Ardeshir and Pirojsha Godrej: Pioneers of Progress
125 years ago, Ardeshir Godrej, a young man of 29 years, set up a small factory in Lalbaug in
Bombay to make locks – the first of its kind in India. This was the humble origin of what today
has become a trusted household name—‘Godrej’. The story of the Godrej family is a tale of
courage, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Ardeshir Burjorji Godrej dealt with personal tragedy and many disappointments before finding
his true calling – making complex mechanisms for locks. He was an inventor, who looked up to
nationalist leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lokmanya Tilak and
Mahatma Gandhi. Infuriated by India’s impoverishment at the hands of the British, the call to
action of the Swadeshi Movement resonated deeply with him. After successfully launching
businesses in locks, safes, and soaps; his agile mind never ceased to look for new products to
prove that ‘Made in India’ quality could not only meet, but exceed world class standards.
Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej was Ardeshir’s younger brother, who had a penchant for numbers, and
shared the same nationalist ideals as his sibling. He expanded the business into steel furniture,
typewriters, refrigerators, forklift trucks, trucks and machine tools. Meticulous about quality,
customer satisfaction and worker’s welfare, his most notable achievement was the
transformation of the tiny hamlet of Vikhroli (a suburb in Mumbai) into a thriving industrial
township, renamed Pirojshanagar after his death in 1972.