The India@75 initiative, envisioned by Management Thinker and Corporate Guru Prof. C K Prahalad that aims to bring together industry, Government, institutions and individuals to make India an economic super power on its 75th year of independence, would be taken forward and that would be the best tribute to Prof. Prahalad, said industry leaders at a memorial service meet organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here on Saturday.

The idea of India@75 was articulated by Prof. Prahalad during an event to commemorate the 60th year of Indian independence, at New York, when he charted out his vision for India@75 where India would have the world’s largest pool of trained manpower, became home for at least 30 of the Fortune 100 firms and accounted for 10 per cent of the global trade, among others.

The memorial service held for Prof. Prahalad on Saturday, at IIT Campus was packed with industry leaders, heads of institutions, students of Prof. Prahalad and his family members, who shared their memories of him and paid tributes to the world renowned Management guru.

Speaking about the inspiring teacher that Prof. Prahalad was, his wife Ms Gayathri Prahalad said how he urged his students not be blind followers but trailblazers. Sharing her thoughts about her beloved father, Ms Deepa Prahalad, daughter of Prof. Prahalad reminisced how he insisted that unless made with good profitability, good intentions would never sustain.

The occasion was also used to make the formal announcement of the renaming of the CII Southern Region Headquarters in Chennai, modeled after the CII-Delhi centre, as “Prof C K Prahalad Centre”, by Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, CII-Southern Region, as a tribute to Prof Prahalad.

Industry leaders in their tribute recalled Prof. Prahalad’s popular theory of ‘Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’ which aim at developing new business models targeted at offering products and services to the poorest people in the world. Stating that the theory was ‘Globally applicable, yet India-specific’, Mr S Ramadorai, Vice Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services, said, “Prof. Prahalad always believed that technology should be embedded in every aspect of business and it can be the game changer in the upliftment of the poor”, he added.

Paying his tributes to the great management thinker, Mr Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd said that it was Prof. Prahalad who convinced Indian industry leaders to believe that India could be a hub for manufacturing and not just Information Technology. “The mini refrigerator ‘Chottu Kooler’, which we have designed for the rural markets, has been developed based on Prof. Prahalad’s vision,” he said.

Professor S Sadagopan, Director, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore said that though he knew Prof. Prahalad personally only for seven years the amount of learning he received in those years were immense. He expressed his gratitude to Prof. Prahalad towards facilitating the setting up of Centre for Resource Development at IIIT Bangalore, against stiff competition from IITs and IIMs.

Sharing his memories of his father, Mr Murali Prahalad, son of Prof. Prahalad, remarked how he insisted on core beliefs like faith in oneself, pursuit of excellence and marrying profits with social justice. “He was fortunate that he saw so many of his ideas realize in India, his work being recognized and the rise of Indian MNCs,” he remarked.

Mr Tarun Das, Fomer Chief Mentor, CII, in his concluding remarks said that Prof Prahalad helped corporate India realize five important dreams like making Indian businesses competitive, engaging India with the world with confidence, belief in values and ethics, empowering young people through CII-Young Indians initiative and the ambitious India@75 initiative. Mr Das said that CII would organise similar memorial service meets in Delhi on 8th July and in Mumbai on 12th July

Moderating the session, Mr Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman & MD, TVS Capital Funds Ltd, said that entrepreneurs were the freedom fighters of today according to Prof Prahalad and lauded ‘Fortune of the Bottom of the Pyramid’ as his boldest work which aimed at bringing the poorest people around the world from the brinks of poverty.

Mr P R Venketrama Raja, Vice Chairman, MD & CEO, Ramco Systems Ltd, Dr Aravind Srinivasan, Administrator, Aravind Eye Hospital, Dr Sridhar Mitta, Co-Founder and Director, e4e Inc and D Sundaram, Former Vice Chairman, Hindustan Unilever Ltd were among those who shared their experiences with him and paid rich tributes.

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