Friday, December 31, 2004

A fight between rich kids

Originally posted elsewhere on 8 December 2004:

Anil Ambani, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, has an op-ed in yesterday's Economic Times titled "Rules and Tools for Leaders". His article is ostensibly about his father Dhirubhai Ambani's views on leadership, but Anil gives the game away about halfway through the article, with sentences like these: "... leadership is not a matter of inheritance or right", "[it] is a function of merit", and "it lies in the ability to inspire others to put their faith in you".

Wait a minute, there is more! Non only does Anil want to tell us (without telling us, of course) what he thinks about his brother, but he also wants to give us some deep gyan (wisdom) that he says his father lived by. Consider this:

Not for nothing is Dhirubhai remembered as a great visionary, a dreamer. "All of us", he would say, "have the capacity to dream. It is the human condition. But for me, a visionary is one who has the God's gift of dreaming with his eyes wide open".
Then, we have this:
I remember asking him once: "What is the definition of a true leader?". His reply was so stunningly simple that it seemed, at first, to be banal. "A leader", he said, "is one who attracts followers".

Boy, am I grateful for all this wisdom! We all knew that Dhirubhai was single-handedly responsible for several fabulous bull runs on the Bombay Stock Exchange; we now know that one of his sons is capable of an entirely different kind of stuff for which "bull" would make an appropriate adjective.

An editorial in today's Economic Times called for an early resolution of the "deuce between the two Ambani brothers". I disagree; I want this spat to go on publicly, acrimoniously, loudly, and for as long as the two brothers can make it last. For one thing, it would serve the noble purpose of bringing to light corporate India's many shady practices. For another, it is just starting to be fun. All the TV time and newsprint devoted to it would be such a waste if it is not allowed to become at least as gripping and down-an-dirty as, ... mmm, ... women's wrestling on ESPN!

However, as of today, it looks like a patch up between the brothers is imminent. That would be too bad.

Update: This post was originally written on 8 December 2004. I am happy to report that the brothers are still at it!