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
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.