Dr K.K. Birla –Memoriam
Dr. Krishna Kumar Birla, our late founder Chairman, belonged to one of the most illustrious families in India. He was born in Pilani (Rajasthan) to the legendary Late Shri G. D. Birla on November 11, 1918 – the holy day of Gopasthmi. He inherited a legacy in which the creation of wealth, philanthropy and political leadership were all regarded as part of nation-building.
Dr. K. K. Birla was a visionary and nurtured the K. K. Birla Group as one of the most respected 'Business Houses' in India. The Group covers a wide canvas with interest in fertilisers, media, textiles, sugar, shipping, engineering, engineering services, financial services, furniture, information technology and infrastructure sectors.
The Group under his leadership made foray into Fertiliser Business in 1967 through Zuari Industries Limited, Goa, at a time when fertilizer sector was pre-dominantly controlled by Public Sector. Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd was promoted in 1985. Today, Chambal has India's largest Private Sector urea manufacturing facility at Gadepan in Rajasthan. Chambal also setup a Joint Venture – Indo Maroc Phosphore, SA in Morocco for manufacture of Phosphoric Acid way back in 1997 when overseas investment by Indian Companies was a rare phenomenon. The Group further consolidated fertiliser business when Zuari acquired controlling stake in Paradeep Phosphate Limited in 2002 from Government of India.
Dr. K. K. Birla was a member of the Rajya Sabha for three successive terms from 1984 –2002 and served on several committees of Parliament. He was member of National Integration Council of which the Prime Minister is the Chairman and all the Chief Ministers of the states are members along with other renowned personalities. He was on the central board of the State Bank of India and ICICI. Dr. Birla also headed Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI), Indian Sugar Mills Association and many Sports Federations.
Dr. K.K. Birla was the Chancellor of Birla Institute of Technology and Science, (BITS) Pilani. BITS has four campuses at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, Dubai. He set up the K. K. Birla Foundation, which confers annual awards for excellence in literature, scientific research, Indian philosophy, art, culture and sports. He also established the K. K. Birla Academy, which undertakes research on scientific, historical and cultural subjects.
Dr. Birla was a Hindi Prabhakar (Honours in Hindi) and D.Litt (Honoris Causa). His contribution in the field of literature has been immense through the publication of his works. It was a passion that Dr. Birla continued to pursue till the end.
Dr. K. K. Birla was known for his dignified unassuming personality, intellect, meticulous planning, deep regard for punctuality, business acumen and dynamic leadership. Spiritual strength and moral values were part of his personal credo. He made an indelible mark in the field of industry, education, politics, art and culture. For him, achieving excellence was a journey and not a destination.