Book Review: Bhujia Barons


“Half the population of Bikaner seems to be involved in making bhujia and the other half in eating it”

I was reminded of this old joke when I picked up the book “Bhujia Barons-The untold story of how Haldiram built a 5,000 Crore Empire”

The book traces the story of Haldiram and his three generations as they built an empire based on bhujia across 4 cities-Bikaner,Kolkata,Nagpur and Delhi.

The author has a tendency towards hagiography which makes the book a tedious read.She is also not able to fully explain why Haldirams was so successful despite the intense competition.

There’s one anecdote in the book which I found interesting:

Prabhu Agarwal,the owner of Haldirams Kolkata, pays a gangster 2.5 Lakh Rupees to murder a  tea vendor who is obstructing his real estate plans.The conspiracy is exposed and the police comes to arrest him.

Prabhu as per usual asked the policeman Aapka bhao kitna hai?”  and the policeman told him that if Prabhu gave him 20 Lakhs,there won’t be any case against him.

Prabhu was incensed and allegedly retorted, “I keep IPS officers in my pocket for 1000 Rs.”

In order to punish him for his arrogance,the policeman said, “I’ll get you tangled in such a case that you will never be able to get out it for any amount of bail”

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