Dr. Keki H. Gharda & German Blue.


A hard core research scientist, Dr. Keki Hormushji Gharda  built Gharda Chemicals which introduced several new chemical products in India with indigenous technology.

He started Gharda Chemicals, a partnership firm , with Rs. 2 lakh in 1964. They  began operating in 1966. Gharda’s first product was a dye called German Blue. Then a Schoolgirl blue—the reddish blue used for school uniforms—was an import from Germany till the late sixties.Dr.Keki Gharda looked at the dye that Bayer sold in India. It was known as German Blue. It was a dye no one else had managed to produce or copy. Dr.Gharda figured out that the product was actually a mixture—of the dye and a chelating agent that helps the colour stick to the fabric—and not a compound.

In the late sixties when Gharda Chemicals made the dye in India, ‘Gharda Blue’ became a hit as it was better and stronger than the original. “Since I offered the chelating agent separately, the dye’s colouring ability per kilogram became stronger than the original mixture,” Dr.Gharda recollects with an impish smile that betrays intense pleasure at having called the bluff of a multinational corporation.
From the start of his career he was making multinationals ‘run’! He further says, " My business was run on both idealism and pragmatism. My idealism was that if I could make something cheaper, it was wrong to sell it at a much higher price. My pragmatism was that this drove away competition!
When you start a business, for the first five years there is generally no profit and you don’t pay the staff any bonus. But we started doing so almost immediately and over the years have had very little labour problems."

Keki Hormusji Gharda was born on 25th September 1929. He is a prominent Indian chemical engineer, chemist and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and managing director of Gharda Chemicals Limited, an R&D-based company with business interests in agrochemicals, polymers and high performance pigments.

Dr. Gharda acquired a Bachelor of Science degree from Mumbai University's Department of Chemical Technology.(UDCT). He then obtained a Master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Following the defence of a doctoral thesis, he received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma.

Upon his return to India, Dr. Gharda established Gharda Chemicals, which is today one of the largest agrochemical companies in India. For his contribution to chemistry and chemical engineering, Dr. Gharda is a recipient of the American Institute of Chemists's 'Chemical Pioneer' award. He also got the Federation Of Indian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (FICCI) Award For Research And Technology For The Development And Commercialization Of Poly Ether Ether Ketone (PEEK) at the hands Of the then President Of India, APJ Abdul Kalam.He was awarded Padmashree in 2016.

Dr. Keki Gharda is an alumnus of St. Stanislaus High School , Bandra, Mumbai. He still lives in Bandra

Gharda Chemicals Limited,was initially started as Gharda Chemicals in a small rented unit in 1964. The limited Company was
established in 1967, as a research-based company later on growing into  four manufacturing units, one at Dombivali, then at Lote Parshuram, Chiplun, and later 2 units at Panoli & Ankleshwer in Gujarat.. Innovation through a vibrant R&D has marked the rise to one of the most successful and reputed companies in the Agrochemical Industry. A strong and vibrant R&D program and expertise in process development has enabled the company to capitalize on superior technology. This has led to the production of vital import-substitute products and cost effective agrochemicals on a large scale and consequently to a strong, competitive national and international presence. And all this has been made possible by the vision and unswerving dedication and commitment of Dr. Keki Gharda, Founder - Chairman & Managing Director, Gharda Chemicals Limited. As per annual reports filed in SGM of the Company held on 24.12.2021, the Companys turnover for the FY 2020-21 was over Rs. 3000 crores. The market capitalization of the Company is over Rs 10,000 crores.  

His only goal is "Knowledge converted through products to wealth for the good of society.

Dr. Gharda married to Abaan, who was a graduate of St. Xavier's College and also earned a PhD from the University of Mumbai. She died in 2017. He is an avid reader and has promoted Bai Ratnabai Gharda Library in Bandra, Mumbai. Dr.Gharda  follows a frugal lifestyle.

He is also known for his philanthropic contributions, with the first foundation started in 1966.The Abaan and Keki Gharda Memorial Trust named after his wife and him has been formed in 2009 and receives 99% of the proceeds from the sale of his shares in the company.He has promoted the Gharda Scientific Research Foundation, a non-profit limited-liability company, dedicated to develop and research basic technologies. The aim is to use the earnings of this foundation to promote more technologies in the areas of health and education. RA Mashelkar-led Gharda Medical & Advanced Technologies Foundation (GMATF) in Gharda could be worth anything between Rs 5,600 crore and Rs 6,000 crore.  Directors of Gharda Medical & Advanced Technologies Foundation are Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, Keki Hormusji Gharda, Satish Gopalakrishna Shenoy,  Jyeshtharaj Bhalchandra Joshi, Anilkumar Gyanprakash Gupta.

He also founded the Gharda Institute of Technology in Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra.

Gharda Chemicals’ technocrat founder, 93-year-old Dr Keki Gharda, does not have successor in his family to run the business.It was reported in newspapers, Gharda
 Medical & Advanced Technologies Foundation will sell its 57.5% in agrochemicals maker Gharda Chemicals Ltd and use the proceeds to build a pipeline of innovative products and technologies for the chemical and metal industry. The stake sale will ensure the sustainability of the company and will help the foundation ramp up development and research work, it is stated further.

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