From Rags To Riches
Running a business is not a piece of cake and if you are a Dalit then all hell breaks loose on you. Dalits have been the victim of age-old caste-based discrimination and it has hindered their path of success. But there are people who have broken all the barriers created by the society and have scripted a success story. The book Dalit Millionaires narrates the stories of such fifteen individuals, who faced these obstacles only to set up multi-crore business empires in the last few years. Milind Khandekar has beautifully scripted the stories of these Dalit entrepreneurs, who have braved both societal and business pressures to carve out highly profitable niches for themselves. The book gives a vivid chronicle of how the battle has moved from the village well to the marketplace.
The author, Milind Khandekar, has over twenty-two years of experience in the field of journalism. He is currently Managing Editor at Media Content and Communications Services (I) Pvt. Ltd (MCCS), Mumbai, and looks after the editorial content of ABP News, ABP Ananda and ABP Majha. He has previously worked with the Navbharat Times and Aaj Tak.
The 210-page book is divided into 15 inspiring stories, which have been taken from every sector of the economy. Ashok Khade, who is now Managing Director of DAS Offshore Engineering Private Limited, at one time didn’t have even four annas to replace his fountain pen nib for the exams. Kalpana Saroj, who turned around Mumbai’s Kamani Tubes Limited, which had shut down, and transformed it into a profit-making company, was traumatised by her first marriage, and drank poison but survived. She then picked some courage and returned to Mumbai to work in a hosiery factory for Rs 2 a day.
On the other hand, Savitaben Parmar of Ahmedabad presents another inspiring story, wherein the wife of a conductor has made a huge fortune by selling coals and then manufacturing tiles. She battled all the way to success. Hari Kishan Pippal, who runs People’s Hertiage Hospital, once worked as labour at Jainson Auto Industries in Agra for a salary of Rs 80 per month. Devkinandan Son runs the Taj Plaza hotel, located close to the Taj Mahal. While Devjibhai Makwana of Bhavnagar manufactures filament yarn.
According to the book, Dalit businessmen are no longer begging for jobs—now they’re actually creating jobs. Accoring to Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), Dalit businessmen pay as much as Rs 1,700 crore as tax to the government. The liberalisation of the economy has proved to be a boon for these Dalit industrialists.
At the end, Dalit Millionaires gives a quick guide to those who want to start their own business. It provides with guidelines that come in handy before starting your own business. Overall, the book if full of inspiration, and all the stories in the book have one common thread, which is the spirit to not give up. If you can imagine it, you can change it.
By Rohan Pal