“I’m an industrialist in spite of myself”
Sohrab P. Godrej
An atypical industrialist whose career transcended the usual lens one looks through to determine success, Sohrab Godrej ran a tight ship as Chairman of Godrej. But his many interests outside the boardroom only added to his renown.As a leader of men, he was a hard taskmaster. He believed that beauty lay in the details and paid close attention to them. He had a particular disdain toward the Laissez-Faire school of thought so prevalent in India. Whether at work or in private he was a man who couldn’t let things be.
Sohrabji loved to travel and had a few stamps on his passport to show, 160 countries to be precise, including the continent of Antarctica. His exposure to new ideas, meetings with eminent men and women of his time lead him to believe that India needed to change and immediately. A country that knew what needed to be done, but just couldn’t get around to doing it.
Being the man that he was, just identifying the need for change was not enough, getting his hands dirty and actually doing something was what drove him. He was a firm believer in noblesse oblige and so used his station, relentless drive and the fact that he had friends in high places to set things right and champion many a cause. With him, ideals and causes were met with concrete action. In 1999, he received a Padma Bhushan from the President of India. His philanthropy covered everything from helping the needy on the street, building housing for the underprivileged, saving mangroves to voicing his concerns on the lack of family planning.That’s what sets Sohrab P. Godrej apart, most people have broad categories into which they fit in but he wasn’t most people.
Industrialist. Environmentalist. Philanthropist. Social Activist.
All of these adjectives would only begin to scratch the surface in terms of being a fitting description.
That’s the kind of man he was and how we’d like to remember him.