Shri Ghanshyam Das Birla
Shri Ghanshyam Das
"GD" Birla (April 10, 1894 - January 11, 1983)was a close associate of Mahatma
He advised Gandhiji on economic policies.He is considered a legend in Indian business
GD Birla's grand father Shiv Narayan 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.
Ghanshyam wanted to diversify his father's business, which he inherited to jute. So he
left for Calcutta city 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. The British and Scottish merchants tried to shut his business out by unethical
and monopolistic methods. He was able to persevere in the face of all such difficulties.
Ganshyam's business sky-rocketed with the World War-I and there was no looking back for
Envisioning infrastructural development in his hometown, Ghanshyam 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 Electrical and Electronics 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 realising
Ghanshyam's family business has diversified into many areas. At least three contemporary
family business groups in India trace their ancestry to Ghanshyam.
There is a memorial to Ghanshyam Birla in Golders Green Crematorium , Hoop Lane, London.
It comprises of a large statue overlooking the gardens with the following inscription.
What we call LIFE , is a wonderful journey - Full of purpose . When the mission is
realised the person passes away ..... This is the eternal law of nature.....
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