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Enterpreneurial Visions

Anoop Verma

By B.K. Karanjia & R.M. Lala
Penguin Books, Delhi, 2004, pp. 218 & 303, Rs. 350.00 & 450.00


To move forward a nation needs both inventors and entrepreneurs. While inventors unravel the secrets of nature and engineer new scientific breakthroughs, entrepreneurs take the scientific breakthroughs to their logical end by translating them into marketable products, which people can use to improve the quality of their life. This is how all progress happens, this is how productivity rises, this is how a modern nation is built. If the inventor is the brain of a nation then the entrepreneur is the heart. Just as the heart keeps the body revitalized by pumping oxygenated blood, the entrepreneur keeps a nation revitalized by constantly pumping in new ideas and products.   So what makes a successful entrepreneur? There cannot be any simplistic answer for that question. Entrepreneurs being an enterprising lot are not given to plodding down the beaten path, each one of them tends to chart his or her own road to success. If there has been a mercurial Henry Ford then there has also been a rather sedate Andrew Carnegie. But one common thread that seems to run through all entrepreneurs is that they are determined, ambitious, competitive, endowed with boundless energy and more importantly they are people with vision, they have an almost uncanny ability to look into the future and judge what people’s needs are going to be.   The two books under review shed unique perspectives on the country’s two great industrial houses, the Godrej and the Tata.   B. K. Karanjia’s Vijitatma, his fifth book on Godrej, tells the story of Ardeshir Godrej, the pioneer founder of the Godrej enterprise. The portrait of Ardeshir that emerges from the book is that of a sensitive, humble man, who despite his immense wealth was given to simple and almost spartan lifestyle. He was in his twenties when his wife tragically died but he never remarried, seeking to preserve her memory.   At the same time he was determined to take India to great industrial heights. Influenced by the ideas of Dadabhai Naoroji, he believed that the struggle for freedom was both political and economic. Swadeshi for him did not mean mere boycott of British goods, but their substitution by Indian goods of equal, if not superior quality. When he patented locks and safes he went to great lengths in proving that his creations were superior to imported goods.   However in telling the story of Ardeshir, B. K. Karanjia’s ...

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