August 14th -15th 1947, India was partitioned into two independent states, India and Pakistan with millions of people migrating in search of a safer territory with Hindus and Sikhs migrating from Pakistan region to India and Muslims heading towards Pakistan. According to www.theconversation.com, approximately 14-16 million people were displaced from either territories’ with people travelling on foot, bullock cart and by train to reach their new homeland.
Mr Raunaq Singh, a Sikh by religion was one of those refugees who migrated to Independent India from Pakistan with the hope of restarting life afresh by living back his salesman position with a steel pipe merchant. He started working for a wage of 1 paisa/per day for a spice merchant and by facing all obstacles of life garnered himself as the founder of six entrepreneurship ventures under the umbrella of Raunaq group viz. Apollo Tyres Ltd, Bharat Gears Ltd, Bharat Steel Tubes Ltd, Raunaq International Ltd, Menarini Raunaq Pharma Ltd and Raunaq Automotive Components Ltd. which gives employment to nearly 9000 employees and provides approximately 20000 workers with indirect employment. His journey to the pinnacle is a case study for all those budding entrepreneurs, thus Kalam fan Club is bringing this post on Late Raunaq Singh to provide an inspirational source.
Life Chronicle in Pre-Independent India
Raunaq Singh was born in Born in the year 1922 at a place called Daska in current Pakistan. He spent his childhood days in Lahore selling second-hand steel pipes on bicycles. He had a good team of friends who possessed the trade secret of selling second-hand pipes at the price of brand new ones. This experience helped him to fetch a job of a salesman with a steel pipes vendor and was able to earn Rs. 8 per month that could suffice his needs. The role of salesman helped him to nurture entrepreneurial skills required for a trader. As we know from History, August 14-15th 1947 witnessed partition of unified India into two separate territories which created huge migration of minority community from both the states and Raunaq Singh was no exception and had to migrate to Indian Province.
Life in New Delhi along with 13 roommates
Raunaq Singh migrated to Delhi and started living with 13 roommates in a cramped room and got a job with a spice merchant called Munilal Bajaj & Company. Unlike his salesman job in Pakistan, he had to settle for a meagre one paisa/day wages. He went through all hardships without cribbing. His invaluable experience of sales always prompted him to start anything new on his own but finance was the bottleneck.
Sold Wife’s Jewellery to start a Spice Trading House
In November 1947 He could convince his wife to hand over her jewellery and by selling it for 8000 dollars, he boarded the train to Kolkata to start his own business. His first ever venture as Spice trader flourished and he started reaping huge profits. During this innings of life he had to frequently travel from Delhi to Kolkata for business deals and during one such journey, the miracle of his life happened!
Co-passenger was CEO of a Steel Tube Manufacturer from Germany
One day Raunaq accidentally travelled in executive class due to unavailability of tickets in economy class. Luckily for him, his co-passenger happened to be CEO of a biggest Steel tube manufacturer from Germany. The acquaintance developed into good conversation, and obviously, Raunaq’s business acumen got noticed by the German man. He offered Raunaq a proposal to start a Steel Tube manufacturing unit in Kolkata. Raunaq was not ready to lose this opportunity, but the investment was the hindrance. But the CEO was convinced about Raunaq’s ability, and he even gave his nod to provide the initial capital. Thus the turning point in Raunaq’s business journey had come to the foreground.
The Beginning of Entrepreneurial Journey
Soon the first plant of Steel Pipes was incepted with brand name as Bharat Steel Pipes. The quality of product had no parallel and by word of mouth Bharat Steel Pipes became a household name across India. Soon Raunaq captured the international market by exporting to European and USA too. The taste of success with steel pipes helped him to spread the wings to other range of products like Tyres in the form of Apollo Tyres and Pharmaceuticals (Menarini Raunaq Pharma Ltd) also.
The Chain of Raunaq Group of Companies
Today Raunaq Group of Industries has a diversified portfolio of manufacturing, engineering services, international trade and financial services. They have managed to capitalize on Indian foundation and have collaborated with some of the most leading companies in USA, Germany, Japan, and Norway.
The Six gems of Raunaq Group are:
- Apollo Tyres Ltd,
- Bharat Gears Ltd,
- Bharat Steel Tubes Ltd,
- Raunaq International Ltd,
- Menarini Raunaq Pharma Ltd
- Raunaq Automotive Components Ltd
At the age of 78 (in The year 2000), Raunaq Singh handed over the baton to his son Onkar Singh Kanwar, and on 22nd September 2002, he left mother earth. He is survived by his wife, three sons, and a daughter. Though Raunaq Singh has achieved success in all his business ventures, His long-term dream to produce a memoir during his living days didn’t materialize due to his busy schedule of handling the business. Though media reports tell that great Kushwanth Singh and Pritish Nandy were shortlisted to carry out the task of penning his biography, it couldn’t be fulfilled.
Raunaq Singh is considered as one of India’s pioneer Entrepreneurs of all time He is renowned as “Mr Exporter” in business circles. He has taken up various roles, and prominent among them are:
- President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
- President of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India
- Member of the Executive Board of the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris for a three-year term.
- President The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)
- Chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC)
- Chairman, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association
- President, Federation of Indian Export Organization
- Chairman of Joint Business Councils between India and USA, USSR, Canada, Japan, France and Taiwan
Kalam Fan Club is proud of this Son of India who didn’t have Godfather or higher educational qualifications regardless of which reached the pinnacle of success to be considered as one of the leading Entrepreneurs’ country has ever seen.
More Information about Raunaq Singh can be obtained from www.raunaq.com