Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 7

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KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
Diya
A tinyword of two syllables, ‘
diya
’ is one of those special
words that immediately resonate inus. A
diya
, as noun,
is a small clay bowl with a delicate flickering flame.
Metaphorically it represents big emotions such as hope
andpassion, courage and respect.
Diya
, as verb, canbe
interpreted as ‘given’.
Dear reader, the book in your hand is a result of both
the noun and the verb.
Letme explain.
Thewriting of business history is not for the faint of
heart. To illustrate this point, letme sharewith you
just one of many herculean chores that have to be
undertaken. Companies have tomaintain annual
reports. But as the years pass, theymove from office
cabins to a back office before eventually reaching their
resting place in a trunk or aGodrej cupboard in a
warehouse of some kind. I asked for the annual reports
of all the companies in the Bajaj group from 1938 to
1972: the yearKamalnayanBajaj effectively joined the
family business, until his death. Andwhen I could not
find a specific piece of data, I started asking forminutes
of themeetings of the boards of directors.
Not once did I hear amoan.
Rahul Bajaj gave theword. Shekhar,Madhur and
Niraj readily hunted out documents in the companies
under their charge. It requires real dedication and
passion todig intodusty, long-forgotten archives.
In addition to their normal duties, group executives
worked extrahours to collect the information.
As one of them exhorted a colleague, “Please help
her. This is about us.”
NitinKochar,MohanKeyyath, RSatyanarayan and
J Sridhar – I owe you ahuge debt of gratitude for your
patience, persistence andputtingme back on the right
trackwhenever I veered off it. I donot know the names
of themany,many executiveswho contributed to this
effort. I request you to thank, onmy behalf, each and
everyBajaj executivewhoput in those extrahours. That
this book exists is not only because the familywanted
a biography. It exists asmuchbecause of the respect
Kamalnayan aroused in the descendants of thosewho
worked for him, and today are either employed in the
Bajaj group or are associates.
InMumbai,MukulUpadhyaya, custodian of the
Bajaj family history, not only helpedme navigate the
wonderful archive of photographsmaintainedby the
Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, but alsounlocked the
secrets of oldHindi texts, some of them long forgotten
–but never by him.Over inPune, Sudhir Sharma
masterminded the book’s design.
While this hectic activitywas going on inBajaj offices
across India, theBajaj family jumpedwhole-heartedly
into the project. Suman Jain,Kiran andKumud shared
not just their photographs and letters, but also their
memories.Minal, Rajiv, Sanjiv andSunaina, I hope,
had fun remembering childhooddays. Relatives-by-
marriage such asChitraPamnani, RupaBajaj’s sister,
werewilly-nilly drawn into the quest. AswasDhirubhai
Mehta, whomarriedNanda, RadhakrishnaBajaj’s
daughter – read all about them inside the book!
Diya
, the noun, came into action.
Ofmuch greater importance than the data collection
effort is theBajaj commitment to truth – aGandhian
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