Ghanshyam Das Birla Biography and Quotes

Ghanshyam Das Birla - Toolshero

Ghanshyam Das Birla (April 10, 1894 – June 11, 1983) was one of the most famous Indian businessmen and a member of the well-known and influential Birla family. Ghanshyam Das Birla, also known as G.D. Birla, is considered the founder of Hindustan Motors, UCO Banks, Birla Brothers Ltd., BITS and Pilani. His influence and achievements were so extraordinary that he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.

Ghanshyam Das Birla biography

Ghanshyam Das Birla was born as a member of the Maheshwari Marwari community in Pilani town, Jhunjhunu district.

His father was Raja Baldevdas Birla, a renowned businessman. He was the founder of Baldeo Das Jugal Kishore and Shiv Narain Baldeo Das in Bombay. The companies started trading in cotton, silver, grain and other goods. Ghanshyam had three brothers: Jugal Kishore, Braj Mohan and Rameshswar Das. Of the three, Ghanshyam would become the most successful businessman.

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Early career

Ghanshyam Das Birla moved to Calcutta at an early age to start his own business there. He wanted to prove himself to his family. The cotton trading business became a success and he came back to Pilani to build a large house for him and his family.

Some time later, Ghanshyam Das Birla took over the family business and decided to expand it. Where the family business first consisted mainly of lending money, he now started a jute production company.

British politics in India mainly supported European merchants and entrepreneurs in the sector, but that did not deter him. British and Scottish merchants did everything they could to bring the company down. He fell victim to bullying and monopolistic strategies, but time and again he managed to save the company from ruin.

During the First World War, when major problems arose in Europe, the company became a great success and prospered.

Expansion of the Birla Empire

So much money was being made that Birla decided to expand the business. With 5 million rupees he founded Birla Brothers Limited in 1919.

In the same year, the company’s new factory opened in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. During the same period, he also began to address the political and social institutions of the country. He was elected a member of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1926.

He was also co-founder and chairman of Harijan Sevak Sangh, founded by Mahatma Gandhi. He played a very important role in India’s freedom struggle as a confidant of Mahatma Gandhi. While Mahatma Gandhi fought for the political freedom of the country, Birla worked with everything he had for the economic freedom of India.

The success made Birla decide to set up Hindustan Motors in 1940. He also got into the textile industry and started his own tea trade after India’s independence. In 1943, he founded a commercial bank called United Commercial Bank. The bank is known today as the UCO bank, which is one of the oldest and largest banks in India.

Philanthropic Activities

Birla foresaw the development of his hometown in the field of textiles and technology and thereupon founded the Birla Engineering Institute in 1943 and the Technological Institute of Technology & Science. Both schools developed over the years into two of the best engineering schools in India.

Today Pilani also houses the Birla Public School, a public school, with which the people of Pilani maintain a very valuable relationship.

In 1957, Ghanshyam Das Birla received the second highest award from the government of India: the Padma Vibhushan. He died in London at the age of 89 in 1983.

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Ghanshyam Das Birla quotes

  1. “All the treasure in the world is worthless, unless you have someone to share it with.”
  2. “Being a conglomerate, each of our businesses has a different challenge; the business landscape is diverse for each business. It makes it challenging, as well as exciting.”
  3. “Don’t let someone who is no longer in your life continue to run your life.”
  4. “Don’t play with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of your own.”
  5. “First, create jobs, and then provide skills to people.”
  6. “I never belonged to you. I was never yours. We were never us. You confused an excellent friendship for something more than it was, and I am sorry.”
  7. “It’s not a good idea to always look for new frontiers, especially when you have opportunities in your existing businesses, in your backyard.”
  8. “I’ve yet to meet a bitter teenager. Bitterness, jealousy and jadedness, I think, are the most unattractive qualities in a person, and unfortunately they do seem to come with age.”
  9. “Our lack of compassion stems from our inability to see deeply into the nature of things.”
  10. “People forgive you when lies are told and hate you when the truth is told.”
  11. “Sometimes you gotta accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they use to be.”
  12. “Through every right and every wrong thing I’ve done, the wrong ones are the most fun doing.”

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Janse, B. (2022). Ghanshyam Das Birla. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 05/16/2022 | Last update: 05/15/2024

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Ben Janse
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Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


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