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The story of Nirma, one of India's largest consumer goods companies, is a true tale of rags to riches. The company was founded in 1969 by Karsanbhai Patel, a young chemist from Gujarat who had a vision of providing high-quality, affordable detergents to the masses.

Karsanbhai Patel was born in 1944 in Mehsana, a small town in Gujarat, India. After completing his education in chemistry, he worked as a lab technician in a government lab, earning a modest salary.

In the early 1960s, Karsanbhai Patel noticed that many people in his village were still washing their clothes with ash and water, as they could not afford expensive detergents. This gave him the idea of developing a low-cost, high-quality detergent that would be affordable for the masses. He started experimenting in his own kitchen, using basic ingredients like soda ash and a mix of chemicals. After several attempts, he finally developed a formula that produced a white powder that could effectively clean clothes.

Karsanbhai Patel started selling the detergent, which he named Nirma, door-to-door in his village. He priced it at a fraction of the cost of other detergents available in the market, making it affordable for even the poorest families. The response was overwhelming, and the demand for Nirma grew rapidly. Karsanbhai Patel quit his job and started manufacturing the detergent in a small shed in Ahmedabad, with just a handful of employees.

The success of Nirma was driven by Karsanbhai Patel's innovative marketing strategies. He used catchy jingles and advertisements featuring a young girl in a white dress to promote the product. The ads were so popular that they became a part of Indian pop culture in the 1980s and 1990s.

Nirma continued to grow and expand into other consumer goods, including soaps, detergents, and personal care products. Today, the company has a presence in over 80 countries and is one of India's largest consumer goods companies.