Friday, June 27, 2008

G.D.Naidu, first generation Kamma Industrialist

G. D. Naidu (Gopalswamy Doraiswamy Naidu) was an Indian Inventor and engineer who is sometimes referred as the Edison of India. He is credited in manufacturing the first electric motor in India. His contributions were primarily industrial and span the fields of electrical, mechanical, agricultural (Hybrid cultivation) and automobile engineering. First of all he is a scientist but he studied up to only third standard.

Naidu was born on
March 23rd, 1893, in Kalangal, near Coimbatore. He began his transport business in 1920, with the purchase of a passenger auto-coach. He drove it for the service between Pollachi and Palani. In a few years, his United Motor Service (UMS) owned the most efficient fleet of public transport vehicles in the country. In 1937, the first motor to be produced in India, was brought out from G D Naidu's UMS factory.

He invented an electric razor - Rasant - that gave users far more shaves than other existing options, in the international market. Among his other inventions were super-thin shaving blades, a distance adjuster for film cameras, a fruit juice extractor, a tamper-proof vote-recording machine and a
kerosene-run fan. In 1941, he announced that he had the ability to manufacture five-valve Radio sets in India at a mere Rs 70/- a set. In 1952, the two-seater petrol engine car (costing a mere Rs 2,000/-) rolled out. But production was stopped subsequently, because of the Government's refusal to grant the necessary license. His inventiveness was not confined to machinery alone. He is said to have grown ten feet high Cotton plants, millet plants with high yields and several injections for plants that made possible what Sir C V Raman called "Botanic marvels".

In 1935, he personally filmed the funeral of
King George V at London. In 1936, he met Adolf Hitler in Germany. Among the Indian stalwarts that GD Naidu's camera captured were Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose. GD Naidu remained an outsider to Politics, despite having contested and lost in the 1936 Provincial General Elections.
In 1944, Naidu retired from active involvement with his automobile combine and announced several philanthropic measures including grants for research scholarships and welfare schemes for his employees and the depressed sections of society. Through Naidu's efforts and his donations the Arthur Hope Polytechnic and the Arthur Hope College of Engineering were set up. In 1967, the
G D Naidu Industrial Exhibition was established.

He died on the 4th of January, 1974. Sir C V Raman said of Naidu: A great educator, an entrepreneur in many fields of engineering and industry, a warm-hearted man filled with love for his fellows and a desire to help them in their troubles, Mr Naidu is truly a man in a million - perhaps this is an understatement!

An Industrial Exhibition is held in Coimbatore, in his name. He started the first Engineering college at Coimbatore (now known as
Government College of Technology). He provided employment in the engineering and manufacturing sectors to many individuals in the nineteen fifties and sixties (early for a home grown entrepreneur in India).

G.D Matriculation Higher Secondary School in his hometown,
Coimbatore is named after him. It is managed by his daughter-in-law Mrs.Chandra Gopal. His grandson Mr.Rajkumar now runs the Geedee industries. There is also a driving school by his name, in Coimbatore, where they have a very practical approach and a systematic way to teach people to drive.
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