(Last Updated on : 12/09/2015)
Om Prakash Munjal was an Indian businessman, poet and the social activist who was the founder of Hero Cycles, one of the most integrated bicycles manufacturing company by volume and Hero Motors, an Indian two-wheeler components manufacturer, and has ventured into newer business fields including luxury hotels and four-wheeler components. Om Prakash Munjal became one of the first businessmen to explore the idea of manufacturing electric bicycles in India.
Early Life of Om Prakash Munjal
Om Prakash Munjal was born on 26th August in the year 1928. Om Prakash Munjal was born in Kamalia to Bahadur Chand Munjal and Thakur Devi. In the year 1944, his family moved to Amritsar
to start a bicycle spare parts business with his three brothers, Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Dayanand Munjal and Satyanand Munjal. The business flourished, however, within a few years, the Partition of India occurred and severely affected the business environment in Amritsar. The brothers moved the base of their operations to Ludhiana
. In the year 1956, Om Prakash Munjal and his brothers moved from component manufacturing to complete bicycle manufacturing with the brand name Hero, the first bicycle manufacturing unit in India, producing 639 bicycles in the first year.
Career of Om Prakash Munjal
Om Prakash Munjal at a very early stage of his career, started Hero Cycles with a capital of Rs.50,000 in the year 1956 raised as a bank loan. The rise of the company of Om Prakash Munjal attracted indigenous talent in the form of skilled engineers, technocrats, administrators and entrepreneurs who helped in building an ancillary industry around the bicycle industry. The then Chief Minister of the Punjab state, Pratap Singh Kairon motivated Om Prakash Munjal and his brothers to set up and run their business. They acknowledge Kairon as being immensely helpful for their beginning.
Om Prakash Munjal as the Founder of Hero Brand Name
In the 1980s, Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and was registered with Guinness Book of World Records in 1986 for this feat.
Expansion of Hero
Om Prakash Munjal and his brothers expanded the Hero Group in various businesses, diversifying into sectors like bicycle components, automotive, automotive components, IT, services etc. Om Prakash Munjal, his brother Brijmohan and the family were instrumental in establishing "Hero Honda", now Hero Motocorp, a joint venture between Hero Cycles and Honda for manufacturing motorcycles that went on to become the worlds largest motorcycle producer.
Literary Career of Om Prakash Munjal
Om Prakash Munjal was known for his rich poetic temperament and flair for cultural and literary activities and known for patronizing upcoming talents in these fields. He is also known as a promoter of Urdu language through his Shers and Mushairas published in journals, magazines and annual diaries of Hero Honda, Hero Motor Corp and Hero Cycles.
Awards Received by Om Prakash Munjal
Om Prakash Munjal has received recognition and honours from the Presidents of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, V. V. Giri, Zail Singh and A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Om Prakash Munjal also received the Udyog Rattan Award from Amrinder Singh for outstanding contribution towards economic development of the Punjab
. Om Prakash Munjal also received the Samman Patra award towards the contribution to exchequer of the State Government, the Indira Gandhi
National Unity Award to recognize his social contribution and the Punjab Ratna Award to commemorate his contribution to the state economy.
Personal Life of Om Prakash Munjal
Om Prakash Munjal was married to Sudarshan Munjal and has five children, Neeru Khanna, Neeta Seth, Poonam Soni, Priyanka Malhotra and Pankaj Munjal.
Om Prakash Munjal died on August 13, 2015 at DMC Hero Heart Centre, Ludhiana, located in Punjab.