A special commemorative stamp was released on Friday in honour of noted industrialist Dr Krishna Kumar Birla, who passed away in Kolkata on August 31, 2008.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said at the stamp release function that being one of the pillars of Indian industry, Dr Birla believed business was not only about profit but also about helping society.
“A leading member of the group of titans who fought for India’s freedom, he also contributed immensely towards nation building,” she said, adding, “The postage stamp is an appropriate act to honour him.”
Recalling Dr Birla’s long association with the Congress and its leaders, Sonia said his loyalty towards former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi never wavered even when some of her close associates deserted her after she lost the elections in 1977.
She also talked about her close association with Dr Birla, saying she shared his views on politics and other important issues.
Describing Dr Birla as a man of letters and action, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said he was a multi-dimensional personality. A distinguished parliamentarian and a prominent educationist, he was an institution builder who worked tirelessly in many diverse areas, Mukherjee said as he recalled his four-decade-long association with the late industrialist, including their years together in the Rajya Sabha.
“His contribution to education has been significant. And his tremendous achievement in industry matched with the scientific development he initiated in education,” Mukherjee said.
Minister of State for IT and Communications Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Dr Birla, whom he fondly called “Dadaji”, was a Gandhian at heart. “His seriousness to the cause of nation is an inspiration for younger generations. His contribution to the freedom movement has been singular. In him, we saw the history of contemporary India.”
Dr Birla’s daughter and Chairperson of HT Media Limited Shobhana Bhartia said the commemorative stamp recognizes the values he stood for and also institutionalises his memory.
In his vote of thanks, Advisory Editorial Director Vir Sanghvi said that Dr Birla lived for the nation and the release of the stamp was a recognition from the institution be believed in — the nation of India.
Also present at the stamp release function at Gandhi Smriti was Dr Birla’s brother B.K. Birla.
Union ministers P. Chidambaram, Vayalar Ravi, H.R. Bhardwaj, Anand Sharma, former minister Oscar Fernandes, Chief Ministers Sheila Dikshit and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, senior Congress leaders M.L. Fotedar, J.P. Aggarwal, Jayanthi Natarajan, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Sachin Pilot, Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Outlook Editor-in-Chief Vinod Mehta, NDTV’s Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN were the others present.
The stamp, released by the Department of Posts, is of 500p denomination. As many as 0.8 million stamps have been printed at India Security Press in Nasik.