Karsan Bhai Patel: Ground warrior

Born 1945 (age 74–75)

Mehsana, Gujarat

Nationality Indian
Occupation Industrialist

“Doodh si safedi nirma se aaye, Rangeen kapde bhi khil khil jaye,

Sabki pasand nirma, washing powder nirma

Hema, Rekha, Jaya aur Shushma… Sabki pasand nirma”

Did you read in unison? You remember this slogan that has made the Nirma company in the hearts of all. It was given by a person who did not even know marketing. This is the story of an industrialist whose childhood was spent in poverty and did not have any special degree. He is at such a high level today with his thinking and hard work that people take his name with great respect.

The name of that person is Karsan Bhai Patel. Karsan Bhai Patel is the founder and chairman of the Nirma Group. At one time, Karsan Bhai used to roam on cycles, selling detergent powder from house to house. But, today his total assets are 1.76 Billion Dollar (about Rs 11712 crore as per Forbes Magazine 2016).

Karsan Bhai Patel’s full name is Karsan Bhai Khodidas Patel, Also known by the name of K.K Patel. Karsan Bhai was born on 13 April 1944 in Mehsana, Gujarat, into a peasant family. He got his initial education in the local school of Mehsana. At that time very few people were able to get education after school, but Karsan Bhai started working as a Lab Assistant in Ahmedabad in New Cotton Mills after completing his B.Sc. in Chemistry. After some time, he quit this job and started working in the Mining and Geology Department of Gujarat government.

Karsan Bhai was doing a government job as a Lab Assistant but he wanted to go through something bigger. Then in 1969, using his experiences, he started washing powder ‘Nirma’. He connected Nirma to the people so much that even today people start asking for ‘Nirma’ in the General Store. It is said that when Karsan Bhai started the business of washing powder under the name Nirma, no one was thinking about getting into this business.

At that time there were only a few foreign companies, which were working as detergents. But the story of how he started this work with a few rupees and made Nirma a brand is also going to impress.

Karsan Bhai, a resident of Ahmedabad, started making Nirma powder in his home compound. When a man was doing this work, not a company, then there was a problem of selling it after the goods were ready.

Karsan Bhai took courage and took his goods to the doorsteps of people. How did his goods grow in popularity! So, he devised an idea. The trick was that he now started guaranteeing to return the money on every packet of Nirma, if clothes were not cleaned.

The advantage of this was that he gained the confidence of people for his powder and then people started buying his goods easily. Not only this, He sold their powder at a very low price to make his goods sell faster. When the cheapest washing powder was ₹ 13 per kg, Karsan Bhai sold his powder for only ₹ 3 per kg. As people wish, they get the thing at the cheapest price and of good quality. Karsan Bhai’s formula fits into this desire. Now the business of Karsan Bhai Patel went on and one day came when ‘Nirma’ became a well-known brand in the country.

Today, Karsan Bhai has 14,000 employees in his company. According to statistics, the turnover of Nirma Company is more than $ 100 million.

This company was named by Karsan Bhai Patel. After his late daughter “Nirupama”, named his brand “Nirma”.

He has received many awards. Karsan Bhai’s total assets in 2016 are 76 Billion Dollar (about ₹ 11712 crore) and he is ranked 1121 among the richest people in the world. Ranked 50th in the list of India’s richest people.

Karsan Bhai was awarded an honorary doctorate by “Florida Atlantic University, Florida, United States” in 2001.

Awarded “Gujarat Businessman Award” in 1998. He was twice elected President of the Soap and Detergent Development Council. He was made President of Gujarat Detergent Manufacturers Association.

He was conferred with the title of “Udyog Ratna” by the Small Industries Association of New Delhi in 1990.

He was awarded the ‘Outstanding Industrialist’ in 1990 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Award of Excellence in Corporate Governance by Rotary International.

Even today the Nirma Company’s slogan and its products are enshrined in Indian hearts and homes.

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