K K Birla, a multi-faceted personality

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (UNI) Krishna Kumar Birla, popularly known as K K Babu, was a man of many facets, with his empire spanning some 40 firms in fertilisers, chemicals, heavy engineering, textiles and shipping.

The eldest surviving son of industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla, he was born on November 11, 1918, in Pilani in Rajasthan.

Birla called it a historic day (his birthday) in his autobiography, ''Brushes With History'', as the agreement of armistice for World War I was signed on that day.

Birla inherited a legacy in which the creation of wealth, philanthropy and political leadership was all regarded as part of nation building.

A former member of the Rajya Sabha for 18 consecutive years, Birla was also the chair of the Hindustan Times group, which is one of the largest circulated national dailies.

He regularly contributed to the newspaper reminiscences of his foreign travels with his wife.

He is survived by daughters Nandini Nupani, Saroj Potddar and Shobhana Bhartia, the vice chair of Hindustan Times.

His wife Manorama Devi Birla died in Kolkata on July 29.

Birla had an equal passion for charity. He built Radha-Krishna Temples (popularly known as Birla Temple) and many other institutions countrywide that enriched the fabric of the Indian society.

Dr Birla had also served as the Chairman/Chancellor of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science since 1983.

He served the Central Board of State Bank of India and on the Board of ICICI for many years. He was a member of a number of committees appointed by the Central Government.

He had established the KK Birla Foundation in 1991 to promote Hindi literature and was also the Chancellor of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (Pilani).

The Foundation confers, annually, awards in Indian literature, scientific research, Indian philosophy, art and culture and sports.

UNI SR RN1718

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