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Mehta Family to donate Rs 5000 crores to UNM Foundation to Honour Torrent Founder

| Updated: March 31, 2024 20:45

The Mehta family is Celebrating the Birth Centenary of Torrent Founder and philanthropist Uttambhai Mehta

(image: Mr Jinal Mehta announcing the donations)

Ahmedabad, Mar 31, 2024: Uttambhai N Mehta’s life was marked with struggles, more struggles and even more struggles. However, his life serves as an example of exemplary courage, vision and wisdom.

The Ahmedabad based Mehta family, currently is distinguished not by the enormous wealth they possess but by their humility and grounded ness along with their entrepreneurship acumen and foresight.

Not many know the Mehta family or even know much about them because this is one business family that is not only media shy but consciously stays away from media or any page one or page three gatherings.

So when a selected group of wellwishers were treated to an outstanding programme held to celebrate Uttambhai’s tumultuous life; his life, struggles and success came in as a revelation to many.

The Mehta family, in their own distinctive humble manner announced their commitment to donate Rs 5000 crores to the UNM foundation over a period of next five years as a fitting tribute to their family patriarch U N Mehta who launched Torrent and made it one of the most successful companies of India.

Mehta Family of the Torrent Group paid tribute to Founder Shri UN Mehta on his Birth Centenary
Mehta Family of the Torrent Group paid tribute to Founder Shri UN Mehta on his Birth Centenary

This announcement was made by the Mehta family at a function to mark the launch of the centenary celebrations of Uttambhai Mehta. And no, this will not be a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds that is mandatory for every industry in India. The 5000 crore donation is above the CSR that is allocated from various Torrent Companies to the UNM Foundation.

Mr Samir Mehta, Chairman of the Torrent Group, said, “The UNM Foundation will make sincere endeavours to utilize this amount for unique social causes; without any beneficiary barriers of caste, religion, gender and economic strata.”

A documentary, aptly titled The Prescription was screened at the function. A very honestly portrayed life story, The Prescription revealed how Uttambhai pioneered domestic production of medicines when the market was wholly dependent on imported medicines, especially for mental health allied issues.

Uttambhai himself suffered from mental health issues.


Maybe this could be traced to the fact that not only was Uttambhai born in abject poverty but that he lost his mother when he was only two years old.

Born in the nondescript Memadpur village of Banaskantha district in North Gujarat in 1924, Uttambhai completed his schooling in Palanpur and then his graduation from Wilson COllege in Mumbai. He was interested in pursuing higher studies but could not because of his financial situation so this young Chemistry graduate went job hunting.


He first worked for a while with the government and later with a multinational pharmaceutical company. He then took a decision to set up a pharmaceutical company in Ahmedabad in 1959.

This is when the story of how cruel life can be but how an individual must not give up on his dreams begin.

Uttambhai failed in his first attempt at setting up a business and had to return back to his village in Banaskantha for many years. A reaction to a medicine ensured that he became afflicted with mental health issues. He was not even 40 then.

Struggles, More Struggles

Health, finance and business, almost all aspects of Uttambhai’s life were dotted with challenges and struggles. At a time when mental health was not an acceptable illness, or rather was not even considered an illness, Uttambhai faced it. Failure at launching his business and family responsibilities compounded the problem.

He overcame each of these challenges and finally at the advanced age of 48 years, he succeeded in his second attempt at setting up a Pharmaceutical business. In view of his own trials with psychiatric and cardiac health issues, his initial efforts were focused around making medicines for psychiatric and cardiac ailments, for which medicines were not available in India easily. His remarkable life serves as a beacon of hope for people who have lost all hope in life. He did taste success but business losses and ill health became an integral part of his early life. However, even when he lost his wellness, first to mental health and then to a rare cancer at the age of 53; what he did not give up was his zest to continue fighting. This is why his life story is inspirational. and so very relatable. Uttambhai developed cardiac issues and underwent a bypass surgery when he was 62 years old.

Giving Up is not an Option

Success was not easy for Uttambhai. For about a decade-and-a-half, he faced failures and setbacks including the closure of his business in his first attempt. But he never let his morale down and persisted in his efforts with a clear life motto: “It is pardonable to aim high and miss, but it is not pardonable to aim low.” At 48 years, he made his second attempt at setting up a pharmaceutical company. This attempt turned out to be successful.

He excelled in sensing the pulse of the pharmaceutical market and identified the gap areas. He pioneered the concept of niche marketing at a time when others focused on medicines for common ailments. This started bearing fruits and soon success came knocking after he introduced a path-breaking medicine for schizophrenia patients. Uttambhai was committed to ensuring that he manufactured medicines that were available at an affordable price to Indians. Most Indians could not afford imported medicines because of their price tag.

Why is Uttambhai’s life story so inspirational even in the present context

Because Uttambhai lived and died for what he believed. That struggle is a part of life. But that does not mean we give up. His life was characterised by multiple personal challenges, severe financial crisis and serious health complications. But with a visionary approach, an unflinching entrepreneurial zest and a commitment to contribute towards nation-building, he laid the foundation of Torrent’s pharmaceutical business. From his birth on January 14 , 1924 to his death on March 31, 1998, Uttambhai lived by his life mantra,“it is pardonable to aim high and miss, but it is not pardonable to aim low”.

The Torrent Philosophy

Inspired by Uttambhai’s principled life and exemplary work ethics, the Torrent Group cherishes his business acumen and humanitarian approach. While he was alive, he set up the UNM Foundation to build institutions to cater to the underprivileged sections of the society.

Torrent Group continues to be inspired by their founder Uttambhai’s philosophy to “Think of others also, when you think about yourself.”

The UNM Foundation continues to carry on his legacy of philanthropy by focusing on Community Healthcare, Education, Ecology, Social well-being and Arts & Culture.

Key Priorities of UNM Foundation

Under the community health care segment, the UNM Foundation focuses on REACH(Reach Each Child PRogram) under which they conduct several health care and clinical interventions. OVer a 1.5 lac children have been screened and 70,000 plus children successfully brought out of malnutrition and anemia with focussed efforts and rigorous monitoring. The UNM Foundation also provides sanitary napkins to 70,000 girls spread across 1200 villages. The Foundation has set up 8 pediatric primary healthcare centres besides a 150 bed pediatric hospital in Surat.

Interestingly, Asia’s largest cardiac hospital is the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology. A 1200 bed advanced cardiac facility in AHmedabad, this hospital established in 1996 with support from Gujarat government is a boon for patients from across India.

In the education segment, the UNM Foundation runs Skishasetu which is an initiative to enhance learning for school children. It also upgrades infrastructure in schools. OVer 45 schools that impart education to over 15000 students are covered under Shiksha Setu. Besides this, UNM Foundations runs four schools, one each in AHmedabad and Memadpur besides two in Chhapi.

Under the arts and culture segment, the Foundation holds Abhivyakti which is a visual arts, theatre, dance and music festival held in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.

Pratiti is an initiative to restore old gardens in AHmedabad and to come up with new gardens and lakes to preserve ecology, So far, 15 gardens and two lakes have been restored by the foundation in Ahmedabad and Surat. Besides this, the Foundation is all set to restore the highly eco-sensitive Shetrunjay Hills located in the Jain temple town of Palitana in Saurashtra.

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