Regaining Lost Glory Ram Nandi Group, Gaya

Meet Akhauri Gopal, the son, who has rebuilt the empire his father lost. The entrepreneur, who has risen from the ashes and a family man, who still plays by the rules he inherited from his parents. No wonder, he has just one message for his four children, quot;Carry on the good work started by your grandparents, late Shree Akhauri Banshi Dhar and late Smt Ram Nandi Devi, come what may.quot;

Akhauri Gopal, the only child of his parents, was born when his father was in his prime and the railway contracting business he had laboured hard to build had been lost to deceit and fate. quot;I never saw the empire my father built in his lifetime. I opened my eyes to loss, deprivation and stories of a bygone era,quot; admits Gopal candidly.

Today, the Ram Nandi Group has works as varied as the Tata Motors dealership for both commercial vehicles and passenger cars. Ancillary works like a service station, spare parts and truck body building. He added a cold storage to the business repertoire when farmers in the region of his ancestral village Hardwan approached him for one.

Ram Nandi Ayurved Products are awaiting launch pending the grant of licence. A theme hotel is proposed to cater to the needs of Buddhist devotees. quot;The theme would ensure that the Buddhist flavour and sensitivities are taken care of,quot; shares Gopal. He is already targeting the year 2012 as time for the hotel’s initiation. A ‘gaushala’, of fifty one meets the dairy needs of the entire group and the clients too.

quot;The daily requirement of all the workers is met by the ‘gaushala’ produce and this is besides the free lunch that we are entitled to,quot; shares a Ram Nandi Group worker. quot;My father would always tell me to look after the human resource with extra care,quot; admits Gopal. The senior Akhauri would freely distribute the 400 tons of paddy produce from his farm amongst the work force.

Today Gopal wants to expand his group to employ five times the work force. quot;That is my prime objective and I will constantly strive to achieve that goal,quot; is the strong contention of a man who goes much beyond just employing people. Caring for them comes naturally to him. quot;My late father also started a Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Hardwan where arrangements were made for food, clothing and accommodation on the campus for Brahmins of the village.quot; Though interest in Sanskrit is on the decline today with 200 students enrolled, the Vidyapeeth has contributed to the growth of the language in Bihar. He also started five schools in Gaya, of which four have been taken over by the Bihar government.

" ‘My father would always tell me to look after the human resource with extra care.’ "

quot;I aspired to be a doctor but after completing my Intermediate, my father insisted I join the contracting business. He saw in me a better businessman than a doctor,quot; reveals Gopal. quot;A helpless me would return over and over again to my father to give up the work, but I just could not muster enough courage to tell him.quot;

It was in 1987 that he bid goodbye to the railway contracting business. What next? The question was answered in the form of a pharmaceutical factory in Mumbai that lasted two years and folded up with huge losses. An ancillary unit for TELCO, Jamshedpur became his next venture which too shut down. Gopal then returned home to Gaya, but was burdened with the responsibility of running the family as well as regaining the lost empire of his father. Fate turned a new page when he was allotted a petrol pump. A franchise offer for a TATA Motors service came next. The formal survey of the company offered to upgrade his status to commercial vehicle dealership. Gopal did not lose time in signing on the dotted line. Thus was born the Ram Nandi Group which soon had more commercial vehicles added to its profile and in 2007 bagged the passenger car dealership as well.

Meanwhile the automobile endeavour was constantly scaling new heights with awards and recognitions galore. Bagging the Best Dealer tag in the state of Bihar continues to be the habit of the group. It continues to be leader in the sale of TATA cars in the passenger vehicle segment. An average day of Gopal Akhauri is well chalked out. His love for cricket has taken the backseat, as far as participation is concerned. quot;He along with us, two brothers, was regular at the cricket grounds earlier, but now he has no time,quot; rues Nishant the eldest son. quot;But what he lost on the cricket front he makes up with his love for gardening and designing interiors,quot; Megha reminds. quot;Don’t forget his cooking and singing abilities,quot; chips in Neha. All the four children along with Megha’s husband Pratyush demand a song from the parents.

Gopal’s wife Sangeeta too sings, informs Ritesh. The Akhauri couple obliges and their love for each other reflects in the lyrics they choose. Sangeeta, is a lady of very few words, but one look at her and you know where the warmth and the carefree smiles of the children come from. quot;I got married at a very early age and have seen all the ups and downs but then you have to take them in your stride.quot; Gopal credits his achievements to the women in his life, his wife and his late mother. quot;She was a loving mother and gave me everything I asked for or needed,quot; he reminisces.

His honesty and verve is what the children admire the most about their father and are always trying to emulate. quot;Like my parents never pressurised me about anything, I do much the same for my children.quot; From being a good human being, to contributing to the growth of society, to never reacting negatively to any situation and always encouraging others around, are all of what the four children of Gopal and Sangeeta learnt from their parents. The chemistry between the family members is infectious, almost making you want to freeze the moment with one big carefree smile.

" ‘I got married at an early age and have seen all the ups and downs but then you have to take them in your stride.’ "