The year was 1919. Chandulal Mothilal Kothari, a Gujarati from the Kutch region made Madras his home, and sank roots. He was one of the first from his community to become a professional with a law degree. He practiced for a while and was soon thinking about expanding into business – a rare lawyer with an entrepreneurial streak.
He set up Kothari & Sons, Share, Stock and Exchange Broker, one of the first firms in the stocks and share business in Madras. The Madras Stock Exchange was his brain child and he went on to head it, par excellence. Over the years, there were many firsts and pioneering ventures on his path – Madras Safe Deposit Company Ltd, Kothari Textiles Ltd et al. Growth came rapidly. These companies he started grew by leaps and bounds, as he kept adding new product lines and cannot-resist-offerings.
Often described as a philanthropist, impeccably well-dressed, extremely intellectual, his directorships demonstrated his range of interests and capabilities – He was one of the founders of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, was Member of Commerce, Board of the University of Madras, a member of the Board of Industries, and, most significant of all, the first Indian Planting Member in the Madras Legislature. He was also a director of Amrutanjan Ltd., The Madras Publishing House Ltd., The Guntur Power & Light Co. Ltd., and the Vizagapatnam Sugar and Refinery Ltd.
To his peers and competitors, he was not an overnight success – Because they understood his resourcefulness, innovation, depth of knowledge, creativity and hard work. And so did his sons – Dr.D.C.Kothari and Mr.H.C.Kothari who joined him in 1930 to become the Partners of Kothari & Sons.
When he passed away at 64, his obituaries in leading dailies read as “the former President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and an ex-Sheriff of Madras,” – a pioneering entrepreneur who’s considerable contributions to the business world of South India, were driven by his simple motivation: To innovate and to make a difference.