Friday, November 1, 2013

Open Letter to Mr. Mukesh Ambani

Dear Mr. Mukesh Ambani,

Wish you are well. Ignoring letter writing skills acquired in school, I am going to start with recollection of personal incident instead of the intent or subject of this letter.

Almost 10 years ago or so, while strolling on the streets of Shrinathji and munching on 'Ratalu', my father proudly mentioned to me, while pointing at a construction site, "Son, this is the site of upcoming Dhiraj Dham. Its being build by the Ambani's who are also devout Vaishnavs like us." At that point I couldn't tell, whether he was more proud of the fact that we are generational Reliance investors or that you share religious beliefs with us. I was in college those days and had little knowledge or interest in shares/stock market. BUT I certainly felt a deep sense of pride that we both were 'practicing' Vaishnavs who frequented Shrinathji annually if not more.

Here is a recent story from the kingdom of Ravana.

A Buddhist monk has suffered serious injuries after setting himself on fire to protest against the slaughter of cattle.
Sri Lankan police said the monk set himself on fire today near the famed Temple of Buddha's Tooth Relic in the central town of Kandy.
You might wonder what does a monk setting himself on fire [to save cattle] has to do with me? Be patient, the answer has to [or so I hope] come from with in.

I can skip another meeting and write more stories, But with the sad reality of corporate structures that exist today, I do not want to undertake the risk of my letter being trashed by your subordinate before it makes it to your table.[Knocking on wood] I do understand your time is valuable. So much that you alone are capable of fighting India's sanitation problem single handedly with your ever increasing net worth.

If you have made it this far, chances are that I have your marginal attention since a multi-tasking billionaire tycoon would look imbecile paying utmost attention to a small letter by roadside investor.

Kindly spend just spend 12 minutes along with Mrs. Ambani

[who is very spirited and spiritual individual based public information]

to watch the video below.

Done watching? At this point you must do two things. First, acknowledge either by writing back to me or in your heart that you have understood what this letter is about. Second, you must thank Shrji bava that fortunately your father did not stick around to learn that you have decided to enter 'the flesh business'. Yes, he sure was a shrewd businessman and would be enthralled to see your business empire grow, but IMHO, certainly not with blood on your hands. You have become victim of West's flawed business philosophy that personal beliefs/religion and business do not go together/be kept separate etc etc. The counter argument to that is one must remain "dharmic" at all places at all times, just as one must breath at all places at all times.

Ever heard of BeVegCanada Campaign? Living in US, on one side, it is ironic to watch so many spirited ordinary Hindus and Christians alike working tirelessly to promote vegetarian diets and reduce meat consumption and in turn cruelty towards voiceless/helpless animals where as on the other side people like you, listed on Forbes world's most powerful individual's list, with immense power and "paisa" overrun the very faith they are born in to. You bring tears of pain in fellow Vaishnav's eyes. Please do not take this as curse/complaint/rant. This is just a hopeless attempt by an ordinary Vaishnav to guide another Vaishnav's conscience which lost direction on Mumbai's Dalal Street. I am no Sanjay of Mahabharat with supernatural ability to foresee future. So I cannot predict how, when or why but rest assured, if you are entering 'the flesh business' with millions of devout Vaishnavs/Jains/Hindus hard-earned money [and trust], it's all downhill for you, your family and RIL from this point onwards.

P.S. As a third generation small time Gujarati investor, I am selling all my RIL stocks and will request every Gujarati that I know of to do the same. I will also write to the Nathdwara temple board administration urging them to de-list "Dhiraj Dham" from their website and severe ties with you and your family.


  1. I wish the author of this blog would mention who he or she is. Perhaps the author goes by his or her real name "Deshdaaz" but in case that is not the real full name, I would like to know why this anonymity. Is it fear? Or is it self-effacement?

    My unsolicited advice to the author would be to have the courage to put his or her name to this blog and elsewhere.

    With that out of the way, here is my opinion in brief -- since the author tagged me in a tweet. This opinion is not unsolicited.

    1. It is better to be consistent in belief and behavior rather than being hypocritical.

    If you believe that animals should not be harmed, then you cannot be a non-vegetarian since it involves harm to animals.

    If Mukesh Ambani is a vegetarian because of his belief or his religious convictions, then he is being hypocritical by investing in a business that harms animals.

    If he personally does not disapprove of meat-eating by others but does not eat meat himself because of upbringing and taste, then he is not being hypocritical. If he sees nothing wrong with killing animals even though he himself is a vegetarian, then he is not being hypocritical.

    2. I believe in property rights.

    If Ambani has earned his money fair and square, then he has every right to do whatever the heck he wants to do with it -- even building a monstrosity.

    (Just BTW, it is not possible that his eyesore of a house in Mumbai cost $1 billion. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest manmade structure in the world cost $1.5 billion and it is 163 stories high, and stands 828 meters tall. People just don't have any idea how much a billion is.)

    One can always quibble about how much of his wealth was fairly acquired and how much by manipulating the system, colluding with the government, etc. But assuming that he played the game without cheating, he has the right to do whatever suits his fancy -- including investing in the fast food business in competition with KFC.

    3. If there's demand, there will be supply.

    People are non-vegetarians. I am a non-vegetarian by birth, as 99 percent of Bengalis are. People choose to eat or not eat whatever. Businesses cater to demand. If there's demand, there will be supply.

    I don't think I will be able to change how people behave. I would like it if they did behave the way I want them to. The world would be then an ideal world according to me.

    But I find changing even myself to be a difficult -- almost impossible -- task. I am absolutely convinced that I cannot change others.

    So in conclusion:

    I believe that Mr Mukesh Ambani is probably being hypocritical. But I shrug my shoulders and say, "well, so be it. If not him, someone else will have to compete with KFC. Why not him? There are bigger problems that we have to face. Why worry about him and his chicken business?"

    My final word: I approve of your decision to sell Reliance shares and your call for others to sell their shares. This is how the market determines the valuation of companies -- people acting on this beliefs.


  2. We are all connected!

    Eating lower on the food chain would not only save billions of animals from slaughter each year, but would also save humans from a diet known to cause heart disease, cancer, and obesity.

    Instead of feeding grain to livestock, a plant-based diet makes 16 times more grain available to hungry people. Eliminating intensive factory farming of animals would save precious water and topsoil. And without the ozone-damaging nitrates resulting from billions of pounds of manure, our air would be cleaner and we would take a giant step toward fighting global warming.

    In this way, animals, humans, and the environment are interconnected—we ALL stand to gain by not harming animals.


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