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The Gita Piramal Chat

For the first time in the Rediff Chat's three month history, we had two guest Chats going on simultaneously. Gita Piramal in one room, Raj Singh Dungarpur in another.

Piramal, the author of Business Maharajas -- which she told us on the stairs had sold out within hours of being on bookseller shelves -- provided an animated discussion on the eight fascinating businessmen profiled in her book.

Whether it was Dhirubhai Ambani or Rahul Bajaj, she produced fascinating nuggets of information with the panache of a P C Sorcar. And, yes, she stuck to her guns, maintaining that that there was nothing wrong in family-run company managements or the corporate baton being handed from father to son.

Very lively! You must read the transcript.

amb (Fri Oct 25 18:55:50 1996 IST):

hello, is any one there?

Arun (Fri Oct 25 19:01:53 1996 IST):


Arun (Fri Oct 25 19:02:11 1996 IST):

Is Ms Piramal in?

yogi (Fri Oct 25 19:03:04 1996 IST):

hey amb are you related to alan lamb??

amb (Fri Oct 25 19:03:17 1996 IST):

amb: hello!!!

amb (Fri Oct 25 19:03:48 1996 IST):

arun: hello!! from where are you?

GITA PIRAMAL (Fri Oct 25 19:04:00 1996 IST):

Hi everyone, I'm here and is there anything you wanna know about Business Maharajas?

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:04:49 1996 IST):

Hey guys, Ms Piramal is on. :) :) :)

Arun (Fri Oct 25 19:05:15 1996 IST):

Of all the people you have featured in your book - who in your opinion is numero uno?

amb (Fri Oct 25 19:05:20 1996 IST):

hello Gita Piramal!, can I know what promted you to pen such a nice book on indian businessmans?

Aaron Cartwright: (Fri Oct 25 19:05:23 1996 IST):

Hullo, Ms Piramal. How did you think of this subject? And why these businessmen? What made you chose these men?

GITA PIRAMAL (Fri Oct 25 19:05:41 1996 IST):

Hi Bunty. Why are you interested in Business Maharajas?

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:06:43 1996 IST):


yogi (Fri Oct 25 19:07:17 1996 IST):

Dear GP: How come you decided to write on the high and the mighty. Specially when so much has already been written about them. Who are you trying to inspire? Or is it that you do not wish to write about the lonely man on the street and fight his cause??

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:07:57 1996 IST):

Gita Piramal: Because, I wanna be one of them. Any short cut methods to achieve their position?????

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:09:24 1996 IST):

Yogi: I liked your idea to call Gita Piramal, Dear GP.

Rishab Shukla (Fri Oct 25 19:09:39 1996 IST):

Good evening, Mrs Piramal. Is tghere a pattern to your selection? Dhirubhai, Rahul Bajaj, RPG, B M Khaitan, Bharat Shah, Aditya Birla, Ratan Tata seem to be a disparate lot. Except that three of them are Marwaris, I see no connection. Is there a connection?

maharaj (Fri Oct 25 19:09:49 1996 IST):

Who do you think is the best of the lot that featured in your book? Why

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:10:11 1996 IST):

Yogi: I liked your idea to call Gita Piramal, Dear GP.

yogi (Fri Oct 25 19:10:46 1996 IST):

Bunty: yeah seems a mouthful eh? what say GP??

GITA PIRAMAL (Fri Oct 25 19:11:41 1996 IST):

Aaron/Amb: I'm a business journalist and I've been covering these businessmen for a long time and I wanted to know more about these men than what I could write for a newspaper article , I wanted to know if there is a secret hoard which I could tap into , which would tell me about success and all these 8 men would be successful anywhere in any environment.

Arun: According to sales Numero Uno is Ratan Tata. But if you are asking me who is the most interesting, I can't answer that , I find them all equally fascinating.

Coming back to all of you on why these men? I wanted to show that India can produce men of global stature for i.e (more)

Dhiru (Fri Oct 25 19:12:50 1996 IST):

Hi Ms.P ! Hello to you from the western shores of the United States. We are waiting for a copy of your book to reach us here in the US. The press reviews have been tremendous.

yogi (Fri Oct 25 19:13:15 1996 IST):

GP: what do you besides writing? i always wanted to know how the rich and the famous and sometime talented (like you) spend their money? I mean life must be reaaaaaaal coooooooool maan. What say??

A M James (Fri Oct 25 19:13:21 1996 IST):

Hullo, Mrs Piramal. Do you believe the spirit of entrepreneurship is best captured by communities like the Gujaratis and Marwaris. As a Marwari yourself (?), do you believe that other Indian communities don't quite have it. What about the Punjabis? Are there no Maharajas among them? L M Thapar, for instance.

GITA PIRAMAL (Fri Oct 25 19:14:03 1996 IST):

B M Khaitan controls 5% of the global tea market , Rahul Bajaj has 6% of the world two wheeler market and Bharat and Vijay Shah are the worlds carat czars, and polish almost a quater of De Beers production in diamonds. This is just to give you a sample of Indian managerial capability in world terms.

Bunty (Fri Oct 25 19:14:24 1996 IST):


maharajah (Fri Oct 25 19:17:10 1996 IST):

This damn system is all mixed up. I had to log in so often!

maharajah (Fri Oct 25 19:17:13 1996 IST):

This damn system is all mixed up. I had to log in so often!

Aaron Cartwright: (Fri Oct 25 19:17:18 1996 IST):

Miss Piramal, that's fascinating!What makes someone like Dhirubhai Ambani tick? Which one of them in your opinion will be a world beater in 2025? Will it be the Ambanis?

GITA PIRAMAL (Fri Oct 25 19:18:44 1996 IST):

A M James: Entrepreneurship is alive and kicking in India, in the last 10 years there are many more entrepreneurs from non businesss backgrounds than ever before , for example Vittal Mallya was the son of army commander , sure Punjabis are doing great but if you take the top 100 publicly listed companies you'll find that Marwari's and Gujratis continue to dominate, L M Thapar is a has been. How do you know so much about Indian business commmunities and how do you know I'm a Marwari?

maharajah (Fri Oct 25 19:19:13 1996 IST):

Ms Piramal, in your book don't you think Dhirubhai Ambani is a class apart. After all, he began from scratch; others had setup industries, or money, and name. So surely he is THE GREATEST. your opinion