New Delhi, Dec 10 (UNI) Showering wholesome praise on Dr K K Birla for his contrbutions to the development of industry, education and politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country was on the threshold of a new era of industrial development.
"The past century has seen many waves of industrialisation in our country. The last began after 1991. There are many business leaders who were not even in business in 1991. Many of the new comers have overtaken their peers. Such is the law of industrial development," Dr Singh said releasing the autobiography of Dr Birla at a function at his residence here.
Seated on the dias were Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-Chairperson of Hindustan Times Group and Rajya Sabha MP Shobhana Bhartia.
The foreword to the autobiograpahy, entitled 'Brushes with History,' has been written by Ms Sonia Gandhi.
In the audience were seated Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, members from the family of Birlas and other eminent citizens.
The Prime Minister began his address by describing Dr Birla as an "old and dear friend" and said he had the privilege of knowing him and his family for a long time.
Dr Singh said it was no exaggeration to say that Krishna Kumar Birla was not just an inheritor of the proud legacy of his father-- Ghanshyam Das Birla-- but has also played a stellar role in carrying it forward.
"The life story of one, who has seen the transformation of this nation over a historic century and who, is as familiar with the world of Ghanshyam Dasji as with the world of Shobhanaji(the daughter of Dr K K Birla), would be an exiciting one. I am, therefore, happy that Dr Birla has written the book for the world and for posterity to read.
This life story of Dr Birla tells us why Gandhiji enunciated the idea of trusteeship. The business philosophy of the Birlas has always demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to the welfare of all Indians and progress of our country. The role they have played in laying the foundations of modern India's industry deserves to be celeberated," Dr Sigh said.
He said Dr Birla was a member of the Rajya Sabha for three terms through very difficult and exciting times.
He recalled that Dr Birla during his tenure in Rajya Sabha had asked him to write a foreword to a collection of his speeches.
"I recall that the most important feature of his speeches was his attention to details and facts. Whether he spoke on the Union budget or on inflation or on other issues, he marshalled hard information and made a persuasive point. His speeches reflected his vast reservoir of experience, knowledge and wisdom and his deep understanding of public affairs. It is members like Dr Birla who have genuinely live upto the title of the Rajya Sabha as the 'House of Elders,'' the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister said the interest Dr Birla has taken in modern education had helped the growth of some of the best educational institutions.
Dr Birla in his address recalled his association with Mahatma Gandhi and traced some of the events relating to the freedom movement.
He said God has been kind to him and even though he had crossed the age of 90, he was able to devote time to his industries and writting.