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Mahindra Group Chairman’s message to employees on 2 October 2020, as part of the 75th anniversary celebration
Little did we dream when we were planning our 75th birthday celebrations, that we would be celebrating it in the midst of a global pandemic. Little did we imagine that we would be celebrating in our homes instead of our locations. Little did we know that we would be six months into a lockdown that would turn our lives upside down. But it is when things are darkest that we most need to celebrate, to remind ourselves that no matter how deep the gloom, we CAN and we WILL create our own light. So good morning to you all. Here’s to Founders’ Day 2020 and 75 great years; here’s to over two hundred thousand wonderful colleagues; and here’s to celebration.
I am truly delighted that I am getting a chance today to virtually visit your homes, to greet you and your families, and to thank you and to those who have gone before you, for bringing us to this wonderful milestone.
It all started on 2nd October 1945, with these two men and their dreams. They were both successful businessmen. And they were also idealists. With India on the verge of independence, they saw themselves as businessmen who had the opportunity to contribute to the founding of a new nation. So they founded M&M. And they were not shy about articulating their dreams for their company. This is the first advertisement published by Mahindra and Mahommad in November 1945, one month after the company was born. It gives us a clear insight into the minds of our founders and their vision for the company. They express a desire to “put on record that Mahindra and Mahommad, though a business firm, is imbued with a national purpose and a new outlook”. They describe the company they want to create. It’s an organisation where there will always be the “encouragement of individual initiative”. It is a workplace based on the belief that the “labourer is worthy of his/her hire” where “…the dignity of human toil”… is valued where “…neither colour, creed nor caste should stand in the way of harmonious working”. And finally, they publicly commit to the people of India that the company they have just founded “holds out the promise of a better land for you to live in, and a healthier and happier life for you to enjoy.” These are all quotes from that original advertisement. One of our programmes for this year is the spirit of service. Well, it was born as far back as 1945.
When we look back on this unique advertisement 75 years later, it is incredible how our Core values of good corporate citizenship, professionalism and the dignity of the individual reflect the thoughts of our Founders. And how our core purpose of Rise and the spirit of service it embodies, reflects their dreams for a better land and a happier life. Their ideals have permeated our DNA. They have talked about India, but I am sure that they would be delighted to see that today we are taking those ideals across the world to every global member of the Mahindra family and every community that we serve.
I believe we are celebrating our 75th birthday today, because we have remained faithful to those ideals. 75 years is a long time for a company to survive. It’s an even longer time for a company to remain successful. When the BSE Sensex was established in 1986 there were 30 companies on it. Mahindra & Mahindra was one of them. Fast forward to 2018 and check out the Sensex. By 2018, only 7 of the original 30 companies still had a place on the Sensex. M&M is still one of these seven samurai. That’s a record to be proud of. It is something that all of us together have achieved.
Looking ahead I have no doubt that better times lie just around the corner. It is not that I expect the crisis to disappear or that I think that there will never be another crisis again. Nobody can predict that. My confidence is based on the evidence that I see of how we, as an organisation have responded to the crisis. We adapted to the situation without missing a beat. We worked from home, we went digital, we kept our factories going, we united in our fight against the pandemic. We didn’t seek shelter from the storm; instead we danced in the rain. With that spirit in our hearts, there is no crisis that can defeat us.
As we celebrate, l want to thank those who have led the company and the Group for the past seven-and-a-half decades; especially my uncle Keshub Mahindra, who has inspired us for close to 60 years. Above all, I thank each and every one of you and every single person who has worked for the Mahindra Group over the last 75 years.
In choosing the words to express my gratitude, let me once again recall the Founders. When the company went public in 1955, KC Mahindra, who was then the Chairman, sent out a memo thanking everyone for their great efforts and teamwork, that led to over subscription of the issue. After saying he was proud to be Chairman of such an organisation, he closed by saying, “I couple this message of thanks with an old saying - It is good to have money, but it is better to have what money cannot buy. You already possess these riches … which cannot be purchased. May good fortune attend you in your adventures”.
I can only echo his words and thank each and every one of my colleagues for making ours an organisation that is rich in the things that money cannot buy. And may good fortune attend us as we march on, towards our centenary.