Dhirubhai Ambani – The man behind Reliance Industries
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani is an excellent example of a rags-to-riches story. He is one of the most resourceful and ingenious entrepreneurs in India.
Dhirubhai Ambani was born in Gujarat where he lived in a shabby two-room apartment and spent the first 16 years of his life there. After, he moved to Yemen and worked there as a dispatch clerk with the company A. Besse & Co.
He came back to India after working for sometime in Dubai and with just a small and insufficient amount of Rs.15,000, he founded the Reliance Commercial Corporation.
It was initially a business in partnership with Champaklal Damani from which they later split up in 1965.
The first brand Dhirubhai launched was “Vimal” and he also started his own textile mill at Naroda which is near Ahmedabad.
After this, he branched out into other sectors like Telecommunications, Energy, Retail, Capital Markets, Information Technology, Power, Logistics and also petrochemicals. He slowly rose and created India’s biggest industrial empire from such ordinary beginnings.
He also became one the richest men in the world while creating the industrial empire. Later, he was featured in the select Forbes billionaires list for how he erased and wrote India’s new corporate history. He was also featured in the Sunday Times list of the top 50 businessmen of Asia.
Dhirubhai was given the credit for the starting of the equity cult in India. He was praised among the people for his role in shaping India’s stock market culture.
He did so by attracting a large group of retail investors to a market exclusively controlled by state-run financial institutions.
He was never the one to follow the old and traditional ways of business strategies and due to this was often targeted and was involved in many controversies throughout his life.
He firmly believed that in running a business, the only thing that really mattered was the end results and the benefits which shareholders directly gained. These beliefs of Dhirubhai are taught at the ‘Dhirubhai school of management’.
During his time of handling his business, he won many awards and accolades. He was awarded the ‘Man of the Century‘ award in the year 2000 for his contribution in the development and growth of India’s chemical industry by the Chemtech Foundation and Chemical engineering world.
He was also awarded the Dean’s Medal in the year 1998 for being such an outstanding example of a leader and his qualities of leadership by the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
He was officially named the “Man of the 20th century” by the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).
He gave over the Reliance group of industries to his children Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani after having an extreme heatstroke in the year 1986 leaving his right hand fully paralyzed.
He had another stroke later and was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital. He went into coma for about more than a week and then passed away on July 6 2002.
After his demise, the whole corporate industry was divided into two. Reliance industry which was headed by Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group also known as ADAG which was headed by Anil Ambani.
Dhirubhai Ambani was an ideal combination of assurance and roughness. He always had faith in his dreams and his determination made him who he was and what gave him motivation to live his dreams.
His life story has been an inspiration to many. One of his famous quotes is that “If you don’t build your own dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs”.