As the first employee of our company, Smt. Shilabenwas an invisible force behind the most visible impact that Cadila created in the lives of millions of people, not only in India but globally. The company that she helped set up in 1951 earned a reputation of a quality manufacturer of affordable medicines for the last man standing.
At a time when the media is rife with reports of start-ups and their journey from a garage or a bedroom, Cadila’s story is no different. Smt. Shilaben would herself wash and label the products that Cadila produced from a three-room apartment rented for Rs. 45 a month at Azad Society in Ahmedabad. Her husband, Shri Indravadan Ambalal Modi, better known as the Medicine Man of India, would then start visiting doctors on his cycle to collect orders and deliver products. And all this was being done at a time when the pharmaceutical industry in India was dominated by foreign companies. In what could be termed as a major transformational journey of a corporate house, Cadila, in the ensuing period became one of the top three pharmaceutical companies in India.
If Shri I A Modi was the brain behind Cadila, Smt. Shilaben was the soul.
It was only her concern for the well-being of the common man that inspired her husband to manufacture gripe water, which was incidentally the first indigenously produced gripe water in India. Recalling her contributions, her husband once said in an interview to a journalist, “Cadila’s story is incomplete without her. She would extend all the help and support that I needed. In those days, she would often travel for more than two kilometres on foot or by bus to buy essential commodities to entertain our official guests.”
Her trustful nature, caring attitude and thoughtful concern endeared her to one and all. A consummate mother and homemaker, she lived a complete and fulfilled life. As a human being, she was always cheerful, thoughtful and caring towards everyone around her.
Evidently, it must have been a remarkable journey for a person who was the first employee to see her company grow and reach a stage where today it provides direct employment to more than 10,000 people in India and abroad.