Marwar - - Cover Story - We bring you an ex­cerpt from MK Sanghi—Life, Love & Laugh­ter.

THE M K SANGHI GROUP TRACES ITS ORI­GIN TO Moti­lal Sanghi, whose en­try into the world of en­ter­prise be­gan with a gen­eral mer­chan­dise store in his na­tive Jodh­pur. Mo­ti­vated and driven, he pros­pered, which led to his foray into other busi­nesses like car dis­trib­u­tor­ship, cin­e­mas and man­u­fac­ture of in­dus­trial gases and plants. His busi­nesses were fur­ther ex­panded and strength­ened by Naren­dra Sanghi his el­dest son ini­tially, who was also Con­gress MP for 14 years and then by his youngest son, Ma­hen­dra Sanghi, who was sent to Mumbai in 1962 to ex­tend the Sanghis’ footprint to the fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of In­dia.

To cel­e­brate his life and im­mor­talise his con­tri­bu­tions to busi­ness, phi­lan­thropy and cul­ture, his wife, Manju Sanghi has writ­ten a bi­o­graph­i­cal ac­count of his life. Ti­tled MK Sanghi—Life, Love & Laugh­ter, the book talks about the man, his per­sona, his busi­ness ini­tia­tives, his style of man­age­ment, his suc­cesses, his mis­steps and other facets of his life, in­clud­ing his love for tra­di­tion and cul­ture, squash, food and his Jodh­pur ori­gin. It also of­fers a glimpse of M K Sanghi as a beloved hus­band and dot­ing fa­ther to three chil­dren— Vidhi, Vaib­hav and Ashwin—who have shared their mem­o­ries and writ­ten about their fa­ther in the book.


MK has al­ways done things with aplomb. His early interest in busi­ness cham­bers even­tu­ally grew into a full-fledged pas­sion. He loved be­ing in­volved in chart­ing the path of In­dian busi­ness and trade. The In­dian Mer­chants’ Cham­ber, a pre­mier body set up in 1907, held great fas­ci­na­tion for MK. In 1990, when Pravin­chan­dra Gandhi, a close friend asked MK to be­come IMC pres­i­dent, MK proudly shoul­dered the re­spon­si­bil­ity. IMC is the only Cham­ber in which Ma­hatma Gandhi was an honorary mem­ber. It was a well-run or­gan­i­sa­tion, and its ac­tiv­i­ties kept him happy and occupied. Among the many lu­mi­nar­ies that MK in­vited to ad­dress the IMC dur­ing his ten­ure, were APJ Ab­dul Kalam, who was then a part of the Depart­ment of Atomic En­ergy, and Russi Mody, the Chair­man and MD of Tata Steel, be­sides four­teen Cen­tral Cabi­net min­is­ters, by it­self a unique achieve­ment. A decade later, MK would be­come pres­i­dent of the In­dia Chap­ter of the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce and trans­form it into one of ICC’s most ac­tive chap­ters. He thus played a cru­cial role in in­flu­enc­ing eco­nomic poli­cies as In­dian busi­nesses made strides to­wards glob­al­i­sa­tion. How­ever, it was at ASSOCHAM that MK sur­passed him­self, as­tound­ing us all with his acu­men and sheer ge­nius. ASSOCHAM was a no­table or­gan­i­sa­tion, which had ear­lier been led by peo­ple such as Viren Shah, Keshub Mahin­dra, A N Hak­sar and L M Tha­par. But by 2003, it was al­most on its last legs. Al­though its mem­bers, both com­pa­nies and pro­fes­sion­als from across the country, ran into sev­eral thou­sands, it had reached a point when it was un­able to even pay staff salaries. Its sec­re­tary­gen­eral had also re­signed while FICCI and CII, the two ri­val na­tional cham­bers, were go­ing great guns – their sec­re­taries Tarun Das and Amit Mi­tra call­ing the shots with the gov­ern­ment. All told, there were too many chal­lenges and it was a crit­i­cal time. But chal­lenges seem to at­tract MK like a moth to a flame. We just prayed that he wouldn’t get burned. Al­though he was ini­tially hes­i­tant to take up on his friend Ram Gandhi’s re­quest to head an or­gan­i­sa­tion that ap­peared to be in the dol­drums, MK grew quite keen as the days passed. In the mean­time, in­dus­try big­wigs such as Har­is­hankar Singhania, K P Singh, L M Tha­par, Avi­jit Mazum­dar and Pravin­chan­dra Gandhi en­cour­aged him, ex­press­ing un­equiv­o­cal con­fi­dence in MK’s abil­ity to re­store the fad­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion to its for­mer glory. MK soon over­came his ini­tial hes­i­ta­tion and picked the gaunt­let.

About the au­thor

Manju Sanghi cur­rently looks af­ter the M K Sanghi Group’s char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties. She has ear­lier served as Pres­i­dent of In­dian Mer­chants’ Cham­ber Ladies Wing.

and the sec­ond be­low his left nip­ple. Press­ing the pad­dles firmly onto the gel pads, he ap­plied twen­ty­five pounds of pres­sure. ‘All clear!’ he shouted as he de­pressed the shock but­ton on the pad­dles. Be­langer’s body jolted as the cur­rent hit. The Di­rec­tor stared at the mon­i­tor, hop­ing for a sta­ble rhythm.

And then, Be­langer retched. The vomit splat­tered over his tuxedo, trick­led down and was slowly ab­sorbed by the thick pile of the pale blue wool car­pet on the State Din­ing Room floor. ‘We must shift him to Bethesda im­me­di­ately,’ said the Di­rec­tor. He stole a glance at the Pres­i­dent to seek his con­cur­rence. The Pres­i­dent nod­ded word­lessly.

Within sec­onds, an Air Force chop­per landed on the he­li­pad in the South Lawn and Be­langer was ef­fi­ciently shifted into it. As he was be­ing slid in, the Di­rec­tor saw the next tell­tale sign.

Be­langer’s face, like his arm, was now se­verely swollen, but on the right side. It had bal­looned to the ex­tent that his right eye was no longer vis­i­ble. The Di­rec­tor quickly got into the he­li­copter along with other medics. In the dis­tance, he could see men dressed in bio-haz­ard suits run­ning across the lawn to­wards the White House. They were car­ry­ing can­is­ters of chlo­rine diox­ide to fu­mi­gate some ar­eas. They had to keep in mind the pos­si­bil­ity that an­thrax had been used. Be­langer’s symp­toms of nau­sea, blis­ters, swelling and short­ness of breath were sim­i­lar to the ef­fects of an­thrax poi­son­ing, but no one could be sure.

As the chop­per took off, the Di­rec­tor glanced through the win­dow at the Pres­i­dent who was stand­ing in his white-tie get-up on the South Lawn, his jet-black hair blown awry by the whirling ro­tors. He was in­tently ob­serv­ing the he­li­copter as it lifted off the ground.


Pro­logue - Part 4

The Wal­ter Reed Na­tional Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter, lo­cated in Bethesda, Mary­land, was abuzz, given the pro­file of it lat­est pa­tient. The hos­pi­tal was renowned for the num­ber of fa­mous peo­ple who had been treated there. The staff had long grown used to the ar­rival of pow­er­ful peo­ple. John F. Kennedy had been rushed there af­ter his as­sas­si­na­tion. Ron­ald Rea­gan had un­der­gone surgery for his prostate cancer at Wal­ter Reed. Ge­orge Bush had been taken there for treat­ment of his atrial fib­ril­la­tion. But the ar­rival of any Pres­i­dent or for­eign head of state in crit­i­cal con­di­tion was al­ways a cause for mad­ness to pre­vail.

The WHMU Di­rec­tor quickly briefed the doc­tors as Be­langer was wheeled into the In­ten­sive Care Unit. ‘His pulse is er­ratic, his left arm and the right side of his face are swollen. He has de­vel­oped bright red pus­tules on his arm and his heart rate has been in de­cline. He’s thrown up sev­eral times. We’ve taken blood sam­ples dur­ing the chop­per ride. How quickly can you get me a tox­i­c­ity re­port?’

‘It’s done,’ said the se­nior pathol­o­gist on the scene. The new­est ma­chines at Bethesda spat out such re­ports al­most in­stantly. ‘It’s crazy but he has all the symp­toms of snakebite. But there aren’t any snakes in the White House and there is ab­so­lutely no poi­son in his sys­tem.’

No snakes in the White House? won­dered the WHMU Di­rec­tor. I’m not sure the Pres­i­dent would agree. He seems to think that every­one around him bears shades of the rep­til­ian.

‘I have bad news and worse news,’ said the young US Navy Com­man­der who was also the on-duty doc­tor at the ICU. ‘Which will it be?’ he asked as he scanned the re­ports.

The WHMU Di­rec­tor brusquely replied, ‘Both!’

‘The bad news is that his kid­neys seem to be shut­ting down for no ap­par­ent rea­son. The worse news is that in­travas­cu­lar co­ag­u­la­tion has be­gun im­ped­ing his blood cir­cu­la­tion. If we do not fig­ure out a course of treat­ment, he will soon go into coma.’

The words, ‘Death will in­evitably fol­low’, were left un­said.

Fac­ing page: (Top) M K Sanghi and Manju Sanghi with their chil­dren (l-r) Ashwin, Vidhi and Vaib­hav; (Bot­tom) An old fam­ily pic­ture show­ing M K Sanghi and Manju Sanghi with their chil­dren (l-r) Vidhi, Vaib­hav and Ashwin Top: M K Sanghi Bot­tom: Manju...

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