On this important day of Gandhi Jayanti, i would like to share some interesting facts on another Bapu in my life – Bapu Wakankar.
Bapu or Lipikar as Laxman Wakankar was more popularly known as, ran a successful cosmetics manufacturing company of 1940s – Asha, which was way before the launch of Lakmé (Lakmé is Lakshmi in french. Lakmé, the name of the girl from the French opera was selected to blend the Indian with the French).
Goddess Lakshmi is wife of Lord Vishnu, she is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, she is also renowned for her beauty. Hence, Lakmé or Lakshmi.
Coming back to Asha Cosmetics, during world war 2, Asha exported lipsticks to UK and Europe under the brand name Julie Claire.
Till 1970s, Nivea was manufactured in India by Asha cosmetics under a licensing contract.
British soldiers and officers posted in India, gifted Julie Claire lipsticks and cosmetics, manufactured by Asha, to their wives and girlfriends back in UK.
Julie Claire was a brand conceptualised by Laxman Wakankar.
Asha was born in labs of Benaras Hindu University (BHU) in mid 1930s while Laxman Wakankar was studying Chemical Technology and Engineering. He was Mechanical engineer from VJTI, Mumbai and BSc Tech from BHU.
We talk of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and many other successful ideas which were born on University campuses, and later became worth billions of dollars. Laxman Wakankar was way ahead of his times and in his own right a predecessor to this entrepreneurial culture among college students which is so prevalent in California and now also worldover.
Lipikar Wakankar’s greatest contributions to our country are – discovery of Maheshwari “Lipi” or script as mother of all Indian scripts including Sanskrit and putting the Devanagari script on the computer keyboard.
Laxman Wakankar and his younger brother Padmashree Dr.Vishnu Wakankar (Haribhau) were visionaries and great nationalist Indians.
We are currently celebrating the centenary year of Dr.Vishnu Wakankar.
– Aashish Wakankar
Wakankar Bharati Sanskriti Anveshan Nyas