After independence, India was primarily a poor country and therefore has produced several rags to riches stories but what this man did uplifted the entire country’s economy in a matter of decades. This is the greatest rags to riches story there can ever be because it scaled to unimaginable heights without any godfather or corporate backing.
When Hirachand had a third boy in Chorvad, Gujarat, he did not expect anything out of the world from his son. Just like any other school master, he wanted his son to fare well in studies and earn a decent amount which would be enough for a living. But the confidence and approach of this young boy was shocking right since his childhood.
The boy, Dhirubhai, was a highly impatient boy who got sick of sitting in classrooms. He had a spontaneous motivation for exploring his physical abilities, going out and doing something which would bring him money. He thought the weekly village market was a great place to begin from so he started his entrepreneurial journey with selling bhajiya. He gave earnings from the market to his mother to help with household expenses.
He thought the weekly village market was a great place and started his entrepreneurial journey with selling bhajiya
What was striking about Dhirubhai was that he always knew he is going to become a very rich man in the future. One day when his mother asked him to help his father by earning money, he angrily replied “Why do you keep screaming for money? I will make heaps of money one day”. People say that he was extremely intelligent and confident about his abilities.
At the age of 16, a big break came his way when he went to Aden in Yemen to chase his big dreams. The teenager began working as a dispatch boy and his dedication almost immediately reflected in his work. Soon enough he became a distributor for Shell Products, a company which dealt in natural gas, crude oil, refined products etc.
He was an explorer and wandered around Yemen to know and learn more. In one of his adventures he found that London Stock Exchange had high demand for Yemen’s currency known as rial because of its high silver content. The smart chap that he was, Dhirubhai bought rials in bulk and melted them. For a few months he did this and sold the melted silver to jewelers and made several lakh rupees on it. This would have been a pretty satisfying amount for any other person but Dhirubhai was hungry for more.
After 10 years of working in Yemen he thought it was time to return to his homeland. With a few lakhs in hand, he began to import polyester yarn and export Indian spices. He used Rs 15,000 as capital and established Reliance Commercial Company in Mumbai. Then in 1964, he started with Reliance Textiles, produced and sold polyester cloth. Because of his constant urge to maintain high quality standards, his brand Vimal was applauded as the best polyester clothing brand. This was the time when Dhirubhai eyed on bigger goals, of becoming the heavyweight in the corporate India.
After Vimal’s success, Dhirubhai Ambani was inspired to launch Reliance Industries Limited in the 70’s. He started equity cult, which included over 58000 investors in 1977. Dhirubhai ensured and convinced rustic populations of Gujarat that buying shares will fetch profits. In fact, he ensured that annual general meetings of Reliance were held in stadiums to ensure that investors, whether small or large could attend them.
In 1986, the meeting saw over 30,000 shareholders! Even though Ambani had to deal with trauma and business difficulties, including RBI investigating his funds, yet he always managed to emerge as a winner. In 2000, Times of India voted Ambani as the greatest creator of wealth in India. This was the man who went from rags to riches.
Although it took years for corporate like Tata and Birla to achieve their worth, Ambani did it in shorter duration because of his sharp mind. He proved himself the king of diversification and generated jobs for countrymen. Moreover, he induced a faith among rural investors, making his a man with wealth and riches along with a rustic appeal! Ambani died of a stroke in 2002, but his legacy still continues
The man who started by earning Rs 300 left a humongous empire of Rs 62,000 crore behind him when he died.
When Dhirubhai died the former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, “The country has lost iconic proof of what an ordinary Indian fired by the spirit of enterprise and driven by determination can achieve in his own lifetime.”