Jugal Kishore Birla – Hindu activist and Philanthropist of Birla family
Jugal Kishore Birla (1883 – 1967) was a businessman, Hindu activist and philanthropist and third generation member of famous Birla business family. A staunch supporter of Hindu philosophy, along with his father Baldeo Das Birla he built many temples in Mathura, Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata, and many other places of which Shri Laxmi Narayan Temple at Delhi inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi is very famous. Krishna Janmabhoomi Kesava Deo Temple at Mathura, Birla Temple at Kurukshetra and Hanuman Temple at North Delhi are a few more. He also provided financial aid to Hindu organizations.
Jugal Kishore Birla or J. K. Birla was born as the elder son of Baldeo Das Birla, an industrialist and philanthropist. His younger brother Ghanshyam Das Birla was the most influential member of business family who also financed Congress party during the first half of 1950s. Rameshwar Das Birla and Braj Mohan are his other brothers. Four brothers carried forward the family legacy and established their own names in diversifying business plans. He started assisting his father in family business at a young age, and carried business in opium, silver and spices. Initially he did his business in Kolkata, and later shifted to Birla House at Delhi, while his brother carried forward the family business staying at Kolkata.
The family firm was initially known as Baldeodas Jugalkishore, which was renamed as Birla Brothers Limited in the year 1918. The family got into jute and cotton business during World War Second and Ghanshyam Das Birla joined later. As G. D. Birla initially faced losses in business, he wanted to sell the company while Jugal insisted to do his best without worrying about money. It was later renamed as Birla Jute, now the flagship company of Aditya Birla Group. He remained a Hindu activist and religious person throughout his life, and donated his wealth for Hindu trusts and philanthropic activities before he left the world in 1967.
Jugal Kishore Birla – Some interesting and less-known facts
1. Seth Shobharam, grandson of Seth Bhudharmal, who lived in the early 19th century, was the first one from Birla family who got into trade and business. He was a local trader. It was his son, Seth Shiv Narayana (Jugal’s grandfather) in the second half of 19th century who ventured business outside their hometown Pilani, now a part of Rajasthan. Birla industrial family flourished since then.
2. Shiv Narayana Birla, the first member of illustrious Birla family had money lending business who built Birla Haveli. He got into cotton business, which flourished in the second half of 1950s.
3. His father Baldeo Das Birla was an adopted member to the Birla family, who inherited family property and business and later expanded business plans.
4. His grand-niece Shobhana Bhartia, a media personality associated with news media business of the Birla family is the only female member to join family business, against family traditions with the support of her father Krishna Kumar Birla.
5. Sarla Birla and Rajashree Birla are other prominent female members of Birla family who got married to his nephew Basant Kumar Birla and his grand-nephew Aditya Vikram Birla respectively.
6. Madhav Prasad Birla, Krishna Kumar Birla, Basant Kumar Birla and Ganga Prasad Birla are his nephews, all linked with business.
7. Aditya Vikram Birla and Chandrakanth Birla are his grand-nephews while Yashovardhan Birla, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Aryaman Birla and Ananya Birla are other prominent members of the family.
8. Aryaman Birla and Ananya Birla – children of business tycoon Kumar Mangalam Birla are the latest members of the family, belonging to 7th generation, known as a cricketer and singer respectively.
9. Mahatma Gandhi was staying in his home at the time of his assassination in 1948. He has been staying at Birla house for his last three months. The family had close relation with Gandhi and Congress.
10. He was a great follower of Mahatma Gandhi and donated funds for political and charity reasons.
11. He donated fund for constructing Vivekananda Rock Memorial. But the memorial was built many years after his death.