116 years later, Shantanurao L Kirloskar’s code of ethics still impacting industry

Shantanurao L Kirloskar, the thinker and doer, was fondly and with some admiration remembered on his 116th birth anniversary on Tuesday, May 29.

Sanjay Kirloskar, SL Kirloskar’s grandson and chairman of Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, organised a ‘gappa goshti’ session, that gathered friends, family, former employees and old business associates, to share their experiences of this great doyen of industry.

Present were Prataprao Pawar, chairman and managing director, Sakal Papers Ltd; Dr Meena Prabhu, noted author and close friend of the Kirloskar family; and senior journalist Mukund Sangoram, who moderated the event. Fourteen former employees too shared their experiences and lessons learnt from the ‘grand father’ of the Kirloskar Group.

Addressing the gathering, Sanjay Kirloskar said, “My grandfather was a thinker and a doer. As children I remember the toys he gave us to play would be a steam engine or a rubberband powered plane. He wanted to inculcate curiosity and an enterprising spirit in us. He taught us the importance of ethics in business. In life today, we are guided by those same values which form the core of our official code of ethics, that every employee is expected to follow.”

Dr Meena Prabhu fondly recollected how the name Kirloskar was inevitably carved into the psyche of any person born and brought up in Pune. “He was a great lover of the opera and I still remember having bought some tapes for him from London,” she said.

Former colleagues and associates remembered him as a man committed to his work. Many remembered him as a spokesperson representing the industry to the government and India to the world.

“He had his own way of testing us by observing how we utilised resources that he gave us. He was a person who enjoyed good living, good food, and wanted us to have some of the experiences he had,” said Pratima Kirloskar, while presenting the vote of thanks.

Sangoram said, “In an age where businesses thrive on support from various mediums to succeed, Kirloskar Brothers has been succeeding based on its own merit and capability, thanks to the grit and determination of Shantanurao Kirloskar. He always put social welfare above business and profits.”

Reiterating the social impact that he created, Prataprao Pawar said, “Shantanurao Kirloskar was way ahead of his time and wanted to give back to the society what he had earned as a second-generation businessman. The Kirloskar Foundation was a classic example of how passionately he helped entrepreneurship even at that time.”

First Published:
May 30, 2019 16:19 IST

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