath says -  "After studying to become a software engineer, I realized that learning about and (trying to!) understand the complex rational and irrational processes of the human psyche is far more interesting and intriguing than condemning myself to a life of writing the just dry, logical code that computer chips understand.

So I veered off into a rather offbeat track and completed the Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) and the Certificate in Life Skills (CLS) courses from Banjara Academy. Travelling on this not so well-laid and not that well-trodden road of figuring out myself and others around me, I now find life to be much more meaningful, fulfilling and enriching in every way. But like a student who has done a bachelor's or master's course, can I declare that I've finished learning something? No, I always feel that there is so much more out there for me to explore and understand in the field of human behaviour. So, am trundling on, having happily sentenced myself to lifelong learning. From being an amateur “agony aunt” to my friends and now a certified counsellor, I can befriend anyone I meet and often find myself sitting down and listening to the life-stories of complete strangers. If I can make even a miniscule positive difference in peoples’ lives, the feeling of satisfaction I get from it is priceless! Love music, reading, animals, writing, desserts and painting - in that order!"

Vasantha Sanath is also one of the Page Admins of Banjara Academy's Facebook page. She is an enthusiatic volunteer in quite a few activities of Banjara Academy. She has contributed an article 'Chitthee aayi hai - the almost lost art of letter-writing' to this website.


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Certification in Student Counselling (CSC)

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Except where otherwise noted, the Content of the Website of Banjara Academy - the text, the audios, the videos, the images - contributed by Dr Ali Khwaja and his team of volunteers at Banjara Academy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.