‘Sabki Pasand’ Nirma: Born In a Gujarati Chemist’s Backyard, Now a Rs 2500 Cr Empire


From the backyard of a young Gujarati chemist to every middle-class household in India, Nirma captured India’s attention in the 1980s. And its all thanks to Karsanbhai Patel.

Who isn’t familiar with the legendary Nirma jingle or the Nirma girl, who in her spotless white frock, remains one of the most iconic brand mascots ever?

But only a few may know that it was a chemist at the Gujarat Government’s Department of Mining and Geology who competed with the bigwigs in the market to make Nirma a success in the early 1980s.

In 1969, when Hindustan Lever Ltd (now Hindustan Unilever) introduced Surf detergent, priced between Rs 10 to Rs 15, it took the Indian markets by storm.

This is when Karsanbhai Patel decided to come up with an affordable and low-cost alternative. He developed a detergent powder from scratch in his backyard in Ahmedabad and entered the market by selling it just for Rs 3.

He named the detergent brand ‘Nirma’ after his daughter Nirupama, who had passed away in an accident.

In the beginning, he would go from door to door with a money-back guarantee on his detergent. But in no time, Nirma turned into a household name.

Patel, who had quit his job to focus on the business full time, later came up with several other products like toilet soaps, beauty soap, shampoos and toothpaste. In 1995, he established the Nirma Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad and in 2003 he founded the Nirma Institute of Management and the Nirma University of Science and Technology.

Watch the inspiring story of Karsanbhai Patel and Nirma here:

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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