Walchand hirachand was born on 23 November 1882. Hirachand was from Gujarat Jain family.He use to eat paan made specially for him in Kashi and he love to eat this. He was born in Solapur city in Maharashtra in a digambar Jain family to Seth hirachand. Walchand matriculated from Solapur Government High school in year 1899 and later attended Xavier’s College Mumbai and earn a BA degree from University of Mumbai, later he attended Deccan College in Pune but left his studies incomplete to join his family business and in that way he join his family business and step into a business.
He was an Indian industrialist and Indian businessman. He is the founder of walchand hirachand group. He establish India’s first modern shipyard company also first aircraft factory and first car factory. He also established construction companies, sugarcane plantations, sugar factories, companies and many other businesses in Maharashtra.
He has settled in Solapur in the east in Bombay presidency. He was born in Solapur and after that stay in Maharashtra in a digambar Jain family to Seth hirachand nemchand Doshi. Hirachand was engaged in important trading and money lending. Wallchand’s mother died a few days after the birth of hirachand.
While he was studying in 1900 he married daughter of a Solapur banker from this marriage he had a daughter, but his wife died in childbirth laterr in 1913 under family pressure he married to Kasturi Mehta. From his second marriage he had one boy and one girl child,but both died in infancy.
After spending a few years in his father’s family business of banking and corporate trades he realise he was not interested in the family business so he become a railway contractor for construction in partnership with former railway cleark Lakshman Rao Pawar Parthak. the partnership later became Pathak and walchand private limited. Walchand proved to be a successful railway contractor but he was also open to other business ideas as well.
Walchand was one of the founder members of Maharashtra chamber of commerce industry and agriculture and he is the president for 11 consecutive years from 1927 to 1938. He was also the founder of Indian National shipowners association which was founded in 1929 and served as its president for 19 consecutive years from 1929 to 1948. He also helped launch of Indian sugar Mills association and Indian sugar Syndicate. He is a president of Indian merchants chamber for years 1927 to 1928. Also he is president of Deccan sugar factories and Deccan sugar technologies association.
In 1949 he suffered from a stroke and retire from business in 1950 as he needs some rest. He was looked after by his wife passionately in his last year’s who took him away to natural surroundings and religious town of siddhpur Gujarat, away from Mumbai so that he could recover.
He died on 8 April 1953 at siddhpur. He is a big businessman of Maharashtra and Maharashtra is always blessed with his business till now. His legacy remains important by 1947 when India become independent and the walchand group of companies was one of the 10 largest business houses in the country.
Author – Kundan S. Kopulkar
Date – 13/05/2020