Page 51 - Swatantrata to Atmanirbharta : Lokmanya Tilak’s legacy
P. 51

word of their ‘Doyen’ friend. As a Fergussonian I had a great
            satisfaction that I did my duty to repay my gratitude to my alma
                Raja Bahadur Textile Mills

                It was founded by Shri Raja Mukundlal Pittie. The title of
            Raja Bahadur was given by Nizam of Hyderabad. He hailed
            from  Hyderabad  and  wanted  to  start  his  Mill  in  Pune.  He
            made a courtesy call on Kesri wada and met Lokmanya, paid
            his  regards and obtained ashirwaads for  his  venture.  Tilak
            wholeheartedly welcomed the venture   and gave his blessings
            as well as assurance of local support. The Mill was founded in
            1893. His son Govindraj remained in close circles of Lokmanya
            along with Barristers M.R. Jaykar, Jinnah, B.G. Horniman etc.
            who were active in Tilak’s Home Rule league. The company
            became quite successful in capturing a large part of the Indian
            market and its brand of ‘Pune Sarees’ became a best seller in
            the country. The Mill was closed in 1990’s and it started its
            engineering  division.  In the  recent  years Pittie’s started  the
            grand hotel viz. Le Meridian behind Pune railway station.
               Firodiya Group

               Navalmal Kundanmal Firodiya was born  in  1910.  He  was
            a student  at  Fergusson  College,  and  became an  intimate
            friend of Shri. A. R. Bhat, who organized a group of young
            Fergussonians, called ‘Young India Activists Group”. Navalmal
            became a devoted member of the same. Both Bhat and Firodiya
            participated in 1930s satyagraha and non-cooperation movement
            of 1932. Navalmal was strongly influenced by Tilak’s ‘Swadeshi
            Vrat’,  therefore he started wearing khadi  kurta,  with  half
            sleeves, dhoti, and cap and that remained his attire throughout
            his  life.  In 1942,  he  also joined  ‘Quit  India Movement’  and
            was imprisoned several times. He left his roaring legal practice
            at Ahmednagar and shifted to Pune, after taking a bait, being
            cajoled by a challenge put before him, to undertake the risk of
            launching an industry and managing it by making it a profitable
            one. He accepted that challenge and in 1950s, he took support
            of a German company viz. Vidal and Sohna (which became
            Daimler- Benz) and started importing chassis of auto-rickshaws

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