Indian Brands Which Existed Before Independence and Are Thriving Even Today


Indian Brands Which Existed Before Independence and Are Thriving Even Today

It has been over seven decades since the British left India. Even though the 200 years long imperial reign abated the growth of Indian entrepreneurs, some enterprises managed to march ahead through the turmoil of independence and create an identity for themselves that became a prominent name associated with the nation.

So, let us have a look at some of those brands which existed before Independence and are thriving even today.

TATA Group

Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata also known as the “Father of Indian Industry” left his father’s export business when he was just 29 and started his own trading company in 1868 which later on became the multinational conglomerate company – TATA Group.

Today, the TATA Group has over 100 publicly listed enterprises, subsidiaries, institutions and associated companies that operate independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors and shareholders.

The current market cap of TATA stands at around $150 billion.

Some of the most prominent TATA brands are Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Tanishq, Tata Consultancy Services, and The Indian Hotels Company Limited (Taj Hotels).


It was founded as a small ayurvedic clinic in Kolkata by a physician Dr. S.K. Burman in 1884.

He used to treat and cure villagers with his ‘magic’ ayurvedic medicines. He also contrived medicines for diseases like malaria and cholera. This made him a renowned doctor in eastern India and his name later on spread across the country.

He was commonly called as ‘Daktar Burman’ and this is where the name ‘Dabur’ came from.

Today, Dabur is India’s largest Ayurvedic medicine and natural consumer products manufacturer. It is the 4th biggest FMCG company in India and generated more than $1.1 billion in revenue in 2016-17.

Godrej Group

Founded in 1897 by Ardeshir Godrej and Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej.

Ardeshir Godrej was a lawyer by profession, but in 1895 he quit his law practice and began manufacturing scalpels, forceps, and other surgical instruments.

Later on, he realized that people needed better security of homes and business places and that is when he started off manufacturing locks that were called ‘Unpickable’ at the time.

Godrej is now a conglomerate and operates in various sectors such as real estate, consumer products, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security and agricultural products.

Rooh Afza

The name Rooh Afza translates to “refresher of the soul”. It is a non-alcoholic concentrated squash and is extremely popular in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

It was first formulated and introduced by a physician Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed in 1907 in Ghaziabad, India. He then found the company Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories with his two sons and started manufacturing it on a large scale.

Over the years, the distinctive taste, fragrance and color has made Rooh Afza a brand name common across every household of the country.

Related: How Did Apple become a Trillion Dollar Company?


Parle-G is a brand of biscuits from Parle Products a confectionery maker which was established in Vile Parle, Mumbai, in the year 1929.

Parle – as a brand has cemented its place in the minds of people over all these years. Every Indian has a special place for it when asked about their favorite biscuit since childhood.

According to a Nielsen survey done in 2011, it was found to be the best-selling brand of biscuits in the world.

After independence, the company showcased Parle-G as an Indian alternative to the British-branded biscuits.

In 2013, Parle-G became India’s first domestic FMCG brand to cross the mark of ₹ 5,000 crores in sales revenue.


The Mavalli Tiffin Rooms or commonly known as MTR was started as a restaurant in Bangalore in the year 1924 by Yagnanarayana Maiya and his brothers.

MTR is also given the credit to invent the very popular south Indian food – Rava Idli during the World War II when there was a shortage in production of rice.

Since their inception, MTR has continuously evolved and adapted as per the change in tastes of the people of this country.

The MTR brand is made up of and represented by two separate entities – MTR Restaurant and MTR Foods. The latter is the packaged instant food business.

Other Notable Mentions

  1. Punjab National Bank(PNB) established in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1895.
  2. ITC Limited – 1910 (established as Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited)
  3. TVS Group founded by V. Sundram Iyengar in 1911.
  4. Birla Corporation Limited founded by Shri Ghanshyam Das Birlain 1919.
  5. Cipla Limited founded in 1935 by Khwaja Abdul Hamied.

So, did you like the list? Or do you think we have missed any important brand worth mentioning?

Please let us know in the comments section below.

Comment (1)

  1. Brainium

    Hi Kiya, thanks for pointing that out, we will get that fixed. We are happy that you liked our post. Stay tuned with us.

    November 5, 2018 at 6:24 am

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *