Posts Tagged ‘Guru’

The benchmark that almost every aspiring small-time Indian businessman aims at is none other than the rags-to-riches tycoon Dhirubhai Ambani. Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. He started his entrepreneurial career by selling ‘Bhajias’ to the visitors at the Mount Girnar on weekends to make extra money and give it to his mother.

Dhirubhai moved to Aden, Yemen at the age of 16 after he completed his matriculation. He started work as a petrol station attendant before taking up a clerical position for an oil company that was the sole distributor of Shell products there. He sought his fortune through such humble beginnings and rose to find India’s largest empire.

Dhirubhai was married to Kokilaben and had two sons, Anil & Mukesh and two daughters, Nina & Deepti. He returned to India in 1958 with Rs 50,000 and set up a textile trading company. Assisted by his sons, he rewrote India’s corporate history. The trading house Reliance Commercial Corporation was set up in a small room with one table and three chairs. It began by importing polyester yarn and exporting spices. Dhirubhai sensed an opportunity in textiles and set up his first unit in 1966 at Naroda near Ahmedabad. The textile brand that he established, Vimal, flourished and remains a household name in India today.

Over the time the business diversified into the core specialization of petrochemicals with additional interests in telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics. Since then there was no looking back and Dhirubhai received several honors like Man of the Century, One of the Most Powerful people in Asia, first Indian to be listed by Forbes as the 138th Richest Person of the said year and many more. Dhirubhai was also praised for his key role in shaping India’s stock market culture by attracting hordes of retail investors to a market till then dominated by state-run financial institutions. From nothing, he generated billions of rupees in wealth for those who put their trust in his companies. His efforts helped create an ‘equity cult’ in the Indian capital market.

Success on such a gigantic scale inevitably excites jealousy and enmity. Dhirubhai was accused of acting unethically and of having manipulated the Government policies to suit his own business needs. But even those who question his business dealings, readily concede that Dhirubhai had a vision and unparalleled business acumen. The film ‘Guru’ by ace director Mani Ratnam is said to be inspired by the life and deeds of Dhirubhai Ambani.

Dhirubhai died on 6th July, 2002. Reliance after Dhirubhai saw many ups and downs. The two brothers, Anil and Mukesh Ambani claimed to have disputes and the Reliance Empire was split into two: Reliance Industries Ltd. (Mukesh Ambani) and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (Anil Ambani).

Dhirubhai always followed these words: “Think big, think fast and think ahead. Ideas are no one’s monopoly. Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambitions higher. Our commitment deeper. And our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance and for India.”

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