This poem, which traces the evolution of the Godrej Group in the early days, was read by Nadir Godrej in 1997, the Centenary of the Group’s founding, at the inauguration of the Research Center which was named after Dr. Burjor P Godrej – the Pioneer of the Godrej Group
When Ardeshir Godrej joined the bar
Where he soon found that to win
He was obliged to commit a sin
Today it may not seem uncouth
To legally distort the truth
But Ardeshir was of sterner stuff
He told himself enough’s enough.
He quit the law and looked for work.
And commencing with this little quirk,
The Godrej group got its start.
His first attempts were not so smart.
The man who abjured perjury
Made instruments for surgery.
The technology was very fine
But products of the best design
Can fail if the unseen hand
Decides there is no demand.
This early failure was no block.
He moved on to the humble lock.
By carefully eliminating,
The spring, a part known for failing,
He patented a better lock
And soon sold out all his stock.
And now I would like to mention
That he next turned his attention
To an object then quite misleadingly
Known as a safe which was exceedingly
Likely not to have the desired effect.
Most safes were unable to protect
Their precious contents from the dire
Damage by the terrible fire
Resulting from the great earthquake
That made San Francisco shake.
After much research he was on track
He changed the design of the back
And proudly claimed that he had found
A perfect fire-proof compound.
In ’44 disaster struck
Is there no end to bad luck?
An explosion ripped through the port,
There was damage of every sort,
Godrej safes though completely bathed
In fierce fires were unscathed.
No form of praise could have been higher
His safes survived ordeal by fire.
Soap at that time was made from fat.
But Hindus couldn’t live with that.
After much experiment and toil
He made a soap from vegetable oil.
To his scientific attitude
We owe a debt of gratitude.
And thanks to his firm foundation
Today we have this celebration.
The torch of science burned on bright
With Burjorji it found new light.
From fatty acid he made soap
An innovation of great scope.
And then he pioneered fractionation
And much to people’s consternation
The quality of acid made
Was superior to cosmetic grade,
Without being triple pressed
His fatty acids truly impressed.
Till his last day he was at work
Alpha olefins were his quirk.
Today we take them quite for granted
He was the one that early planted
The seed from which we could grow
The oleochemicals that we now show.
In his honour we dedicate this lab.
You still might see an empty slab.
But soon I’m told it will be filled
And students then will be thrilled
To have the chance that he enjoyed
To see how the spirit’s buoyed
When science works for human needs
And uproots the widespread weeds
Of sloppy thought and superstition.
I think it should be our ambition
That science should empower our nation
And pull us out of our stagnation.
(Reproduced with permission from Godrej Archives)