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Profile: Cipla's Hamied On Cambridge, O-Levels And Sticking It Out

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Cipla's journey over the years is steeped in history. Chairman Yusuf Hamied recalls growing up in the midst of leaders of India's freedom struggle, including Sarojini Naidu who became president of the Indian National Congress, Zakir Husain (who became the President of India), BG Kher (chief minister of Bombay) and Sardar Patel (India's first home minister and deputy prime minister), among others.

Hamied's father and Cipla's founder, K A Hamied, supported Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Co-operation Movement against British rule. When Gandhi visited Cipla in 1939 he was said to have urged the company to supply medicines for the Indo-British war effort.

Yusuf Hamied's mother was Jewish and his grandparents were killed in the Holocaust.

In a candid interaction with Scrip's Anju Ghangurde in Mumbai as part of our ongoing executive profile series, Hamied recounts the influence of the late Lord (Alexander) Todd, Nobel Laureate and master of Christ's College, Cambridge, on his life; how he nearly packed up and left India between the 60s and the early 70s; and his views on religion.

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