Born: December 28, 1932
Died: July 6, 2002
Achievements: Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private
sector company. Created an equity cult in the Indian capital market.
Reliance is the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list
Dhirubhai Ambani was the most enterprising Indian entrepreneur. His
life journey is reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is
remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a
truly global corporate group.
Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December
28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. His father was a
school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by
selling "bhajias" to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the
After doing his matriculation at the age of 16, Dhirubhai moved to Aden,
Yemen. He worked there as a gas-station attendant, and as a clerk in an
oil company. He returned to India in 1958 with Rs 50,000 and set up a
textile trading company.
Assisted by his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, Dhiru Bhai Ambani built
India's largest private sector company, Reliance India Limited, from a
scratch. Over time his business has diversified into a core
specialisation in petrochemicals with additional interests in
telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail,
textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics.
Dhirubhai Ambani is credited with shaping India's equity culture,
attracting millions of retail investors in a market till then dominated
by financial institutions. Dhirubhai revolutionised capital markets.
From nothing, he generated billions of rupees in wealth for those who
put their trust in his companies. His efforts helped create an 'equity
cult' in the Indian capital market. With innovative instruments like the
convertible debenture, Reliance quickly became a favorite of the stock
market in the 1980s.
In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in
global markets, its high credit-taking in international markets limited
only by India's sovereign rating. Reliance also became the first Indian
company to feature in Forbes 500 list.
Dhirubhai Ambani was named the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century
by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). A
poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him "greatest
creator of wealth in the century".
Dhirubhai Ambani died on July 6, 2002, at Mumbai.