Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Eminent industrialist G.D.Naidu, a genius with no education, Coimbatore

Late G.D Naidu, inventor and industrialist, Coimbatore,India
3rd Prize for UMS Razor Co. for Razor blades in 1936 in Leipzieg,
“Sit down before fact as a little child, be pre
pared to give up every conceived notion, follow
humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads,
or you will learn nothing
.” ..... Huxley, Thomas

''Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.''         .....Swami Sivananda

Innovative people are a class apart and they differ from other ordinary people in some ways. Unlike many, who fall out midway whatever endeavor they pursue, these highly spirited people  keep going and going with hope and faith till they achieve their goal - the summit of accomplishment.  In India, that gave the world the  concept of  numerals (the decimal Hindu-Arabic numeral system invented  around AD 500) including  zero, chess and many mathematical concepts, there is no dearth of innovative people. Unfortunately, such people's talents go unnoticed  and unrecognized due to lack of encouragement by the people around them and the government.

In Coimbatore City, Tamil Nadu in the early 1900s there lived an innovative and industrious man by the name of G.D Naidu (Gopalaswamy Doraiswamy Naidu) who was dubbed as the ''Edison of India''.  

Early bus run by G.D.Naidu between Pollachi and

He took the honor of having invented and  manufactured  the first electric motor in India. His new ideas and and contributions were related to industrial applications and his fields of interest also  included automobile, electrical and mechanical Engineering, agricultural and sciences. He had roughly 100 inventions to his credit. In the realm of agriculture, he introduced many  varieties of cotton, maize and papaya that were better than conventional ones. He also made his foray into Siddha medicine.

Early bus run by G.D.Naidu. between Pollachi and Palani.
Tha apparatus-coal into usable fuel for the engine. modified by Naidu, to run on

An amazing thing about him is he just had only basic primary education and never stepped into the portals of any Anglo-Indian English schools or colleges.
Born on March 23, 1893, in Kalangal, near Sulur, Coimbatore, G.D Naidu, son of a farmer,  was a trouble maker at school and long lessons never interested him. After  third standard, he dropped out and later had  a checkered career. Success did not come to him that easily. He invested  money saved from  industry set up by him, in cotton business which later made him become broke. Undaunted by this fiasco, he joined the company run by a British business man Robert Stanes (first municipal chairman of Coimbatore). Naidu's hard work, sincerity, punctuality  and passion took him closer to Stanes. Upon his advice, Naidu,  started a  passenger bus transport company in 1920 with one bus. He himself ran the service between Pollachi and Palani, a small temple town. On festival days he increased the frequency of operations. Because of efficient  management  and  technical skill, he ran the company successfully. Over a short period of time by 1924, he acquired 22 buses  and became the best managed and efficient public transport company in India. Every bus was kept in perfect condition. By 1933, through sustained successful operations, he owned a fleet of 280 buses during the British rule.  A Himalayan achievement for a man who started a company on a shoe-string budget backed by confidence, courage and trust in his ability.  Many of of his buses, in those days,  ran on coal  with specially modified by engines by Naidu. The company United Motor Service ( UMS )  became a household name and was a symbol of  dedication and efficiency.  In 1937, it was his company National Electric Works (NEW) at Peelamedu, Coimbatore produced  the  first motor in India.

As for his innovations, they included  super thin shaving blades, kerosene-run fan, film camera with

Vehicle (British) G.D.Naidu-learnt

distance adjuster fruit juice extractor,  recording machine, etc. He came up with a 5 valve radio Called UMS radio just for Rs. 70.00, a tamper-proof vote-recording machine, etc.  Somehow, the government bogged with redtapism failed to give him encouragement and patents. One of his greatest accomplishments was he had built a  quality house  right from foundation to finishing in a short span of 11 hours. It was, indeed,  a great feat in those days. It was more or less akin to pre-fab concept in house construction work. 1952 saw a two seater kerosene car rolled out from his company. The cost was just Rs. 2000.00.  Again the government put a roadblock and refused to give him patent.  

His innovative  camera captured historical Indian personalities such as  Gandhiji, Subbash Chanda Bose and Nehru. It is said that once he met Adolf Hitler in 1936 who later became a jew-biter. With his  movie camera in 1935 he himself filmed  the funeral procession of King George V in London. He was visited by India's first noble-laureate Sir. C.V.Raman (1930 Nobel Prize for Physics) and  Sir. M. Viswasvarayya (Sept.1860 – April 1962), one of the greatest Civil engineers in India,  statesman and former Dewan of Mysore.

G.D. Naidu  was also known for his philanthropy and charities. He instituted several grants for research, student scholarship, etc. He retired from his active life after 1944. He was the major benefactor of India's first Polytechnic college, the Arthur Hope (after the then Madras governor) Polytechnic and the Arthur Hope College of Engineering were set up. This college was taken over by the state government later and moved over to the present location. He donated a 5000 sq. ft plot in the prime locality of Coimbatore for the construction of Chamber of Commerce.

Naidu died on 4 January, 1974 in Coimbatore after a tumultuous, but successful trail-blazing life. He was a maverick, a man of vision, toil and action,  always haunted by the question tag why and how. To him only from mistake one can learn things and move forward with better approach. The  late Sir C V Raman, made a posthumous compliment:

A great educator, and 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!"