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Ghanshyam Das Birla Profile

Born: April 10, 1894

Achievement: Laid the foundations of the Birla Empire; founder of the
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Ghanshyam Das Birla is considered as a doyen of Indian Industry. He

was the man who laid the foundations of the Birla Empire. G.D. Birla
was a multi-faceted personality. He was a close associate of Mahatma
Gandhi and advised Gandhiji on economic policies. He was the most
important pre-Independence contributor to the Indian National
Congress. Ghanshyam Das Birla was the founder of the Federation of
Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FICCI). He is also popularly known as the
builder of Birla Mandirs.

Born on April 10, 1894, G.D. Birla, was a native

of Pilani. His grandfather Shiv Narayan Birla was
a traditional marwari moneylender. Ghanshyam
Das Birla entered the business arena during the
time of First World War. He established a cotton
mill in Sabzi Mandi, and later on established
Keshoram Cotton Mills. Along with cotton mills
he diversified to jute business and shifted his base to Calcutta city in
Bengal, the world's largest jute producing region. He established Birla
Jute Mills in Bengal, much to the consternation of established
European merchants.

In 1919, with an investment of Rs. 50 lakhs, the Birla Brothers Limited

was formed and a mill was set up in Gwalior. In 1930s, G.D. Birla set up
Sugar and Paper mills. In 1940s, he ventured into the territory of cars
and established Hindustan Motors. After independence, Ghanshyam
Das Birla invested in tea and textiles through a series of acquisitions of
erstwhile European companies. He also expanded and diversified into
cement, chemicals, rayon and steel tubes.

Ghanshyam Das Birla also founded several educational institutions.

Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS) Pilani has today
evolved into one of India's best engineering schools. He also
established many temples, planetariums, and hospitals. Ghanshyam
Das Birla died in 1983 at the age of 90. In his honour, G.D. Birla award
for scientific Research has been established to encourage scientists for
their contribution in the various fields of scientific Research.
“Shri Ghanshyam Das "G.D." Birla (April 10, 1894 - June 11, 1983) was an Indian
businessman and member of the influential Birla Family.


• 1 Background
• 2 Life
• 3 Further reading
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Background

Birla's grandfather Shiv Narayana Birla wanted to diversify from the traditional marwari
business of lending money against pawned items. He left Pilani, his hometown in
Rajasthan with a modest capital to Bombay to establish a business in cotton dealership.
The venture was successful and he came back to Pilani to build a huge mansion (or
Haveli), which still stands by the name Birla Haveli.

[edit] Life

Birla inherited the family business and moved to further diversify them into other areas.
Of these, at least three contemporary family business groups existing in India today can
trace their ancestry to Ghanshyam. Of these businesses, he wanted to turn the pawned
items business into manufacturing. So he left for Calcutta in Bengal, the world's largest
jute producing region. There he established a jute firm, much to the consternation of
established European merchants, whom the biased policies of the British government
favoured. He had to scale a number of obstacles as the British and Scottish merchants
tried to shut his business by unethical and monopolistic methods, but he was able to
persevere. When World War I resulted in supply problems throughout the British Empire,
Birla's business sky-rocketed.

Envisioning infrastructural development in his hometown, Birla founded the Birla

Engineering College in Pilani among other educational institutions. The college has
evolved over the years to develop into one of India's best engineering schools, BITS
Pilani. Today, Pilani also houses a wing of Central Electronics Engineering Research
Institute (CEERI), a famous residential, public school christened after Birla's family and
a number of polytechnic colleges. The town of Pilani and the local population enjoy a
highly symbiotic relationship with these institutions, thereby stepping towards realizing
G.D.'s dream. Moreover, G.D.Birla Memorial School, Ranikhet, a premier residential
school has also been eshtablished in his honor by Syt. B.K. Birla and is today one of the
best residential schools in the nation.

In 1926, he was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly of British India.[1]

In 1957, he was awarded India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan by
the Government of India.

Birla was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he met for the first time in 1916,
and Gandhi was at Birla's home in New Delhi when he was assassinated in 1947, having
lived there for the last four months of his life.

There is a memorial to Ghanshyam Birla in Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane,

London. It comprises a large statue overlooking the gardens with an inscription.”