"Whatever you do in word or in deed, Do all in the name of the Lord, Giving thanks to Him" -- Padma Bhushan Shri Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya.
It's no small achievement to distinguish oneself in such diverse fields as commerce, education, and philanthropy. Pujya Shriman Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya, born on May 16 1902 in the remote village of Malunjar in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India, was however, a blessed person by dint of hard work and singular devotion to service.
Born to humble beginnings he rose to become one of the doyens of the sugar industry in Western India. His pioneering efforts revolutionized the sugar industry. Karamshibhai was a humble person. He worked hard and for long hours.
The young Karamshi, after completing school at the New High School in Mumbai (now the Bharda School) went back to his hometown in Ahmednagar embarking on a career of tireless work marked by singular devotion to whatever he did.
The early decades of the 20th century were a period of significant national resurgence and no sensitive young man could ignore the stirring presence of Mahatma Gandhi. Karamshi was no exception. His ever seeking mind was moulded by Gandhiji's ideas of 'Swadeshi' and 'Satyagraha'. To make India independent and industrially and economically advanced, was the dream of every young mind.
Young Karamshibhai Somaiya engaged in looking after his father's small grocery business, would travel from village to village selling groceries and booking orders all the while nursing the dream of the resurgent India of Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda.
To further his dream of contributing to India's economic independence, he became a partner in a leading sugar trading firm M/s. Shobachand Ramnarayan Kothod of Shrirampur in Ahmednagar district. His knowledge of the sugar industry was soon widely acknowledged and respected and in course of time he came to be called 'the Sugar King of India'.
When in the thirties the Deccan canals were commissioned by the Government, Shri K.J. Somaiya launched the Sakarwadi factory in 1939, and another, Lakshmiwadi factory in 1941,the start of the Godavari Sugar Mills Ltd. in Maharashtra State. One of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent times in the State, Shri K.J. Somaiya occupied many positions of public responsibility. He was the President of the Deccan Sugar Factories Association, the President of the Deccan Sugar Technologists Association and played a leading part in the deliberations of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He was often consulted on matters crucial to the Sugar Industry.