“I remember him as a staunch nationalist with a fine engineering mind, deeply involved in the automobile industry, and always spearheading new ideas and new innovations.”
- Keshub Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra
Hastimal Kundanmal Firodia, fondly referred as ‘HK’ by friends, was the visionary who built a 1000cr group of industries from nothing, inculcating values of Determination, Excellence and HRD. Every industry, engineering enterprise, vendor, under Firodia Group of Companies was driven by innovation.
‘Chal Meri Luna’ became a countrywide slogan in mid-70s as the nation witnessed the most affordable mopeds of the time – Kinetic Luna. It was an invention born out of HK’s dream to make available a two wheeler which could be between a scooter and a bicycle. His vehicular credits further enlist Tempo Three Wheeler, Matador, Tempo Traveler and Trax. Another ambitious venture of HK was to manufacture ‘People’s Car’ – a utility vehicle.
Even though he always maintained a low profile, HK’s goodwill couldn’t be kept secret on account of his innumerable philanthropic activities. It was his unrelenting quest for learning newer things that carved a personality that will inspire generations. He passed away on October 1st1995 but his journey of innovation-led-nation continues in the form of H K Firodia Awards.
These were the guiding principles of H K Firodia’s life, as he explained in an interview:
Kasauti means excellence. He believed that we should all strive for excellence.
Hatoti means ability to handle people i.e. human relations. He believed that if you can create a cadre of dedicated colleagues, you can easily achieve success.
Sachoti means truthfulness. He believed that not only you should be non-corrupt, but you should freely express your opinion, not say what others (especially authorities) would like to hear.
HK lived his life true to his beliefs.
“HK’s perseverance and personality were such that he could open doors, he could open hearts and he could open pockets. One of the strongest features of HK was his devotion towards the welfare and development of rural India.”
- Dr. Martin Uellner of ZF Germany