A Tribute

We are deeply inspired by Late Shri R.K.Jaidka who was the Grandfather of our founder.

His family belonged to Nikodar, Punjab. He was born on 6th September, 1897.

His eldest brother, Ratan Chand Jaidka was a Malayan-born English cricketer who played first-class cricket for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, in 1927.Till date the Jaidka Cup is played in his honour. The second eldest, Karam Chand, studied in Edinburgh from 1911, completing his medical training to become a Doctor and a noted Surgeon. He then set up practise in Peterborough. The youngest, Prakash, studied accountancy, became a Chartered Accountant. Shri R.K.Jaidka left for Calcutta in the early 1920s in order to pursue a career in business.

He was a multi faceted man with innovative Business ideas and had many firsts to his credit.

He pioneered the transportation business in the Eastern Region building up a fleet of trucks. He was the first to introduce double decker buses in the streets of Calcutta. He also had a virtual monopoly in the private bus network in the city. In order to augment the transport business he went about setting up a number of petrol pumps and workshops at strategic locations in the city.

An incident that comes to mind is when in the 1940s the bus operators went on strike.In order that the commuters not be inconvenienced, Shri R.K.Jaidka went along with some of his office staff with the intention of plying the buses on the route, the bus workers on seeing this apologised and immediately went back to work, restoring the transport services in the city. The Governor of Bengal sent a letter to Shri R.K.Jaidka thanking him for his exemplary action and thereby preventing the commuters from facing inconvenience.

At this time he realised that a lot of people, particularly from Punjab, were interested in becoming self employed owners of commercial vehicles, taxis etc. Therefore to meet this requirement he set up one of the first vehicle financing companies in the East based out of Calcutta. He would finance vehicles in the neighbouring states of Orissa and Bihar as well. He was known for extending the time for repayment and exempting residual interest charges to some of the genuine clients in need.

He was awarded the first Dealership for Pontiac cars when the Birla Group started importing them in 1946, for the then provinces of Bengal,Bihar,Orissa and North East.Bedford trucks and Ambassador cars were later introduced for which he also set up a Dealership in Patna for Bihar in 1959.In the same premises he promoted one of the first commercial buildings in Patna.

When Mahatma Gandhi visited Calcutta and went on a fast During the Hindu-Muslim riots, Shri R.K.Jaidka deployed his buses to rescue the Muslims from the violent areas and bring them to safety. Thereafter he was chosen to represent the business community to approach Gandhi ji with a pledge signed by them in order to get him to break his fast. *

He was an ardent tennis player and won some tournaments held at the South Club. He also owned a number of race horses that competed in Calcutta and Bangalore. He was well known in the racing circles and when India gained independence he was called to the Royal Calcutta Turf Club to give a speech on the occasion.

He along with Mr.M.S.Oberoi of the Oberoi Group and a few others founded the Punjab Club at Calcutta. In an article that appeared in the Telegraph, Kolkata edition on 19th September, 2004, he is referred to as “Transport King” and recognised as one of the founders of the club.

*Courtesy: The Gandhi Reader: A Source Book of His Life and Writings Edited by Homer A. Jack.AMS Press, New York, 1956; pp. 442-450