About Naval

Instrumental in building Godrej into an industrial powerhouse, Mr. Naval Pirojsha Godrej, or Naoroji as he was fondly called, was the son of Mr. Pirojsha Godrej, and the nephew of Mr. Ardeshir Godrej, the founder of the Godrej Group.

Even though Naval never had any formal higher education, he was extremely curious, had a keen sense of observation and a flair for machines. He was hardly ever seen at his desk, preferring to be on the shop floor with his people. By working shoulder to shoulder with his factory workers, he not only picked up the nuances of engineering and manufacturing, but also earned the respect of his team.

Simple in attire and demeanor, Naval was a true Gandhian. He was known to be very humble, extremely approachable, and friendly. His gentle charisma and clarity shone through in his interactions with people from all walks of life.

Driven by the dream of India’s industrial self-reliance, Naval went on to pioneer the all-Indian manufacture of a number of products including typewriters, machine tools, refrigerators, and the tool room.

Achievements

Interview

  • Fine Eye for DetailsPlay

    Fine Eye for Details

    Indrapal Singh (Advisor, Godrej, Mumbai) reminiscences about how Naval Godrej had a keen eye for aesthetic details and how he wanted to project Godrej’s products the best way possible.
  • A Chance MeetingPlay

    A Chance Meeting

    A.K. Seth (Assistant Plant Manager – Rtd, Godrej, Mumbai) talks about how he was interviewed by Mr. Naval Godrej himself.
  • The Man of the MassesPlay

    The Man of the Masses

    E. J. Kalwachia (Senior Advisor, Godrej) reminisces how at one time Naval had to handle unrest amongst the labourers and advised him to work fearlessly keeping the labourers’ best interests in mind.
  • Play

    Dara Byramjee (Executive Vice President, Godrej Security Solutions, Mumbai) remembers how Naval always had a keen eye for details and how he insisted on working with one’s hands to best understand the nuances of manufacturing.
  • A True GandhianPlay

    A True Gandhian

    Professor Zubin Mulla (Associate Professor, The School of Management and Labour Studies, TISS) shares an anecdote that reflects Naval’s innate concern for the well-being and comfort of his workers.
  • Transformational LeaderPlay

    Transformational Leader

    Dr P. A. Joshi (Former Head of Design, Godrej) recollects his days as a newcomer to Godrej and Mumbai. His first impression of Naval was one he least expected and needless to say he was pleasantly surprised.
 
About Naval
About Naval

Instrumental in building Godrej into an industrial powerhouse, Mr. Naval Pirojsha Godrej, or Naoroji as he was fondly called, was the son of Mr. Pirojsha Godrej, and the nephew of Mr. Ardeshir Godrej, the founder of the Godrej Group.

Even though Naval never had any formal higher education, he was extremely curious, had a keen sense of observation and a flair for machines. He was hardly ever seen at his desk, preferring to be on the shop floor with his people. By working shoulder to shoulder with his factory workers, he not only picked up the nuances of engineering and manufacturing, but also earned the respect of his team.

Simple in attire and demeanor, Naval was a true Gandhian. He was known to be very humble, extremely approachable, and friendly. His gentle charisma and clarity shone through in his interactions with people from all walks of life.

Driven by the dream of India’s industrial self-reliance, Naval went on to pioneer the all-Indian manufacture of a number of products including typewriters, machine tools, refrigerators, and the tool room.

Achivements

Machine Tool Manufacture

Much importance has been given to the country’s industrialisation even before freedom was won, but credit must be given to Naval for taking the initiative in manufacturing machine tools nearly a decade earlier. No doubt the opportunity came during the war years when the machines required by Godrej could no longer be imported. Naval rose to the challenge and created a path-breaking line of machines including creating the first 35 tonne power press. He also pioneered the manufacture of machine tools & metal forming and machine cutting machines.

The first all-Indian typewriter

Typewriter manufacturing required highly specialised machinery and deft workmanship. Before Naval’s efforts, typewriters had never been made anywhere in Asia. Even though Naval conceived the idea of typewriter manufacture as early as 1946, due to raw material restrictions and wartime considerations, production started only in the early 1950s. Many iterations were made until Naval was satisfied with the soft touch of the keys – a feature that made the typist’s job easier. Naval’s success in typewriter manufacturing led to the closure of Remington in India. Read about the Godrej typewriter journey here.

Cooling solutions in India

Having been the first to make typewriters in 1955, Naval was keen to help Indian households access other modern conveniences. After overcoming many teething problems, Godrej was successful in producing the first 230 volt Model 9 refrigerator, having a capacity of 7.3 cubic feet, in 1958. For more than a decade, several different models were introduced. In 1962, Godrej, which had been using the imported GEC compressor unit, began manufacturing hermetically sealed compressors in India.

The indigenous forklift truck

For Godrej, as for India, the 50s and 60s was a period of transformation – the period where Godrej not only introduced new products locally but was keen to tap global markets. Among the new products that were added to the Godrej portfolio during this phase, were forklift trucks. With production beginning in 1961, forklift trucks of 2.25 tonne capacity were ready to be marketed by 1963. The first major breakthrough came in 1977 when Godrej bagged the first export order for forklift trucks from Russia with Naval himself signing the agreement.

Putting India in the spotlight

With his experience in manufacturing the largest number of sheet-metal machines, Naval was the obvious choice to guide the Indian Machine Tools Manufacturing Association (IMTMA) through its formative years. While Naval later became its President, he established the pioneering International Machine Tool Exhibition known as IMTEX. Naval not only donated the land for the purpose of hosting the exhibition but was involved in every aspect of its planning, projection and execution. The first exhibition was held in 1965 with ten exhibitors while the last one (1989) in his lifetime had 400 participants.

Reaching for the stars

The Process Equipment Division (PED) was established in 1976. With the expertise of the tool room and Naval’s support, PED got its first order to manufacture satellite components from ISRO in 1986. This order lead to the establishment of the Precision Components Group (PCG) that was then solely dedicated to the manufacture and design of satellite components. The following year Godrej received the first order for Dummy Motor Casing for PSLV. The success of the project led to the creation of Godrej Aerospace that began the fabrication and supply of the Vikas Engines in its entirety.

Interview
Play

Indrapal Singh (Advisor, Godrej, Mumbai) reminiscences about how Naval Godrej had a keen eye for aesthetic details and how he wanted to project Godrej’s products the best way possible.

Play

A.K. Seth (Assistant Plant Manager – Rtd, Godrej, Mumbai) talks about how he was interviewed by Mr. Naval Godrej himself.

Play

E. J. Kalwachia (Senior Advisor, Godrej) reminisces how at one time Naval had to handle unrest amongst the labourers and advised him to work fearlessly keeping the labourers’ best interests in mind.

Play

Dara Byramjee (Executive Vice President, Godrej Security Solutions, Mumbai) remembers how Naval always had a keen eye for details and how he insisted on working with one’s hands to best understand the nuances of manufacturing.

Play

Professor Zubin Mulla (Associate Professor, The School of Management and Labour Studies, TISS) shares an anecdote that reflects Naval’s innate concern for the well-being and comfort of his workers..

Play

Dr P. A. Joshi (Former Head of Design, Godrej) recollects his days as a newcomer to Godrej and Mumbai. His first impression of Naval was one he least expected and needless to say he was pleasantly surprised.