Thoughts - At a Funeral
By Tribhuwan N. Bhan
The patriarch of a corporate sector in India Mr. Dhirubhai H. Ambani
breathed his last on 7th July 2002. During his funeral the next day, I tried to
have a glimpse of his mortal remains but failed to do so, as there were over
25000 mourners and I could not physically jostle myself through the huge crowd.
So I decided to come home and watch the funeral on the small screen. While
watching the funeral of Mr. Ambani on TV, my mind went racing back to February-
March 1961, when with about 30 more persons, I attended the funeral at
Chandanwadi, of Hari Singh, Ex. Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir state. Here I
was watching on TV, the funeral of a man who came from an unknown village,
Churwad of Gujarat and rose to become a business tycoon. His funeral was one
befitting an emperor. Simultaneously, in a flash, the scene of the other funeral
I attended in 1961, came across my mind, when an ex-ruler of an Indian state had
the funeral of a commoner.
From Rs. 500/- Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani created the empire of Reliance Industries
worth Rs. 65000 Crores at present. He was a visionary who achieved the
impossible through hard work, dedication and singleness of purpose. Though he
had not received any formal education in Economics or Commerce, he proved to be
a genius in the field of "Business Administration' and a financial wizard.
Thus he became a legend in his own lifetime.
It was my destiny to be present at the funeral of one-time ruler of J&K
State, stand just few feet away from his mortal remains, gaze at the same
endlessly, and then after a gap of four decades to witness the last journey of
the doyen of Industrial advancement in our country. Comparisons are odious and
unhealthy, but at times like these any person, who is aware of facts and figures
realizes that a ruler left a truncated and fragmented state as a legacy, which
has proved to be a problem not only for our country but also for the whole
world. In contrast, a commoner has left behind an industrial empire as his
legacy not only for his family but also for the entire nation. Thus I draw a
conclusion that nothing is everlasting, neither the glitter and grandeur of
royalty nor the pain and pangs of poverty. Whatever one may inherit, or create,
remains here on this planet. One departs from this world empty handed, when one
leaves for his ultimate abode. What matters most is the impression one has
carved out in the minds of the people according to his deeds or misdeeds, during
Thus one is judged not by who you are, but what you do.