(Last Updated on : 06/04/2016)
Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda is a prominent Indian chemical engineer, chemist and entrepreneur
, who has scaled the peaks of the Indian chemical industry
with his innovative inventions. He is the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Gharda Chemicals Limited, a Research and Development (R&D) company manufacturing high quality agrochemicals, high performance polymers and pigments. Gharda Chemicals is one of the front runners in the chemical industry in India and one of the largest agrochemicals manufacturing companies in the country. In 2004, Dr. Keki Gharda became not only the first Indian but also the first Asian to win the prestigious Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists, for his extraordinary achievements in the chemical industry. The Government of India
honoured him with the Padma Shri
, Indias fourth highest civilian honour
in 2016, for outstanding achievement in trade
Early Life and Education of Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda
Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda was born on September 25, 1929. He is an alumnus of St. Stanislaus High School in Bandra, Mumbai
. He acquired his Bachelor of Science
degree from University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), presently the Institute of Chemical Technology under the University of Bombay
. He then obtained a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering
from the University of Michigan in the United States. Following the defence of a Doctoral Thesis, he received a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Career of Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda
Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda started his career as an Assistant Professor, Process Design & Chemical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma, United States. During this time he was granted his first 2 patents for projects he executed for an oil company. Upon his return to India, Dr. Gharda briefly taught as a visiting faculty at UDCT, following which he established Gharda Chemicals Limited in the year 1965, a R&D company manufacturing and dealing in agrochemicals, polymers and actively pursuing an entry into the market of high performance pigments, of which he is the Chairman and Managing Director. He started the company in a small rented shed with a drum as a table and a carboy as a chair. Over the next 4 decades, Gharda Chemicals repeatedly perplexed multinationals like Sandoz, Bayer and Hoechst, by making their products at a fraction of the cost through technological and innovative prowess. The company made them so cheap that often the original manufacturer was eventually forced to buy from Gharda Chemicals and supply to the world.
In the process, the company recorded many firsts in dyestuffs, pesticides, veterinary drugs and polymers, which have fetched dozens of awards from the government and the industry. Today, it is one of the largest agrochemical companies in India, with manufacturing units in Dombivli
, Lote Parshuram, Chiplun in Maharashtra
, Panoli and Ankleshwar
and Samba in Jammu
. Dr. Ghardas foray into agrochemicals was a result of a monopolistic product that was a subject matter of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, where he was invited as an observer.
A strong and vibrant R&D programme and expertise in process development has enabled Gharda Chemicals to capitalize on superior technology. This has led to the production of vital import-substitute products and cost effective agrochemicals on a large scale that have been immensely successful in the market, consequently bringing the company a strong and competitive national and international presence. Gharda Chemicals rose from a small unit to one of the most successful and reputed companies in the Agrochemical Industry. Dr. Keki Ghardas maxim and goal is "Knowledge converted through products to Wealth for the benefit of Society."
Dr. Gharda is still the Chief Scientist
at his company with a 200-strong research team with 15 doctorate degree holders. The company continues to work on new products and technologies. One such technology in the works has the potential to replace huge blast furnaces in iron and steel
making, by burning the lower grade Indian coals
in a reactor, and thereby replacing high grade coal imports.
Dr. Gharda is also known for his philanthropic activities. He has promoted Gharda Scientific Research Foundation, a Section 25 company dedicated to develop and research basic technologies. The earnings of this foundation will be used to promote more technologies and will also contribute to the welfare and upliftment of the society in the Health and Education
Awards and Recognitions received by Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda
Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda was elected as a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences
in the year 1976, in the field of Process Design. He has also been bestowed the following awards and honours.
Distinguished Alumnus Award by University Department of Chemical Technology
Indian Chemical Councils Lifetime Achievement Award
Chemical Pioneer award by the American Institute of Chemists
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Award for Research and Technology for the Development and Commercialization of Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), a colourless organic thermoplastic polymer
Padma Shri, Indias fourth highest civilian honour by the Government of India in 2016, for excellence in the trade and industry domain
Personal Life of Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda
Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda is married to Abaan, a graduate from St. Xavier's College
and a PhD from the University of Mumbai. He is an avid reader and has promoted Bai Ratnabai Gharda Library in Bandra.