The legendary entrepreneur
Ram Buxani, the Chairman of ITL Cosmos Group
Ram Buxani is no ordinary businessman. He is an institution for people who are enterprising and have a vision for the future. Ram Buxani is no ordinary businessman. He is an institution for people who are enterprising and have a vision for the future.
There are very few people as impressive as Ram Buxani, who have made a mark for themselves by virtue of their enterprising qualities. Buxani, the Chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, wears many feathers in his cap. He is the founding father of the UAE's NRI community, the man who saw the UAE rise like a phoenix, and one who established himself as a successful entrepreneur. It won't be an exaggeration to say that he is the face of India in the UAE, and a visionary at heart. While talking to him, he spills pearls of wisdom by bringing to the fore more than six decades of experience under his belt. He is an institution in himself, and a person from whom much is in need of being learnt.
Buxani's rise from oblivion to riches is an extraordinary tale. He says there are "no coincidences in life", rather it's all about "destiny". Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, in 1941, Buxani never knew he would be a sensation in the world of business. He says that as he set his foot in Dubai in 1959, it was no less than a sleepy fishermen's town. Dubai was then part of the Trucial States, and couldn't be located on the map of the world. As he was lucky enough to get a job in a private company, he admits he wasn't clear enough as to what his ambition was in life. However, it seems that luck had much in store for him, as he took the right decisions at the right time to rise in the rank and file of his company to become an entrepreneur from a desk-pusher.
"Dubai is always lucky, and it will always be a success story," says the legendary businessman, who is quite content with what he has achieved. He is a man of few words, and his broad smile reflects his confidence. He is articulate and practical to the core. He is also a competent writer and versatile speaker.
Elucidating his experience, Buxani says, "Enterprising people in Dubai will always triumph." He states: "If you change after the change, you will survive. If you change with the change, you will succeed, but if you cause the change, you will lead." The Dubai-based veteran NRI and businessman places the leadership of the UAE in the category of people who have caused change and led from the front. "It is up to you where you would like to place yourself, but change is inevitable in life," he remarked, while advising the next-generation to buckle up for challenges in life.
"When I came to Dubai, the world was in the 20th century, whereas Dubai was lagging behind in the 19th, but the country and its leadership geared up for a phenomenal struggle and has the capacity to sustain and change," he recalled.
Buxani foresees a glorious era for the UAE, and Dubai, and says that business will pick up despite timely downslides. Quoting an interesting observation from yesteryears, he says Dubai has always taken risks, and is bound to succeed. "At a time when there wasn't any port in Dubai, the country's leadership decided to build a dry dock. The world was surprised. However, the vision of the leadership triumphed, as there wasn't any dry dock from Singapore to London, and Dubai while being strategically located robustly catered to the maritime industry. This anecdote from Dubai's glorious past demonstrates its genuine leadership," Buxani remarked.
The business doyen is optimistic at heart, and he doesn't seem to nurse second-thoughts as he plans for the future. Commenting on sluggish trends in business these days, he says, "Dubai has always seized opportunities, and has made the best out of any situation. This is why this place is indispensable for global businesses and networking." He opines that people should change because change in life is inevitable.
When asked if he has any ambition, Buxani takes a deep breath to pronounce that there shouldn't be any emotions in business. "You have to be practical. I go with the wave and make use of the opportunity. Ethics are very important. The point is that the situation creates challenges, and you have to confront them upfront," he says proudly.
Buxani is an ardent campaigner and wants to see the day when NRIs will have the right to vote overseas. He makes an undisputed and sound case to say that when a convict in jail and soldiers on the war front could be allowed to cast their vote, why not enterprising and revenue-generating NRIs? He blames the NRIs themselves for the laxity, and says that they haven't expressed their keen interest in getting themselves acknowledged on the electoral front. He wants NRIs to initiate more bonding and act in unison.
He is all praise for the UAE, and says that it is the only country in the world which creates opportunities for foreigners' welfare. "The leadership in the UAE believes in looking at the bigger canvas and has plans for the future. This is the crux behind its rise and success," Buxani authoritatively points out.
A successful businessman who deals in a diverse range of products and services, from textiles to banking, software and electronics, has a word of caution for his trading community, as he says, "Business should be within reasonable limits, and there shouldn't be any room for greed." That piece of advice from an acclaimed businessman is no less than a Magna Carta, as he himself proved his humbleness and commitment to service by rising in ITL to the rank of chairman from an office-clerk. Buxani's illustrious career is worth emulating.