Shri. Kamalnayan Bajaj (23 January 1915 – 1 May 1972), eldest son of Shri. Jamanalal Bajaj, started shouldering family responsibilities from an early age. After completing his education from University of Cambridge, England, Kamalnayanji returned to India to assist his father, in business as well as social service.
Shortages of food, power, raw materials, technology and foreign exchange; upheavals in the banking system and the introduction of the License Raj – were just some of the challenges the country and its entrepreneurs faced in 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and early ‘70s. Unfazed, Kamalnayan Bajaj quietly got to work. In 1942, the Bajaj Group had sales of approximately Rs.1 Crore, under 200 employees, a few ginning and pressing mills and a fistful of debts.
His first act was to work off the debts. During partition, the group lost almost one-third of its assets. He started afresh. Over the next three decades, he built sixteen factories and acquired five. By 1965, the Bajaj Group was the 19th largest business house in the country. Today its market cap is approximately Rs.1,30,000 crore with a pre-tax profit of over Rs.8,000 crore. Bajaj Auto is the world’s third largest motorcycle manufacturer. The two Bajaj Allianz Insurance Companies and Bajaj Finance, a consumer and SME finance company, are leaders in their respective fields.
Of greater importance, Kamalnayan Bajaj laid strong foundations by embedding values and ethics in the group. It’s a heritage cherished by his successors – and a worthy tribute to the Architect of the Bajaj Group.