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Rahul Bajaj: A bold & fearless industrialist who made ‘Humara Bajaj’ a household name

The industrialist was born in Kolkata and took charge of the Bajaj Group in 1965 at the age of 27 years.




Rahul Bajaj

New Delhi: Rahul Bajaj, the veteran industrialist and chairman emeritus of the Bajaj Group, passed away in Pune on Saturday after suffering from prolonged illness. Rahul Bajaj was 83. The industrialist was born in Kolkata and took charge of the Bajaj Group in 1965 at the age of 27 years.

Humara Bajaj

Rahul Bajaj made his two-wheelers a brand name through the popular campaign ‘Humara Bajaj-Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer.’ This world-class advertising brought to Indian TV screens and a corporate brand campaign that ideated with the Indian’s mindset even before the TV ads took off. 

Eventually, the Bajaj scooter became the symbol and aspect of socio-economic change. Under his leadership, the company reached to become one of the biggest in the sub-continent. Besides, its flagship firm, Bajaj Auto witnessed its turnover growing to Rs 12,000 crore from just Rs 7.2 crore, with the firm’s scooter becoming the brand facto.

Hamara Bajaj

Bold Industry Leader

Bajaj was well known for speaking his mind to the government. In November 2019, an event was organized by the Economic Times in Mumbai in the presence of home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and commerce minister Piyush Goyal, the 83-year-old industrialist spoke about the government’s ‘stifling of criticism,’ among the others.

“This environment of fear, it’s definitely on our minds.”You (the government) are doing good work; and despite that, we don’t have the confidence that you’ll appreciate criticism,” he said.

Taking to Twitter, Uday Kotak said, “Rahul Bajaj: bold and fearless. A rare businessman who spoke truth to power. A proud Indian. Built world-class enterprise. I am truly honoured to know him. Will miss him.”

‘Spine of Indian industry’

Harsh Goenka, the chairman of the RPG group called Rahul Bajaj the “spine” of Indian industry.

“The ‘spine’ of Indian business cracks. A close family friend, he was a visionary, straight talking and very respected for his value systems. An era ends! He leaves behind the two most capable sons in Indian industry, Rajiv and Sanjiv,” said Harsh Goenka.

Bajaj was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2001. He was also a former Rajya Sabha member.

His different roles

Bajaj was also credited for building the industry lobby, CII of which he was the president for two terms. Besides, he held other positions such as the chairman of Indian Airlines and chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

He was the ex-chairman of the International Business Council, World Economic Forum, and a former member of the South Asia advisory board of Harvard Business School. He was also the former member of the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Rahul Bajaj

The industrialist was the main brain behind the CSR activities of the Bajaj Group of companies and charitable trusts including Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. He had done a BA (Honours) in Economics from Delhi University, a law degree from Mumbai University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Bajaj was survived by two sons – Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj and a daughter Sunaina Kejriwal.