The Business Of Progress

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LEGENDS AND Legacies is a pet project for me — and it’s a personal venture, not connected with the long term business plans of the Kinetic group or the Firodia family. I am deeply passionate about India and Indian business. The show highlights great contributions made by some of the country’s legendary business houses over the last four-to-five decades. This show is not about money, power and greed, this one attempts to chart out their journey and the different ways in which they have helped shape India’s future. For example, had the seven foresighted partners of Infosys not staked everything they had for a dream — putting India on the world software map — would the Indian IT industry have scaled such remarkable heights? For me, the Infosys dream and the way the company has been shaped is a unique, classy effort. Again, had it not been for the Mahindras, the Bajajs, the Firodias and the Munjals, would the Indian auto industry be where it is today? If we paused to consider the contribution of the Tatas, Birlas or the Godrej family to India’s progress, we’d know what a major role these jewels of corporate India have played in the development of post-Independence India. I wish to talk about these families, I wish to talk about their growth charts which, in turn, have helped the nation grow.

Illustration: Samia Singh

After some very, very, intensive discussions with these legends, I found that it was their strong value system that had guided their approach to business. Read about them and you will find that most of them started out with few resources and a very difficult economic environment: all they had was their dream to take India ahead. Can I give you our own example? The Firodia family entered business with the objective of making millions of Indians mobile and our auto industry self-reliant.

I was always curious to learn about the values that have shaped the fortunes of other leading Indian corporate houses. It was this curiosity, and the desire to present and archive the hard work and triumphs of Indian business, that motivated me to take up this project. It is a rare experience interviewing such personalities, learning from their untold journeys, and recounting their success stories for the benefit of other aspiring business people.

In many ways, Legends and Legacies is a landmark concept. Most business shows focus on products, services, profits and losses and the future plans of business houses. But mine is more about their value systems and the secrets of success; their past, present and future plans. I have also tried to get the perspectives of other stake holders too. For example, in the Infosys episode, Sudha Murthy, Nandan Nilekani and other partners of Infosys share their experiences — making it lively, interactive and multifaceted. They share their growth story and how they continue to remain rooted to some very basic values of life.

The CEOs share their growth story and how they remain rooted to some very basic values of life

I am used to being on the other side — being interviewed. It’s different being a host. The format is designed so that it remains informal throughout. The show could later translate into an unique coffee table book on Indian business legends and the way they interface with the country’s common people. It is time the world reads about them.

(Motwani hosts Legends and Legacies on Zee Business)