Historic Lineage

With Blessings from Bapu, The Father of the Nation..."Jamanalalji is the man of the people - a fisher of men who had the knack of gathering people around him and inspiring them with his idealism."  - Mahatma Gandhi Words of praise indeed, from the man who inspired a nation. One of Gandhiji's most ardent disciples, Jamanalal Bajaj believed in simple living and high thinking. His work among Harijans and underprivileged sections of society exemplifies his lifelong commitment to Gandhian ideals.We all at the Bajaj Family, and Kamalnayan Jamanalal Bajaj Foundation are proud to trace our roots to India's freedom struggle. Mahatma Gandhi himself actively supported and encouraged the first sugar plant opened in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh in 1931 to facilitate self- sufficiency of sugar production in the country. To our humble roots in the villages of UP, to a global presence in markets around the world, we have put India on the world map. From Gaon (village) to Global.. Bapu, the Father of the Nation, would be proud.

Shri Jamnalal Bajaj: The Gandhian Capitalist - 1889 - 1942.

From an early age, destiny carved out a unique role for young Jamnalal.  At the age of five, he was adopted by Shri Bachhraj Bajaj, a wealthy merchant in Wardha.  Throughout his like, he was a staunth follower of Mahatma Gandhi who also inspired Jamnalal to initiate Hindusthan Sugar Mills in 1931.  Jamnalal was the founding father of the present-day Bajaj Group of Companies.

Freedom fighter, social reformer, humanitarian and a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Jamnalal Bajaj was born in Kashi-ka-Bas in Rajasthan on November 4, 1889.  In 1920, at Jamnalalji’s request, Gandhiji accepted him as his ‘fifth’ son.  In Gandhiji’s own words:

“Jamnalalji surrendered himself and his all, without reservation.  There is hardly any activity of mine in which I did not receive his full hearted co-operation and in which it did not prove to be of the greatest value….. he placed at my disposal his ample possessions.  He became a guardian of my time and health.  And he did it all for the public good”

He joined in Gandhiji’s programmes and India’s freedom struggle in 1915.  He was elected Treasurer of the Congress party in 1920.

Jamnalalji took active part in the Non-Co-operation Movement in 1921, the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and the individual Satyagraha at Nagpur to uphold the honour of our National Flag.  He also led the Jaipur Satyagraha in 1939.  In all he was imprisoned for over five years.

It was in implementing the Constructive Programme of Gandhiji that Jamnalalji’s contribution was of an enduring nature.

As inspired by Gandhiji, he opened the doors of his family temple, the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir at Wardha, to all, including Harijans in 1928.  It was the very first temple in India to welcome Harijans.

Jamnalalji established the Gandhi Seva Sangh in 1921 and was its Founder-President.  Also Chairman of the All-India Khaddar Board.  He was also closely associated with the All-India Village Industries Association, Talimi Sangh and Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.  He not only played an active part in establishing and conducting these organisations, but also supported a large number of workers who dedicated themselves to these activities.

Jamnalal made Wardha the centre for Gandhiji’s economic and social development programmes.  He established the Satyagraha Ashram in Wardha in 1921.  He brought Vinoba Bhave to the Wardha Ashram to nurture it into national institution.  In 1936, Gandhiji wanted to shift to a rural habitat.  Jamnalal then offered a large piece of his land in Segaon to build his Ashram which is known as Sevagram.  Bajajwadi in Wardha was like a home for all eminent national leaders visiting Gandhiji.  The meetings of the Congress Working Committee were also frequently held there.  The famous Quit India resolution was adopted by the Congress Working Committee at its meeting in Bajajwadi in 1942.  Jamnalalji was thus the main pillar of strength to Gandhiji.  Gandhi himself admitted that “It was an easy thing for me to rely on Jamnalal to carry out my wishes.  No one has identified himself so much with every one of my activities as he”. 

On 11th February 1942, at the age of 53, Jamnalalji passed away suddenly.

Shri Kamalnayan Bajaj: The Consolidator - 1915 - 1972.

After Jamnalalji’s death his elder son Kamalnayanji felt it was his duty to fulfil his father’s wish to put into practice Gandhiji’s theory of trusteeship.  In consultation with Gandhiji and the other members of the family he created a public charitable trust of Jamnalalji’s personal assets including his shares in the joint family property.

Kamalnayan Bajaj, the eldest son of Jamnalal Bajaj, started shouldering family responsibilities from an early age.  After completing his education in Cambridge University in England, Kamalnayan returned to India to assist his father Jamnalal, both in business and in social service.

He was a strategist and chose not to court arrest.  His purpose was to keep himself free to help those actively engaged in the freedom movement.  Keenly conscious of the legacy of his reputed family that he had to carry forward, Kamalnayan once wrote to his father, that “it is no joke to be the son of a big man”.  Kamalnayan was a man of strict principles, which he never swerved from.  He had earmarked a large portion of the income from his family business for public causes and social service programmes, the mantle of all of which he had inherited from his father.  He always had a sense of a larger social mission, transcending the dictates of business and the bottom line.

As astute businessman, Kamalnayan envisaged immense potential in India for manufactured textiles.  But he did not pursue the profit in that business because of the firm commitment of the Bajaj family to Khadi, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.  Clearly expounding his philosophy and his perspective, Kamalnayan observed, “The various industries I am connected with should generate profit.  But if any move on our part goes against national interests, I would condemn it and would not be party to it, even if it meant a loss in the bargain”.  Every new business venture that Kamalnayan got into, eloquently testified to his legendary business acumen.  With tremendous foresight and a spirit of zestful enterprise, Kamalnayan acquired ailing industrial units and then miraculously turned them around.

Kamalnayanji extended help to many causes like education, medical care and famine and flood relief.  Besides being an insightful business man and his preoccupation in politics, he was associated with a large number of institutions – social and educational.  He devoted a good deal of time, resources and energy to them.  He was an ideal philanthropist.

He was elected thrice as a member of the Lok Sabha between 1957-1971 from Wardha constituency in Maharashtra.

Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj : The Bridge - 1924 - 1994.

Ramkrishna Bajaj was the younger son of Jamanalal. He became the patriarch of the Bajaj family after the demise of his elder brother Kamalnayan Bajaj in 1972. Ramkrishna looked to Kamalnayan as his mentor. In addition to shouldering business responsibilities, Ramkrishna’s energies were largely directed towards the social service and social welfare programmes of the Bajaj Group. He was of the firm conviction that he could make an impactful and meaningful contribution to the community through social work. As a child and a teenager, Ramkrishna was brought up under the direct supervision of Mahatma Gandhi. When Gandhiji initiated the Quit India Movement in 1942, Ramkrishna was hardly nineteen. Earlier he had courted imprisonment with the permission of the Mahatma. In 1942, there was no need for him to court arrest. He was a wanted man and was quickly arrested and sent to jail. He spent about three years in jail, where he studied politics, economics, literature and the humanities in general. Ramkrishna had a flair and panache for working with youth. He was elected as the Chairman of World Assembly for Youth (India) in 1961. He also held the office of the Managing Trustee of the Indian Youth Centres Trust, which conceived and created the Vishwa Yuvak Kendra in 1968, a trail-blazing organisation in youth development. Ever the benevolent patriarch, Ramkrishna Bajaj passed away in 1994. Almost a century after Gandhiji made this famous observation, it still holds true. To embrace rural India in our economic reforms is to empower ourselves as a nation. We have always believed in seeding progress at the grassroot level. We adopt villages in remote regions to form a larger Parivaar. Today, over 2 million people are within our fold. We work hand-in-hand with kisaans to improve yields and enhance production.

“The soul of India lives in its villages.”- Mahatma Gandhi

In an ever-changing world, our agricultural roots and down-to-earth approach may not appear “futuristic”. However, as Gandhiji said, “in nature’s books, the debits are always equal to the credits”. “We may utilize the gifts of nature just as we choose, but in her books the debits are always equal to the credits.”- Mahatma Gandhi

While corporate social responsibility is a relatively new concept the world over, for us, it is a way of life. Social responsibility is hardwired in our DNA. During the initial years, Jamnalal Bajaj distributed profits among farmers who worked in the cane fields. As our efforts paid off, rural communities prospered. Our business philosophy built roads, Schools, Hospitals and continues to build the lives of millions of kisaan families. Several new initiatives are underway in accordance with global best practices for sustainable development.

 “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  -Mahatma Gandhi