NEW DELHI :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter to Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, on Wednesday expressed his condolences at the demise of his grandfather, the industrialist Basant Kumar Birla.
Basant Kumar Birla, the chairman of the BK Birla Group, passed away on 3 July at age 98. “Basant Babu as your grandfather was known to the countless people whose lives he positively impacted, will continue to be an inspirational figure for generations to come," the PM said.
B.K. Birla was industrialist and philanthropist Ghanshyam Das Birla’s youngest son. Soon after completing his matriculation from Kolkata’s legendary Hare School in 1936, B.K. Birla was inducted into the family business, specifically in Kesoram Cotton Mills Ltd. He started out at the bottom and worked his way up.
“Every time I met him, B.K. Birlaji came across as rooted, unassuming and warm. He certainly did an excellent job of consolidating the industries that his family was already associated with. However, the spirit of enterprise truly shone through in the way he expanded his footprint into new domains and geographies," the PM said.
G.D. Birla’s well-known close association with the Indian independence movement and its leaders provided B.K. Birla a vantage view of the Independence movement. “He (B.K. Birla) was deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his ideas. Although he had reached the pinnacle of success as an industrialist, it was not the comfort of financial success but the goal of serving the society that Birlaji was devoted towards," the PM wrote.
Although Birla held many positions in many companies over the years, including his own group companies, he was closely associated with the group’s charitable ventures.
He was the chairman of the Krishnarpan Charity Trust, which runs the BK Birla Institute of Engineering and Technology in Pilani, and the Swargashram Trust, which administers a Sanskrit school in Rishikesh. He also established the Birla Public School in Qatar and BK Birla College of Arts, Science, and Commerce in Kalyan near Mumbai. The letter added that as India looks ahead toward the target of becoming a $5 trillion economy, the nation looks up to giants like B.K. Birla as sources of inspiration who have shown how industry and social concerns can empower a nation.