Born On: May 28, 1903
Born In: Sholapur, Maharashtra
Died On: April 24, 1994
Career: Entrepreneur, Industrialist
What had started off with a small bicycle business by his father and uncle, emerged as one of India's flourishing business ventures, thanks to the ingenuity and business mind of Shantanurao Laxmanrao Kirloskar, S.L. Kirloskar for short. Right from oil engines and electric motors to machine tools and tractors to hotels and consultancy services, the Kirloskar Group has set its foot in all branches across the world. A man of both Indian and international stature, Kirloskar expanded the Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. throughout India and gave it a global perspective. A man of principles, strong thoughts, and unending struggles, Kirloskar successfully established a golden age for Indian industry and the country on the whole. Today, he is believed to be one of the best role models for young industrialists who are keen on following his footsteps.
Shantanurao Laxmanrao Kirloskar was born as the eldest child to Laxmanrao Kirloskar and Radhabai in Sholapur, 220 miles southeast of Bombay. He was born in the Karhade Brahmin family of the Kirloskars, scattered over the southern portion of Bombay presidency. He was followed by brothers, Rajaram, Prabhakar, and Ravindra, and sister Prabhavati. His father and his uncle, Ramchandrarao had set up the Kirloskar Group and the township of Kirloskarwadi on March 10, 1910. The company then ran a bicycle business in Belgaum, now in Karnataka. Shantanurao received his primary education from Aundh and joined New English School in Poona for the rest of his schooling. In 1922, he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in USA to pursue his bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering. He returned back to India in 1926 and was one amongst the batch of first Indians to graduate from MIT, the other being Chintalapati Satya Narayana Raju.
On his return to India in 1926, Kirloskar Brothers was already making plows to establish the company. With the entry of junior Kirloskar, the company expanded and extended the manufacturing of diesel engines, the most popular products amongst them being pumps, electric motors, and other engineering equipment. Such was his courage and confidence that Kirloskar turned the family business into one of India's largest companies and an energetic exporter. After the end of World War II, Kirloskar spread the Kirloskar Group on a national level and later globally. This became evident with the establishment of Kirloskar Electric Company at Bangalore and Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited at Pune in 1946.
During the period 1950 to 1991, Kirloskar raised the company generating one of the highest growth rates in Indian history. The group, during that phase, exhibited an unbelievable 32,401% growth of assets. Presently, Kirloskar Group is the largest engineering conglomerate in India. Amongst the numerous companies set up by Kirloskar, some of them include Kirloskar Oil Engines, Kirloskar Ferrous Industries, Kirloskar Pneumatic Company, Kirloskar Ebara Pumps Ltd., Kirloskar Construction and Engineers Ltd., SPP Pumps, and Gondwana Engineers Ltd. Apart from attending and managing the Kirloskar Group, Kirloskar served as the first president of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he also worked as the director of Reserve Bank of India and Industrial Development Bank of India.
S.L. Kirloskar was married to Yamuna (fondly known as Yamunatai), daughter of Rangnath Pathak. The couple had two sons, Chandrakant Kirloskar and Srikant Kirloskar.
S.L. Kirloskar died on April 24, 1994 in a hospital in Pune after a stroke. He was 90 years old.
Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India released a commemorative postage stamp to honor the Kirloskar Group's 100th anniversary, in 1988. In 2003, a memorial postage stamp was yet again released by the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on the birth centenary of Kirloskar.
1903: Born in Sholapur, Maharashtra
1922: Went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
1926: Completed mechanical engineering degree and returned to India
1946: Established Kirloskar Electric Company in Bangalore and Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited in Pune
1988: Memorial postage stamp released on the occasion of Kirloskar Group's 100 years
1994: Died on April 24 in Pune, aged 90
2003: Honored with a commemorative postage stamp as his 100th birth anniversary