Friday, 30 June 2017

Hubristic Mallya

I have been keeping a track of what is happening in Vijay Mallya's professional career for quite some time. As much as it is a great deal to be a businessman, it doesn't harm being a flamboyant businessman. But being a 'cautious flamboyant businessman' is a different thing altogether. Vijay Mallya inherited a lucrative business from his father (Vittal Mallya), and the junior's desire to expand his empire into various sectors, not restricting it to the liquor world was smart enough but it certainly needed a hawk's sight, fox's mind, elephant's strength, tiger's patience, cheetah's pace and a donkey's hard-work. Young Mallya was ambitious, not to argue on this note, he was cautious enough, perhaps because there were a few acquaintances left from his father's period to directly or indirectly guide him. It would be completely inappropriate and wrong on my part to say that all the older colleagues, acquainted with Vittal Mallya, sought to the betterment of the junior. Despite the fact that the junior had to take over the UB Group at a young age and run it successfully for quite sometime, this fame and wealth that had come took a lot of space in his head. It could be said that the downfall actually sought its origin here, at the very thought of extending desires, than much later with the failure of the Kingfisher Airlines.

Vijay Mallya was an inspiration, and still is to a few, who beheld the values of a self-made successful man. It equally pains all his admirers to see his downfall. Though Mallya has acquired enough wealth, it only fuels those who envy his status, but to the millions who only aspired to walk in his footsteps, he has been a disappointment. Known as the 'King of Good Times' and the 'Liquor Baron', Mallya didn't just stop at this, he had to extend his empire in international trade of liquors (Shaw Wallace and Company Ltd., Whyte and Mackay and Diageo), and venture out in other fields such as Calendar Girls, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. (MCF), Indian Premier League (IPL), Sahara Force India, Kingfisher Airlines and politics. Though not all of his expanded ventures turned out profitable for him, still there were times when he carried out certain duties or tasks or merely acted to simply keep fueling his own ego.

Vijay Mallya is also admired by many for his way of showing-off his wealth. But one is never sure if it did occur to him or not that this action could be fatally burdensome when he would go down with money. To add to his exuberant collection of vintage cars, he has accumulated quite a lot of wealth in only grabbing up items that are rich in antiquity, such as the belongings of Mahatma Gandhi, and the the 'Sword of Tipu Sultan'. As much as it was necessary for the Indian government to bring back these items to the original land, it still did not waver in its stand of avoiding the auction, and it remained stable while not yielding to fueling the junior's whims and fancies.

At the fall of Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya lost his image as well. Many employees who worked at the ground level were not paid for months together, and this indeed left a bitter experience in the workers. If only Mallya had sought to the needs of those who worked at the ground level, rather than concentrating on the hierarchical position holders, probably his image at least would not have been marred. Initially, the junior was charged with a civil case of default debtor, and later the case was turned criminal with charges against him like money laundering and wilful default debtor. In one of Mallya's interviews to the CNBC channel, he had made a very sensible and a remarkable statement that all his new ventures are backed by assets. This was a smart move, but he not being directly involved to monitor the working of the organizations cost him a lot later. His interest in sports and constant money poured into that field was evidently seen, which again raised many eyebrows as to his extravagant expenditure on something that could wait. But, Mallya is what Mallya is, he had to and has to get things done his way, at least he is thought of this way by many who know him personally.

All said and done, I still read up any news that relates to Vijay Mallya, not just because he makes it to the news, but also because he has been one of the many inspirations that I look up to. As an ardent admirer of the junior, I can only use Hosseini's phrase from The Kite Runner - "Come back, there is a way to be good again."


Arun said...

Need more time to comment on this.

Suhasini Srihari said...

Please take your time, no hurries!

Manoj Jain said...

The above write-up is a good analysis of Junior Mallya's life. But I think the quote of Hosseini is not suitable for him because he plundered our country and not even an inch he regrets or has a guilt for it,moreover he doesn't want to . Instead, he escaped from the land ( but it is also a good lesson for those banks who refuse to give loan to common people at lesser interest rates).

Suhasini Srihari said...

Manoj, thank you for reading and commenting on my write-up. Hosseini's quote is for all, for everyone deserves another chance. And, it would be completely wrong on our part to pass the judgement saying that Mallya "escaped" with all our money, but think in his shoes once - would you stay or go away to a safer place when you have death threats coming your way. Revoking Mallya's passport was GoI's decision, and he couldn't return to India because of a revoked passport. Also, he is ready to settle the amounts with the banks. Keep up with the news.

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