Godrej Archives -Restore. Reflect.Reimagine.



Preserving our heritage for a journey into the future

In 1897, a young man named Ardeshir, barely twenty-nine, infused with the Swadeshi spirit of the time started a small locks manufacturing unit in a tiny shed beside the Bombay Gas Works at Lalbaug, Bombay. Metaphorically, it symbolised firmly locking this small business to a process, which eventually was to lead to the foundation of a flourishing business and a household name — ‘GODREJ’. 

Did you know that the springless lock patent was granted by King Edward VII to Godrej? What if the Godrej Archives show you Ardeshir Godrej’s hand-written notes, describing the way he made fireproof safes in 1902? He also scribbled his formula for making soap from vegetable oils. Incidentally, have you ever heard of Godrej toilet soap no. 3? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the past come alive? Godrej Archives plan to present these hidden treasures every month. 

Needless to say, ‘Godrej’ today is a proud landmark, not only in the economic and industrial history of India, but it has also impacted the international business community. Its legacy of 109 years is a story of success, achievements, development and change, a story of a family committed to the nation; a story of the men and women involved in making Ardeshir’s dream a reality. The story of ‘Godrej’ is synonymous with the growth of industry in independent India. This journey itself is an inspiration for all of us to carry forward this great heritage into the future by preserving it. The Godrej Archives is a step in this direction. 

Every organisation, howsoever technical, has another side — the thought process that has contributed to many a major decision over a period of time. The history of any organisation, especially its landmark events, necessarily follows a course etched by these records. It helps in recreating an identity – a very essential part of any person or organisation. What happens to an individual who has lost his memory can easily happen to an institution or a movement — exist without an identity. Archives play a very important role in preserving this identity. At this stage we need to pause and think of preserving this heritage for the future.

What is Business Archives? 

"The Archives of a business are the record of decisions and change, structure and personnel, performance and results.”

Edwin Green 


How can you contribute to preserving our heritage?

The Godrej Archives welcomes permanent records and related material on the history of ‘Godrej’ from all businesses, departments and individuals. It would also accept for safekeeping documents and memorabilia reflecting the story of ‘Godrej’. Documents include notes, (even personal records), correspondence, photographs, diaries, and journals… If you have anything to lend to the archives, please get in touch with us at: vrunda@godrej.com 

The idea of developing the Godrej Archives was proposed during the centenary celebrations of the Company in the year 1997. We are indebted to Mr. B.K. Karanjia, the ‘Godrej’ chronicler, for his painstaking work in collecting old records from family members and elsewhere and for chronicling the history of ‘Godrej’ in two volumes based on these records. We are also thankful to Mr. Pesi Mancherji, a former employee, who tirelessly listed all these old documents. The Archives are in the process of taking formal shape.

The Archives will be a repository of the facts associated with ‘Godrej’ — its development and growth. It will house records embodying the decisions and development of Company policy and practice. They also reflect changes in Company business and direction, and will include old products, catalogues, advertisements, photographs, films, posters, packaging, prizes, memorabilia, etc. 

It also looks forward to a creation of new resources for the history of ‘Godrej’ in the form of oral history interviews with individuals associated with the Company for decades. The Archives believe that all these efforts will contribute to a deeper understanding of the history of ‘Godrej’ in particular, and Indian Industry, in general. 

So lets come together to preserve this priceless heritage.

Vrunda Pathare
Archivist- Godrej Archives