Shree M.S. Parkhe
Malhar Sadashiv alias Baburaoji Parkhe
Family Background & Personal Life:
Baburaoji was born 15th April 1912 in a well-to-do family; his father, Sadashivrao Parkhe held positions of a Diwan or Chief Justice in the Indian Princely States in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, during the British Raj. He was also known to hold the position of Chief Justice in princely state of Akkalkot. However, Sadashivrao died prematurely, when Baburaoji was just in his late teens.
After the premature demise of his father, his mother Maisaheb Parkhe, the traditional house-wife of those days, rose to the occasion with strong conviction and surprising foresight, to provide vocational education to her sons and make them self-reliant. She wanted to fulfill the unfinished desire of her late husband Sadashivrao.
Maisaheb is said to have achieved this by setting-up a tiny home industry, in a period when the social system was orthodox towards women. The inspiration for self-reliance was possibly drawn into the family from the rising fervour of independence and a call for “Swadeshi” and self-reliance from the great leaders of that time.
This finds trace in an incident from Mr. Parkhe’s memoirs and a response from Mahatma Gandhi while he was at the Yeravda Central Prison in Pune in 1933.
In the year 1935, Baburaoji was married to Kamalabai Parkhe (Kashi Rajimwale), younger sister of Paramsadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Akkalkot, who is revered worldwide for HIS message of “Agnihotra” and Pancha Sadhan Marg (Five-Fold Path). They had a happy married life and togetherness of 60 years till 13th January 1997.
Hon. President of India, Gaini Zail Singh
Shri M.S. Parkhe with wife Kamalabai Parkhe (Kashi Rajimwale)
Industrial Enterprise & Contribution:
After a brief stint at Deccan Paper Mills in Pune where Baburaoji gained some initial experience, the seeds of the Parkhe Group were sown with conviction and a feeling of self-reliance. The “Bharat Envelopes Co.” (a cottage / home industry) came into existence in 1930, on the auspicious occasion of “Gudi Padwa”, in a small room in Gadre Wada, Sadashiv Peth, Pune, under the guidance of his mother Maisaheb and with his younger brother Gopalrao, to his assistance. At Bharat Envelopes (as the name suggests), they prepared envelopes and other innovative paper products by hand and sold them in the local and nearby market. The enterprise grew rapidly, while also multiplying and at one time became to be known as one of the most pioneering groups in the field of Paper & Pulp, in India. In 1938, Baburaoji is said to have made is first overseas trip, he visited Japan. This trip was primarily focussed on understanding the new trends in paper conversion and to explore further opportunities. In the immediate post-war period, he also toured England to understand and learn the working of medium and large Paper & Board plants.
The first significantly big venture was Paper & Pulp Conversions Pvt Ltd, a board mill which was started in Lower Parel, Mumbai in the year 1942. This unit grew over the years and in 1947, during Indian Independence (post-war period) it became a Public Ltd Company with M S Parkhe & Co being the Managing Agents, in accordance with the prevalent Company laws. In the year 1951, Paper & Pulp Conversions Ltd (PAPCO) started its second unit in Khopoli, Maharashtra which made Paper and eventually also made Paperboards and was the Flagship Company of the group. The first Paper machine installed at Khopoli was procured from Japan. PAPCO had the record of being an un-interrupted dividend company for over 40 years.
In 1960, a novel idea to have a mother pulp mill (market-grade pulp/raw-material for paper-making) was conceived by some small & medium Paper Mills, PAPCO being the chief promoter. Thus The Central Pulp Mills (CPM) came into being and commenced operations in 1966. Some technology and machinery was imported from the United States with a loan from the EXIM bank of Washington while some technology and process components were designed indigenously with in-house technical acumen. This project is said to have brought the Parkhe Group in the centre-stage of Indian Paper-making. Many pioneering efforts like the PAPCO machinery division, Parkhe Consultants (a full-service Paper Industry Consultancy), Parkhe Research Institute (R&D support to Paper & Pulp Industry) followed suit in the following 3 decades. EUROCOTE, a paper/paperboard coating unit based in Vapi, Gujarat was integrated into the group in 1976. The total turnover of the Parkhe Group reached over 100 crore rupees in mid 1980’s, just 50 years from the small and humble beginning in 1930’s.
On 12th March 1987, Baburaoji was felicitated along-with other dignitaries at the hands of Hon. President of India, Gaini Zail Singh for his contribution to Industry & Industrial development of Maharashtra and the country. The occasion was the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture (MCCIA).
However, there was a sudden turn of events in the otherwise fairy tale. The Parkhe Group is said to have suffered major losses towards the end of decade of 1980’s. The changing situation in wake of some Government policy decisions (Rupee devaluation, Import duty reduction on Pulp, free imports) and continued labour problems were some of the major factors attributable to these losses. All this ultimately resulted into financial crunch which engulfed the entire group. It is a known fact that this was the sad state of many Industries in Maharashtra, during that time, a classical example often cited in such similar cases is the textile mill closure and crises of Mumbai. Today, though some of the old ventures of the Parkhe Group like PAPCO and others could not be revived from the crises, the largest unit the Central Pulp Mills (CPM) was transferred to delhi based JK Singhania group in 1992. This unit has grown phenomenally over the years. The seeds sown by Baburaoji and his planning, efforts have blossomed into a big tree. His astute business acumen in selecting the project site and setting-up the Unit are often said to be remembered and greatly acknowledged by its new owners.
Involvement in Industry Associations & Bodies:
Baburaoji held several positions in active & professional, honorary as well as advisory capacity, with different institutions. Some of his prominent engagements are listed below:
- Chairman of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture (MCCIA), Pune
- Chairman of Development Council for Pulp & Paper Industry in India
- Associated with Khadi & Village Industries Commission
- Advisor to Minimum Wage Committee (Paper Industry), Maharashtra
- Nominee-Director at Ashok Paper Mills, Assam
- Director and Vice Chairman of Bank of Maharashtra, Pune
- Director of United Western Bank, Satara
Baburaoji's memoirs and writings talk about the spirit of "Social Indebtedness", with this belief the group established Social and Charitable trusts. The trusts focus and work towards assisting the backward, downtrodden poor and needy people in society.
The Matoshri Maisaheb Parkhe Memorial Trust, Pune (1976) was founded in the memory of his mother, Late Matoshri Maisaheb Parkhe.
The Three Angel's Memorial Trust, Pune (1973) was founded in the memory of Sudhakar Parkhe, Nagesh Deshpande and Atmaram Kavthekar the three pillars of the Parkhe Group who faced untimely death in a road accident. This was seen as a big jolt to the then flourishing business empire.
Some of the primary objectives being,
- Medical help to poor & needy, visually and physically challenged people.
- Aid to students in village schools to encourage rural and higher education.
- Support in providing drinking water in down trodden and drought prone areas. Provide aid during natural calamities.
- Aid to poor farmers for rural dairy farming, thereby encouraging rural self-employment and sustainability.
- Aid to Vedic Schools or Ved Patshala’s under “Baburaoji Parkhe Ved Shrout Puraskar”, to encourage Vedic Schooling tradition and Sanskrit language.
- Work in conjunction with other like-minded institutions and NGO’s to promote and participate in different social welfare programmes.
Over the past 35 years the trusts have engaged in various different programs with a sense of social responsibility and proactiveness.
Awards & Encouragement schemes
G S Parkhe Industrial Merit Awards (Instituted in 1947)
"Recognise efforts and provide encouragement to budding Entrepreneurs”, this thought seems to have encouraged Baburaoji when he proposed to institute the G S Parkhe Industrial Merit Awards scheme. The awards are given in the memory of his younger entrepreneur brother Gopalrao who actively assisted him in business activities in the formative years. Gopalrao was known to possess good entrepreneurial skills and indigenously develop products. The untimely death of Gopalrao after a brief illness (typhoid) when he was aged 23 years, was a partial setback.
To commemorate Gopalrao’s entrepreneurial skills, Baburaoji instituted the G S Parkhe Industrial Merit awards scheme in conjunction with the MCCIA. Baburaoji’s close friend and MCCIA founder Mr. A R Bhat is said to have helped him in conceiving his idea. For the last almost 6 decades, G S Parkhe Industrial Merit Awards are being religiously distributed every year. It is said that this Award scheme has been a pioneering effort in the country; it has earned considerable recognition and has become an institution in itself, setting a basis for various other awards.
The award is given for innovative products and services. Product excellence, commercial success and import substitution are the key parameters used for evaluation and selection. The MCCIA – Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, an apex and proactive Industrial association in the country.
Background: When the head of the family, who had occupied the highest position like the Diwan or the Chief Justice in the then Indian Princely states died prematurely, the traditionally trained housewife rose to the occasion and shouldered the onerous responsibility of bringing up her children in a novel way and thus fulfil the unfinished desire of her husband of imparting vocational guidance and support for career development. This she did by starting a home industry and gradually handed the responsibility to her teenager sons who were still students. This is the story of Matoshri Maisaheb Parkhe who was known to be a woman of surprising foresight and conviction for her times. This story has inspired many a Women Entrepreneurs.
Adarsha Mata Puraskar (Since 1976) "Adarsha" means Ideal and "Mata" means Mother in Marathi. This Puraskar is an attempt to commemorate Maisaheb Parkhe’s contribution & guiding force and salute her enterprising spirit. The scheme aims to recognize the conviction of similar women who have strived hard under adverse conditions to shoulder the responsibility of their family. It is instilled with a feeling of indebtedness and to express gratitude for their enormous sacrifice to make their children happy & successful in life and ultimately good, responsible citizens of the society. The felicitation is said to include a certificate of honour, a memento and a cash portion. The life sketch of the Awardee Mother is presented to the audience and willing family members also speak at the occasion.
Association with Education Field:
Baburaoji was closely associated with many institutions; some of the prominent ones are listed below:
- Chairman of Maharashtra Education Society, Pune
- Chairman of Maharashtra Technical Education Society’s
Walchand College of Engineering & Technology, Sangli
Dhondumama Sathe Homeopathic College, Pune (Active role since inception)
- Land donations, monetary aid for setting-up schools in Khopoli, Akkalkot - Maharashtra, Fort Songadh, Gujarat.
Propagation of “Agnihotra” & Vedic Culture:
“Agnihotra” is an ancient Vedic fire ritual which has been resuscitated by Param Sadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Akkalkot and prescribed for the well-being of entire humankind and nature. Today Agnihotra is practiced in many countries worldwide.
Baburaoji was an ardent follower of Shree and with HIS will and grace he has written books, delivered lectures and travelled across India & world-over for propagation of “Agnihotra” and research on remnants of ancient Fire Worship in different civilisations.
He was very closely associated with the trusts and initiatives in Akkalkot and Shivpuri Ashram. At the instructions of Shree he is known to have built Lord Parshuram and Agni Mandir’s in his industrial complexes in Khopoli and Songadh.
He presided the Mahasomayag Committee and made a pivotal contribution during the “Ekamevadvitiya Mahasomayag” of Shivpuri, Akkalkot in 1969. This was a big and landmark event in history, 2500 years, a Mahasomayag was conducted exactly as prescribed by the Vedas, without any animal sacrifice, (not even symbolic oblations) in a totally non-violent and pious manner. 14 15
Books and writings
M S Parkhe was known to be an avid reader, writer and orator. He has written several books and papers on diverse subjects including Industry, Social and Religious issues, Vedic Literature etc. In addition to this, some hand-written is reported to be unpublished.
Listed below are some of his writings
- Ramayashogatha (Marathi, Hindi – Translated) – Epic-Book on the life of Vishnu Avatar, Lord Parashuram. 21 years of research was undertaken to complete this book
- Kahani Eka Udyojakachi – Utkarshachi and Upakarshachi – Autobiography (Marathi)
- Rajrajeshwar Parshuram (Marathi) – Book on Vishnu Avatar, Lord Parashuram.
- Universal Faith (English) - Importance of Fire Worship in all the world religions and civilisations. Popularly acclaimed in Western countries.
- Agnihotra: The Vedic Solution for Present-Day Problems (English). Popularly acclaimed in Western countries as a resource on Agnihotra.
- Agniupasana (Marathi)
- Jeevanachi Vatchal (Marathi) - His Biographical Sketch, more from the Spiritual dimension.
- Kahani Eka Udyojakachi, Utkarshachi aani Upakarshachi (Marathi) – Biographical Sketch.
- Some 20 small booklets on diverse subjects or excerpts from his speeches are also known to be in private circulation.
In the year 2005, Baburaoji’s personal library of over 5000 books was donated to Shivpuri Ashram in Akkalkot in accordance with his desire. It is used for research purposes by the ashram and “Agnihotra” followers world-wide.
Baburaoji was said to be associated with several other institutions and initiatives including Sant. Dynaneshwar Sapta Janma Shatabdi celebrations (Pune), Ved Shastrotejjak Sabha, Pune, Vedic Sanshodhan Sanstha, Pune
- Deshasth Brahmin Sanstha, Pune
- Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Pune
- Ozhar Vighneshwar Mandir Trust
- Singnapur Mandir Jirnodhar Samiti
- Parshuram Mandir, Salher
- Pune Panjarpol Trust
Contributions & Philanthropy:
Baburaoji, preferred to be a silent force and contributor, he did not like his name to reflect or be publicised, in case he helped, supported or was involved in any cause. He has helped many individuals and causes, directly or indirectly, monetary or in-kind, by providing some with employment, recommendations or endorsement to efforts. He has inspired and encouraged many a people by his industrious and enthusiastic attitude. Society has seen him from different dimensions and he will be remembered by different people from the perspective they came in (his) contact or saw him.
The over-whelming response and communication we received upon his demise and which we still get on a routine basis, stands a true testament to it and it further inspires us to work relentlessly, based on his work ethos and social principles.
• Growth Of Indigenous Entrepreneurship Part 2 (Enteprises Of Dahanukar, Apte,Dandekar, Sathe,Parkhe By V S Patvardhan ISBN 81-7154-701-X
• Popular Prakashan - Books, Author V S Patwardhan 
• The California Rice Commission's Library on Rice Straw Utilization 
• FAO UNO - Paper Submitted by Parkhe Research Institute 
• ICICI 
• TAPPI 
• EIndia Brokers - Research Reports 
• Vedic Books on the Net 
• Indian Express - MCCIA Parkhe Awards 2009
• Mahatma Gandhi's Letter to M S Parkhe, The Bharat Envelopes Co., Poona January 3, 1933
1. India Who's who, 1969
2. Trivikram Narayan Dharmadhikari, Vaidika Sa odhana Ma ala (1974). Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts. Vaidika Sa odhana.
3. Growth Of Indigenous Entrepreneurship Part 2 (Enteprises Of Dahanukar, Apte,Dandekar, Sathe,Parkhe By V S Patvardhan ISBN 81-7154-701-X
4. CPM - Brief History
5. MCCIA - G S Parkhe Awards
6. Bhagawan Parashuram and Evolution of Culture in North-East India By Swami Bangovinda Parampanthi
7. http://www.loksatta.com/daily/20030611/lmlekh.htm Sunday 08 June 2003 Loksatta, Lokmudra Mr. G. G Nerurkar
8. http://origin.maharashtratimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3104208.cms Maharashtra Times Dr. P C Shejwalkar
9. http://www.loksatta.com/daily/20040415/nav05.htm - Loksatta Monday 12th April 2004 Calibration King Bhimashankar Kathare
10. http://www.valuenotes.com/ajain/ajain_jkpaper_31may06.pdf?ArtCd=81428&Cat=I&Id=27 CPM
11. http://content.icicidirect.com/PickofWeek.asp?id=210 CPM
13. http://www.ndtv.cmlinks.com/CorporateInfo/CompSearch.aspx?id=2&sccode=532162 Company History JK Paper Ltd (CPM)
14. “Despedida da Choma Sagrada em Mapuca” Heraldo 25th January 1968
15. Yadnya News Reports, Dainak Sakal 27th February 1968 to 5th March 1968.
16. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/mccia-to-present-entrepreneur-awards-today/465083/ Indian Express, 24th May, 2009. MCCIA to present entrepreneur awards today.