Ratan Das Tata: the most respected and admired businessman of India

I am sure nobody will dispute on this matter that during his lifetime, Ratan Tata was the most admired businessman of India, probably the most respected too. I was reading a news magazine yesterday where I read an interview of Ratan Das Tata, on his life, on TATA Nano, future aspects of Tata Group etc. He is truly one of those businessman who has finally succeeded in inheriting his title. He is not at all upset with Mamata Banerjee, nor he is too happy to shift his Nano plant in Gujarat. He said, “like a mother protects her child from doing any unwilling activities, similarly Mamata Banerjee has protected her child, West Bengal falling under the industrialization of Tata Group. She did no wrong.”

A man of respect, a man of inspiration, JRD Tata

A man of respect, a man of inspiration, RD Tata

I just read this line and went into the phase which was 10 years ago. The phase when the Tatas were struggling to reinvest their entire business in the post JRD era. It just gave me a thought on how Ratan Tata would have sensed then, the anger against many of the protectors of the JRD regime. It was during this time when the license permit quota raj was finally ended. New groups were forming every now and then. The certainties of the economy was finally collapsed. It was finally a time to change.

It was during this time when companies like Infosys and Reliance had just started their regime. Reliance was seen as the most powerful industrial phenomenon in the history of Indian economy whereas Infosys personified its business growth under the leadership of Narayan Murthy, marked by world class high talented technical team.

What was going on at Tata Headquarters during this time? We saw that there were record losses at Tata Motors, the crisis was mounted. It was during this time when there were criminal charges over Tata tea’s links with the militants of Assam, it was during this time when JRD Tata decided to launch Tata Indica, it was during this time when there were allegations in the sale of Tata Oil Mill’s assets, it was during this time when Tata decided to launch a domestic airlines with collaboration of  Singapore Airlines. All these plans were seemed to be scuttled. The entire country was watching India’s largest Industrial power diminishing before their eyes.

The JRD Tata Group was seen crumbling. It was becoming impossible for the shy Ratan Tata to cope up with so many problems.

And then there was a reborn of same Ratan Tata, merely a decade later, who became the world’s Media man, who reinvented the idea of motor car. He did something which was not even possible for a global car maker to do, i.e. to build a car which looked so good and unique and available at low prices.  And then there was a new Ratan Tata. He brought Tata Nano in front of the entire world. He faced huge number of negative feedback for Nano, especially from the environmentalists who claimed Tata Nano being the pollution threat and but of course from our own Mamata Banerjee, who sacrificed her day and night to force Ratan Tata to move his car plant out of West Bengal.

As soon as Nano was launched, it managed all the impossibilities. Not a single negative review and there were no ends of the raves. As there was huge competition going in the car market, Ratan Tata kept to the price commitment. The input price of Nano was higher than what he expected but even then he did not increase the price of Nano. It is still sold at Rupees One Lakh only.

The success of Tata Nano made Ratan Tata forget all the losses (600 crore) of the past when Nano gave them huge profits not only in India but overseas too. He also recovered his previous losses with Tata Indica, the dream car of Ratan Tata. People thought that the launch of Tata Indica will take the Tata Group into the sink, but nothing of this sort happened. In the very first year Tata Indica earned huge profits and it marked Ratan Tata to stand once again in the battle of Industrialization.

In the early 1990’s when nobody noticed Tata Consultancy Services or TCS. But all of a sudden it was TCS which started dominating the Indian IT sector though it had the toughest competitor around, the Infosys. The slim and lean company Tata Group was successful enough in buying the global giant, Corus. The plan for building the world’s cheapest car on roads was finalized and even then Tata’s were on the verge of purchasing the world’s greatest luxury car, the Jaguar.

Launch of TATA Nano brough a new hope for the middle income families

Launch of TATA Nano brough a new hope for the middle income families

It is seriously unbelievable for me that how can so many people who knew Ratan Tata so well got him wrong? I am sure the business pundits have the answer of this question even though it was these pundits who left not a single chance to criticize about Ratan Tata and his way of doing business.

Ratan Tata realized India was changing. He knew that the old formula which worked so well with Indian companies where the old man was the emperor and the companies were in the hands of the viceroys will not give his company good results. He had a plan. He professionalized the entire Tata Management, democratized it and was very successful in abounding the feudalism and got all the things done under his supervision. He formed a company that had no room for any emperors or viceroys.

He decided that this was the best time to plan about the future of the Tata Group and then he brought TCS in the limelight. He decided to go global. He grabbed the opportunities for globalization in such a way which was not not done by any of the Industrialist. Look at his intelligence. He had full faith in the team of young India and as a result of this trust he decided that he will give all the responsibilities of Tata Nano to the young group. Though he was a shy person but he never lost a single opportunity in motivating his team. He is a very warm and outgoing person.

The best thing about Ratan Tata is that he never cared for the government. Tatas are the only group that has faced the maximum governmental harassment. He was never in favor of paying bribes to them. He never complained about these government people to the Prime Minister. No matter he is losing a project because of all this, he never lost his principles. He made his own principles and always followed his heart. It was in his heart to built the India’s cheapest car.

He told in a press conference that he has seen family of four on a scooter or a bike. He asked his heart that why cant we give these families a car where all these four people can safely travel. There were many other reasons behind building Nano, but I personally believe that this is the best among the all.

It is quite possible to be honest and win the world like Ratan Tata did it.

This is the new India. The young India.

Please note : all the points written in the above article are based on author’s personal views. Special thanks to Hindustan Times.

Some break-ups are need to be celebrated

I was talking to one of my clients online on Sunday. Her name is Jenny. She is one of my best clients with whom I have been doing service for the past couple of years. She often shares her life’s happy and sad moments with me because she feels that I am the right relationship adviser for her. After few minutes of casual talk she became silent. I understood something seriously wrong with Jen (that’s what I call her).  She told me she visited her favorite place on earth last night and i.e. Big Slur in California. She started discussing with me about a book by Henry Miller which she has been reading lately. She wanted to share with me a beautiful line on Love from the author.  It said :

Good bye.. Forever!!

Good bye.. Forever!!

“Love is something which can never have a natural death. Love dies because we the people do not know how to replenish it again. It dies because of betrayals, errors and blindness. It dies of illness and wounds that we bring on it. It dies because we no longer want it to be there.”

She asked me whether I read novels or not. I told her that “Reading novels in not my cup tea”. She laughed and recommended me to read at least “The Divorce Party” by Laura Dave. She told me that this book is about two women who fight among themselves for not to let their love die.  She paused and then replied me. “Saurabh, I had a break-up last night!”

I was confused on how to handle things with Jen. But hats off to her spirit. She immediately replied, “Relax! buddy, some break-up actually needs to be celebrated.” I understood that Jen is not at all regretting on whatever she did last night. She was happy with the break-up and that is the reason she celebrated. She told me that there were some reasons, the best of them, on what she decided to let this relationship go.

I couldn’t stop myself sharing those reasons with all my friends, with all of those who are struggling with their break-ups.

First, there are many relationships on this earth which are meant to be only seasonal. There are people who get devastated because of their break-ups results in divorce. The relationships play a game with us. They get us in such a situation which makes us feel alive again. This phase is very tricky. Jen told me that this doesn’t mean that two people who are compatible with each other needs to be there for longer commitments. What I believe here is that only feeling of love is not important for a long term relationship, what important is the likeliness which one should have for his/her partner. You should ask a question to yourself. Do you really like spending time together with him/her? If the answer is YES, then please find a way to end all the problems among yourself. But if the answer is NO, then guys high time start looking for someone else.

Secondly, there are always chances when the wrong person can make you feel wrong. Jen’s cousin Lisa and her boyfriend Adam met and married in four months. After 6 months of their marriage Lisa realized that her husband is more interested in whirlwind than being a husband of a beautiful woman. Lisa told Jen that she always tries to make Adam happy by cooking his favorite dishes, watching a baseball match with him (though she doesn’t understands the game), but Adam doesn’t misses a single chance criticizing his wife.

it makes you feel sad when you realizes you have chosen a wrong person as a life partner

it makes you feel sad when you realizes you have chosen a wrong person as a life partner

It makes a person feel so sad and disheartened when he/she realizes that they have chosen a wrong partner for themselves. I believe that Adam should have tried to find out ways of coming out of these pity issues rather blaming Lisa for a bet he lost with his colleague. Guys, there is a difference between working hard on a relationship and working too hard. If someone is too stubborn to respect you for what you are, I guess its time for a change.

Thirdly, a discussion of points on what makes relationships work is a must. If the other end of a rope gets too heavy it is better to leave that rope and think of some other ways. Jen’s friend Martha and her husband Lewis are the two people on either side of a long rope, holding their end ups. Jen’s point here is that both the ends of the rope should not be dropped at the same time. If one end is also raised, still there is a chance of a safe relationship. But if only one person is holding the rope for longer period and he/she is not getting a time to rest and reboot, then I guess there is no point in holding that rope.  Its high time you should move on and catch a better rope.

Fourthly, sometimes there are better things waiting for you. Jen decided to buy her dream house finally in Las Vegas. She told me that she feels,  this house is the only place where she could have been. She decided to buy that house in Vegas on Sunday morning itself. What I believe is that you start enjoying the space, the right freedom from someone who was actually not worth of you and that is what Jen is doing. She is now happy with her life. In fact much more happier than what she was when she met Alexander. (Her boyfriend with whom she broke up last night)

Lastly, there are obviously chances of settling down the worst things happened to you in a best thing can happen to you. Jen said that, “people who truly loved their partner for even once, are far more likely to fall in love again and again and again…”

some relationship are born with a strong bonding and life long trust

some relationship are born with a strong bonding and life long trust

I seriously agree with Jen. This is an honest statement in fact. When you give the goodness, the kindness and joy of a love to your partner, he/she starts living inside you. Be happy if someone sitting beside you in a party is not ready to accept your gifts. Always remember that give your best piece to someone who is always ready to accept it.

Jen was very happy and so am I at the end of our conversation. She really wanted to share this with me. That is the reason I dint mind when she pinged me at 4 am in the morning. I told Jen only one last thing hearing which she started crying and i.e.

“there are many happy endings which do not come in the forum we hope for, but it do come for those people who believe in them and work for them.”

Shall we call it Bombay or Mumbai?

Thanks to the Maharashtra Elections which has brought Mumbai/Bombay controversies back to the headlines. Trust me this is the best time to examine the whole incidents that has taken place because of naming and renaming of places. Ok let me put this Bombay/Mumbai thing out of the track for sometime. What I believe is that this controversy can be better termed in three different ways.

First, Mumbai is the original name of the city and Bombay was originated from the Raj era corruption. Second, the controversy of Bombay/Mumbai was created by Maharashtrians themselves and third, we should use only their name for their city. As per me all these three reasons are very controversial.

Mumbai not Bombay

Mumbai not Bombay

Mumbai people believe that the word Mumbai has been originated from the goddess Mumbadevi whom the koli fishermen used to worship in their village which they considered to be Mumbai at that time. But the historical accuracy says that Bombay word has come from the Portuguese word “Bom Bahia” which means a beautiful bay. But we should not forget that the original city of bombay was established by the British people.

I guess Maharahtrians should not forget that they are not the only originators of Mumbai. The city of Bombay was built by Parsis and Gujaratis including both Hindus and Muslims. Till 1960 there was nothing called as “Maharashtra” and Bombay was the capital of the Bombay state. I am sure most of us are not aware of this. We should stop believing the fact that only Maharashtrians are the creators of Bombay and the rest are outsiders.

You know what Gujaratis call Bombay? They call it as Mumbai. I believe that Maharashtrians alone does not have any monopoly on the name Mumbai. Trust me the day is not far when all the Gujaratis will reject the real identity of the cities of Maharashtra. So this clearly indicated that Mumbai is not at all a Marathi name, I see it as a Gujarati name too. If I call Mumbai Bombay that doesnt mean I am disrespecting Maharashtra.

But my main concern, my main point of writing this post is that do we really need to change the name of our cities?

To some extent I believe “Yes” it is important. There may be different thoughts of different people on this. New York was called New Amsterdam, Singapore was originally called Temasek. I am sure whether you know this or not, the Russian cities often keep changing its name. The thing is the new name gets stick to your mouth after sometime. Have you seen anyone calling Sri Lanka Ceylon? Who calls Myanmar Burma today? (Until and unless there is a change in the regime).  Nobody calls Thailand Siam anymore.

Lets talk about the changes that has taken place in our own country. There was nothing called Tamil Nadu earlier. Madras was the original state that was later renamed to Tamil Nadu. Similarly, Karnataka was called as Mysore. Do you know Arunachal Pradesh was called NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) earlier. Not only this the name of streets of many cities of India has been changed. Who calls Connaught Place Rajiv Chowk anymore? Nobody.

If there were never any controversies when these names were changed, so why people are raising so many issues with Bombay/Mumbai? Madras became Chennai, Calcutta became Kolkata, Bangalore became Benagluru. Nobody raised any question at that time. Then why now?

The answer is very simple. No other Indian city is as terrorized as Mumbai/Bombay. In all the cites except Mumbai the change was very cultural. But in Mumbai the change is very violently political. Though when Bal Thackeray first raised this change in name issue in 1979, he called for the press meeting. There he said to Media that he wanted the change only on the cultural grounds. I read in the newspaper that one of the journalist asked Bala sahab that if he wants the change in the name on cultural grounds then the name given by British people was the best choice. He argues with Bala sahab that why don’t he change his name from Thackeray to Thakre. Bala Sahab stood up and said “I guess you don’t want the name of your newspaper to be changed tomorrow”. The reporter smiled and calmly took his seat.

Not only this recently Karan Johar, the famous Bollywood director apologized to Bala Sahab because of using the word Bombay instead of Mumbai in his recent flick “Wake up Sid”. I think the best way to stop this is that all the Mumbaians stand and unite together and shout Bombayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Jokes apart. Seriously I don’t find any reason of punishing people only because they call Mumbai as Bombay.

I staying in Kolkata have full rights to call my city as Calcutta. Do you think CPI(M) people will come and beat me for this. Never. If Raj Thackeray is so in love with Bombay or Mumbai where was he when the terrorist attacked the Taj Bengal? Where was he when the terrorist fired gunshots on the railway station? I don’t feel this is love, its a fair game of Politics. Only Politics and this is ruining the life of people staying in Bombay. Oops Mumbai.

Please note that all the views expressed here by the author are personal.

I believe that, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was not the sole responsible person for partition of India

History has always been explained with an example of  a Hindi movie comprising of heroes and villains. I am saying this statement giving a light to the Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s important role during the pre-independent India. I must admit that I have nothing to do with any of the religious approach to politics. I am not here to give you lectures on neither Gandhiji nor on Jinnah. I am least interested in congress and Gandhiji. Durga Das, the young journalist of the pre-independent India period quoted in his book  India from Curzon to Nehru and after, a statement from Jinnah  that is “I part company with congress and Gandhi. I am not the follower of mob hysteria.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a true symbol of determination & self belief

It was 1st October of 1906 when at least 35 Muslims of noble birth, wealth and power went to meet Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India who succeeded Lord Curzon. These Muslims were led by Aga Khan that time. They demanded a very small thing from Lord Minto and that was National Interest on Indian Muslims. They wanted freedom and help against an unsympathetic Hindu Majority. They went to Minto and asked very politely that was it possible for him to place separate jobs for them and separate seats in councils, universities, municipalities, etc. Minto was very happy to hear this.  Thus it gave a rise to the Muslim League in the same year in December at Dhaka which was headed by Nawab Salimullah Khan. Aga Khan was its first President.

Aga Khan who was better known as The Aga Khan later wrote that, it was too ironic that their toughest and doughtiest opponent that time was Jinnah who was totally against of the Muslim League. As per Jinnah the attitude of the Aga Khan towards Hindu was itself dividing the nation into two principles. When Muslim League was formed, at that time Jinnah was in Calcutta with other 43 Muslims and around 1450 Hindus, Christians, Parsis, serving as a secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji who was the President of Indian National Congress that time.

Jinnah was a true symbol of virile patriotism. Jinnah was tall and very thin to the point of emancipation. His attitude was in the form of a deceptive sheath and a spirit of exceptional endurance. Very formal, aloof and imperious of manner, an eager humanity, a shy and splendid idealism which was a true essence of the man. He was the founder of Pakistan.

Jaswant Singh, the ex BJP leader and a former defence, foreign and finance minister of India in his publication of a biography of Jinnah has thrown light on Nehru’s role in partition and a relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah which led to so many controversies. It was his personality which forced me to write a book on Jinnah, said Jaswant Singh in an interview with a National new channel in Delhi.

Jinnah with Mahatma Gandhi during the Muslim League meeting

Jinnah with Mahatma Gandhi during the Muslim League meeting

I personally believe that Jinnah was a complex personality of great character, a true symbol of determination. Jinnah joined the congress party much earlier he joined the Muslim League. He issues a statement also which stated that this is not even the shadow of disloyalty to national cause. I do not understand why people cannot consider him as a Nationalist. Yes he was a nationalist. What is so wrong in being a Nationalist? It was Jinnah’s achievement that brought the 1916 Lucknow Pact of Hindu-Muslim unity in the lime light and no doubt he was called as the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.

He was a Nationalist because he fought the British for an Independent India and contributed relentlessly for the interest of Muslims in India. What was wrong in this? He was just doing this as a Leader. We cannot call him as a secular nor a communal. It actually depends on the person how he takes the word secular. In the country like India, I do not believe that the word Secular actually exists. It is actually a social historic word that was born in Western Europe.

I read somewhere that Jinnah was a true hater of Hindus. He was a total Hindu basher. Why will he hate Hindus? His major disagreement was with the Congress party and not the Hindus. He has always said this in the constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He charged Mahatma Gandhi as a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular and prejudices, a leader who uses false claims to gain power. It was actually the way he emulated Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi tried becoming Jinnah but he was never successful. Jinnah was a self made man but Gandhi was the son of a Dewan, Nehru was born with great wealth.

Jinnah was a poor man, he used to walk to work because he had no money. He was staying in a Hotel called Watsons in Bombay and he told one of the biographers that time that his room was at the top most floor but the hotel had no lift at that time. I honestly admire him, not because he created success for himself, born to poverty and ended up becoming a rich successful man, but because he was a self made man, who always worked towards achieving what he had always thought of.

Jinnah with Nehruji after finalizing the proposal of partition of India

Jinnah with Nehruji after finalizing the proposal of partition of India

But thanks to India and its people who misunderstood Jinnah. The only reason behind this misunderstanding is that we needed to create a devil. We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most appealing story for everyone was the partition of India. In an interview with Jaswant Singh, he was asked by the interviewer that how is it possible that a man who is considered as the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity in 1916 transformed himself into the Qaide-Azam of Pakistan?

I really liked the way Jaswant Singh handled this question which I would like to share with all of you. He said that there was a central contest between the minoritism and majoritarianism. As soon as Mughal empire lost in India, the Muslims of India had lost the power but  majoritarianism didn’t begin to influence them until 1947. This was not accepted by the Muslims. So they decided that until and unless they had their own voice in the social , economical, political destiny of India, nobody will respect them. This was the main cause that time and it is still the main purpose. The Muslims want their own say in the society.

It was in 1937 when the congress refused to form a government with the League in UP. Everybody stated that it happened because Jinnah was scared of losing the election. But I really do not believe this was the issue. I wish I could have gone back to 1937. But why we are considering only this as an example. Lets look at other examples as well. The main issues was that they needed a certain assurances within the system which could fulfil their demands and give them a space in the society. This assurances came in the form of Reservations. I am personally against this reservation criteria which increased to 33% from 25%.

All this happened because they needed a space, they needed some kind of autonomy in decision making of their own social, economical and political destiny. So many things happened but even then Nehru was not able to understand Jinnah. This doesnt mean that Nehru was an insensitive man. The main reason was that he was deeply influenced by Western socialists thought. This means that Nehru was a Centralist and Jinnah was a decentralizer.

Nehru always wanted India to be highly centralized politically but Jinnah wanted a federal government in India. This doesnt mean that the federal government would have given Muslims a lot of space. People were against Jinnah because they always thought that he was trying to bring Muslims in the lime light which is not at all true. Even Gandhiji accepted Jinnah’s proposal of bringing the federal government in India.

Muslim League in 1936

Muslim League in 1936

Nehru himself was responsible for the partition. It was his biggest mistake. He realized this in front of his official biographers. I am not blaming him. I am just saying this because it is clearly mentioned in his biographies.

Jinnah was responsible for the partition too but he was not the sole culprit. There were many other people who were responsible for this. Today also people of India thinks that Jinnah was a sole responsible person for the partition. We need to correct this. Even Ram Manohar Lohia and Gandhiji accepted Jinnah’s proposal of Partition.