Jamnalal Bajaj

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Jamnalal Bajaj
Jamnalal Bajaj 1970 stamp of India.jpg
Born(1889-11-04)4 November 1889
Kashi Ka Bas, near Sikar, Rajasthan (Rajputana), India
Died11 February 1942(1942-02-11) (aged 57)
OccupationSocial worker, political leader, freedom fighter, industrialist, founder Bajaj Group (established 1926)
Spouse(s) Janaki Devi Bajaj
ChildrenKamlabai, Kamalnayan Bajaj, Uma, Ramkrishna, Madalsa
Parent(s)Kaniram and Birdibai

Jamnalal Bajaj (4 November 1889 – 11 February 1942) was an Indian industrialist, a philanthropist, and Indian independence fighter. [1] He founded the Bajaj Group of companies in the 1920s, and the group now has 24 companies, including six that are listed on the bourses. [2] The group now has 24 companies, including 6 listed companies. He was also a close and beloved associate of Mahatma Gandhi, who is known to have often declared that Jamnalal was his fifth son.

Indian people Ethnic group

Indians are the nationals or citizens of India, the second most populous nation in the world, containing 17.50% of the world's population. "Indian" refers to nationality, rather than a particular ethnicity or language; the Indian nationality consists of dozens of regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of the country. Due to emigration, the Indian diaspora is present throughout the world, notably in other parts of Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Africa.

Bajaj Group is an Indian conglomerate founded by Jamnalal Bajaj in Mumbai in 1926. Bajaj Group is one of the oldest and largest conglomerates based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The group comprises 37 companies and its flagship company Bajaj Auto is ranked as the world's fourth largest two- and three-wheeler manufacturer. Some of the notable companies are Bajaj Auto Ltd, Bajaj Finserv Ltd, Hercules Hoists Ltd, Bajaj Electricals, Mukand Ltd, Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd and Bajaj Holding & Investment Ltd. The group has involvement in various industries that include automobiles, home appliances, lighting, iron and steel, insurance, travel and finance.

Mahatma Gandhi Pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism during British-ruled India

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa – is now used worldwide. In India, he was also called Bapu, a term that he preferred and Gandhi ji, and is known as the Father of the Nation.


Background and early life

In 1898, when Jamnalal Bajaj was born into a poor Marwari family, as the third son of Kaniram and Birdibai, in a village named Kashi Ka Bas, near Sikar, Rajasthan. He was later adopted as a grandson by Seth Bachhraj and his wife Sadibai Bachhraj, a rich Rajasthani merchant couple hailing originally from Rajasthan but settled in Wardha, Maharashtra. Seth Bachhraj was a distant relative on his father's side, and was a well-known and respected trader in the British Raj.

Wardha City in Maharashtra, India

Wardhapronunciation  is a city and a municipal council in Wardha district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the administrative headquarters of Wardha district. Wardha gets its name from the Wardha River which flows at the north, west and south boundaries of district. Founded in 1866, the town is now an important center for the cotton trade. It was an important part of Gandhian Era. It is Connected with Mumbai-Howrah Railway Line.

Maharashtra State in western India

Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan plateau. It is the second-most populous state and third-largest state by area in India. Spread over 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi), it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the north west. It is also the world's second-most populous subnational entity. It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra by the States Reorganisation Act. It has over 112 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population around 18 million making it the most populous urban area in India. Nagpur hosts the winter session of the state legislature. Pune is known as 'Oxford of the East' due to the presence of several well-known educational institutions.

Upon coming of age, under the tutelage of Seth Bachhraj, Jamnalal got involved in the family business of his adoptive family. During this period, he acquired the skills of being a tradesman, rigorous book keeping and buying and selling commodities. He exceled in his work by the time Seth Bachhraj died. In 1926, Jamnalal founded what would become the Bajaj group of industries.

Honorary Magistrate

During the First World War, the British government appeased and honoured native tradesmen, soliciting funds. They appointed Jamnalal an honorary magistrate. When he provided money for the war fund, they conferred on him the title of Rai Bahadur, a title he later surrendered during the non-co-operation movement of 1921.

Follower of Gandhi

Upon Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa, Jamnalal took in interest in Gandhi's way of life, his principles, such as Ahimsa (non-violence), and his dedication to the poor. He could understand Gandhi's vision that home-made goods were the answer to India's poverty. He considered that some British companies were importing cheap, raw cotton from India and sending back finished cloth. He was humbled by the simple life that Gandhi was leading at the Sabarmati Ashram. He was impressed by the Ashram's routine of prayer and physical work. He brought his wife Jankidevi and his children to live in the Ashram. However, this close relationship and his deep involvement in the independence movement did not leave Jamnalal Bajaj with much time to spend on his newly launched business venture. [3]

Gandhism body of ideas that describes the inspiration

Gandhism is a body of ideas that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Mohandas Gandhi. It is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea of nonviolent resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance. The two pillars of Gandhism are truth and non-violence.

Ahimsa (Ahinsa)(Sanskrit: अहिंसा IAST: ahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) means 'not to injure' and 'compassion' and refers to a key virtue in Hinduism and Jainism. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings—including all animals—in ancient Indian religions.

Sabarmati Ashram residences of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during 1920s

Sabarmati Ashram is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, four miles from the town hall. This was one of the many residences of Mahatma Gandhi who lived at Sabarmati (Gujarat) and Sevagram when he was not travelling across India and was not in prison. He stayed in Sabarmati and Wardha for a total of twelve years along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and followers including Vinoba Bhave. The Bhagavad Gita was recited here daily, as part of the Ashram schedule.

Freedom struggle

In 1920, Jamanalal was elected chairman of the reception committee for the Nagpur session of the Indian National Congress. He gave up the title of Rai Bahadur conferred on him by the British government and joined the non-co-operation movement in 1921. Later, in 1923, he participated in the flag satyagraha, defying a ban on flying the national flag in Nagpur, and was detained by British forces. This earned him national admiration.

Nagpur Metropolis in Maharashtra, India

Nagpur is the third largest city and winter capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the 13th largest Indian city by population. According to an Oxford Economics report, Nagpur is projected to be the fifth fastest growing city in the world from 2019-2035 with an average growth of 8.41% It has been proposed as one of the Smart Cities in Maharashtra and maintains 1st ranking among 100 cities in India.

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

Satyagraha or holding onto truth or truth force – is a particular form of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. Someone who practices satyagraha is a satyagrahi.

Sewagram at Wardha, Jamnalal Bajaj managed land for this ashram Adi Nivas, Sewagram Ashram.JPG
Sewagram at Wardha, Jamnalal Bajaj managed land for this ashram

He wanted Gandhi to move to Wardha and make it the center of his activities. After the Dandi March in April 1930, Gandhi moved to Sevagram, a small village near Wardha, since he wanted to live close to the rural populace. Gandhi vowed not to return to Sabarmati Ashram until freedom was achieved.

Jamanalal was named the president of Gandhi Seva Sangha, a group of workers who dedicated their time to constructive work. He was later elected a member of the Congress Working Committee and as the treasurer of Congress in 1933.

Social initiatives

Jamanalal Bajaj was interested in initiatives such as the removal of untouchability, promotion of Hindi, and Khadi and village Industries. He had toured across the country promoting Khadi. In 1925, he was chosen as the treasurer of the All India Spinners Association. He was also the president of the All India Hindi Sahitya Sammelan (literary convention) that promoted Hindi as the single language to unite all Indians. He was instrumental in publishing Hindi magazines and books. He initiated the Gandhi Hindi Pustak Bhandar (bookshop) in Bombay and started the Sasta Sahitya Mandal (publishing house).

He founded the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha along with C. Rajagopalachari in hopes of spreading the learning of Hindi across the country.

With the intent of eradicating untouchability, he fought the non-admission of Harijans into Hindu temples in his home town of Wardha. As orthodox Hindu priests and Brahmins objected, he opened his own family temple, the Laxmi Narayan Mandir, in Wardha, for the Harijans in 1928. He began a campaign by eating a meal with Harijans and opening public wells to them. He opened several wells in his fields and gardens.

Due to his devotion, he was elected the chief of the Jaipur Rajya Praja Mandal in 1938. While chief, he negotiated a truce between the maharajas of Sikar and Jaipur.

In honour of his social initiatives the Jamnalal Bajaj Award has been instituted by the Bajaj Foundation. [4] Past awardees include Nelson Mandela and Desmund Tutu.

Differences with Gandhi

Bajaj differed with Gandhi when he disagreed with Congress contesting in the 1933 elections to the legislature. When the Congress Working Committee informally decided to make him the President of the Haripura Session of the Congress which Gandhi personally approved, he chose to pass the honour to Subhas Chandra Bose.

Business interests

Besides Bajaj Auto Ltd, the other major companies in the group include Mukand Ltd, Bajaj Electricals Ltd and Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd. One of his grandsons, Rahul Bajaj, runs the family flagship company, Bajaj Auto.

Legacy and memorials

Several institutions in India bear his name, including the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. A locality, JB Nagar, in the sub-urban Andheri in Mumbai has been named after him. Jamnalal Bajaj Award was established in 1978 by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation and are given away each year on his birth anniversary. [5]

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  1. "The Gandhian spirit". Financial Express. 2 January 2000. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013.
  2. "In Bajaj family, business sense over-rules ties". Financial Express. 6 April 2012.
  3. "History of Bajaj Auto". Archived from the original on 11 March 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2006.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 May 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Jamnalal Bajaj Award". Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012.

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