Buland Bharat’s Most Outspoken Biz Czar Is No More; Bajaj Dies At 83

Large candlelight vigil organised in srinagar
By: Sarthak Bhagat
Updated: February 12, 2022 19:04

At a time when Fiat and Ambassador were the only two cars in India, India got a slogan of “Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer, Hamara Bajaj!”. Today, the man who inscribed the slogan — Former Chairman of Bajaj Group and Padma Bhushan-awardee Industrialist, — passed away at the age of 83.

Rahul Bajaj was suffering from pneumonia and heart disease and was hospitalised at the Ruby Hall Clinic a month ago. His last rites would be carried out on Sunday.

A statement from the Bajaj 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.”

Rahul Bajaj took charge of the Bajaj Group in 1965. Under his leadership Bajaj Auto grew to new heights year after year. The turnover of Bajaj Auto rose from a mere Rs.72 million to Rs.46.16 billion. In 2010, Forbes estimated his net worth to be US $ 1.1 Billion making him one of India’s Top 50 richest persons.

He took over as the Chief Executive Officer of Bajaj Auto in 1968 and was appointed as managing director in 1972. In 2005, Rahul Bajaj stepped down from his role and his son Rajiv became the Group’s managing director. Bajaj got elected to the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament for the term 2006-2010.

On 26 May 2008, Bajaj Auto Limited split into three corporate entities — Bajaj Finserv Limited (BFL), Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL), and Bajaj Holdings and Investment Ltd (BHIL). In April 2021, Bajaj stepped down as non-executive chairman of Bajaj Auto and entrusted the position to his cousin, Niraj Bajaj.

Grandson of Indian Independence Fighter Jamnalal Bajaj, Rahul Bajaj was born on June 30, 1938 in Kolkata. He went to The Cathedral and John Connon School and graduated from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi in 1958 with an honors degree in economics. He underwent on-the-job training for 4 years at two of the group companies. During that period, he earned a law degree in Bombay. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School in the USA.

Many noted personalities, who were dear friends and well-wishers expressed their condolences at the demise of Rahul Bajaj.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted “Shri Rahul Bajaj Ji will be remembered for his noteworthy contributions to the world of commerce and industry. Beyond business, he was passionate about community service and was a great conversationalist. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti.”

President of India tweeted “Saddened to learn of Shri Rahul Bajaj’s demise. A doyen of Indian industry, he was passionate about its priorities. His career reflected the rise and innate strength of the nation’s corporate sector. His death leaves a void in the world of industry. My condolences to his family.”

Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, tweeted “यशस्वी उद्योजक, समाजसेवी और बजाज के पूर्व चेयरमैन राहुल बजाज जी को मेरी भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि। पद्म भूषण से सम्मानित राहुल जी से मेरे अनेक वर्षों से व्यक्तिगत संबंध रहे हैं।”

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted “Rahul Bajaj’s passing is a big loss to India. We have lost a visionary whose courage made us proud. My love and condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank tweeted “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.”

MP CM Shivraj Chouhan tweeted “Demise of Mr. Rahul Bajaj the Chairman emeritus of the Bajaj Group is a loss to India’s business community. My condolences to the bereaved family and the group.।। ॐ शांति ।।”

Tamil Nadu CM, M.K Stalin tweeted “Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Chairman Emeritus of Bajaj Group and a philanthropist. I convey my heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family and friends.”

Omar Abdullah tweeted  “I join my father in condoling the death of #RahulBajaj ji. He will be remembered as one of India’s great industrialists who successfully navigated the reforms in the Indian economy while never afraid to speak truth to power. God speed sir. Rest in peace.”

 

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