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29 January 2017

TVS Iyengar: Story of an inspiration...

I am currently doing a project for TVS group in Chennai. The group has HO in Chennai and has offices in other parts of country including Madurai. 

Selvakumar is an accountant with the group and he works out of Madurai. He is a third generation TVSian (or is it TVSser? I am not sure). His grandfather used to work with TVS Group when it was founded by Mr.Sundaram Iyengar. His father followed and now Selva is also working with the group for the last 24 years. In fact many of the people I met are second or third generation employees, especially in Madurai.

Selva is a storehouse of knowledge about the group. I asked him to give me some nuggets into the group.

TVS group was founded by TV Sundaram Iyengar who trained as a Lawyer and worked in a bank, before quitting working to start his business. He originally started his business as a timber merchant in Palakkad district of Kerala. He later moved to Madurai and started a Cycle Repairing unit. When General Motors wanted to enter India, he took the pan India dealership of GM. 

During second world war there was acute scarcity of Petrol. Mr.Iyengar designed a gas powered bus and started running the bus for public transport.

He also set up the first Public Road Transport network in India. The buses were known for their punctuality. It is said that the temples on the route will do their morning pujas based on the horn sounded by TVS Buses plying in their area.

TVS buses did not allow any standing passengers. The buses were frequent and hence that was not a problem for the passengers. 

He also started a logistics business through a company called Southern Roadways Limited which later became TVS Logistics (I think).

TVS group is currently being run by third generation Iyengars. Most of the employees are also third generation employees like Selva.

This is an employee friendly group and has many amenities for employees like Schools for Employees Children, Hospital (both inpatient and outpatient), Houses that can be purchased by the employee based on 100% low interest rate loan provided by the company etc. Hence the turnover is very low.

The story of Mr.Iyengar is fascinating. Every time he saw a problem he took steps. When petrol was scarce, he ran his buses on gas, started the public transport system known for their punctuality etc.

He also took part in the Independence Movement and was a close associate of Rajaji.

For marriage purposes, employment in TVS group company is like US Visa. Just as US Visa removes the need for local vetting by Visa authorities in many countries, a TVS Employment means that the boy is of high calibre. Boy belongs to the TVS Family and that is it. No more vetting is required. This a tremendous honour for the TVS Family. 

Truly great man, Mr.Iyengar. I salute you for all that you have done for the country.

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