G.D.Naidu (Gopalaswamy Doraiswamy Naidu) was an eminent inventor, engineer, educationalist and industrialist from Coimbatore. His contributions were primarily industrial but also span the fields of electrical, mechanical, agricultural (Hybrid cultivation) and automobile engineering. He was also referred as Edison of India. You may wonder why this man called as Edison of India, but when you finish reading this article you will understand the deep meaning behind that title.
G.D.Naidu was born on March 23, 1893, in Kalangal, near Coimbatore. He had only primary education but excelled as a versatile genius. G.D.Naidu created problems to Classmates, Teachers at the time of his School life. In fact, even at a young age, he hated the system so much that he threw mud in the face of his teachers. So, naturally he was sent out of school and perhaps that should have been a very happy incident for our young G.D.Naidu!Right from his childhood, he was very interested in machines and motor vehicles. Once an English revenue official Lanka Shyel has came in his motor cycle. G.D.Naidu didn't see such a Motor Cycle till Shyel has come to his Hometown. One day, the Vehicle got Trouble. To Solve the Trouble, Shyel asked some amount of Petrol and a waste cloth from G.D.Naidu. He had given those and watched him carefully. He remembered how Shyel assembled that Vehicle. This incident made G.D.Naidu more curious to motor cycles. It also created an interest to see the city Life. So G.D.Naidu decided to go out and he walked around sixteen Miles. Finally, G.D.Naidu reached Coimbatore.
City's Atmosphere created a different expectation in G.D.Naidu's mind. Buses, Trains, Vehicles with Motor Engines, shops, and Coimbatore's Life style made him to stay there itself. G.D.Naidu need some job, so he thought of working at a Hotel at Coimbatore. G.D.Naidu got some little Amount of salary. He saved that money for his own purpose. Finally, with considerable amount of Money, G.D.Naidu reached the Lanka Shyel's home. He asked that Vehicle for a price.
Shyel remember G.D.Naidu as a curious kid who watched his motorcycle when he was repairing on that day. So Shyel decided to give his motor cycle for a price of four hundred rupees. He was inquisitive to learn how it works and hence he disassembled it and reassembled it several times to understand how the various parts of the vehicle work. This confidence created an eager to earn the money.
G.D.Naidu did the Cotton business for the two years. After that G.D.Naidu started his own Cotton Manufacturing Industry with the help of his friends. His Hard work made him as a wealthy man. G.D.Naidu went to Mumbai to do his Cotton business. But he suffered a huge loss there. G.D.Naidu lost nearly one and half lakhs at the Cotton business. He left that business venture after that incident.
In 1920, G.D.Naidu then met British businessman and philanthropist, Sir Robert Stanes and he got his friendship. Stanes encouraged G.D.Naidu to start a new business and he gave a sum of four thousand rupees. G.D.Naidu got a loan of another four thousand rupees and he bought a passenger auto-coach. He himself drove it between Pollachi and Palani (both are Southern Tamil Nadu towns).
The first bus bought by G.D.Naidu
G.D.Naidu named his Bus service as U.M.S (Universal Motor Service) service and this service is offered in with the mind of People's goodness. When any bus got troubled, G.D.Naidu sends another vehicle to repair that as soon as possible. This has created a very good name around the Coimbatore people. U.M.S. Bus service growth is at a very Fast Pace.
G.D.Naidu went to Europe to spend his summer time at 1932. G.D.Naidu went to Marshalls and Hanavel cities first in Germany. G.D.Naidu had the opportunities to see the Scientific Research centers at Germany. G.D.Naidu also went to the city named 'Heilbronn 'at Germany. He finally tested the Electric Razor device manufacturing process. Success in that Research gave a boost in his confidence level in Invention of the Electric Razor that gave users more shaves than the other existing options in the international market. He collected the knowledge at Research centers located at Germany. He also met the Engineers and discussed with them regarding his Ideas.G.D.Naidu was an avid photographer and photography was his hobby and passion. In 1935, he personally filmed the funeral of King George V at London. In 1936, he met Adolf Hitler in Germany (even taking Still Photographs of the Fuhrer). Among the Indian stalwarts that G D Naidu's camera captured were Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose. G D Naidu remained an outsider to Politics, despite having contested and lost in the 1936 Provincial General Elections. He was gifted Rolls Royce car and he was the only one who had at those times. On his trips abroad, Naidu always seemed to draw appreciation for his innovations and his personal drive.
First Motor made in India in 1937 by G.D.Naidu
In 1937, the first motor produced in India, was brought out from G D Naidu’s UMS group company called National Electric Works. This created a revolution in Coimbatore and lead to the establishment of number of small scale industries producing pumps and motors. Now Coimbatore is called as the pump city of Asia. The motor and pump industry in Coimbatore supplies two thirds of India’s requirements.
Among his other inventions were super-thin shaving blades, a distance adjuster for film cameras, a fruit juice extractor, a tamper-proof vote-recording machine and a kerosene-run fan. In 1941, he announced that he had the ability to manufacture five-valve Radio sets in India at a mere Rs 70/- a set.
Two-seater petrol engine car built by G.D.Naidu
In 1952, the two-seater petrol engine car (costing a mere Rs 2,000/-) rolled out. But production was stopped subsequently, because of the Government’s refusal to grant the necessary license. He wanted to make certain precision blades/knives (he learnt the technology during one of his visits to Germany) but the Government gave the license for manufacturing it to some other people. It seems multiple such rejections made him destroy some of his inventions in frustration and perhaps even discouraged the great innovator who could have done much more. His inventiveness was not confined to machinery alone. He is said to have grown ten feet high Cotton plants, Coconut trees that were 3 feet, millet plants with high yields using perfect organic methods for plants that made possible what Sir C V Raman called “Botanic marvels”. He also demonstrated to construct houses within twenty four hours in a cheaper price.
In-spite of several rejections from the government, he was warm, always smiling, helping others and kept a positive outlook towards life. He was also an educationalist who started two premier institutions in the year 1945, “Sir Arthur Hope College of Technology” and “Sir Arthur Hope Polytechnic”. He donated both the institutions to the Government. Both colleges are now known as “The Government College of Technology (GCT)” and “The Government Polytechnic of Coimbatore” respectively. Today, GCT is one of the premier engineering institutes in India.
His aim was to impart Higher Education with more emphasis on practical training so that the students can get employment immediately. He provided employment in the engineering and manufacturing sectors to many individuals in the nineteen fifties and sixties.He died on the 4th of January, 1974. With his demise, Coimbatore lost its greatest ambassador to the world. There have been several tributes paid to this legend, but none seems as apt as that by Sir C V Raman: Sir C V Raman said of Naidu: "A great educator, an entrepreneur in many fields of engineering and industry, a warm-hearted man filled with love for his fellows and a desire to help them in their troubles, Mr. Naidu is truly a man in a million - perhaps this is an understatement!"
G.D.Naidu Museum and Industrial Exhibition
G.D.Naidu Museum and Industrial Exhibition, Coimbatore contains an impressive collection of various electrical/ electronic /scientific devices and gadgets that has been in existence since very early years to the recent times. In fact, one visit to this museum would make you familiar with the different types of film cameras, projection TV’s, ball point pens, floppy disks, calculators, type writers, PA systems, printers, and many more devices that were used right from 1930′s /40′s till today. In certain sections of this museum, the lights would go on automatically as you walk near that part of the exhibits and then switch off automatically when you go away from them! There were so many exhibits arranged in multiple long rows and a long shot of one of the rows is shown below. If you visit his museum, you can see the photos of a number of dignitaries who have visited the museum (A.B.Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi, etc).
Image of a Phonograph The above image of a Phonograph was assembled and made by G.D.Naidu himself with some help from an American firm and his own UMS in 1940.Phonograph was originally invented by Edison.
I hope now readers could have understood why people called him as “Edison of India”.
Some other photos which includes the collections from G.D.Naidu are as follows.
APPLE COMPUTER MADE IN 1984
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