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Tag Archives: Laxmanrao Kirloskar

Laxmanrao Kashinath Kirloskar (1869-1956) was a well-respected Indian businessman whose achievements in business were just as well-known as his achievements in social reform. As the founder the Kirloskar Group, a conglomerate involved in several industries, he used his influential status to implement positive changes in Indian society especially in rural areas.

From an early age, Laxmanrao was fond of painting and mechanical objects. He pursued his interest in painting by enrolling at the JJ School of Art in Mumbai but he had to quit after 2 years upon the discovery of his partial color-blind condition. He nonetheless continued to study mechanical drawing, which came in handy when he was hired as an Assistant Teacher of Mechanical Drawing at Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute.

Laxmanrao established his bicycle dealership in the early 1890s. He bought bicycles in Mumbai and sent them to his brother in Belgaum where the items were sold for a handsome profit. He also established a small bicycle repair in the village; today, the road on which the shop was located is called Kirloskar Road.

In his conviction that the agricultural implements should fit the setting they are used in, he began designing and manufacturing iron ploughs – the first of many Kirloskar products. He initially established a small production facility for the manufacture of the iron ploughs and chaff cutters.

He was unsuccessful for the first two years of his operations mainly because the rural farmers believed that the iron ploughs will poison the land. When he sold his first iron plough, his business grew by leaps and bounds – proof that, indeed, persistence can pay off in spades.

As a great social reformer, Laxmanrao advocated for the abolition of untouchability especially in rural areas. He banned untouchability in his Kirloskarvadi township, which is located in the Sangli District. Such was his trust in the innate goodness of man and in social reform that he employed ex-convicts in his companies, such as night watchmen.