A patriarch passes away

Dhirubhai AmbaniMumbai: It was just before the first public issue of Reliance Industries in 1977 that Dhirubhai Ambani took a group of potential investors from Mumbai for a plant visit in Ahmedabad. He tried to explain to the not-that-technology-savvy men how the plant works.

Seeing the blazed looked on their face he realised that they are not following him. So he immediately changed the tone and pointed towards a set of pipes and said: "I put Rs 1 crore through this pipe, and it will come out as Rs 5 crore through other pipes. So you guys put the money here and get the money from there."

This was how he sold his dreams to millions of investors and they were no mere pipedreams. Over the last 25 years, he had created a corporate empire, which recorded a turnover of Rs 63,000 crore and a net profit of Rs 4,600 crore in the fiscal ended March 2002, giving enormous benefits to millions of shareholders, and in the process developing an equity culture among Indians.

From a humble school teachers son from Chorwad in Gujarat, who started a trading house with an initial investment of a mere Rs 15,000 in 1958, to a man rubbing shoulders with the Forbes list of the worlds richest men, Ambani did, beyond an iota of doubt, travel a long journey before he breathed his last on Saturday (6 June) night at Breach Candy Hospital, nearly a fortnight after suffering a cerebral stroke.

A pillar collapses
Ambani's body was kept at the family residence since Sunday morning for people to pay their last respects. The mortal remains of Dhirubhai Ambani were consigned to flames at the Chandanwadi Crematorium in south Mumbai later.

Amidst chanting of vedic hymns, the funeral pyre of Ambani was lit by his sons Anil and Mukesh, shortly after 6.30 pm in the presence of the entire Ambani clan, except its female members.

A large number of industrialists, politicians, film stars and scores of Reliance employees and shareholders were among thousands who attended the funeral of the patriarch of the Ambani clan.

Indian President K R Narayanan said: [Ambani's] emergence as a leading figure in the corporate world has been cited as a remarkable example, which needs to be studied in depth to highlight his important role in our country's quest for economic growth and regeneration."