Yash Birla, the business tycoon, has always been upfront about his opinions and doesn’t limit himself to sharing his thoughts and beliefs with the masses. Even in interviews, he has always been candid about himself, his personality, personal life, and business. In a talk with Ms Shobha De,
Mr Yash Birla shares about his family and cultural background.
Ms De is an Indian novelist and columnist and shares a friendly relationship with Mr Birla. They discuss his experiences and the history of the Birla family.
Yash Birla, in a talk with Shobha De, says how it seems like a paradox to him that people perceive him as a rock star, glamorous, and his personality as larger than life, whereas, in reality, he is further away from this and is an introvert actually.
Shobha De calls him a ‘destiny’s child’ and questions him about how he coped with all the tragedies that he faced. Yash Birla responds, “Life has its plans for you, and it prepares you for whatever is going to happen, in some way or the other. It’s how astute you are. Life had prepared me for this instance to happen. I had grown up with a very sound, moralistic, philosophical, and spiritual background. That being the essence of my personality gave me a strong foundation. Although I was emotionally distressed about what happened with my parents and family, my feet were never shaken. Throughout this whole incident, I was focused.”
Yash Birla further shares how the Birla clan came around to help him in his business, “It was quite difficult because when you are with your parents, you are sheltered in their guidance and advice and you never really take advice from outside for any personal or business matter. After my parents passed away, I was searching for who is my genuine well-wisher. Fortunately, the entire Birla family supported me and gave me the strength and courage.” This shows how much he values his family and is grateful for everything he has today.
Upon being asked, by Ms De, how his father, Mr Ashok Birla, an unconventional businessman, break him into the business? The Birla scion rightly replies, “I was exposed to business since 1985 and was made to learn the basics of the business and write cashbooks and journal entries. So when you come to the level of being able to manage the business, you know how each level of people would think and react. He was far-sighted and had unique concepts. The first mutual fund in the country was his brain wave.”
Yash Birla, upon being questioned about the expectations of being a “Birla” answers, “The thing you really cherish about a surname like Birla is not what people usually associate with it like wealth or affluence behind it. Most of our family members don’t give much cognizance to that. It’s the culture and the philosophy developed by ancestors and carried on by the new generation that I assess with the name Birla.” While speaking about his family values, he further adds, “Our ancestors had a code of conduct, a way of doing business, a way of conducting yourself in public, and a way of charitable dispositions. This is something I really take pride in and cherish. I associate the Birla name with that. I want to instil in my children that the Birla name basically means principles, culture and good social life, rather than just being successful monetarily. It is a part of it and not the entire essence.”
Ms Shobha De questioned Mr Yash Birla about how his family being involved in the freedom struggle of India engages him in being a part of modern India? To which he responds, “In the house where I stay, the staircase is filled with photographs of my elders with members of the freedom movement, including Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Some of the photographs are signed or have a little note written on them. It’s like; I am living with that culture and in the house that witnessed all of this. Mahatma Gandhi stayed at our home, and Sardar Vallabhai Patel passed away in our house. All of this history is a part of my upbringing and values.”