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The Bania-preneurs of India!

Team YS
29th Sep 2012
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You may be wondering! -Kya bla hai..pehle to kabhi suna nai?. While I was thinking of a title for this article,baniapreneur came to my mind. Bingo! This is THE word, which perfectly completes this article! Let me justify my title. Baniapreneur is an entrepreneur who is Bania, in better words - an Agarwal who has started a company or business of his own. That’s exactly who I’m going to be talking about throughout this piece. I’m warning you! I may be biased for I am a bania after all!

Now, it has been a widely accepted fact that agarwals in businesses are a large number. Not many know why. Well for a bania, business begins at home. An agarwal child learns accounting, bargaining, selling right from his childhood, not because he was made to read a book on it, rather it was the environment that he grew up in! It’s in their blood; they are born chartered accountants. Though they may be inclined towards engineering, medicine, management or whatever field you may say, but at the back there always is a question in their mind “How much money will I be making?”


Ok! I have exaggerated it a bit too much about (us) Agarwals (prove karke dikha to mane..). I think I will begin with Lakshmi Mittal (Arcelor Mittal), Ghanshyam Das Birla (Birla Group), Sunil Bharti Mittal (Airtel), Anil Agarwal (Vedanta), Jet Airways (Naresh Goyal), Lalit Modi (Modi Group) and the list will go on. Some of the biggest corporate houses of the country have been established by agarwals. Though they are not sizeable enough in our country’s hundred crore plus population, yet their presence can be felt. As per a citation in 2010, ‘Banias’ accounted for 24% of the income tax and 20% of the country’s GDP.These people have been active in business for decades and have established themselves as forerunners by winning the trust of the people. “When we go to meet a new person for some business and introduce ourselves as agarwals. The deal is almost closed then and there, rest of the talk is just formality” says Rohit Jain, a businessman from Chandani Chowk. Everyone has a group of friends, you will find that one of your friend is a Bania, atleast in northern India and everyone of you call him ‘Kanjoos’. You will never know how much money a Bania carries in his pocket from his appearance. Believe me!

Agarwals are also well ahead when it comes to the number of entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem in our country in the recent years. It might be a tall claim but I think you could point to any startup that has started in the last five years and yes you will find an agarwal as one of its co-founder. Yebhi.com and Flipkart, the two hottest ecommerce startups that have changed the retail scenario had been founded by Agarwals. Binny Bansal the co-founder of Flipkart has been able to bring up the company to the investors’ expectations, which is why recently Flipkart received $150 million. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, once said, “I am a bania and there is no limit to my greed.” Naaptol is another startup which provides price comparisons (aakhir baniye hai to samaan compare karke hi khareedenge na!) founded by Manu Agarwal which has become quite popular in the recent times.

So the moral of the story is next time you see any of your Bania friends gossiping secretly, I guarantee another startup to be launched soon. Naukri ka jugaad karlo abi unse! ;)

 Author credit: Ashwin Aggarwal

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