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LegaCity - N. Rudrappan : The helpful and ethical entrepreneur

By Rajesh Govindarajulu

Mar 05, 2019

Coimbatore has been a magnet that has attracted entrepreneurship. It has always functioned like the tree that has attracted rainfall. The city has been fortunate to have hosted wonderful business enterprises promoted by ethical and helpful businessmen. N. Rudrappan ( 1929 - 1979 ), the founder of Eltex Engineering Private Limited was one of those rare entrepreneurs who had not only succeeded but also helped others during his sojourn on the planet. 

He was born as the first son of Venkatswamy of Pedappampatti and Vijayammal, the first daughter of Valavadi Narayanaswamy Naidu. N.Rudrappan and his brother V.Jagannathan had unfortunately lost their father during their childhood. 

The uncle Narayanaswamy had adopted Rudrappan when he was in his late teens. The helpful and ethical entrepreneur did his early education at Udumalpet and later on at Rishi Valley which was founded by the world famous philosopher J.Krishnamurthy. Rudrappan had to quit Rishi Valley for it had to be used for other purposes during the second world war. He continued his education from Coimbatore and this culminated with him completing the Intermediate from the Government Arts College on Race Course.

N.Rudrappan was into a bit of cotton trading initially and he went on to establish Lakshmi Textile Suppliers. This venture supplied goods to a number of textile mills. He was a distributor for  Larsen & Toubro, Kirloskar Motors and a few other companies. " My father was into a  business which supplied ring tubes and bobbins to spinning mills. He co founded Eltex Engineering Private Limited and Eltex Super Castings along with his brother V.Jagannathan. They had a small foundry which made pump sets and switch boxes too. Card coilers were also part of the repertoire. 

Father was a pioneer went it came to aluminium die casting in Tamilnadu. Of course it was in the private sector. Die  cast products was made for the motor industry by him at Eltex . He was a major supplier for Lucas TVS and MICO those days. Wise guidance was available from his uncles V.N.Ramachandran and G.K.Devarajulu. In fact he spent a lot of time with his aunt Thayarammal and uncle G.K.Devarajulu at their residence in Coimbatore. He was raised by them for he went to school and college from their home, " stated Ramesh Rudrappan from his family residence at G.D.Street. 

Vasantha , the daughter of Muthummal and G.T.Narayanaswamy Naidu ( Soundararaja Mills ) of Dindigul became his wife during the year 1954. The couple were blessed with Ramesh and Nirmala. N.Rudrappan was an extremely friendly cum helpful person besides being a marvelous host all his life. 

He had a huge network of friends from all walks . One was a friend whether he was poor or wealthy. He used to attend all occasions be it a bereavement or a wedding whether it happened in an urban or mofussil setting . " Father believed in unity and he used to say that it goes hand in hand with progress. 

My Mother used to be ever prepared to receive guests at home. Many of guests were from the village. My father had a huge network of friends and he was among the early members of Coimbatore Club. He was really helpful to many people. A number of friends, relatives and deserving people were recipients of his munificence. 

His friends included the poor and wealthy. He helped a lot of people and it was for supporting their  education and medical requirements. Father used to organize resources at times when there was a larger need ", added his son Ramesh Rudrappan. 

N.Rudrappan was once caught in New Delhi during a bandh and one taxi driver helped him on a hot day by dropping  him off in a nearby hotel. On learning that the driver  was struggling to make his son pursue technical education, Rudrappan had sponsored the same for some years. 

One day, the taxi driver saw one guest from Madras carrying a  Tamil newspaper which contained an obituary release with the picture of N.Rudrappan ,  he immediately took it to Sundaram who used to do liaison for Coimbatore based companies. On getting to understand that N.Rudrappan had passed away, the taxi driver came to Coimbatore by train in order to offer his condolences to the bereaved family. 

The wonderful N.Rudrappan was also a guardian to a number of kids from industrialist families from the rest of India while they pursued their education in the schools which were located in the Nilgiris. He had also helped many in business and  his proteges had gratefully acknowledged his assistance. N.Rudrappan had travelled to the USA and Europe as part of the trade delegations of the time. He was quite active with the Indian Pump Manufacturers Association ( IPMA ) and this took to a number of places around the country. 

R.Somasundaram  of Velumani Engineering recalled N.Rudrappan and his contribution over an informative  conversation, " My contact with him was through the pump industry at a time when I was associated with my uncle Ramaswamy , the founder of Texmo Industries. He was a very successful and ethical businessman. Voltas  used to purchase pumps from us and they wanted us to supply monoblocs in their brand name. 

We had to refuse their offer because Texmo was already in the market with the same. Voltas wanted aluminium Die cast products and I recommended Eltex. On visiting Eltex, the Voltas people found that N.Rudrappan was making monoblocs and therefore they requested him to supply his production in their name. 

The ethical businessman flatly refused to supply the goods because of connection having come through Texmo. Finally it was with my full knowledge and consent that he began manufacturing monoblocs for Voltas. With regard to IPMA , he stood by what was good for the industry and the nation. He was very active in the Lodge and was a Founder Trustee of the Coimbatore Masonic Charity Trust along with fifteen of us who were led by G.K.Devarajulu . N.Rudrappan was a straight forward, lovable and humane person. 

He would speak from his heart and also accept what was right. Living by principles was his way of life. He would seek an appointment and meet people as per the agreed schedule even if they were his younger relatives. A part of the new block at the Masonic Hospital was endowed in his memory by V.Jagannathan ( younger brother )  and G. Venkataraman. 

His picture is prominently displayed in the facility. N.Rudrappan and myself used to meet a few times every month and a number of people were in his circle of friends. R.Ramaswamy ( Texmo ) , Prof P.R.Ramaswamy, L.G.Ramamurthy, G.Varadaraj  and V.Rajan ( former Managing Trustees of the PSG Institutions ). V.Narayanaswamy, G.K.Rajagopal ,P.R.Doraiswamy  and myself  were part of this group. We were quite close to him. He moved very well with his friends. A person like N.Rudrappan will forever be are and will always be  remembered. " 

N.Venkatapathy of the Southern Engineering Industrials remembers  N.Rudrappan, " He was a fine and good hearted person. I remember meeting him on a number of occasions. He used to arrive at the airport just ten minutes before the time of departure. His helpful nature won him a number of friends and admirers. "

" The biggest asset our father has left behind for us is his GOODWILL, " said the son, Ramesh Rudrappan. 

Friendship and fellowship as espoused by the helpful and ethical N.Rudrappan has definitely added to the value system of Coimbatore and its neighbourhood.

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