Sachindra P. Saha

Sachindra Prosad Saha

January 27, 1912 - March 30, 1994

Founder, Bharat Battery Mfg. Co. (P) Ltd.

Sachindra Prosad Saha will be remembered among Indias industrialists not only for his pioneering enterprise, but also for his simplicity and philanthropy. The qualities were his own. Yet they were also part of Indian tradition that was forged in the crucible of the struggle for independence, of which the National Council of Education at Jadavpur, with which Mr. Saha was closely involved all his life, was both a symbol and a product.

Though he spent his entire adult life in Calcutta, and traveled the world over many times, Mr. Saha never forgot his roots in Sailakupa village in Jessore district (now in Bangladesh) where he was born. People from his village, especially those less fortunate than him, were always assured of a helping hand. That, too was a feature of the tradition he epitomised. So were his philanthropic undertakings, Mr. Saha was a benefactor to a number of charities, and connected with the Ramakrishna Mission, The Bharat Sevashram Sangha, the Rotary Club of Calcutta, and many other social welfare organisations. He set up the Santi Prosad Saha Memorial Charitable Trust in honour of a son who died tragically early, to help people through other organisations, including the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore.

Milestones in his life
  • Passed Calcutta Universitys Intermediate Science examination and joined the NCE in 1927. Obtained Diploma in Chemical Engineering with First Class Honours in 1933. Already working on lead acid battery plates. Developed an indigenous motor car battery plate.
  • Launched his flagship, The Bharat Battery Mfg. Co. in 1933, pioneering commercial battery plates based on his own process.
  • Made Indias first hard rubber monoblock battery container in 1937 in the Sen Brothers Rubber Mills. Pioneered manufacture in India of lead sub-oxide, now the principal raw material for battery plates.
  • Started his own machine building which now makes machine and mould for battery, rubber and plastics. Visited Japan under Colombo Plan auspices in 1957 to study the battery industry there.
  • Patented a PVC Battery Separator Machine in 1961.

The list is not exhaustive. Mr. Saha was a man of vision and imagination. When he anticipated a need, he also worked out the solution, usually relying on his own resources and ingenuity. Hence, the sister concerns he set up at Boinchee in West Bengal, and in Sahibabad, U.P. to further the work of his main factory in Calcutta.

Mr. S. P. Saha was a founder-Director of Sen-Raleigh Ltd., a former Director of Bengal Lamps Ltd., the West Bengal Small Industries Corporation Ltd., Hindustan Musical Products Ltd. and many other companies. He was President of the West Bengal unit of The All-India Manufacturers Organisation, and of the All-India Battery Manufacturers Association, a member of the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

Amidst all these activities, and the numerous conferences and seminars on lead acid storage battery and the lead industry in Europe and the United States to which he was invited, Mr Saha retained his early allegiance to Jadavpur. He set up the Bharat Battery Research Centre and established the H.L. Roy memorial chair, both in the Universitys Chemical Engineering Department.

At the time of his death, Mr. Saha was President of the Alumni Association of Jadavpur University and the NCE. He was also a member of the latters Executive Committee. He had been a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers(India) since 1972, and was a founder-member and honorary Fellow of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Sachindra Prosad Saha was a keen observer of life in its infinite variety. And he retained a lively curiosity about the world around him right up to the end. He enjoyed travel, and visited Singapore and Bali at the age of 82. That was only six months before the end. His health was not of the best even then. But the spirit of inquiry that had impelled the 19-year-old Jadavpur student to make his first discoveries in lead acid battery plates burned as bright as ever.