|Coimbatore, the second largest city in Tamilnadu, is called as “Manchester of South India”. The city is an important Textile, Industrial, Commercial, Educational, Information technology, and manufacturing hub of Tamilnadu. The brain that worked behind most of these industries belongs to G. D. Naidu. Gopalaswamy Duraiswamy Naidu (G. D. Naidu) was the Indian inventor and engineer who created first motor in India. He made enormous contributions to the fields like Electrical, Mechanics, Automotive and Agriculture. G. D. Naidu who started the industrial revolution in Tamilnadu is called the “Thomas Alva Edison of India”.Even though he lack primary school education, he made a number of inventions and started a number of industries and made major contribution to the development of Tamil Nadu.
Gopalaswamy Duraiswamy Naidu (G. D. Naidu) was born as Duraiswamy Naidu to Gopalaswamy Naidu on March 23, 1893 in “Kalangal” village of Coimbatore district in the state Tamilnadu, India. His father was a farmer, leading a mediocre life and respected by the people for his good qualities. Duraiswamy lost his mother when he was a few months old baby. Right from that moment, Gopalaswamy’s ambition was only to raise up his son with good manners. To the contrary, his son was very mischievous and disobedient.
Gopalaswamy needed the help of his cousin to raise up his son. So, he sent his son to Lakshmi Naayakanpaalayam village where his cousin was residing with his wife. Both of them loved the child very much and they took care of him from the scratch.
As the child was very mischievous, they decided to send him to school. The teacher had soon identified that the boy was very brilliant; however, he was very naughty that he used to fight with his classmates. One day, he even had a conflict with his teacher who was punishing him for not doing home work. The boy got angry and he threw the sand on the teacher’s face and ran away to his home.
Duraiswamy’s uncle personally visited the teacher and apologized for the mistake. As the boy was not interested in studies anymore, his uncle decided to send Duraiswamy to his father’s place. In turn, Gopalaswamy sent his son to the farm house that was located in his farm land where cotton and tobacco were cultivated.
It was in the farm land where Duraiswamy developed an interest in studies. He was involved in cultivation of the crops and during the spare time he used to get books from his friends and formulated a deep knowledge into studies. In the later age of his life, he regretted for not getting proper education. However, no hindrance can stop a person, who has great passion towards his destination.
He also developed a keen interest in earning money. When he was in search of a right path, he came to know about a medical company named, “Park Davis” to which he wrote personally and had a business dealing with regard to the sales of pain balms. On seeing his son turning into a responsible person, Gopalaswamy had married his son to a girl named Chellammal.
One fine day, he saw a British driving a motor cycle to his village. He longed for driving the motor cycle. So, he went to Coimbatore for the first time and worked there in a hotel for 3 years and saved an amount of 400 rupees. Later, he found the whereabouts of the British surveyor and requested him to sell the motor cycle to him and succeeded in it. He was very happy to show his first motor cycle to his father and wife.
Later, he started cotton business which led to a loss. After working in a cotton factory for few years, Duraiswamy started a cotton factory in Singanaloor that ran a good business. When he tried to develop his business in Bombay (now Mumbai), he faced a great loss once again and decided to stay away from business.
PATH TO SUCCESS
Then, he met a Britisher named, Robert Stanz seeking a job in the motor industry. Robert, who was well aware of the talents and achievements of Duraiswamy, suggested an idea that was a turning-point in Duraiswamy’s life.
Robert offered him 4000 rupees and suggested him to invest another 4000 rupees to buy a bus that can yield him a good profit. This idea worked out very well, such that Duraiswamy ran his first bus from Pollachi to Palani in 1920. His transport business flourished and he became an owner of 70 buses in 10 years. His self-determination and never giving up attitude took him to peak in transport business. Many competitors tried to beat up Duraiswamy’s business, but failed and faced loss. He invited all his failed competitors and made a proposal of establishing United Motor Services (UMS). All these transport owners made a joint venture and UMS became one of the most efficient transport company in India. One of the notable reasons for his success in his career is his disciplinary life, which he inculcated in his employees as well. People started calling him as G. D. Naidu and some people as Naidu.
Gopalaswamy Duraiswamy Naidu (G. D. Naidu), a guy who had not even visited Coimbatore until the age of 20, made world wide tour 7 times in his life. His camera captured the images of most of the leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose, Adolf Hitler, and the death ceremony of England’s King George V in 1935. He also met Adolf Hitler in 1936 once. He learned industrial technologies from all the countries, which favored him in developing his business in Tamilnadu.
Naidu established an industry named, “National Electric Works” in 1939, where the first electric motor in India was made. All the required parts of the motor, except Ball Bearing were manufactured in this company. Naidu invented ‘Rasant’ razor that was made at a factory in the German town called Heilbronn. It brought a good profit, standing in the first place even though there were many competitors. 3rd Prize was given for UMS Razor Company for Razor blades in an exhibition conducted in 1936 in Leipzieg, Germany.
Some other inventions of Naidu were Refrigerator, Recorder, Radio, Clock, a distance adjuster for film cameras, a fruit juice extractor, Coffee Supplier, super-thin shaving blades, a tamper-proof vote-recording machine, a kerosene-run fan, and calculator. In 1941, he also invented a two-seater petrol car costing around Rs. 2,000/-, but the central government refused to grant the license. His inventions were not confined to machinery alone. He also created hybrid varieties of Cotton, Maize, Papaya, Banana and Coconut that amused the people.
Some of his industries are Universal Radiators Factory, UMS Radio Industry, Gopal Clock Industry, Coimbatore Armature Winding Works, Carbon manufacturing industry, Coimbatore Diesel products and Coimbatore Engineering Private Limited. He also showed interest in Siddha medicine and invented many medicines.
At 1929, Kun’s couple came to Coimbatore to have a rubber business dealing. When Mrs. Kun faced a health problem, Naidu helped the couple and his services impressed them. They both insisted him to make a visit to their home in Germany and helped him to the core in visiting the industries in Germany.
Naidu developed a good rapport with many industrialists, administrators, faculties and with the local people all around the world. He also become an influential man in India maintaining kinship with the politicians, industrialists and also with ordinary workers in his factories.
He constructed a bungalow in Coimbatore, named “Gopala Bhag” in commemoration of his father. He shifted his home and office to this bungalow and resided there till his last day.
Naidu strongly believed that hands-on experience is required for the students more than the academic education. He started two premier institutions in the year 1945, “Sir Arthur Hope College of Technology” and “Sir Arthur Hope Polytechnic”, honoring then Madras Governor Arthur Hope. He donated both the institutions to the Government and the colleges are now renamed as “The Government College of Technology” and “The Government Polytechnic of Coimbatore” respectively.
He started the first Engineering college at Coimbatore (now known as Government College of Technology). He provided employment in the engineering and manufacturing sectors to many individuals in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1946, he started an institute named, Industrial Labour Welfare Association (ILWA), now known as G.D.Naidu Charities. His aim was to impart higher education with more emphasis on practical training so that students can get employment immediately. He also conducted short term (4-6 weeks) courses on Automobile servicing and maintenance.
G D Naidu Charities has set up a new training centre known as Gedee Technical Training Institute (GTTI) at Coimbatore, South India to train Precision Machining Technicians, Tool & Die Engineers, Tool Designers, Mechatronics Technicians and Mould Polishers. G. D. Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Coimbatore is named after him that is maintained by his daughter-in-laws.
FINAL DAYS AND DEATH
The inventions of Naidu were not recognized by the Indian Government. Even though, there were many foreign companies which were ready to buy his technology, paying high sum in return, Naidu refused them as he wanted to raise up his country’s industrial standards to global level. As his inventions were not been recognized, he was desperate and entered into his final days of his life and died on 4 January 1974.
Government might not have recognized his work. But the public was amused on seeing his creations in an exhibition organized by him in “Presidency Hall”.
There is a saying in Tamil, “People’s judgment is God’s judgment”. People recognized his work. Hats-off to the great work done by the genius.