In the 74 years since India’s Independence, the country’s economy has undergone a transformation. The roots of the country’s emergence as a global economic powerhouse were laid down by some revolutionary minds and organisations. Their work, stretching back to the pre-Independence era, has been instrumental in unleashing our country’s economic potential. Among these organisations that have driven India’s transformation is the Godrej Group.
Established in 1897, the Godrej Group has its roots in India’s Independence/ Swadeshi movement. It has from the start been a part of India’s journey for self-reliance. In fact, the Godrej Group is one of the earliest examples of ‘Make in India’.
From starting by setting up the high-security ‘Anchor’ brand of locks in 1897 to integrating untapped sectors, manufacturing various products and even taking India to space, Godrej has been one of the central protagonists in the country’s post-independence growth story. Since then, the group has worked in diverse environments, and using innovation, harnessed groundbreaking technologies that have driven India’s rise as an economic superpower. The group is credited for many firsts – the world’s first springless lock, the first Indian safe, the world’s first toilet soap using vegetable oil, the first Indian company to manufacture refrigerators, and the first company in Asia to manufacture its own manual typewriter, among many other innovations.
As far back as 1918, Godrej set out with the objective of targeting untapped sectors thereby unlocking India’s potential across a diverse range of industries. It started with Godrej Soaps Limited which manufactured soap with vegetable oil. After five years, in 1923, Godrej & Boyce started manufacturing and marketing steel cupboards and steel office furniture. When independent India’s first general elections were to take place in 1951-52, the company’s factory in Vikhroli produced 15,000 ballot boxes a day to meet the order of 12 lakh boxes from 23 States.
From securing home and the country, the company then stepped into safeguarding the health and hygiene of the nation. In 1952, Cinthol was launched on Indian Independence Day. Together with Godrej No.1, Cinthol made Godrej Consumer Products Limited the second largest soap manufacturer in India. Godrej & Boyce, meanwhile, set its sights on the home appliances segment, becoming the first Indian company to manufacture a refrigerator in 1958. Showcasing its pioneering spirit, Godrej has been working with the Indian Space Research Organisation since 1985 on India’s space missions. The Aerospace business has been a key part of the groundbreaking Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan missions.
Then in the year 1990, Godrej Properties was launched, taking the group into India’s real estate sector and helping Indians own their dream homes. With the objective to constantly innovate to improve farmer productivity and help feed our nation, Godrej Agrovet was incorporated in 1991 and it has become one of the largest agribusinesses in the world.
Last year, when humanity was faced with a new and unprecedented challenge, the Godrej Group came forward to support India’s efforts to overcome COVID-19. The company not only provided financial aid but also worked with the government and various relief agencies to provide support in the form of medical equipment and protective supplies. With the storage and transport of the life-saving Covid vaccines being a concern, Godrej Appliances launched ultra-low-temperature freezers (below -80 °C) in order to strengthen the vaccine cold-chain up to the last mile for India and the world.
The story of the Godrej Group is inextricably woven with the destiny of India. From its birth as an independent economy in 1947 to its emergence as a global financial powerhouse, we take great humility and pride in having played a role in India’s meteoric rise. As we celebrate our country’s 75th Independence Day, we are committed more than ever to continue to power not just India’s economic growth but also positive change that will see it emerge as a secure, sustainable and responsible global society. India has indeed come a long way since Independence. We are proud to have played a small part in its remarkable story.
Through many of Godrej businesses – from locks, soaps and animal feed to the engines that power India’s space programmes – the company feels privileged to have had the opportunity to play a significant role in the evolution of different industries in our country.
The above article is authored By – Tanya Dubash, Executive Director and Chief Brand Officer, Godrej Group and may or may not represent views of Mumbai Live