Mangalore, April 24: He is a Karma Yogi in the true sense who pursues his profession as his mission and serves the society sincerely in fields diverse. He is not only the Chairman Emeritus of Pest Control (India) Ltd, but also the President of Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank Ltd, Mumbai. To know that this great personality hails from our very own neighbouring district is a matter of much pride. The reference here is to Nalkur Sripad Rao,popular as NS Rao in his business circles and as Sripadmaam in his close circles.
Born on September 20, 1920, at Karkala in Udupi district, NS Rao’s is a rags to riches story. Today at the age of 90, Sripadmaam, is a great inspiration to budding entrepreneurs, a role model of magnanimity to many, and an ardent social worker. It is really interesting to see this dignified personality being highly agile and active even at this age, when many would prefer to sit back and relax.
NS Rao (Right) receiving the Life Time Achievement Award from Dr. Harish Kodial, President, Kanara Saraswat Association
Sripad, belonging to the Chitrapur Saraswat community, was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was the sixth and most adventurous son of Nalkur Narasing Rao and Indira. Rao who had eight children to bring up on his minuscule salary as a Munsiff in the district court at Karkala, passed away when Sripad was just six years old. Sripad was a very impatient teenager and longed to go out into the world to seek his fortune even before he matriculated. The day he gave his matriculation examinations, he set out to Bangalore, with his mother’s reluctant permission and a sum of Rs. 15 in his pocket.
He did various jobs in Bangalore and finally landed in Mumbai where he got a job in a Japanese company called Mitsui Bussan Kaisha for a princely salary of Rs. 45
per month. Within two years , he was posted at Tehran in Persia as an accountant. Love blossomed for Sripad there in 1940 when he met an Armenian girl named Vartanoosh Badalian, who lived down his lane.Rao tied the knot to her in 1942 and Vartanoosh became Lily Rao. Lily soon adapted herself to the way of living of the Chitrapur Saraswats and even learnt the local dialect proving herself to be the perfect wife for Sripad by being his pillar of strength since then.
The story of his establishing the Pest Control of India is itself interesting. During World War II, the Allies operated a land link, transporting lease land supplies from Iranian ports through Armenia and Azerbaijan to Russia. A young Indian was in charge of fumigating the wartime supplies with Methyl Bromide. Sometimes, he and his colleagues had to dust refugees with 10% DDT against typhus-causing lice! In 1946, the 26-year-old returned to India from Britain with all his savings and decided to start his own pest control business. The firm called “Goodwill Pest Control”, introduced pest control as a service for the first time in the country, but soon folded up due to lack of awareness. Soon he was working with a prestigious organization as their Estate Manager. When things started looking up, he gave up his job, rented a tiny office near Flora Fountain in Mumbai and launched a private limited company. That young man was none other than Nalkur Sripad Rao, who with his brother, the late Nalkur Bhavani Shankar Rao, set up Pest Control (India) Private Limited on July 30, 1954.
Rao is also the Founder President of the Indian Pest Control Association. Business is however, not his only area of interest. He also pursues social service as a mission. He is the Chairman of World Union International (Pondicherry) and President of Trusteeship Foundation (Bombay). He is also the Chairman of several educational and charitable trusts. He has also a project called Karma to assist poor villagers from the clutches of money lenders and make them progressive farmers.
Also a great nature lover who is deeply concerned with the dangers posed to environment, Rao is actively associated with organizations working for the cause of environment, horticulture and World Unity. He has to his credit the organizing of the World Parliament in Delhi in the year 1985 which was participated by the Prime Minister and President of India. He is also involved in an organization named Friends of the Trees.
An active Rotarian, Rao held several important positions in the Rotary Club and has also been honoured with several awards including Citation for Meritorious Service Award, Rotary Foundation Distinguished Award, Life Time Achievement Award and Karma Yogi Award. His company Pest Control (India) Limited was awarded the ‘National Award 1995 for In-house R & D efforts in the Agro Sector’ and the ‘Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Fair Trade Practices’ in 1997. He has also been awarded the ’Karjat Gaurav-2001’ Award by the Karjat Farm Owners Club for rural development work in Karjat
Sripad’s son Anil Rao as Chairman, MD & CEO and daughter Dr Pramila Chatterjee as Executive Director now manage his company along with an efficient management team.
Sripad is the only Chitrapur Saraswat who has the rare distinction of heading all three premier Chitrapur Saraswat institutions. He has been the President of the Kanara Saraswat Association, the President of the Standing Committee of the Shri
Chitrapur Math, Shirali, and the Chairman of the Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank Ltd. Kanara Saraswat Association, Mumbai, on the occasion of its 98th Foundation Day released NS Rao’s biography entitled ‘Formula for Fulfillment’ last year on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
Rao is also registered as a World Citizen at the Paris International Registry.
Despite his hectic business schedule, Sripad never forgot his roots and continues to contribute generously to the upliftment of his native district. He started a school in the memory of his father called the Nalkur Narasing Rao Memorial Government High School.
A true family man, a patriarch, a successful entrepreneur, a strict disciplinarian, a poet, a philanthropist, a philosophical person and a quiet spiritualist, Rao continues to inspire the younger generation through his words and deeds.