As twentieth century India's greatest business icon, as a philanthropist, as a builder of magnificent temples and, not the least, as benefactor of and host to Mahatma Gandhi, Ghanshyam Das Birla needs no introduction. The Life and Times of G.D. Birla is the first definitive biography of Birla. Elegantly written, it reconstructs Birla's eventful private and public life, drawing upon the rich hostorical evidence available in his private papaers. the the author is the first scholar to have had unrestricted access to these papers.
Birla, one of India's foremost business entrepreneurs, played a crucial role in shaping the Marwari community. He challenged the colonial domination of the Indian economy and was an industrial pioneer. His political initiatives helped create a climate in which Indian enterprise could flourish.
Born in Vicotorian times, Birla lived through two World Wars, an epic struggle for freedom, the Nehru era of economic planning and the beginnings of India's experiment with economic liberalization. This book is not simply the story of one of the greatest Indian of our times, but also provides a window on the transformation, which India has witnessed during the twentieth century. It shows how Birla was able to maike a unique and enduring contribution to the making of contemporary India, in which many of his seminal ideas seem to be coming of age.
All persons interested in the life and work of a pioneering public figure of modern India will find this fascinating book. It is an excellent resource for biographers, scholars, historians, business people, and those with an interest in the dramatic political and economic emergence of India in the twentieth century.
About the Author:
Medha M. kudaisyais Assistant Professor,University Scholars Programme, The National Universwity of Singapore.
Experts from Review:
'Medha Kudaisya draws a marvellous picture of the political, social and economic evolution of India over the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, seen through the vantage point of the life of one exceptional man-G.D. Birla, providing at the same time an insightful analysis of how the motives and morals of individuals interact with the social forces of context and time to create history. I particularly recommend it to all business people to use as a mirror in which to see their own roles in shaping the history of the time they are living in.'
--Sumantra Ghoshal, London Business School
'This is a work of meticulous scholarship and also very readable. It will stand as the major biographical account of G.D. Birla. It illuminates the times in which the man lived, as much as the man himself. We gain insights here into the inner dynamism of one of India's leading twentieth-century industrialists; we see how a devout Hindu adapted to a cosmopolitan and international world of business and politics without abandoning his deep cultural roots; we follow the way a Marwari family broke out of the confines of their original trading base, using it to create an India-wide industrial empire; we follow Birla's ambiguous relations with the nationalist movement, with the British Raj, and then with successive Indian governments. We also see something of the strength of his ties with Gandhi and Birla's generous support of the philanthropic and educational work of Gandhi and others. This book is a 'must' for serious students of twentieth century India, whether their concerns are economic, political or cultural.'
-Judith Brown, University of Oxford.
The Birlas: Geneology
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