India Inc mourns Dr Birla's demise | business | Hindustan Times
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India Inc mourns Dr Birla's demise

Indian industry mourned the demise of philanthropist and industrialist Dr Krishna Kumar Birla, popularly known as KK Babu, saying his death has left a vacuum that would be difficult to be filled.

business Updated: Aug 30, 2008 20:18 IST

Indian industry on Saturday mourned the demise of philanthropist and industrialist Dr Krishna Kumar Birla, popularly known as KK Babu, saying his death has left a vacuum that would be difficult to be filled.

"With the death of Dr Birla, a vacuum has been created which would be difficult to be filled in," Assocham President Sajjan Jindal said.

He said Birla's contribution to the Indian industry would always be remembered.

Ficci President Rajeev Chandrasekhar described him as one of the greatest Indian entrepreneurs, who left an indelible mark on the Indian society and industry by upholding moral and spiritual values in creating landmark business enterprises through sheer dint of hard work and ethical practices.

"He was an outstanding visionary, a great parliamentarian, a business leader par excellence and the builder of modern educational and scientific institutions," Chandrasekhar said.

PHD Chamber Secretary General Krishan Kalra said: "India has lost an eminent industrialist, statesman and educationist. With his sad demise the nation has lost a visionary industry leader."

Among the modern institutions ranging from education to newspaper that Dr Birla had built includes the Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani in Rajasthan and the Hindustan Times, one of India's leading English dailies.

Dr Birla was also chairman of various companies in different sectors including textiles, sugar, engineering, shipping and information technology. He was also on the boards of State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.

The Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) also condoled the death of Birla and remembered him as a "statesman and philanthropist who lent a yeoman service to press freedom in the country."

A member of the Rajya Sabha for three successive terms from 1984 to 2002, Dr Birla also served on several committees of Parliament.

As the past president of Ficci, he forcefully and fearlessly stood for select liberalisation of credit to give fillip to industrial production and economic revival when inflation and stagnation had gripped the Indian economy in 1974.

A man widely known for his networking skills, Birla also headed the Indian Sugar Mills Association and the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

In his role as a philanthropist, Dr Birla set up the KK Birla Foundation which continues to recognise individuals who excel in Indian literature, philosophy and scientific research with annual awards.

Born on November 11, 1918, Dr Birla called it a historic day (his birthday) in his autobiography "Brushes With History" as agreement of armistice for World War I was signed on that day.

He inherited a legacy in which the creation of wealth, philanthropy and political leadership were all regarded as a part of nation building.

Spiritual strength and moral values were regarded part of Dr KK Birla's personal credo. He built a Radha-Krishna Temple (popularly known as Birla Temple) Kolkata and many other institutions countrywide that enriched the fabric of Indian society.

He is survived by three daughters -- Nandini Nupani, Jyoti Poddar and Shobhana Bhartia. His wife Manorama Devi Birla died in Kolkata on July 29.