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Bharat Ram: Relationship man
BS Reporter in Mumbai | July 12, 2007 11:48 IST
Bharat Ram, the last surviving son of Sir Shri Ram, died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday night, two months after his younger brother, Lala Charat Ram.
In their lifetime, the two had their share of differences. The brothers were, after all, as different as cheese and chalk. The younger brother was outspoken and direct, Bharat Ram was soft-spoken and humble.
Still, when Swraj Paul mounted a raid on Escorts and DCM in the early-1980s, nobody gave Bharat Ram much of a chance, though his youngest son, Vivek, had gone to school with Rajiv Gandhi.
Paul had been buying the DCM stocks from the markets through a handful of brokers. But nobody in the Bharat Ram camp knew how much of DCM he owned. In the thick of the battle, Bharat Ram called a meeting of the shareholders to change the company's name from Delhi Cloth Mills Ltd to DCM Ltd [Get Quote]. As the record date for the meeting approached, Paul was left with no option but to show his hand.
The raid came to naught. And Bharat Ram resigned from DCM soon afterwards in 1985.
Next was the three-way split of the family in 1989. Bharat Ram saw to it that it was an amicable split and the sons of their oldest brother, Murli Dhar, got their rightful share. Bharat Ram, it seems, had anticipated that the ambitions of all his three sons -- Vinay, Arun and Vivek -- could not be accommodated within DCM. So, he had set up Shriram Fibres (now known as SRF Ltd [Get Quote]) way back in 1970.
After the split, the part of DCM left with Bharat Ram failed to live up to its past glory. The rules of the game changed overnight with economic liberalisation and old business families fond themselves totally out of sync with reality. He had to bow out of two high profile joint ventures -- one with Daewoo [Get Quote] to make passenger cars and another with Benetton to make garments.