A non-conformist genius Architects Of Coimbatore

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G.D. Naidu
G.D. Naidu


G.D.Naidu introduced a ‘system’ in the transport industry

Coimbatore: “Genius” is too small a word to describe him. For him there was nothing that is impossible.

He is one who deserves a far better place among the pantheon of inventors than that is accorded to him at present.

He is known as “adhisaya manidhar” ( miracle man).

It is almost a miracle that Gopalsamy Duraisamy Naidu (G.D.Naidu) , who has studied only upto third standard, turned out to be an inventor, agricultural researcher, Siddha system exponent, industrialist, great administrator, educationist, and a philanthropist, all rolled into one.

If there is one classic example of Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, wherein he portrays a man rising like a phoenix from the ashes that is G.D.Naidu.

Born in 1893 at Kalangal, a village near Sulur, he worked in a ginning mill for a few years.

Capitalising that experience, he set up an industry and earned substantially. But the cotton business in Bombay made him virtually a bankrupt.

On return to Coimbatore, he expressed his inclination to work in the unit run by Robert Stanes.

On the advice of Stanes, he bought a bus with funds from his friends and also Stanes himself.

This proved the turning point from which he never looked back.

Historian C.R.Elangovan says that it was Naidu who introduced a “system” in the transport industry in the State.

Punctuality was his forte. And he had introduced even timing machine and ticketing machine.

Apart from running festival specials, all his buses and also the bus stands set up by him used to be spic and span.

From the owner of one bus in 1920, he acquired 22 more by 1924 and in 1933 he owned as many as 280 buses.

Naidu, inspired by various scientific inventions of England and also the US , invented almost 100 gadgets including voting machine, electric razor, calculator, lens, radio clock, coffee machine and a juice -maker.

The voting machine he invented in 1936 received the recognition of the US Government. But Naidu did not bother to popularise it or make money out of it.

Naidu, who was devoted to technical education, started a polytechnic in 1945 at Coimbatore and was its first principal.

Same year, he started an engineering college also. Both of them were named after the then Governor of Madras Presidency, Sir. Arthur Hope. Now this college has been taken over by the Government.

Naidu, who was a visionary, had specific objectives in mind and hence even framed the curriculum and also designed the workshops.

One among the “unbelievables” of this “miracle man” was the cheap houses constructed within a span of about eight hours—from laying the foundation till the completion.

The dignitary who laid the stone was present for inaugurating the building also.

Such houses constructed during 1967-68 are in good condition even now.

In 1941, he started a 40-acre farm at Podhanur. Several scientists and technical experts, including Sir C.V.Raman and Visweswarayya, had visited this farm.

Among the crops he researched and succeeded in identifying new varieties include cotton, maize and papaya.

But as all these were produced within certain specific scientific parameters, they could not draw much response either from the Government or the public.

As he was interested in Siddha system of medicine, he had been conducting a number of experiments in that also.

He was the one who donated 5,000 sqft of land for constructing the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore.

He had provided free accommodation for the Coimbatore District Small Scale Industries Association for more than 20 years apart from extending counsel to the entrepreneurs.

Though he had excellent rapport with almost all the “who’s who” of the country, he resented any intrusions and also restrictions.

He had quite a few confrontations with officialdom, especially that of the British.

He passed away in 1974.

(Source: “Coimbatore-Oru Varalaru by C.R.Elangovan” )




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