Times Group chairperson Indu Jain died on Thursday due to COVID-related complications, company sources said. She was 84. Hailing her as a visionary, Times Now TV channel, part of the Times Group, described Jain as a lifelong spiritual seeker, pioneering philanthropist, distinguished patron of the arts, and passionate proponent of women's rights. She breathed her last in Delhi, the sources said.
As tributes poured in for her from statesmen, captains of industry and spiritual masters, friends and admirers spoke fondly of her unquenched youthful spirit, zest for life, and determination to make the world a better place.
After becoming chairman of the Times Group in 1999 she evolved a distinctive leadership style, characterised by compassion and inclusiveness, that helped propel the group to new heights.
She set up The Times Foundation in 2000, with sustainable development and transformational change as its key goals. One of India's respected non-profits, it provides community services and runs the Times Relief Fund to offer assistance during cyclones, earthquakes, floods, epidemics and other crises.
She was the founder president of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), established in 1983 to promote entrepreneurship and professional excellence among women in India. From 1999, she also served as chairperson of Bharatiya Jnanpith Trust, founded in 1944 by Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, her father-in-law, to promote literature in Indian languages.
The Jnanpith Award, conferred by the Trust annually, is acknowledged to be the most prestigious honour for authors writing in Indian languages. She was also the guiding force behind the Oneness Forum, launched in 2003 to promote unity in the world. The MahaviraMahatma award was instituted under the aegis of the Forum to promote Mahatma Gandhi's principle of ahimsa (non- violence).
"Saddened by the demise of Times Group Chairperson Smt. Indu Jain Ji. She will be remembered for her community service initiatives, passion towards India's progress and deep-rooted interest in our culture. I recall my interactions with her. Condolences to her family. Om Shanti," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A lifelong philanthropist, one of her last wishes was to donate her organs. Sadly, the complications caused by coronavirus meant that the wish could not be fulfilled, the sources said
She received many honours, including the Padma Bhushan in 2016. She was conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India in 2019, an award for Lifetime Contribution to Media by the All India Management Association in 2018, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Congress of Women.
In 2000, she also addressed the United Nations at the Millennium World Peace Summit. As chairperson of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, which owns the Times of India newspaper, she is credited with infusing new energy into the growth of one of India's largest media houses.