Lijjat Papad FULL STORY

With the loan of 80 rupees, these 7 women formed a company of 1600 crores, read ‘Lijjat Papad’:

One day, in the summer season, seven Gujarati women on a terrace were thinking about alleviating the poverty of their home, the idea of ​​making papad came to their mind and the journey of Lijjat Papad started with four packets.

This jingle (song) of Lijjat Papad was one of the most popular commercials in the 90s. At that time the country was undergoing economic liberalization and television sets were making inroads into Indian families. With the help of this, the taste of Lijjat Papad was reaching the homes of the people. At birthday parties, where parents used to ask their children to dance to a Bollywood song, we used to proudly recite this jingle and collect a lot of applause. I still remember that jingle.

On one hand, this native jingle made its place in the minds of the audience, on the other hand Lijjat Papad won the hearts of millions. In Gujarat, it is believed that no food is incomplete without Lijjat Papad, which is made from choppy things like urad, red chilli, garlic, moong, Punjabi masala, black pepper and cumin.

The brand was founded by 7 Gujarati women with a loan of just Rs 80. According to a Femina report, today its business has reached Rs 1,600 crore.

How did it all start?

It is about 1959. In Bombay (now, Mumbai), seven Gujarati women on a terrace in the summer season were considering a means of livelihood to overcome the financial stress of their home. She was not very educated and had no experience of running a company.


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Therefore, he decided to make papad, which was also his skill, in the hope of earning a steady income. He started making papad and came out of the terrace with four packets.

Lijjat Papad HISTORY
Lijjat Papad

Subsequently, Jaswantiben Popat, Jaiben Vithalani, Parvatiben Thodani, Uzamben Kundalia, Banuben Tanna, Chutadaben Gawade and Laguben Gokani turned to the local market and sold their papads.


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In this episode, Jaswantiben told the BBC during an interview, “We were not very educated, due to which we did not have much job opportunities. But, we realized that we can use our skills of making papad to improve the financial condition of our family. ”


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Subsequently, Purushottam Damodar Dattani helped these women sell papad. He took the papad from one shop to another and eventually sold it to a local store called Anandji Premji & Company in Girgaon Chowpatty.

Jaswantiben tells National Geographic, “He sold a kilo of papad on the first day and earned 50 paise. The next day one rupee of two kg was found. The women of our area found it a profitable deal and after that we started forming a team. ”

india's start up Lijjat Papad
Women working in Lijjat Papad

In the next 3-4 months, 200 women were added to this cooperative and a second branch was opened in Wadala under this. These women earned more than 6,000 rupees in the year 1959, which was a huge amount.


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Seeing the demand for their produce in the market, these seven women borrowed from Chhaganlal Karamsi Parekh, who also became their guru. He was known as ‘Chhagan Bappa’ and was a noted social activist who worked in various relief works including earthquakes in Assam and Kutch in the 1950s.

This team of women spent all their energy on improving the quality of their products, without spending any money on marketing and promotion.

Lijjat Papad

As more women from this company expressed their desire to join, the founders realized that the time had come for statutory recognition and, in the year 1966, they had signed an Act under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. Registered as a society. In the same year, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission named it as ‘Village Industry’. This was a turning point for the founders.


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After about 62 years, started with seven women, the industry has now transformed into India’s oldest women’s cooperative, employing around 45,000 women.

In 1968, Lijjat established his first branch outside Maharashtra, in Vallod, Gujarat. According to the website, it currently has 82 branches in India and exports its products to 15 countries.


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Apart from papad, there are other products of this institution, such as – spices, wheat flour, chapatis, appalams, detergent powder and laundry soap etc.

“Our principle is to use high quality materials to make papad without compromise and this is the secret of our success for the last 60 years. This principle is also reflected in the recruitment process. There are no prerequisites for women other than strongly adhering to quality guidelines. ” Mr. Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad president Swati Paradkar tells Inter-Action.


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Due to weather conditions, topography, water quality etc. the taste of raw materials is different in every state. Therefore, all raw materials are purchased from one place and sent to all branches. For this reason, despite the region being different, the end product has the same taste and quality.

Lijjat Papad jabalpur
Lijjat Papad

Like Urad Dal comes from Myanmar. Whereas, asafoetida is imported from Afghanistan and black pepper is imported from Kerala. Asafoetida, a key ingredient in India’s kitchens, is carefully filtered and made into powder.


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At the same time, the pepper powder is filtered through a sieve and the process is repeated with the help of a table fan, so that the powder can be filtered completely. Under this, the powder is placed in front of the fan from one vessel to another, from which light pepper pods fly.


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This process occurs only in Vashi and Nashik. In the final stage, salt water is prepared by mixing asafoetida and black pepper powder with flour. After this, the dough is prepared and distributed to the employees. Every area is given a standard base and cylinder to ensure the size of the papad.

Lijjat Papad
Lijjat Papad

In terms of quality, branch members often visit their employees’ homes to check if quality standards are being used. Subsequently, the products are final tested and coded at their Mumbai-based laboratory.

women empowerment

Lijjat Papad had made his move in this direction years before work from home became an accepted form of work culture. The biggest reason for this is – to give women financial freedom without stepping out of their homes. This option helped women to balance the economic status of their family.


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Under this, those who did not have enough space in the house, were asked to check the quality and packaging of papad in their branches.

The women, who are called as ‘sisters’ in the organization, start their work from 4.30 am. Flour is kneaded at the branch by one group and collected by another group and the papad is raised in the house. During this time a mini-bus is used for movement. The entire operational process is overseen by a 21-member Central Management Committee of Mumbai.


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Of course, production capacity can be increased manifold through machine-driven systems, but even after so many years the institution remains at its core of ensuring a stable livelihood for women.

Eminent scientist Raghunath Mashelkar says in this subject, “Not only self-employment, self-reliance, self-empowerment and self-dignity, the movement started by Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad is a reflection of the real power of Indian women.


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The women associated with it were not literate before, but now they know the importance of education, especially for their children. This in itself is a big development. “

Every member of the institution considers each other to be part of their family, and they enjoy many benefits. For example, every woman has the freedom to choose her work area. Any employee can become part of the managing committee through a democratic process of elections. Along with this, they also get loan, scholarship for children and basic literacy program in every branch.


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The efforts of the employees are also appreciated and rewarded by the company. For example, in 2002, employees in Rajkot got an incentive of Rs 4,000. Meanwhile, 5 grams of gold coins were awarded in Mumbai and Thane.

Success stories

According to an improvement case study based on Shree Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, “Lijjat provides economic opportunities through domestic activities. Once associated with this, women’s confidence and prestige both increase, as they earn money honorably. More enterprising, responsible and experienced women climb the administrative ladder. It is an excellent institution for developing leadership capacity among women. ”


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If you look at the advertisement of Lijjat Papad, you will find that there are no big figures in it, who are urging you to buy Papad. This is a very simple advertisement that tells you how a papad can be part of your meal at any time of the day.

Likewise, the company also distanced itself from branding, social media presence and celebrations. Their entire focus is simply to keep their consumers and employees happy.

Sense of trust

Have you ever wondered why Lijjat Papad has a monopoly in his field despite many competitors? The reason is – there is a feeling of trust.


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It reminds us that even though change is necessary for development, we should always be grateful for some things. Lijjat papad is a food item that never disappoints.

In this episode, Nirmala Nair, a resident of Mumbai, says, “Lijjat Papad is my favorite snack, because I don’t always get time to cook because of the busyness.” So, I cut salads and put them on papad. It takes hardly five minutes to prepare this delicious and healthy breakfast. “

Finally, in addition to its consumers, Lijjat Papad has made its lasting mark as a proud indigenous company, which has empowered thousands of people. This papad has been a part of our lives in some way or the other.


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