Listen to Vishal Retail chairman Ram Chandra AgarwalJul 7, 2007
Listen to once a common man Ram Chandra Agarwal, who now presides over a chain of more than 50 supermarkets and hypermarkets. In 1986 he was earning Rs. 300. He realized that this job cannot fulfill his dreams, so he quit his job.
Let’s start with your childhood...
I was born in a lower middle class family and brought up in Calcutta. I studied in St Xavier College and during that time I joined a service.
In 1986, after leaving my service, I started a small store of 150 sq. ft ready-made garment store and you can say my retail career started from there.
So you took a job in between. What was the job like?
It was an assistant manager in a metal company and I was paid Rs300 (a month) and it lasted for one year.
Why did you quit?
Because I didn’t see any future in that job...in business I can do more. In that job, I could not fulfil my dreams, so I thought I should start my own business. At that time, people were very crazy about ready-made garments and I started 150 sq. ft store.
In 1986, the prospects for that business were not as great as they are today, but you still went into that business?
Not that great. You can say that was a passion to be a big man. That way, this is the only thing—by doing business, I can be big some day.
So you dreamed of becoming big?
Yes, from the very beginning I dreamed of becoming a big man.
What did you dream? How would you describe a big man?
Everybody knowing me and I becoming a famous man and having your own personality.
So what do you think now? Have you fulfilled your dreams?
Still there is a lot to come and, again, I am working hard to reach that goal.
What is your goal?
You can say that, at that time, I was a Communist person. I worked very hard to change the system of the country. At that time I was Communist-minded. I also dreamed of being a leader who can bring any change in the system of the country.
After doing all these things, I realized that to do such things I need to be a big man and without a name, anything you say—nobody hears you.
That’s why I came into business and I will make my money then the whole country will be knowing me, then I will try bringing any kind of changes in the system of the country.
So what are the changes you would like to bring?
Still the country is not knowing me. There are lot of things as a businessman I shouldn’t be talking about, for example, politics and all those things.