Lalit was a pillar of the Indian industry

Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:48am hrs
The news of my dear friend Lalit Mohan Thapars passing away has left me in a state of shock. With his demise, I have not only lost a very close friend, but also someone whom we all in the business community looked up for advice and guidance.

My acquaintance with Lalit goes back many decades. Although he was younger to me, we remained very close all these years. It was indeed a privilege to have a friend like him.

Lalit was a pillar of the Indian industry, and made invaluable contributions towards its progress through his vision and intellect. I had the good fortune of interacting with him very closely on various issues facing the Indian industry when both of us were heading two industry bodies in 1988-89 - Lalit as president of Assocham, and I as president of CII. It was indeed an enriching experience.

Educated in some of the best institutions in India and abroad, he had a world view, and was very good at reading the business environment. A man of impeccable integrity, Lalit was also extremely good at building relationships, identifying talent and nurturing them. Truly, Lalit not only created a thriving business empire, but actually built some of the most enduring institutions. Lalit had handed over the reins of his business empire to his next generation a few years ago, and I am very sure they will ably carry the torch forward for many years to come.

To people who did not know him well enough, Lalit sometimes came across as easy going. The fact was that, he knew how to enjoy life, but at the same time he was very decisive at work, and I have seen him take very firm business decisions, and successfully give new directions to his businesses.

What also brought us closer was our shared liking for Indian classical vocal music, and I would treasure many a memories of evenings spent together listening to some of the doyens of Indian classical music.

Lalits passing away will remain an irreparable loss for India Inc. Personally, I will greatly miss his valuable guidance, and also his endearing smile.