His commitment to social responsibility was ahead of its time and a typical example ofthe same was his idea of empowering women.
Shri Arvind N. Mafatlal,
27th October, 1923 30th October, 2011
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
- Thomas Campbell.
Shri Arvind N. Mafatlal led the Mafatlal Group for nearly six decades with unparalledsuccess. Later on, he became the core promoter of the Arvind Mafatlal Group and ChairmanEmeritus of Mafatlal Industries Limited.
Arvindbhai was a pioneer in the field of petrochemicals in India and established thefirst integrated petrochemicals and polymer complex in Thane, Maharashtra for NationalOrganic Chemical Industries Limited (NOCIL) and Polyolefins Industries Limited (PIL) infinancial collaboration with Royal Dutch Shell and Hoechst respectively. At around thesame time in 1967 he introduced fluorochemicals, another pathbreaking industrial segment,with first-ever manufacturing facility for hydrofluoric acid and downstream products inthis part of Asia, while all along leading the original textile business of the Group toglory. Arvindbhai, throughout his distinguished career, demonstrated the ability tobalance business pursuits with devotion to philanthropic and spiritual causes. As aleading industrialist, he was associated with a number of trade bodies and academicinstitutions. He was a Director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and IndustrialDevelopment Bank of India (IDBI), Trustee of Bombay Port Trust, Chairman of theDevelopment Council for Textile Machinery (Government of India), Member of theAgricultural Credit Board of Reserve Bank of India and Member of the Central AdvisoryCouncil of Industries, among other prominent engagements.
As someone who was closely interested in furthering the cause of education and researchin the country, Arvindbhai served as Chairman of the Executive Council of NationalChemical Laboratory (Pune), as a Member of the Advisory Committee of Indian Institute ofTechnology (Powai), as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute ofManagement (Ahmedabad), as a Member of the Governing Body of CSIR and as Chairman of ShriBhagubhai Mafatlal Polytechnic and College of Engineering, among others.
It was, however, through his unwavering involvement and tireless personal efforts insupport of humanitarian causes that Arvindbhais true character shone through. AsChairman and Managing Trustee of Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh, M.P., he took keen interest inorganizing and supervising free eye camps in backward and tribal areas of differentstates. Nearly 12.5 lacs operations have been carried out in several camps held by theTrust. Arvindbhai also set an example for the world at large by his personal involvementin organizing and participating in relief and rehabilitation work during major nationalcalamities like Koyna earthquake, South Gujarat floods, Rajasthan famine, Bihar famine,drought in Maharashtra, Odisha cyclone and the Gujarat earthquake.
His association with BAIF (formerly Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation) from 1967,culminating in his nomination as Chairman in 1977, resulted in exemplary implementation ofvarious community development and relief projects for sustainable rural development, foodsecurity and clean environment. He, along with the legendary freedom fighter Shri ManibhaiDesai, did remarkable work in the field of cattle development, animal health laboratoryfacilities, tribal rehabilitation as well as resource (water and land) development. Hiscommitment to the cause of social responsibility was ahead of its time and a typicalexample of the same was his idea of empowering women at the lowest roots of the societymuch before others started working on this concept. The sincere approach of BAIF underArvindbhais leadership evoked active responses from different state governments andvarious organizations like NABARD who came forward to add to this movement. The result isthat BAIF programmes now benefit more than 4.4 million families across 16 Indian states.
Arvindbhai was not only respected for his business achievements but also for hischaracter, values and principles which he practiced throughout his life time. Hisphilosophy of social upliftment is best summed up in four words famously coined by himviz. anna (livelihood), akshar (literacy), arogya (health) and aacharan (moral character).While most would have been happy to only provide funds, Arvindbhai worked shoulder toshoulder with volunteers across regions, comfortable in sitting on the ground and sharinga frugal meal with the underprivileged.
Arvindbhais contributions were extensively recognized. He was a recipient of theDurga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal (1966), Business Leadership Award of MadrasManagement Association (1971), Indian Merchants' Chamber Award (1975), Sir Jehangir GhandyGold Medal for Industrial Peace of Xavier Labour Relations Institute (1978), Honour ofMaharashtra Economic Development Council (1985), Lions' Humanitarian Award by theInternational Association of Lions Clubs (US) (1993) and Rotary Club of Bombay's Citizenof Bombay Award for 1995.
We are truly indebted and grateful to Arvindbhai for his contribution to the growth ofthe industry and the well being of society by being an exemplary leader who lived hisentire life by his values. We at MIL, now dedicate ourselves to continue our journey onthe path shown by him over these past decades.
In his passing away, the world has lost a unique personalitya business geniuswith a compassionate heart, and a gentle and sensitive individual.
May his soul rest in peace.