Birla group patriarch Basant Kumar Birla, a doyen of the Indian industry, breathed his last in Mumbai on Wednesday following age-related ailments. He was 98.
According to reports, Birla’s body would be brought to his house at Birla Park in Kolkata and the cremation will take place on Thursday. The seat of the Birla brothers in the city— Birla Building— will remain closed tomorrow as a mark of respect to B K Birla.
The youngest son of philanthropist Ghanshyam Das Birla, Basant Kumar was born on January 12, 1921. Having developed business acumen at a very early stage of his career, he played an instrumental role in kickstarting a raft of business initiatives.
His primary focus was towards the industries such as cotton, viscose, polyester and nylon yarns, refractory, paper, shipping, tyrecord, transparent paper, spun pipe, cement, tea, coffee, cardamom, chemicals, plywood and MDF Board.
Birla had been actively associated with a large number of companies since he was 15. Subsequently, he became the chairman of Kesoram Industries. Besides Kesoram Industries, the B K Birla group comprised Century Textiles, Century Enka and Jayshree Tea and Industries.
Aside from heading the Krishnarpan Charity Trust, Birla was a patron to nearly 25 educational trusts and institutes, including the famed private engineering university— BITS Pilani. The group also runs nearly seven to eight charitable trusts.
He is survived by his daughters Manjushree Khaitan and Jayshree Mohta, who run Kesoram Industries and Jayshree Tea and Industries respectively. His wife Sarala Birla predeceased him in 2015. His only son Aditya Vikram Birla had died in 1995. Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, is the grandson of BK Birla.
He also authored several books, including an autobiography titled ‘Svantah Sukhaya’
(With inputs from agencies)