"Some are born
great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them," these
Shakespearean phrases probably portray well the character of Dhirubhai.
Birth and Ancestry: Born in a large family, in a remote rural village of Chorwad in
Saurashtra, Gujarat, on 28, December 1932 to Hirachand Govardhandas Ambani and Jamunaben
Hirachand Ambani, Dhirubhai was the third child in a family of three sons and two
daughters. His brothers were Ramniklal and Natvarlal and sisters were Trilochna and
Son of a rural school teacher, Dhirubhai did his schooling in Chorwad but couldnt
continue to college, as he couldnt afford to. Financial problems at home forced him
to drop out of high school and look for service. Initially he started by selling bhajias
to pilgrims visiting Girnar peak.
His First Job: In the year 1949 at the age of 17, he went to Aden in Yemen in a ship named
Kabota. Ramnikbhai his elder brother, already settled in Aden had arranged a job for him
and as a result Dhirubhai didnt have to put in any initial struggle for a job or
settlement in Aden. In 1954 he returned to Mumbai for a brief period and married
Returns to India: He finally returned from Aden in the year 1959 and from here started a
illustrious saga of business success and rise to pinnacle of national and international
fame, fortune and wealth as also a show of exemplary courage, financial wizardry and
Here is a saga of a man who overcame all odds to become India's most recognized and
globally acclaimed entrepreneur in just over three decades. Dhirubhai came to Mumbai in
1959 with Rs 500 in his pocket and today his business empire is worth over Rs 62,000
At a Glance: What is significant and praiseworthy is that he did this all
in just in one lifetime He was a business leader of extraordinary impact on international
business, and world economic and political policy.His uncanny ability to overcome all
obstacles business or otherwise with foresight, better commonsense, daring maneuvers,
sharp penetrating intellect and above all a love and commitment to the country and it's
people, catalyzed his business empire from a few thousands rupees to more than 60,000
Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of an over Rs. 62,000 crore (US$32.5 billion) empire, was
always known by his first name, an indicator of the man's down-to-earth personality and
grassroot approach to life and living.
What took generations for other big and small business houses, Dhirubhai, the colossus did
in just three decades. Dhirubhai's feat is thus unparallel and unmatched in the Indian
corporate world and would remain so for generations to come. Here is a man who not only
created Equity culture in India but also delegated the meaning of shares to the common man
and utilized the profits for mutual benefits of the company and the shareholders.
Dhirubhai was different from others who once dominated Indian business. He gave his
business opponents a run for their money. He undertook immense risks to get to the top
-the head of a conglomerate, and one among the select Forbes billionaires.
Today, his dream, Reliance is acknowledged as one of the best-run companies in the world.
Dhirubhai was a man who shared a dream and won it and a man who dared to dream big.
From an humble investment of a few thousand rupees Dhirubhai the relentless business
machine criss-crossed the Arabian Sea and back, up and down the entire value chain of
textiles, petrochemicals and petroleum , touching millions of life directly or indirectly
to build an empire worth Rs 62,000 crores virtually brick by brick. Dhirubhai did this all
by himself and in one lifetime, which is by all means, is a unmatched and unparallel
record- indeed a stupendous achievement.
Credited with a number of financial innovations in the Indian capital markets, the
Reliance Group has one of the largest families of shareholders in the world. With an
investment of over Rs.62,000 crores in textiles, petroleum refining, bio technology,
petrochemicals, power generation, telecommunication services and a port terminal , has
steered the Reliance Group to its current status as India's leading textiles,
petrochemicals, petroleum refining, power and telecom player. Only sky was the limit for
this legendary figure called Dhirubhai. Dhirubhai was a star, which rose on the horizon of
Indian industry three decades ago and remained on top till the end by sheer virtue of his
ability to dream big and translate it into reality. He was 138th richest man in the world
as per the latest Forbes magazine list of the rich with a $2.9 billion fortune. He
undoubtedly can be called a business Maharaja of the corporate world in India.
Dhirubhai Married Kokilaben in 1954 and had four Children, two sons, Mukesh, and Anil and
two daughters, Dipti and Nina. Mukesh was the eldest followed by Nina then Dipti and then
A very significant aspect of Dhirubhai was his strong bond with family members especially
with his sons. Dhirubhai the man, was basically warm natured, intensely human, a
relentless businessman, generous to a fault, yet blessed with a crafty sense of humor. His
family was a close knit family and irrespective of a busy schedule Dhirubhai took time off
for his family from the business workload. During the early years he used to take his
family to beaches in Mumbai frequently. Later on toured places with his family in his own
car. Before his first stroke he frequently went on a holiday vacation along with his
entire family. His most preferred car was white Cadillac and preferred food was Gujarati
fare. Fond of munching peanuts and eating Kakara. He was a ace Gujarati drama lover.
He would take the entire family on vacations in chartered planes. If one year it was
Alaska, the next year it was an African safari. In India, one of his favorite holiday
destinations was Munnar in Kerala. His friend, the late Darbari Seth who was then chief of
Tata Tea, invited Dhirubhai to this sprawling, pristine tea territory. Initially,
Dhirubhai showed no interest but after a maiden trip, Dhirubhai visited Munnar time and
again. The whole family took part in any ceremony like commissioning of any plant, bhoomi
poojan of a new plant etc.
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