The choice of the wish fulfilment tree to describe the Dempo family is not inappropriate. In Goan culture, the coconut tree, owing to its manifold utility, has been identified as the “Kalpavriksha”. The very idea, and the image, used to appeal to Vasantrao S. Dempo. In view of the central place of the Dempos in Goan history and culture, and their record of having been of enormous assistance to people times without number, it does seem apt to name them so.
At the head stands Venctexa a k a Vasantrao. Born in 1916 to Srinivassa —rao and Satyabhamabai, Vasantrao was the grandson of Voicunta — rao, and the great grandson of resourceful and enterprising Guiridora, the legendary Guiri —bab, their common ancestor being Krishnaji Vithoba Dempo, beyond whom records are hard to come by. Guiri —bab was honoured by the Portuguese with a title, Cavalier of the Land for Valour, Loyalty and Merit in 1869. Another illustrious Dempo forefather was Guiri-bab’s nephew, Rayu- bab. It was he who was decorated with a baronetcy by the Portuguese (Barao, baron in Portuguese). What is also known is that the Dhempe name came later, the original family name being Bodke. Vasantrao married Gopikabai (née Girijabai Naik Gaunekar) in 1932. He passed away in the year 2000.
Voicuntrao a k a Sadul bab was the Lakshmana to Vasantrao’s Shri Rama. With his elder brother every step of the way while the Dempo empire was founded, Sadul bab or Kaka, as he was known, was educated in law, had the distinction of representing Goa as a member of the Portuguese parliament, was imbued with humanitarian qualities, had great administrative ability, and was strongly principled. Married to Smt. Savitribai, Voicuntrao’s life came to an untimely end in 1986. Succeeding Vasantrao as Chairman of the Group was Vasudeva — rao, a k a Nagueshrao who was born in 1935. Group employees fondly recall that a man like him they had not seen or known. An able right hand to his father, Nagueshrao was married to Smt. Neela, and had begun to take the Group to greater heights when, all of a sudden, he was cruelly taken away. His entrepreneurial acumen, his human qualities, and generosity made him enormously popular, with several positions in trade and industry associations held by him in his lifetime. He even served as Honorary Consul for the Government of Mexico.
The Group’s elder statesman is Shri Soiru a k a Vishwasrao V. Dempo. Born in 1943, and married to Smt. Krishnakumari, Shri Vishwasrao is once again a living example of the Dempo mix of enterprise and humaneness. A senior director and a much liked individual, he has two sons, both of whom are in the same Dempo mould, Shri Yatish, a director in Dempo shipbuilding & Engineering Pvt. Ltd., and Shri Rajesh, a director in Aparant Iron & Steel Pvt. Ltd.
The Group’s Chairman, Shri Shrinivas V. Dempo, son of Smt. Neela and the late Vasudeva V. Dempo, was born in 1969. A Master in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, he is married to Smt. Pallavi, who is Executive Director in Dempo Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Trustee of the Dempo Charities Trust. They have two daughters, Girija and Vasundhara. It is under Chairman Shrinivas Dempo that the group has been scaling unprecedented heights in turnover (from Rs 240 crores when he took over six years ago to Rs. 1250 crores currently), making strategic acquisitions, venturing up country, and benchmarking the group companies globally. To employees he appears to have the qualities both of his father and his grandfather, an unbeatable combination as far as the prospects of the group go.
A short account of the principal members of the Dempo family involved in the Group does not even begin to do justice to their accomplishments and qualities, so multifarious are they. The Dempos being an ancient family, the branches of the family, with interests in their traditional occupation of land owning or other interests, are spread far and wide. They are far too numerous for inclusion within the confines of space in a slim volume such as this. Suffice it to say that a sketch of the family tree itself is adequate to justify the name “Kalpavriksha” given to the Dempos. By association with them, the employees of the Group can take vicarious pride in their employers’ status and vicarious joy in feeling part of the legendary wish fulfilling tree. May Dempo, in both senses, i.e. as a family and as a business house continue to grow and prosper in the beneficent shade of the “Kalpavriksha”!