We are family

Nisha Kundnani
13 February 2007

Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla stands tall in the supportive company of his mother Mrs Rajashree Birla and grandfather Mr. B. K. BirlaA few weeks ago it was Ratan Tata who took over Corus, now it''s Kumar Mangalam''s turn to c;reate a stir in the country taking over Novelis. And a large part of the success goes to an unlikely trio. The women in the Birla family have played a pivotal role in its success. From Sarala Devi to Rajashree to Neerja Birla — the women have stood by the family in all their endeavours. It''s indeed a proud moment for Rajashree Birla, Kumar Mangalam''s mother and wife of the late Aditya Birla, as she speaks of her son acquiring the Rs.26, 400 crore deal of Novelis Inc, the world''s largest aluminium rolled products company. "It''s a moment of great pride and honour for me and the entire family. I am proud of my son. We''re really happy that the business is expanding and the fact that it will benefit our country," says Rajashree. Without giving it a second thought she gives the credit to her son and says, "Kumar''s a very hard working person. He understands the dynamics of business and knows what he''s getting in to. I have always been confident about him," she smiles.

Talking about her daugher-in-law Neerja, Rajashree couldn''t help but rave about her. "She''s Kumar''s biggest pillar of strength. He works 24x7, but she never complains and is always supportive. They don''t go for holidays that often, but Neerja takes life as it comes and is someone who always stands by the family," she adds.

"We''re a powerful nation and we can achieve whatever we set our eyes on. Such acquisitions aren''t just personal successes. If everyone puts in their best, we''ll soon become one of the leading countries of the world," Rajashree ends.

I''m carrying forward the legacy: Kumar Mangalam
Shabana Ansari
13 February 2007

A day after the Aditya Birla Group''s gigantic acquisition of US-based Novelis, the 39-year-old chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, was busy attending a quiet function to release his grandparents Basant Kumar and Sarala Devi Birla''s biography ''One Day At A Time''.

A picture of loving bond : Mrs Rajashree Birla and Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla affectionately listen to Mr. B. K. Birla
The title of the book aptly sums up the Birla business strategy as well the family''s strong social and spiritual values. "I am simply carrying forward the Birla legacy of dedication and commitment to society," says Kumar Mangalam. The tycoon insists that he learnt all that he knows about life and business from his grandfather, "Be it social awareness, business acumen or deep-rooted spirituality, he has been the guiding force in my life."

Kumar Mangalam adds that his grandmother, who was a strict disciplinarian when he was growing up, also moulded his outlook. "She would keep saying that there was a lot of hard work ahead of me and that I should not waste a single moment of my life doing nothing. I guess that''s the biggest and best lesson I learnt from my grandmother." He recalls the time when he lost his father 11 years ago. At that difficult time in his life, his grandfather sat him down and assured Kumar Mangalam that he had his unfailing love and support every step of the way. "It was a great gesture from a 74-year-old man who had just lost his only son and spoke volumes about the kind of man my grandfather is."

Kumar Mangalam says that his grandparents have endured grief and disappointments in their lives but their unshaken belief in God had always egged them on. "They never spoke of their faith, they just lived it."

media reports: Together, Birlas celebrate one day at a time

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