Shri Rameshwardasji Birla was a leading industrialist and philanthropist
who dedicated his life to medical, social cultural, educational
and religious activities not only in Bombay City, but also in
the Country. He was the pioneering spirit behind the Bombay Hospital
and was the Founder Chairman of the Trust.
humanitarian approach and untiring efforts were responsible for
setting up the Bombay Hospital in 1950 with a 440-bed capacity.
Later in 1972, a 13-storey Medical Research Centre was added
with all specialties in the medical field, and equipped with the
most sophisticated equipment, and with a bed strength of over 200,
making a total of about 680 beds, of which almost one-third are
As a businessman, he was well known for his integrity and acumen.
He built a masterpiece of a temple in ancient architectural
style at Kalyan, open to every one, irrespective of
caste or creed.
To the social and cultural life of the city of Bombay, Shri R.
D. Birla gave the magnificent and spacious Birla Mathushri Sabhagar
in memory of his mother and the Birla Kreeda Kendra,
at Chowpatty Sea face, in memory of his father.
In addition, Shri Rameshwardasji set up hospitals at Pilani,
Calcutta and other centers along with charitable dispensaries.
He passed away on April 21, 1973 at the ripe old age of 82
MADHAV PRASADJI BIRLA
Born in Bombay on the 4th July, 1918, Shri M. P. Babu,
as he was universally and affectionately known, was inducted into
business at the early age of eighteen years by his uncle, the legendary
Shri G. D. Birla. As was the practice in the Birla family,
he was given a small fledgling company known as Birla Jute &
Manufacturing Company Ltd. Which he built by sheer dint of dedicated
hard work and enterprise, into a multi-product industrial giant encompassing
products like jute, cement, calcium carbide, synthetic yarn and
others. A man of great enterprise, Shri M. P. Babu set up a host
of other companies like Universal Cables, Vindhya Telelinks, Hindustan
Gum & Chemicals, Digvijay Woollen Mills, Indian Smelting etc.,
all leaders in their own fields, manufacturing quality products. His
contribution to the banking sector was equally significant as Chairman
of the United Commercial Bank till its nationalization.
man is judged not by what he earns but what he gives to society.
Shri M. P. Babu will be remembered as a great philanthropist
rather than as a leading and eminent industrialist. Totally
devoid of ego, and instinctively averse to self-advertisement, he
gave profusely and generously to charitable causes spread over the
length and breadth of country, including the birth place of Adi
Sankaracharya. He gave to it the Birla Planetarium, one of
the finest in Asia and the Belle Vue Clinic & Nursing Home,
one of the best equipped medical institutions in that part of the
country. Recently he established the M. P. Birla Foundation
in fulfillment of his deep commitment to furthering progress in
the fields of education and medicine. The Foundation has also set
up and operates a modern 60-bedded hospital at Birlapur in
West Bengal, with a second hospital operating, at Satna in Madhya
Pradesh. Shri. M. P. Birla was also intimately associated with
the famous Birla Institute of Technology & Science at Pilani.
The Bombay Hospital enjoyed a very special place in his heart.
He liberally gave crores of rupees to this great Institution and
even though, during the last five or six years, he had been keeping
indifferent health, he took keen interest in the working of the
Hospital and made frequent inquiries about the quality of treatment,
more particularly to the poor and needy. He was responsible in no
small measure, for the growth and development of the Hospital, set
up by his illustrious father Shri Rameshwardasji Birla, into
a 830 bedded Hospital, one of the largest and best equipped in the
A perceptive devotee of the India's priceless cultural and religious
heritage, he started, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, with which
he was closely associated, Sarva Dharma Pratisthan, for repairing
and renovating countless place of workship in various States.
In private life he was shy and self-effacing and a man of simple
habits with few needs-a man who earned in order to spend it
for worthy causes. Indeed, he imbibed the great message of the Upanishads
that wealth should be enjoyed, by giving it generously. He
was a man of unparallel managerial skill and almost unlimited capacity
for hard work. Shy and self-effacing to a fault, he was visibly
embarrassed if any of the numerous beneficiaries of his kindness
and generosity, expressed their gratitude for what he had done for
Born on 3rd November, 1908, in the well-know public spirited
Zamindar family of Najibabad in U.P., known as the Sahu
Jain family, Babuji, as he was affectionately addressed,
had, in his youth, the advantage of seeing in operation, and coming
in contact with, the cultural ethos of the period, where Hindus, Muslims,
Jains and other communities, had evolved a pattern of living in amity,
and peacefully following the practices of their respective religious
and social codes. It was this blend of cultural actions and reactions,
which had gone into the mental make-up of Babuji, resulting in the
formation of an integrated Indian personality, steadfast in the inherited
cultural values and adept at adjustment with the best that was progressive
passion for social, civic and educational activities became manifest
at an early stage of his life, during which he founded numerous
schools, colleges, dispensaries and charitable institutions, to
foster education, and provide medical relief to the poor and the
needy. He was a multi-facetted personality, covering diverse
fields like education, industry, social welfare and religion. He
was a member of the First Rajya Sabha from Bombay, for six
years from 1952-1958, and was one of the most widely respected
industrialists in the country, whose advice and guidance was regularly
sought on all matters concerning industry and finance.
He was the leader of the Jain community, and in recognition
of his services to the community, he was honoured with the titles
of "SHRIYANS ABHINAV" and "SAMAJ SHIROMANI"
and was also awarded the "TAMRA PATRA" for
the devotion and continues services, not only to Jains but to the
public at large. A few years before his sad demise he was conferred
the title of "SHRAVAK SHIROMANI", the highest title
of the community. In 1988, Babuji was decorated with the prestigious
award of Padma Bhushan, for his manifold services to society.
He was a Trustee of the Bombay Trust, ever since its inception,
and on the demise of the founder Chairman, Shri Rameshwardasji Birla
in 1973, the mantle of Chairmanship of the Bombay Hospital Trust,
fell on his capable shoulders. He built on the edifice raised
by Shri Rameshwardasji Birla, and was in no small measure, responsible
for the Hospital becoming one of the premier medical institutions
in the country. In his association with the affairs of the Hospital,
he brought to bear his usual thoroughness and passion for detail.
There was no aspect of the running of the hospital that he was
not conversant with, and amazed everyone as to how, inspite
of his multifarious and diverse activities, compounded by his delicate
health, he still found the time and the energy, to go deep into
matters concerning the Hospital. He was always willing to lend a
patient ear to doctors officials and others connected with the Hospital,
who came to him for advice and guidance, and endeared himself to
everyone who came in contact with him, with his humility, gentleness
and innate goodness.