Published: 10th September 2008
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"Between my past, the present and the future, there is one common factor: Relationship and Trust. This is the foundation of our growth". This memorable line having a significant meaning was said by a great Indian Entrepreneur and Industrialist - Dhirubhai Ambani.

Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (popularly known as Dhirubhai Ambani) was born on 28th December, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat. He married to Kokilaben and had two son, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani and two daughters, Nita Kothari and Deepti Salgaocar.

He started his career with A. Besse and Company at the age of 16, for a salary of Rs.300/-. He returned to India in 1962 and with a capital investment of Rs. 1500/-, he started Reliance Commercial Corporation with the primary business to import polyester and export spices. Later in 1966, he started his first textile mill (manufactured by polyester fiber yarns) at Naroda, Ahmedabad which was branded as "Vimal". In India, he pioneered the idea of equity shares and in 1977 more than 58,000 investors from various parts of the country invested in Reliance Initial Public Offer (IPO). His Philosophy of life was, "Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambitions higher. Our commitment deeper. Our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance and for India".

He diversified his business in Information Technology, Energy, Power, Telecommunication, Infrastructure, Capital Market and Logistics; as he rightly said once, "Think big, Think fast, Think ahead. Ideas are no one's monopoly". Dhirubhai's most bitter rivals were Nushi Wadia of Bombay dyeing; Ramanath Goenka of Indian Express; and Vishwanath Pratap Singh -Former Prime Minister of India.

He died on July 6, 2002 after suffering from brain stroke and after his death former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee believed that the country has lost iconic proof of what an ordinary Indian fired by the spirit of enterprise and drive by determination can achieve in his own lifetime. During that time Reliance annual gross turnover was around Rs. 75,000 crore. On his first death anniversary, the Union Government released a postage stamp in his memory.

Some of his achievements are: -

• In June 1998, he was awarded "Dean Medal" by the Wharton School, University of Pennsywania for setting an example of Leadership.

• In November 2000, he was awarded "Man of the Century" by Chemtech Foundation and Chemical Engineering.

• In 2000, he featured among "The most Powerful 50 Asian" by Asiaweek magazine.

• In August 2001, he received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by The Economic Times.

Rupal Jain, Lecturer, Atharva Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai), and I can be reached at jainrupal@sify.com

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