A commemorative postage stamp on the 1st Death Anniversary of Ghanshyam Das ‘GD’ Birla, an Indian businessman, a close associate and steady supporter of Mahatma Gandhi :
Issued on Jun 11, 1984
Issued for : The Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department is privileged to issue a commemorative stamp in honour of this pioneer in Indian business and industry.
Description of Design : The stamp designed by India Security Press, Nasik shows the portrait of GD Birla, with the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in the background. The First Day Cover showing GD Birla with Jawaharlal Nehru has also been designed by India Security Press, Nasik. The cancellation has been designed by Neenu Bagga.
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Red brown
Denomination : 50 Paise
Overall size : 4.06 X 2.73 cms.
Printing size : 3.71 X 2.38 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Unwatermarked indigenous stamp paper
Number printed : 20,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 40
Printing process : Photogravure
Printed at : India Security Press
Name : Ghanshyam Das Birla
Born on Apr 10, 1894 at Pilani, Rajputana, British India [now Rajasthan, India]
Died on Jun 11, 1983 at London, United Kingdom
- Ghanshyamdas Birla‘s role as a pioneer in Indian business and Industry is unchallenged. Equally well known is his role in the freedom movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Son of Raja Baldeo Das Birla, GD, was born in 1894 at Pilani, a village in Rajasthan on Ram Navami Day, At the age of 13, he was already carving out a career as a trader and broker in gunny and hessian in Calcutta. Small incidents sometimes lead to big changes in a person’s life. As a broker, GD had to call on many British ‘burra sahebs’. The practice was that some benches in the waiting room were reserved for the use of whites only. GD‘s spirit rebelled against the humiliation involved; he decided that he would have his own Jute Mill. The British business houses were outraged by this native “Impertinence“, but despite many hurdles they placed in his way, young GD faced the challenge with fortitude and finally succeeded in his mission.
- GD came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 and their association soon became very close. In fact, as early as 1924 Gandhiji wrote to GD that he regarded him as one of his mentors. In the thirties Gandhiji began to stay at Birla House whenever he was in Delhi. Tragically, it was at Birla House that Gandhiji was assassinated.
- Apart from Gandhiji, GD was intimately associated with important leaders of his time like Gurudev Tagore, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, C. R. Das, Lala Lajpat Rai, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Rajendra Prasad and Rajaji. They too, in fact stayed with him whenever they visited Delhi.
- He was elected to the Indian Legislative Assembly in the late twenties. Characteristically, he resigned in 1930 in protest against an enactment introducing Imperial Preference.
- GD gave liberally to public causes and established several educational institutions, temples, hospitals and cultural centres. He was a dedicated educationist. He founded at Pilani the Birla Education Trust and Birla Institute of Technology and Science, an autonomous body. Pilani is now a major educational centre.
- GD was a delegate to the Second Round Table Conference in London in 1931 and left his impression on the deliberations. Shortly afterwards, he was offered a knighthood, which he declined.
- A great believer in the philosophy of Karma Yoga as enunciated by Lord Krishna in Gita, work was a passion with GD. He remained active till the end; death came to him in London on June 11, 1983 at the age of 89.
- GD‘s versatility was amazing. It was achievement enough to build from scratch a giant industrial complex. Apart from his interest in public affairs, he was a connoisseur and patron of the arts, a lively speaker, a charming conversationalist, an original thinker and a great patriot and nationalist. Whatever he touched in his country’s life GD left his indelible mark on it.