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The memory box: New exhibition at Vikhroli celebrates 125 years of Godrej

Updated on: 07 June,2022 10:33 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sammohinee Ghosh |

An exhibition at Godrej Archives in Vikhroli celebrates the company’s 125-year-long journey. Our recent walkthrough of the group’s many milestones bookmarks some of our growing-up years

The memory box: New exhibition at Vikhroli celebrates 125 years of Godrej

The wheel of vision: Ardeshir Godrej had founded the company on five basic principles — the spirit of a new nation, the strive for self-sufficiency, a profound respect for its people, a sustainable environment and the knack for quality

Brick red, admiral blue and canary yellow. Back to the Future — the exposition we have just stepped into at Vikhroli’s Godrej Archives — is swathed in bright colours and warm lighting. The name puzzles us — How do we go back to the future, and not in time?

Somewhere around, a prototype of a Godrej Storewell cupboard (in pic, right) rings in a jingle from the ’90s: ‘...Bhul ke hum saare/Mil baate sahaare/Hum kuchh aur jagah banaye.’ The advertisement that was conceptualised for families with two children and growing needs, writes one of our early chapters in the Indian history of consumption.

A replica of a refinery column is used as an AV room. Here, children and adults can watch the first 20-minute-long Godrej commercial

Ardeshir Godrej was clear that their typewriter should be as good as Remington machines. When the first prototype was ready, it was displayed to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was then in Mumbai. The next day, the product appeared in the newspapers with Nehru typing on it

A picture showing Mani Thakur, who joined duty in 1956 as the first woman employee of the Delhi branch. Only after Thakur approached her manager about maternity leave that the company began to understand labour laws

The land in Vikhroli was selected to set up Godrej plants because of its rail connectivity. A section of the gallery takes after a new-age compartment marking plant positions. Kindles on the hand bars can be used for details about each of these plants. Pics/Sameer Markande

A Daughter’s Request: Londoner Amanda Engineer was looking for records of her father, HK Engineer, who was a company employee in the 1950s. When Amanda visited Mumbai, the staff dug out her father’s application and appointment letters, and a photograph of the Godrej Cricket Team that included her father

The name, a charming oxymoron, is a digest of Godrej’s enduring vision, which looks ahead with an eye on the socio-cultural milieu. We begin our survey with Ardeshir Godrej’s faith in Swadeshi solutions for middle-class needs, and end it with the firm diversifying into louvre-manufacturing for buildings that shape city skylines. There’s plenty to soak in, and we are glad that this display was recently made available virtually.

The label’s first soap, Godrej Chavi Bar, was launched

On: Monday to Friday; 10.30 am to 4.30 pm 
At: Godrej Archives, Godrej & Boyce Industrial Estate, Vikhroli West. Entry by appointment via email only 
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