On February 12 afternoon India lost one of its leading industrial lights, one of the makers of modern India as we know it. at 2.30pm that day, Industrialist Rahul Bajaj, former chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the Bajaj Group, passed away, he was 83.
Bajaj, acknowledged by many leaders of industry as possibly the only one with a straight spine, was suffering from pneumonia, couple with a heart problem. He had been admitted to the Ruby Hall hospital for the last month
According to Dr Purvez Grant, the managing trustee at Ruby Hall Clinic, Rahul Bajaj breathed his last at 2.30 pm.
He is survived by two sons, Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj and daughter Sunaina Kejriwal.
A statement of the group said: “It is with deep sorrow that I inform you about the passing away of Shri Rahul Bajaj, husband of the late Rupa Bajaj and father of Rajiv/Deepa, Sanjiv/Shefali and Sunaina/Manish. He passed away on the afternoon of 12th February, 2022 in the presence of his closest family members.”
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were among the ones who took to Twitter to pay their respects.
A brief history
He was born in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on June 10, 1938. He graduated from St Stephen’s College in Delhi University with an Honours Degree in Economics in 1958. Bajaj also had a degree in law from Bombay University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Having taken his group top incredible heights, he resigned as the chairman of Bajaj Auto in April last year. He had assumed responsibility of the Bajaj Group in 1965. He led the automaker to a turnover of Rs 12,000, starting from a meagre Rs 7.2 crore.
He made scooters for the common man, and made it so well that it became an aspirational buy for India’s middle class. It was the Bajaj Chetak scooter, that was made famous in the ad ‘Hamara Bajaj’. The scooter was build on the model of the existing Vespa scooter, a make Italy’s Piaggio & C. SpA.
Rahul Bajaj was rich – as on February 2021, he was ranked at 421 on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires with a net worth of $ 8.2 billion – but he was also known more for his outspoken attitude and his ability to hit out at wrongs that any government was committing. He never shied away from controversial political acts and opened his mouth strongly.
The group has 25 companies—including Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Electricals, Mukand and Bajaj Allianz—with around 36,000 employees.
He was the Chairman of the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for two terms—1979-80 and 1999-2000.
Bajaj is the recipient of many awards, including the Padma Bhushan from the government of India and honorary doctorates from many universities. Bajaj was a member of the Rajya Sabha for the 2006-2010 period.
He was also the former chairman of Indian Airlines and of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
Bajaj also spearheaded the CSR activities of the Bajaj group of companies and charitable trusts, including Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation.