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
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.