Money Matters

Here Are The 11 Oldest Companies In India That Are Still Going Strong

It has been 75 years since the stroke of midnight when India became free. Although broken by the imperialists, India has found its place and created an identity for itself.

Today, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at the companies that have become synonymous with the nation. Started before our Independence in turbulent times, these brands have truly stood the test of time and are thriving even today.

On August 15, 2022, India celebrated its 75th year of independence. On this day, the indigenous people pay tribute to the brave people who heroically fought for the freedom of the homeland. A growing superpower, a hub of knowledge and enterprise, India has carved a niche for itself in these 75 years.

As we celebrated the 75th anniversary of freedom, here are some of the oldest companies in India that provide a strong foundation for the country’s economy.

Indian Companies Formed Before Independence That Continue To Make The Country Proud

1. Tata Group (1868)

Tata Group
Tata Group

Tata Group of Companies is an Indian global aggregate portfolio organization headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. From a high degree of emphasis on quality, innovation, sustainable activities and business evolution, these are just some of the labels that have become identified with the Tata brand.

It all started in 1868 when businessman and philanthropist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata founded the Tata Group as a private business entity. Jamsetji Tata was more than just the businesswoman who helped India take its place in the league of industrialized nations. He was a patriot and humanist whose ideals and vision formed an exceptional business conglomerate.

In 1902, the company expanded to incorporate the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) to open the Taj Mahal Palace in 1903, which was actually the nation’s first luxury hotel.

2. Dabur (1884)


Dabur India was established in the year 1884 and started its operations as a small pharmacy in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Dr. S. K. Burman founded it. Gradually, he expanded his business interests and today, Dabur India is claimed to be the fourth largest FMCG company in India, manufacturing a wide range of health care, personal care and the food.

Dabur India has operations in more than five countries around the world. The company’s manufacturing facilities are present in India, Africa and the United Arab Emirates. It exports its products to Australia, Western Asia, Africa and Europe.

3. Birla Group (1857)

Birla Group
Birla Group

Founded by Seth Shiv Narayan Birla in 1857 as a cotton trading company and the business expanded rapidly later, the Group’s founding father, Mr. Ghanshyam Das Birla, who played an active role in India’s freedom struggle , established industries in critical sectors such as textiles and fiber. aluminum, cement and chemical products.

Today, the Birla group, led by Kumar Mangalam Birla, derives more than 50 percent of the Group’s revenue stream from overseas operations spanning 36 countries in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

4. Britannian Industries (1892)

Britannian Industries
Britannian Industries

Britannia Industries Limited is an Indian company specializing in the food industry and is part of the Wadia Group headed by Nusli Wadia. Founded in 1892 and based in Calcutta, it is one of the oldest existing companies in India and best known for its biscuit products.

The Company was born in 1918 as a public limited company. The Company’s plants are located in different parts of the country, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Uttarakhand. In 1921 it became the first company east of the Suez Canal to use imported gas furnaces.

5. Godrej (1897)


Ardeshir Godrej and Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej founded the Godrej company in 1897, from starting as a lock company in 1897 to pioneering India’s clean energy landscape and securing India’s borders by 2020.

Godrej was the first company to manufacture India’s first safe in 1902 and produced India’s first indigenous typewriter. Today, after 125 years, Godrej continues to grow and deals with home appliances, aerospace, furniture, consumer goods, aerospace, agriculture, etc.

6. Nilgiri’s (1905)

Nilgiri's Supermarket Chain
Nilgiri’s Supermarket Chain

Nilgiri’s, one of the oldest supermarket chains in South India, started out as a quaint little shop. It was S Arumuga Mudaliar, a courier for the British in colonial India, who decided to set up shop selling fresh butter in the south.

In 1905, S Arumuga Mudaliar started this iconic brand by setting up a small store. At this time he would carry letters and checks for the British from Coimbatore to Ooty and Coonoor. It would also carry dairy products and other similar items upon request.

7. Rooh Afza (1907)

Hamdard Rooh Afza
Hamdard Rooh Afza

A recipe formulated by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed for gourd made from herbs, plant extracts and fruits is what is known as Rooh Afza in every home. This unique recipe is believed to combine natural cooling agents, thus providing the perfect remedy for the harsh North Indian summers. Today, no falooda can be complete without Rooh Afza.

Hakeem Majeed was said to be a famous practitioner of the Unani form of medicine. It is said that from his clinic in Old Delhi he launched Rooh Afza. Post-Partition, there are two different branches of Hamdard, one in Karachi and the other in Delhi.

The name ‘Rooh Afza’ itself is said to be a mystery. There are different theories about this; one suggests that Hakeem found the name in a book of ancient legends and myths. This classic summer sharbat has survived Partition, the licensing raj, economic reforms, carbonated drinks and tetrapack juices.

8. TVS Group (1911)

TVS Group
TVS Group

T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons Private Limited, established in 1911, is the parent company of the TVS Group and is a leading automobile distribution company in India. It operates through its three divisions namely: TVS, Sundaram Motors and Madras Auto Service.

As the commercial and distribution arm of the group, TVS & Sons’ business activities include Motor Vehicle Dealers, Construction and Material Handling. The company’s global business operation includes the establishment and management of joint ventures/alliances for the automobile dealer/distribution business, sourcing and related supply chain activities. Currently, it has a presence in South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

9. Parle G (1929)

Parle G
Parle G

In 1929, Mohanlal Dayal of the Chauhans, a family of silk merchants based in Mumbai, had just bought and restored an old decrepit factory to make confectionery (such as boiled sweets).

Deeply influenced by the Swadeshi movement (which promoted the production and use of Indian products), Chauhan sailed to Germany a few years ago to learn the art of baking. He returned in 1929, armed with the necessary skills and the necessary machinery (imported from Germany for 60,000 rupees).

Interestingly, it is believed that the founders were so busy running the factory that they forgot to name it. And so, over time, the first Indian-owned confectionery brand in the country came to be known by its birthplace, Parle.

Parle’s first product was an orange candy, which was soon followed by other sweets and toffees. However, it was only 10 years later that he started his cookie making operations. Even when the bugle sounded for World War II in 1939, the company baked its first cookie.

10. Cipla (1935)


Cipla is one of the largest Indian pharmaceutical companies by domestic market share founded by Dr. KA Hamied in 1935. Cipla started manufacturing and marketing chemicals and intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry in 1937.

In 1944, the company established world-class factory and laboratory facilities in the Mumbai area. Based in Bombay, Mumbai, the company is now India’s leading drugmaker. It supplies medicines to more than 100 countries worldwide today.

11. Mahindra Group (1945)

Mahindra Group
Mahindra Group

The history of the Mahindra group dates back to 1945 with the start of the Mahindra & Mahindra & Muhammad company by three founders: JC & KC Mahindra and Malik Ghulam Muhammad.

Currently, Anand Mahindra is the chairman of the Mahindra group, whose business in different segments is expanding in more than 100 countries around the world.

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