August 11, 1966. A boy studying at Stanford University in America celebrated his 21st birthday last month. He was due to graduate in the next six months. But a phone call that day changed everything. On the other end of the phone call was the boy’s mother, who had narrated the news of his father’s death. He had to return to India immediately. In India, he had to shoulder the responsibility of the collapse of his father’s business.
Happy Birthday Azim Premji: Today is Azim Premji’s birthday, he turned 77. But even now they are very active. He was born on July 24, 1945.
The 21-year-old returned to India, took over the loss-making father’s company. Then he placed him among the shining stars in the sky of success. He tried his hand at many businesses, some were successful, some failed, but a modern business made him included in the top riches of India. Today he is world famous for his philanthropy apart from his business. The name is Azim Hashim Premji. Known to the world as the emperor of IT business, Azim Premji is celebrating his 77th birthday today.
Azim Premji’s father came to India from Burma
Wipro, one of the world’s leading IT companies, was started in the same year Azim Premji was born. It was the year 1945, when Hussain Hashim Premji, the father of Azim Premji, who had come from Burma, had to close his rice business of years. There were some rules of British rule behind it. In Burma it was called the King of Rice, which it also retained in India. But now the rice business had to be closed. So Hashim Premji was trying to start a new business and was looking for opportunities.
During this, he reached Amalner, about three hundred and a half kilometers from Bombay. He had gone to meet him there in connection with a loan given to the owner of a small vegetable oil mill. The owner of the mill could not repay the loan and asked Hashim Premji to buy the oil mill in return for the loan. This was the opportunity Hashim Premji was looking for. After that, he went into the vegetable oil business of the rice business.
The oil business started in 1945
The business format at Amalner was simple. Farmers in this area used to grow peanuts in large quantities. Their products were bought by peanut mills and processed and sold to consumers. Hashim Prem ji bought the mill and named it Western India Vegetable Products Limited. The society was registered on 25 December 1945. Within two months, in February 1946, the company was also listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The company began to operate, but its performance did not remain stable. The company had its first net loss in 1950. However, after two years, it definitely returned to profit. Well, now it’s about Azim Premji.
he became a director of the company at the age of 23
When Azim Premji left to study abroad in 1963, his elder brother Farooq MH Premji joined the board of Western India Vegetable Products Limited. After resigning in 1965, Farooq went to Pakistan. After the death of his father, when Azim Premji started to understand the work of Western India Vegetable Products Limited, the company was deeply in debt at that time. Azim Premji started trying to start this business. It took a long time. At that time Prem ji had understood one thing that skilled and specialized people were needed to run the mill.
In 1968, at the age of 23, Azim Premji became the managing director of Western India Vegetable Products Limited. As time passed, Azim Premji realized that the mill could not be run from the office of Hashim Premji House on Ghoga Street, Mumbai. For this, you will have to stay in Amalner, 370 km from Mumbai. So he started going to Amalner three times a month and stayed three days on each tour. To see and understand how the mill works.
business picks up pace
Western India Vegetable Products Limited was not a modern factory. So it must have been difficult for young Premji, who was returning from Stanford University, to spend his early years in the factory. Premji established a trading room to increase the business. With this the sale of oil began. Business picked up but Prem ji was not happy. He wanted to dedicate himself to another business. The supply of raw materials in the oil business was short. On the other hand, palm oil was imported as a substitute for vegetable oil. The amount of imports was also limited by licenses.
First expansion of the company
Premji was not happy with all these difficulties. But the company used to earn revenue only from the oil business. So it was not easy to leave this business. But Premji had decided to expand the business. I wanted to go beyond the business of making vegetable oil and soap. In 1975, Western India Vegetable Products Limited made its first expansion. Premji ventured into the business of manufacturing hydraulic components for building construction equipment. It was called Fluid Power. However, this did not begin until 1976 when the company’s new business, Wintrol Engineering, began production.
He was successful in this business. Azim Premji’s first major expansion was Wipro Infrastructure Engineering in 2019 to nearly half a billion dollars. It offers industrial solutions in the fields of hydraulics, aerospace and water treatment. As soon as Wintrol Engineering took off, the company began to consider making scooters. But the company abandoned this project because of the capital to manufacture the scooter and the opportunity it sees in the IT business.
IBM closes India business
At the time Azim Premji was planning to move towards IT business. At that time there was an emergency in the country. After the end of the emergency, the new government took this decision, due to which the American IT company IBM had to leave India. In fact, in 1977, Industry Minister George Fernandes in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet asked foreign companies to follow the FERA Act. George sent notices to all foreign companies. In 1973, compliance with the FERA amendment became mandatory for companies. The rest of the companies prepared. But IBM and Coca-Cola were not ready for this.
computer business license
According to this, to do business in India, the majority stake in foreign companies should have been Indian or the company should share its technology. After this decision, IBM and Coca Cola withdrew their business from India. Azim Premji saw this as an opportunity and applied for a license to enter the IT field. In late 1979, Premji’s company got its license. At the end of the decade, Western India Vegetable Products Limited went into the business of manufacturing computers. In 1982, the name of the company was changed to Wipro.
Freebies given to agents
After that, the company started connecting tech experts with them. Then Bangalore emerged as an electronic city. Wipro stepped in here and appointed Professor KG Rao of the Indian Institute of Science as an advisor. Thus Wipro Infotech was born. Azim Premji gave a free hand to the officers. The company was run according to its principles. Over time, Wipro’s software work outpaced its hardware. He started working from abroad. Over the next four decades, Wipro emerged as a large business conglomerate by diving into different businesses with revenues of over $10 billion.
In 1995, Azim Premji started his studies again. He graduated in engineering from the same Stanford University, from which he had to leave about 30 years ago. Premji focused on improving the company’s technology and product. Wipro was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2000 and the Azim Premji Foundation was opened in the same year. Today, Wipro’s business spans 110 countries worldwide. Azim Premji has stepped down as chairman of Wipro. In 2019, his son Rishad Premji took his place. However, Azim Premji will remain a non-executive director of Wipro until 2024. His estimated net worth as of July 2021 was $32.5 billion.
given your actions
Azim Premji has handed over all his businesses to his son. In 2019, Azim Premji donated his shares worth Rs 52.75 billion to the Azim Premji Foundation. This money will be used for the welfare of the poor and for charitable works. It is one of the biggest donors in the country. According to the foundation, in 2019, the total amount donated by Premji to charity reached 145 billion rupees ($21 billion). This is 67 percent of the financial ownership of Wipro Limited.
Inspiration to serve from mother
Azim Premji is said to have been inspired to serve the poor by his mother. Growing up, he spent more time with his doctor mother at the Bombay Children’s Orthopedic Hospital than at Almaner. Her mother used to volunteer here. It was in this hospital that Premji learned his first lessons about caring for others.
N Waghul, who has known Premji for more than 30 years, says his mother has a profound influence on him. Especially in the case of charity. Premji’s mother, Gulbanu Premji, was a trained paediatrician. He dedicated his life to building and developing a hospital for children. Young Premji often accompanied his mother to the hospital. In the midst of the unpleasant environment and the suffering of the children, he was going to incorporate in himself the kindness, which in 2000 grew in the Azim Premji Foundation.
From Bombay to Stanford and after leaving his studies incomplete, he returned to the small town of Amalner to manage his father’s business. This thought must have come to the mind of a young man from the university that at some point or another, where fate had taken him. But perhaps it was his determination that turned Western India Vegetable Products into a billion-dollar business in the shape of Wipro.
Premji switches off the lights and fans
Azim Premji is prudent when it comes to spending money. What does money really mean to someone known throughout the company to turn off the lights and fans after everyone leaves the office? Who praised his colleagues on a trip to America for arranging a meal for three people at a local Burger King for $10.
advice given to the officer
An incident called ‘Azim Premji Ek Virat Personality’ is mentioned in the book. It is a few years old. Wipro organized a dinner hosted by its international clients. Premji went to see their arrangement. An official appointed to organize the evening assured him that everything was going well. The food has been purchased from five star hotel Taj in Bangalore. Premji shook his head in agreement. But as he started to leave, he told the officer that if the food in our cafeteria is good for our people, it should be good for someone else. Azim Hashim Premji is of this nature. They say that this wealth belongs to the people, we are only their trustees.