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At 73, Sanjay Dalmia Shows No Sign of Slowing Down When It Comes to Innovation in Business

Updated on January 19, 2018
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Patriotism plus passion: The inspiring story of ace industrialist Sanjay Dalmia

Sanjay Dalmia was born in 1944, in Lahore, into one of the most influential business families of India. During Partition, his family left Pakistan and moved to Delhi. He was schooled in one of the India’s premier public schools - Modern School.

A businessman in the making, Sanjay Dalmia completed his Graduation course in Economics (Hons) from St Stephens College, University of Delhi, one of the most prestigious colleges in the capital city of India.

Owing to his rich upbringing, one might assume that he has a casual attitude towards his family business. However, Mr Sanjay Dalmia’s journey goes against this popular notion.

The septuagenarian businessman is nowhere close to being satisfied from what he has achieved till now, and is ardently working towards emerging as a global player. His zest towards achieving his goal proves that for him, age is just a number.

Mr Sanjay Dalmia’s career spans over four decades. During this time, he has served as the Non-Executive Chairman of GHCL Limited, as well as the Chairman of Colwell and Salmon Communications (India).

He has also been a Member of the Board of Directors of Union Bank of India, and a member of the Northern Committee of Industrial Development Bank of India. He has been actively associated with various apex Indian trade organizations like PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry).

At a time when young people are giving up on their dreams, the septuagenarian is taking forward his vision of leading the global market by investing outside the country. His vision saw its first implementation in GHCL limited, a flagship company of the Sanjay Dalmia Group.

In 2005, GHCL limited marked its footprints across the globe by acquiring two large companies − a home textiles company in the US and a soda ash unit in Europe. According to its Chairman Sanjay Dalmia, it was an achievement that called for celebrations.

"Earlier, only overseas companies could come to India, but now it's a two-way traffic. We too can acquire companies abroad, and that's the route to growth that we've decided to tread on," he had said during an interview.

Mr Sanjay Dalmia is known throughout the industry as a turnaround specialist. The ace businessman is quite confident of his acquisition strategies, after having acquired Colwell & Salmon, Rosebys and Sree Meenakshi Mills. He is working upon restructuring his ITES business, and believes that textiles, ITES and soda ash are going to emerge as major growth areas in the coming years.

Nobody is perfect, and Mr Dalmia, too, admits to have made some mistakes along the line. During an interview, he revealed that he still regrets letting a good many of his years pass by. He wishes he has focussed on trying to turn his inheritance into a force to reckon with.

However, the ace industrialist now has a clear vision for his goals. "Yes, I could have done it 10 years ago. I have no explanation for why I did not. But that's the past, where I was trying to do too many things. Now I'm totally focused. Besides, there are many more opportunities today," he stated.

Although Mr Sanjay Dalmia has served as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, he believes that the Parliament is not a suitable place for an industrialist to be at. "That's not the forum for us. In fact, today it is ideal if there is less and less of government in business. It should only play a regulatory role," he said.

Mr Dalmia has always played by the rules when it comes to businesses, and he welcomes regulation. He insists on absolute compliance with the directions issued by regulatory bodies like SEBI. His herbal medicine company Dalmia Healthcare Ltd also operates on similar grounds.

When not busy as a businessman, Mr Dalmia spends his time as a philanthropist. The renowned industrialist has established Organisation of Understanding and Fraternity (OUF), which aims at helping people and promoting communal harmony and national integration.

The organisation, led by Sanjay Dalmia, also started its new division ‘Masoom’ in 2001. It’s a school for providing right guidance and training to mentally challenged children from underprivileged parts of the society, who are often abandoned by their own families.

Keen on an effective industrial growth in India, Mr Dalmia is a nationalist at heart. His NGO ‘Bharat Mata Shaheed Samman Trust’ works towards spreading the message of national integrity as well as aiding the families of the martyrs.

In recent times, Mr Sanjay Dalmia has attracted the attention of media not only for his social activities, but also for the scale of his business investments and the innovations he has been roping in his strategies. The success he has been achieving this late in life is truly an inspiration for the Gen-next.

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