Rich tributes continue to flow in on the passing of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Those who knew him closely or even remotely, saw “a passionate Indian who became symbolic with the rise of the Indian equity markets and should be credited with even leading its charge.”
He was often getting described as “a man from very humble beginnings who self-taught investing skills and made an entire generation confident of making returns in the Indian stock market.”
One leader from the venture capital world described him as “a legend who had an uncanny grasp around businesses across all sectors and that reflects in his investments doing well across a spectrum of companies and though it turned out to be a short lived life but was one that made “a lifetime of impact.”
The head of a leading business school described him as a “smart investor with a large heart and one who saw value in the jewellery business of Titan much before others.” As for the large heart and a desire to create social impact, reference was made to his role as “one of the principal supporters of the Agastya International Foundation that takes science education to rural children.”
What however does seem to stand out across most conversations was descriptions of “an individual who was helping create or rejuvenating Industries by backing them to the hilt with Akasa Air being the latest example. That he was lost sooner then expected has stayed with most. Also, though he was more known for his forays into public companies, he was quietly leading investments into unlisted entities.
Perhaps most telling were thoughts from someone who worked closely with Jhunjhunwala. For instance, Dr. S Prakash, managing director of the Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Star Health Insurance said, two things stood about him in all my interactions with him and these were the importance of conviction and righteousness.
Having interacted closely with Jhunjhunwala was about seven years, Dr Prakash remembers him as a humble person with trust and confidence in his team and their capability. Or as Dr Prakash puts it: “to all of us at Star Health his trust and confidence has been the biggest investment and it is up to us now to stay true to it and take his thoughts and beliefs forward.” But then, at a personal level, Jhunjhunwala to Dr Prakash, always seemed inspiration with clear beliefs in fair practices but also child-like when it came to enjoying life.