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Naoroji (Naval) Godrej

Time Period : 1916 - 1990

Reference: MS06-01-94-37
Covering Dates: 1923-1991
Extent & Medium: 1 File (5 documents; 62 pages)

Having joined Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd in 1933 at the tender age of 17, youngest son of Pirojsha Godrej, Naoroji Godrej, fondly known as Naval, immersed himself into the rumblings of factory life with all the enthusiasm of a teenager. Learning skills from the shop floor upwards, led Naval to support a hands-on approach in tackling problems, 'never expecting others to do what he would not undertake himself.'

 

Having joined Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd in 1933 at the tender age of 17, youngest son of Pirojsha Godrej, Naoroji Godrej, fondly known as Naval, immersed himself into the rumblings of factory life with all the enthusiasm of a teenager. Learning skills from the shop floor upwards, led Naval to support a hands-on approach in tackling problems, 'never expecting others to do what he would not undertake himself.'

 

His affinity for machines led Naoroji to develop the Godrej Tool Room, and to initiate the hugely successful typewriter and refrigeration lines of business. Machine Tools manufacture was closest to his heart. He guided the Machine Tool Association through its formative years and was its President from 1971-73. He also established the pioneering international exhibition, IMTEX, the showcase of the Machine Tool industry.

 

He was deeply involved with the construction of the Godrej Industrial garden township in Vikhroli which is considered to be among the most 'environment friendly' campuses. Among his varied philanthropic contributions was a crematorium for pets, a Disaster Center, Foundation for Research in Community Health - providing rural areas with an all-inclusive package of preventive medicine, Foundation for Medical Research, in which about 300 specialised research scientists worked dedicatedly towards a cure for leprosy and tuberculosis. Additionally, he gave the Parsi community, Godrej Baug, which has fulfilled one of the community's most dire needs of housing.

 

In recognition of this mosaic of service to society and entrepreneurship, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976.

 

The Naoroji Godrej Papers include letters written by Naoroji to his father Pirojsha and brothers Sohrab and Burjor discussing issues ranging from business to family. Some of these letters are written during his business trips to Birmingham, New York and Malaysia detailing his observations and experiences. There are letters written to him by employees as well.

 

Some of the other endearing documents in this collection are a small prayer booklet given to Naoroji during his Navjote ceremony, a Standard V (Five) exam question paper, letter from JRD Tata inviting Naval Godrej to join the Board of Directors of Tata Engineering & Locomotive Co., Ltd. (TELCO) etc.

 

Note: Apart from Centenary collection, 2 Files related to Padma Bhushan Award conferred on Naval Godrej and 8 files containing obituaries, press clippings and condolence messages on his death are also available. A booklet titled 'My Friend Naval', a tribute paid by Vasant Sheth (Founder Director of Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd.) at the sheriff's Condolence Meeting on 5th September, 1990 held in memory of Naval Godrej also forms a part of our collection.

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