Kolkata: Birla Group patriarch and the youngest son of philanthropist Ghan-shyam Das Birla, Basant Kumar Birla passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday at the age of 98, his family said. A doyen of the Indian industry, Birla had been suffering from age-related ailments. B.K. Birla, who had been active in business since he was 15, was the Chairman of Century Textiles and Industries.
The mortal remains of Birla would be brought to his ancestral house at Birla Park in Kolkata and the cremation will take place on Thursday at Birla Park, on Gurusaday Dutta Road, the same place where his friends and family members celebrated B. K. Babu’s (that’s how he is called in that circle) 70th wedding anniversary, some years ago. Interestingly, around that time Birla entered the Limca Book of Records along with his wife Sarala Birla, for being the longest serving active couple associated with a non-profit cultural organisation for their 65 years’ association with Sangit Kala Mandir. His wife Sarala Birla predeceased him in 2015. His only son Aditya Vikram Birla had died in 1995.
Birla is survived by his daughters Manjushree Khaitan and Jayshree Mohta, who run Kesoram Industries and Jayshree Tea and Industries, respectively, and his grandson Kumar Mangalam Birla, who had taken him to Mumbai over his failing health.
During his life time, Birla focussed on a diverse set of industries and the empire he built over the years comprises Cen-tury Textiles, Century Enka and Jayshree Tea and Industries, besides Kesoram Industries.
Birla was also the Chairman of the Krishnarpan Charity Trust, which runs an engineering college named B K Birla Institute of Engineering and Technology at Pilani, Rajashthan, and a patron of 25 educational institutions across the country.
B. K. Babu also had a keen interest in art. His collection of Indian Art is, any day, amongst the best private collections in India. Birla and the Birla Academy of Art & Culture together have some of the priceless pieces, including rare stone carvings, bronzes, manuscripts and works by India’s top artists....