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Ghanshyam Das Birla Biography

One of the icons of Indian industry, Ghanshyam Das Birla is remembered as the man who laid the foundation of the Birla Empire. He was a very close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and used to advise him on economic matters. The founder of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), G.D. Birla was born on April 10, 1894 in Pilani. He entered the world of business during the First World War. He established the Keshoram Cotton mills and then shifted his base to Calcutta or present-day Kolkata,West Bengal where he established the Birla Jute Mills.

This was not liked by the European merchants who tried out all means, fair as well as foul to have his business shut, but a resolute G.D. Birla stood his ground. His business boomed during World War I, when there was a great demand for his products. He then went ahead to establish the Birla Brothers Limited in 1919. In the post-independence period, Birla diversified into tea, textiles, cement, chemicals, rayon, steel tubes and other areas.

Along with his business activities, G.D. Birla is remembered for founding several educational institutions including the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Pilani, which ranks in the forefront of engineering institutions in the country. He was also instrumental in founding many temples, planetariums, and hospitals. He was awarded the Padma Vibhusan by the Government of India in 1957. The G.D. Birla award for scientific research has been established in his honour to encourage and reward scientists for their contribution to scientific research. This modern-day legend of India passed away on January 11, 1983.