Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 106

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KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
Shy, nervous but determined, 67 years old and frail,
Jankidevi gripped the pick-axe andfirmly brought it
crashing down on the ground. A cheerwent up from
the small crowd. She then carefully sprinkledwater, and
steppedback. AsKamalnayanbuilt factory after factory,
Jankidevi got quite used topick-axes.
Her life is an extraordinaryone, extraordinarybecause
shedeliberatelymade it so. Four years oldwhen the
matchwas arranged for herwith Jamnalal, theywere
marriedwhen Jankideviwas eight andahalf, and
Jamnalal seventeen, twiceher age. She fell deeply in
lovewith Jamnalal.Of her own volition, she changed
her life for him.Their love letters are tender yet speak in
independent voices.After Jamnalal passedaway in1942,
Jankidevi gave away everything shehad to charity. But
shedidnot giveupon life. Instead she createdanewone.
In 1956, two of Jankidevi’s admirers, Jawaharlal Nehru
andRajendraPrasad, got together to awardher thePadma
Vibhushan, the secondhighest civilianhonour in India.
Jankidevi’smaternal instincts, however, were quite
normal. She fussed overwhat her five children ate, their
health, their life partners. She beat themwhen they
were naughty. But perhaps she had a soft corner for
Madalsawho sharedher concerns on cruelty to animals,
and forKamalnayan. As Savitri Bajaj, innocently but
tellingly, oncewrote, “Sometimes shewould staywith
Ramkrishna inBombay, but afterKamalnayan’s passing
away in 1972, she never came toBombay.”
Dependenceand Independence
Ground-breakingatBajaj Auto’s scooter andauto-rickshawplant,
Chinchwad, 1961
Withhusband Jamnalal
Young Jankidevi beforeher
khadi
days
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