Sir Lala Shri Ram (1884-1963)
Sir Shri Ram was an eminent and public-spirited philanthropist, an
outstanding industrialist and one of the trend-setting visionary leaders of
the Indian business community. He possessed the rare business perceptions
and uncommon entrepreneurial acumen for setting up industries which not only
served as a resource for the development of the Indian society but also
brought name & fame to the country. At a time when the country faced
with problems of multiple dimensions, the biggest challenge before the first
Prime Minister Pt. J.L.Nehru was to lay foundation of industrially
self-reliant India. Lalaji left no stone unturned in realizing the dreams of
independent India by setting up of new lines of industrial units with the
highest standards of quality. Lalaji took lead and brought the entrepreneurs
of that period together by forming institutions like CII, FICCI and PHDCCI,
which today play a key role in the growth of Modern India.
Even in his most opulent days, Lalaji continued to be the simple, austere &
god-fearing soul. At the same time, Lalaji always believed that knowledge
and strong research & development base are the fundamentals for the
growth of a country. Lalaji's services to the community embraced a wide
dimension, encompassing several activities concerning almost every aspect of
the larger sphere of national life.
- He championed the cause of industrial research in India. He felt
very strongly that in order to keep pace with the advance nations of
the West, India had to take up its own research and utilize it for
industrial development. Shriram Institute for Industrial Research,
which he pioneered to set-up, is today one of the foremost &
leading research institutes in India. Lalaji always professed for
the self sustainability of the research institute and that is the
reason that SRI has been operating as an independent,
self-supporting institute for industrial research. It was because of
his innovative ideas that the Government of India offered him to
serve the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, first as
a member of its governing body and later as its Chairman.
- He laid great emphasis on technical education and wanted to gear
education to productivity. Establishment of various educational
institutions of repute, are the eloquent testimonies of his keen
interest towards building the capacity of the nation. Shriram
College of Commerce and Lady Shriram College are the examples of
Lalaji's contribution to Indian education.
Lalaji was among the earliest industrialists who could foresee the
usefulness of organized approach by the country's business community.
Moreover, in seeking growth for his enterprises, Lalaji scrupulously pursued
a policy which had its foundation based on intellectual integrity, devotion
to duty, and a liberal humanism directed towards the common weal of all
sections of Indian society.
Even British Raj recognized the contributions made by Lalaji towards the
development of society and hence conferred him with a knighthood. Not only
this, he also enjoyed the respect and admiration from the top national
leaders in the post-independence era. Lalaji was among the most valued
advisers of the Government of India on all industrial matters, commercial
affairs and economic policies.
Lala Shri Ram was a man of conviction and courage; a man of integrity and
industriousness; a man of great versatility and vision but above all a man
of great pragmatism. His understanding of people and problems was boundless,
as was his sense of personal discipline in all that he endeavoured. He was
known for creating leaders.
Sir Shri Ram was one of the very few eminent personalities to realize the
value of building up exports, supporting them with market research and a
vigorously followed policy of quality control. At the same time, he
perceived the basic imperatives of a well-thought-out policy and programme
of adequate food and nutrition for the common people of this country. His
close association with many business and industrial organizations and
societies enabled him to see his ideas implemented on a larger canvas.
Sir Shri Ram believed passionately in the value of time and in man's
ability to overcome obstacles. His philosophy could be epitomized in his own
statement: "This time, like all times, is a very good time, if we but
know what to do with it."