The world of Twitter is exploding with #AccordingToRahulGandhi posts on the strength of his putting his foot into his mouth yet again. But you cannot fault his message, though the way he worded it was execrable. To claim that the man who invented Coca Cola sold Shikanji and the couple who set up MacDonald’s ran a Dhaba is really bad scripting, even if you wanted to dumb things down for an audience in rural MP.
If only he knew his Indian history well, especially that of Indian business, he would not have made such an inane statement. He would have been better off quoting examples of Indian successes, who succeeded despite all odds. And let me tell you, in India, no matter who is in power, odds are what you will face, if you set out to be an entrepreneur. India is a paradise for those who want to set up business because of the opportunities it presents. But at the same time, the bureaucratic controls,corruption and lack of skilled and ethical manpower, make it a nightmare. And yet many have succeeded despite all of this.
Right Mr Gandhi – here are a few examples for you:
1. Did you know that K Pandiarajan, who is now a Minister in the ADMK Government in Tamil Nadu founded and built up a huge Human Resources firm? His father was a worker in a match factory in Sivakasi.
2. Did you know SS Vasan (he was a good friend of your great grandfather Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, whom I adore) of Gemini Studios began life hawking magazines at the Trichy railway station?
3. Did you know P Venkatachellum who created and built up a huge business in sauces and condiments in the 19th century and exported his products all over the world, started off as a cook?
4. Did you know K Krishna Rao who later founded the Woodlands Chain began life as a grinder of idli batter on Acharappan Street in Madras?
5. Did you know Karur Vysya Bank was begun by a stamp vendor and a wholesaler of condiments more than a 100 years ago?
6. Did you know MRF (featured widely in the #AccordingToRahulGandhi hashtag) was begun when the founding family was down and out thanks to Government machinations?
7. Did you know TV Sundaram Iyengar failed in several businesses before starting off his eponymous conglomerate? And he had no godfather backing him.
These are just a few I could think of off the cuff and all from in and around Chennai. There must be thousands more across India. The problem with you, and your arch rival Mr Modi, is that you think all successes are from overseas. Start looking this way please.