Ghanshyam Das Birla (commonly known as G. D. Birla) is an Indian businessman, entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He is a member of the great Birla family known for their excellent business skills. G. D. is the son of Raja Baldevdas, and he was the most successful businessman amongst all his brothers. Ghanshyam played a significant role in expanding his family business and giving it an exceptional height. So, let us delve into this article to read the success story of this great man who built a legacy of his own.
Fun Fact – GD Birla is also the recipient of India’s second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.
G. D. Birla - Key Highlights
- Full Name – Ghanshyam Das Birla
- Date of Birth – 10 April 1894 (Age 89 years)
- Place of Birth – Pilani, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan
- Date of Death – 11 June 1983
- Profession – Businessman Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
- Designation – Founder of Hindustan Motors
G. D. Birla - Early Life and Education
Birla was born in a Maheshwari Marwari family in Pilani, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, in 1894 to Raja Baldevdas Birla. His father was a renowned businessman who established Baldeo Das Jugal Kishore in Calcutta and Shiv Narain Baldeo Das in Bombay. Ghanshyam had three brothers, Jugal Kishore, Braj Mohan, and Rameshwar Das. G. D. was the most successful businessman.
G. D. Birla Life Story - Personal Life
G. D. married twice as his first wife died at a young age, and he married after that. Birla had two sons (Basant Kumar and Krishna Kumar) from his first wife and one son (Lakshmi Nivas) from his second wife.
Lakshmi Nivas got adopted by his older brother Jugal Kishore, and Kumar Mangalam Birla is the great-grandson of Ghanshyam. Ghanshyam died on 11 June 1983 in London. He also has a memorial in his name in Golders Green Crematorium, London, and a giant statue overlooking the gardens.
G. D. Birla Biography – Career Timeline
- Early Life - Ghanshyam inherited the family business from his father and diversified it into various sectors. He moved to Calcutta and began as a jute broker. Birla wanted to turn his company into manufacturing, and thus he established Birla Jute Mills in Bengal Presidency.
- Success in Jute Business - Birla had to go through many troubles as Scottish and Britishers wanted to shut his business by monopolistic and unethical means. But he survived, and after World War 1, his business flourished due to the supply problems throughout the British Empire.
- Hindustan Motors – Birla entered into the territory of automobiles in the 1940s and established Hindustan Motors.
- Tea & Textiles Business and Diversification – G. D. also invested in various tea & textiles businesses through several acquisitions of erstwhile European companies. In addition, Birla diversified his business into other segments, such as chemicals, cement, steel tubes, and rayon.
- UCO Bank – United Commercial Bank Ltd (UCO Bank) was the first and foremost commercial bank in India that got incorporated by Birla after the Quit India Movement in 1942 in Kolkata.
G. D. Birla – Politics
Birla got selected to British India’s Central Legislative Assembly in 1926. He also became the founding president of Harijan Sevak Sangh, founded in Delhi in 1932 by Mahatma Gandhi.
Fun Fact – Birla also became one of the close associates of M. K. Gandhi after meeting for the first time in 1916.
G. D. Birla – Books
G. D. Birla is also a well-known author who writes letters, essays, lectures, and memoirs. He mostly used to write in Hindi and English. Some of his writings are as follows:
- Diary Ke Kuch Panne / Some Pages of Diary, 1940
- Bapu, 1941
- Jamnalal Bajaj
- Rupaye Ki Kahani / Story of Rupee, 1948
- Dhruvopakhyan, 1960
- Kuch Dekha Kuch Suna or Saw Something Hear Something, 1966
- Roop ur Swaroop : Char Vichaar – Prerak Nibandh, 1960
- Paths to Prosperity, 1950
- In the Shadow of the Mahatma: A Personal Memoir, 1953
G. D. Birla Story – Philanthropy & Social Work
Some of the philanthropic work done by G. D. is as follows:
- Founded Birla Engineering College – G. D. envisioned infrastructural development in his town and founded Birla Engineering College (now known as Birla Institute of Technology and Science), 1964 in Pilani. It has now evolved into one of the best engineering colleges in India.
- Technological Institute of Textile & Science in Bhiwani – Birla also laid the stone of a textile & science institute. This move helped in the development of the town and contributed towards its upliftment. TIT&S has now become a center for excellence in Textile based training and education.
- Birla Public School – G. D. also founded Birla Public School and several polytechnic colleges. So, the Pilani town has a symbiotic relationship with these institutes, there stepping towards Ghanshyam’s dream.
- G. D Birla Memorial School, Ranikhet – This school got established by Ghanshyam’s son BK Birla in his honor. Birla’s Memorial school is one of the best residential schools in India.