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Krishna Kumar Birla (1918-2008) was the chairman of several companies in areas as diverse as textiles, sugar, engineering, shipping, fertilizers and information technology. He was also the chairperson of HT Media, which publishes the Hindustan Times, an English daily with the largest circulation in north India, besides newspapers and magazines in Hindi. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha for three successive terms from 1984 to 2002, served on several committees of Parliament and was on the central board of the State Bank of India and ICICI. He was appointed twice, in 1980 and 2004, as a member of the National Integration Council chaired by the prime minister.Born in Pilani, a village in Rajasthan, in 1918, K.K. Birla got a bachelor’s degree (honours) from Lahore University in 1939, and in 1997 was conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Pondicherry University. He was chairman/chancellor of Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He set up the K.K. Birla Foundation, which confers annual awards for excellence in literature, scientific research, Indian philosophy, art and culture and sports. He also established the K.K. Birla Academy, which undertakes research on scientific, historical and cultural subjects.Dr Birla’s previous books include Indira Gandhi: Reminiscences and Partner in Progress.