Intense as he was at work, his work extended far beyond the confines of business. He was convinced that business had a duty to return to society a fair share of the wealth derived from it.
The essence of his philanthropy was to make people stand on their own feet. He was also the benefactor, a patron of the arts. The Sangit Kala Kendra testifies the enthusiasm with which he pursued the finer things in life. At a personal level, he was like a beacon, always there to guide all of us. As the head of companies, as a father, as a husband or a friend, he would be by your side when you needed him most. This was 'Aditya Birla', much like a crystal with many faces.
"Very early in his career, long before the word 'globalisation' came into our everyday lexicon, he had foreseen the winds of change and staked the future of his business on a competitive, free-market driven economic order. At a time when India's economy was glued with bureaucracy and taped with controls, his was a rather lone voice. But it was a voice that not only spoke, but also acted decisively and with conviction.
For him, though, globalisation meant more than just geographic reach. He believed that a business could be global even whilst being based in India. Therefore, back in home territory, he drove single-mindedly to put together the building blocks to make his Indian businesses a global force. It is this vision which, I believe, will prove to be one of his enduring legacies to Indian business. It is a vision which prompts the Indian entrepreneur to take a longer stride; it is a vision which makes the Indian entrepreneur dare and may be even dream; it is a vision that makes all of us proud to be a part of the new India in the making."
"Shri Birla was a visionary industrialist. He had understood before most others the necessity of taking Indian companies abroad. In India too, his businesses were run with great professionalism. His life is an example that all Indian businessmen can learn from."
"I did not have the pleasure of meeting or knowing Aditya Birla, but I do know that he and my late husband admired one another and remained in close touch. Aditya Birla represented the new face of Indian business: professional, modern and forward looking. His years at the helm of affairs were spent in search of new horizons, meeting new challenges and preparing his companies for the future. It is a tribute to his farsightedness that he expanded abroad when Indian business was generally content to look inwards. It was Aditya Birla, I believe, who in one of his earlier meetings with Rajiv Gandhi, emphasised the need for deregulation and liberalisation so that the entrepreneurial energies of our young men and women could be unleashed. It is indeed the nation's tragedy that both of them died in the prime of their years."
"Shri Aditya Vikram Birla has a special position in the contemporary history of India's industrial development. His range of activity extended over the entire spectrum of business and industry, with his contributions to national reconstruction in sectors such as science, technology and education being particularly invaluable."
"In any Hall of Fame, among the best and the brightest of the century, one name that would shine in resplendent glory is that of Aditya Vikram Birla. He belonged to that rare breed of industrialists who achieved so much in so short a span of life.
He was a great visionary who himself set out a bold, uncharted path that proved that Indian businessmen are second to none when it comes to creativity and adventure. That Indian industry can compete in the face of all odds. To praise with head and heart is simply not enough. The lives of great men, leave behind footprints on the sands of time for others to follow. Aditya Birla's was a great life. His vision was to help build a new India. An India free from fear, free from want and free from exploitation."
More speeches by Mr. Aditya Vikram Birla
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
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