Karam Chand Thapar
|Karam Chand Thapar
Hindi: करम चंद थापर
|Died||1963 (aged 62–63)|
|Occupation||Founder of Thapar Group|
|Relatives||Gautam Thapar (grandson)
Varun Thapar (great-grandson)
Karam Chand Thapar (1900–1963) was the founder of the Thapar Group of companies.
He was originally from Punjab. He started his career in 1920 as a coal trader in Calcutta, and built up the family fortune through Karam Chand Thapar and Bros. He then started JCT Limited that is into textiles as well as molasses and alcohol. He also took over the Oriental Bank of Commerce, and ventured into paper manufacturing with the Ballarpur Industries Limited.
K C Thapar established Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. Ltd. - the parent company of Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. (Coal Sales) Ltd. (KCT). Having gained some experience of the coal industry in his youth, Karam Chand set out to establish his own coal trading business based out of the Jharia coalfields in 1919. Soon thereafter, he realized that the epicenter of the coal business was not where the mines were located, but in Calcutta, the then established base of all the large European owned mining companies.
A year later, in 1920, he set out for Calcutta, the erstwhile capital of India, where he began to establish contacts with other Indian businessmen with the aim of convincing them to rally against the British stranglehold over coal production and distribution in India. That same year, he started a successful coal distribution business based out of Calcutta. As a leader, Karam Chand managed to consolidate a diverse group of investors and contractors, and incorporate them into his coal distribution network. He then began to rapidly acquire and develop coal mines in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Karam Chand did not focus on coal alone but also ventured into other fields like paper, textiles, chemicals, sugar as well as banking (Oriental Bank of Commerce) and insurance (United Indian Insurance). In 1929, the flagship parent company of the Thapar Group ["the Group"], Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. Ltd., was formed. In the course of time, various companies owned and/or managed by Karam Chand were brought under its umbrella.
Born in 1900, he died in 1963 and was survived by four sons: Inder Mohan Thapar, Brij Mohan Thapar or BM Thapar, Lalit Mohan Thapar, or LMT, and Man Mohan Thapar.
The eldest son, Inder Mohan, was not offered the reins of the group when KCT fell sick. BMT was not ready to take on the responsibility and third son Lalit was made head of the business by KCT before his death, with the undertaking that he (LMT) would ensure that Inder Mohan's son would be given the reins after LMT turns 65 and all of LMT's brothers would be given their due share of the family business.
LMT stood by his word to his dying father and did over the years divide the group among his brothers; his not marrying helped his cause by not adding more claimants to the group assets. However he gave the reins of the bigger part of the company to Gautam Thapar, son of BMT, and gave the chemicals division to Vikram Thapar, the son of IMT.