The creator and the sustainer

WE OFTEN WONDER who is greater

The sustainer or the creator?

If truth be told, we need them both

Both skills provide continuous growth.

Ardeshir was our illustrious founder

We couldn’t have asked for anyone sounder.

Though just a lawyer by profession,

Invention was his true obsession.

His first case was in Zanzibar

And though he proved to be a star,

The fact that he was forced to lie

Then made him feel he could not ply

This dubious practice any more,

As honesty was at his core.

Now, Mahatma Gandhi was a friend.

And self-rule then, the future trend.

Ardeshir once just pointed out

That he had a serious doubt

That deep economic dependence

Might well preclude our Independence.

A point the Mahatma conceded

But then he promptly proceeded

To turn the tables on his friend

And asked him to work to that end.

And so he set up his business venture

Which proved to be quite an adventure!

Ardeshir’s focus was invention

Illustration: Job P.K. Illustration: Job P.K.

His single-minded intention

Was to prove that we could do it.

It could be done and he knew it.

For Indian goods could be the best,

Surpass the British in every test.

He scorned the thought of protection.

We could prevail with perfection.

And that he knew he could achieve.

His customers could all perceive

His products were the very best.

He constantly put them to the test.

He always had in his sight

Total customer delight.

To greater heights he would aspire

His safes survived ordeal by fire.

In World War II a ship exploded

The outer walls of safes eroded,

But the inner contents were intact.

And even when thieves attacked

They could barely pit and dent,

Sometimes the plates were slightly bent.

But his safes would never break

And the thieves could never take

Any goods his safes secured.

For years and years his fame endured.

There was no limit to his scope.

He worked as hard in tackling soap.

For many years he tried his hand

Until he could well understand

The ins and outs of making soap.

To vegetarians he gave new hope.

The other makers were all callow

They filled their soap with lard and tallow

And that too rendered in the street

Which meant that it couldn’t meet

The proper standards of hygiene.

Indeed it was a sorry scene.

And thanks to his tireless toil

Good soap could now be made from oil.

This set the trend of innovation

In order to build up our nation.

Ardeshir was a butterfly

And each new flower he would try,

While flitting there deeply drink.

But then he would always think

It’s time to try another flower.

And yes, he had the wondrous power

To range quite far and still excel.

By now I’m sure that you can tell

That Ardeshir could fly and soar,

But often found it quite a bore

To build a hive that would last.

For that role he wasn’t cast.

Ardeshir was an inventor-seer

Quite confident, free from fear.

Pirojsha was the one who built

An institution that would not tilt,

Standing straight and standing tall

Answering a higher call.

Our founders were a special breed

Together they fulfilled a need.

Things were approached differently.

Ardeshir missed a family life

For early on he lost his wife.

The tragedy had left its mark.

It could well have been the spark

That led Ardeshir to build the nation

On the back of innovation.

Each of them had his role

Together they achieved the goal.

Ardeshir’s role was to create.

New things he could initiate.

Pirojsha’s role was to sustain

Thanks to him we still remain.

The Lalbaug factory was constricted

Our prospects there were quite restricted.

His detractors couldn’t understand

But Pirojsha bought Vikhroli land.

His motivation was to expand

But one also has to understand

That workers welfare was at heart

And that too played a major part.

He bought faraway marshy land.

His critics just couldn’t understand.

They concluded he had gone quite mad

But today we are glad, not sad.

A township then slowly arose

And this is where our business grows.

We provided every needed tool

Housing, hospital and school.

Ardeshir was a man who lived for others,

Treated his fellow men as brothers,

Praised his products to the skies,

But never stooped to publicise

His own deeds, which were great

And before it was too late,

He gave his wealth to charity.

He achieved a certain parity

Between action and contemplation.

And as the heirs of their creation

We must maintain their innovation

And the spirit of sublimation.

Before we act we should pause

Do what’s right in the greater cause.

And then perhaps we’ll reach our goals,

Become like them victorious souls.

Nadir Godrej is chairman and managing director of Godrej Industries.