Veteran industrialist and philanthropist Rahul Bajaj, the Chairman-emeritus of the multinational conglomerate Bajaj Group – who crafted the ‘Hamara Bajaj’ aspirational story of India, is no more.
Bajaj, the patriarch of the Bajaj family, passed away in Pune, aged 83, on Saturday, after prolonged illness. The last rites would be held in Pune on Sunday.
“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 February 12, 2022 in the presence of his closest family members,” a statement from the Bajaj Group said.
Known to call a spade a spade, Bajaj, who was the Chairman of Bajaj Group for over four decades, was one of the respected leaders of India Inc.
RS Chairman Dhankhar signs women's reservation bill, to be placed before president for her assent
Greatly benefited from M S Swaminathan’s advice on many occasions: Former PM Deve Gowda mourns eminent scientist
Born on June 10, 1938, he was the grandson of Indian independence fighter Jamnalal Bajaj, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.
He had studied in the Cathedral & John Connon School in Mumbai, St Stephens College, Delhi and Government Law College, Mumbai.
Bajaj was an alumnus of Harvard Business School in the United States.
He was the former chairman of Indian Airlines and former chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He is also a former chairman and member of the International Business Council, World Economic Forum; a former member of the South Asia advisory board of Harvard Business School and a former member of the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.
In 2008, he split Bajaj Auto into three units – Bajaj Auto, finance company Bajaj Finserv and a holding company. His sons Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj are now managing the day-to-day affairs of the company.
A former Rajya Sabha MP, he had also been conferred with the Padma Bhushan.
The brand Bajaj is a household name with electrical appliances, four-wheelers, three-wheelers, home appliances, lighting, iron and steel, insurance, travel, asset management, and finance.
The Bajaj Group has a market capitalization of about Rs 8,67,900 crore with 40 Group Companies and approximately 36,000 employees.
Top business and political leaders including his close family friend and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Raosaheb Danve-Patil, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and others condoled Bajaj’s passing.
“I am deeply shocked to learn about the sad demise of Padma Bhushan Shri Rahul Bajaj, my very close friend. The grandson of eminent freedom fighter Jamnalal Bajaj brought transformation in society, especially in poor and middle-class people with his two-wheel technology – a Bajaj bike,” said Pawar.
Saying India has lost an industrialist, a philanthropist and a lighthouse for young entrepreneurs, Pawar said the affordable vehicle – ‘Hamara Bajaj’ – increased mobility, eased struggle for getting means of livelihood and became the tool of socio-economic change, for which “we Indians are deeply indebted”.