Late Dr. Krishna Kumar Birla, son of legendary Late Syt. Ghanshyam Das Birla was born in Pilani, Rajasthan, on 12th October 1918. He joined the Sugar Industry in the year 1940 and was amongst the founder member of the Indian Sugar Industry. He was the Chairman of Upper Ganges Sugar & Industries Ltd., The Oudh Sugar Mills Ltd. and Gobind Sugar Mills Ltd and was appointed as the Chairman – Emeritus of all these companies in the year 2002 and remained so till his death in the year 2008.
Over the years, Dr. Birla had established one of India's well known business conglomerate through his brilliance in entrepreneurial genius and sheer hard work. He nurtured the K. K. Birla Group as one of the most respected Business House in India. The Group covers a wide canvas with interest in sugar, fertilizers, media, textiles, shipping, engineering, financial services, furniture, information technology, plantations and infrastructure sectors. One of his greatest achievements has been to earn the trust of his millions of shareholders, employees, customers and various other stakeholders, which has played a crucial role in phenomenal growth of the Group.
Dr. Birla was a Member of Rajya Sabha for 18 consecutive years. In the year 1961, he was elected Sheriff of Calcutta and in the year 1997, he was conferred Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Pondichery University. He had chaired a number of Chambers of Commerce such as Indian Sugar Mills Association, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Chamber of Commerce and many such prominent organizations. His numerous responsibilities included the Trusteeship of the Birla Education Trust, which runs a number of schools and institutions in the Country offering subsidized education, and Chairmanship of the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) at Pilani and Dubai. Dr. Birla had established K.K. Birla Foundation which has instituted annual awards for excellence in Indian literature, scientific research, Indian philosophy etc. and K.K. Birla Academy to undertake research on scientific, cultural and historical subjects.
Late Dr. K. K Birla was an outstanding visionary, a business leader par excellence and a builder of modern educational and scientific institutions in the country. He was a multi-dimensional industrialist, a caring philanthropist, an astute parliamentarian and an eminent scholar. He has left behind an indelible mark in the field of industry, education, politics, art and culture. Late Dr. K. K Birla had a rare distinction of being a multi faceted personality but above all he was a humble humanist. The beautiful Radhakrishna Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna in Kolkata and the G.D. Birla Sabhagar in Kolkata are amongst his many social contributions bearing testimony to his self effacing humanity.
Late Dr. Krishna Kumar Birla left for his heavenly abode on 30th August, 2008. His autobiography, 'Brushes with History' is replete with vignettes of Birla family’s close ties with historical personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Rajendra Prasad, B.C Roy, Jayaprakash Narayan & Moraji Desai, among others. The autobiography captures a vibrant era in the nation’s existence, which influenced Dr. Birla’s personal credo & later achievements. Dr. Birla has left behind a rich legacy for many to emulate.