25 October, 2020

An Inheritance Well Spent

Courtesy defined 'KK' as much as his immense status as an industrialist

Jitender Gupta
An Inheritance Well Spent
The tributes to Krishan Kumar Birla (better known as K.K. Birla), who died last week at 89, were not just the usual, ritual ones served up on such occasions. They are a sign of the high esteem this industrialist of the pre-globalisation era enjoyed not only among his peers but across the political spectrum. It is a measure of his entrepreneurship and capacity to look ahead of his times that of the six equal shares into which the wealth and businesses of his illustrious father, G.D. Birla, were divided, he expanded his inheritance the most. Keeping the country's needs in mind, he gave a special place in his scheme of things to establishing fertiliser units. KK had another persona—that of a newspaper owner.

At a personal level he was meticulously courteous to friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. No one who went to him for help ever returned disappointed. Often he would go out of his way to offer help to those who needed it but were reluctant to ask. KK was deeply devoted to his extended family, but at the same time was very...


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