The title of this book is a misnomer, it should have actually been named as Bringing the Rainbow-The R K Somany story as this book is autobiographical in nature.
The Somany family controls over 55% of India’s sanitary market and the circumstances which led to this makes for fascinating reading.
R K Somany describes his Marwari roots and how the family migrated from Rajasthan to Calcutta.There the family made its fortunes in trading jute and the stock markets.
Subsequently,like other prominent Marwari families, they moved to manufacturing and through sheer hard work made their enterprises a roaring success.
R K Somany writes very honestly about his childhood,personal life and family tussles which is not only unexpected but very illuminating.
The book is full of anecdotes and brings to life the changes that occurred in India’s landscape from Independence.
One anecdote which stands out is during the infamous Calcutta riots of 1946, Amiya Nath Bose,nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, came to their home and collected 2000 rounds of ammunition.
“You look after the Marwaris,I’ll look after the Bengalis”, he told the Somanys
Another interesting aspect of the book is Mr.Somany’s thoughts on succession planning in family enterprises.While the older generation would dearly want their legatees to take over operational control, they seem to have accepted the idea of having professionals at the helm of affairs.
One big takeaway personally for me from this book:
“In the tradition of all the great Marwari businessmen I admire, I believe that cash is king,Every transaction, every move, every decision we take has to be cash positive”
Do buy this book if interested in Indian family run businesses