A path-breaking success story Anup Malleables Ltd, Dhanbad

espite having carried Anup Malleables Ltd. on his shoulders for nearly twenty five years now and given the company the sweet taste of success, the businessman vies for more, to perpetuate the legacy of his illustrious forefathers. The disarming simplicity with which he conducts himself speaks volumes about a man who has never let success go to his head, just as he never let failure put him down. Today, at one glance you will never believe this man owns one of the top railway equipment supplier companies of the country. This 67-years-old tycoon is self effacing and believes in keeping a low profile.

He joined his father's business at the tender age of 19 when most guys his age were busy imitating popular hairstyles of Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar. "When I took over in 1986, the company was in a bad shape and we were running losses as huge as Rs 20 lakh per month. There was lack of control and unified command. To top it all it was hugely overstaffed. I began by cutting the flab and trimmed the company's human capital to its size. Cost cutting measures were established. Gradually I took control and streamlined the operations. Soon the company was back in the business of profit," he reminisces.

"Since then I relied on innovations more than anything else, to grow." he underlines. Since then it has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride for him and also for Madhu who came into his life in 1972. Devendra credits his wife for her patience all this while. The polite lady laughed like a kid but like a true partner, returned the compliment with poise. "He still works sixteen hours a day, gets up at 4 in the morning, goes to the factory at 6, then comes back to the factory once again. I would be really lucky if I get few minutes of his time," the wife vents a mild grouse.

"Gradually I took control, streamlined the operations and soon the company was back to profits"

"But I have learnt to live like that. And moreover I have a lot else to look after. Who do you think looks after such a big house?" And she was not wrong. The three big gardens of the palatial house were as well maintained as the drawing room. Upbringing of their children Adarsh, Smita and Vani is also a task she has enjoyed and fulfilled.

Despite being an astute businessman Devendra is startlingly uncomplicated in his choice of lifestyle. His best part of the day is when he digs into his yellow dal and roti with his family for dinner. Or when he writes ghazals for his life partner. He diffidently shows the piles of paper sewed together carrying the andaz-e-bayaan of an ebullient heart. "My grandfather Late Hardeo Das Agarwalla came to Dhanbad from Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan in 1890. He started his business with limestone." says Agarwalla.

"Gradually he acquired lease of coal mines in 1905 which remained our main business till coal was nationalized in 1973. After this we set our eyes on the area of coking coal and were one of the largest producers in the country at one time. We even supplied to TATA for their Gujarat plant. In another phase of diversification, Anup Malleables Ltd. was established which kickstarted its operations in 1982, which I am looking after like my child ever since I took it over," he recollects.

In fact this fighter thrives on challenges. An official in the GM office of Indian Railways in Varanasi once dared him to develop the locomotive chassis in a shrunk time frame of three months. Believe it or not, he actually did it in 45 days flat! "When I work it becomes part of my psyche, hard to decouple. I used to work 20 hours a day and I didn't even get to see my wife for weeks," says the diehard warhorse. Anup Malleables is one of the front running and advanced engineering complexes with ISO: 9001-2000 certification and state-of-the-art facilities available at its Dhanbad plant.

"‘When I work it becomes part of my psyche, hard to decouple"

It targets manufacturing high quality ferrous castings, heavy fabrication and provides machining assistance to its clients. It specializes in making fabricated bogies and bolsters, main base, super structure, brake-gear arrangement, magnet frame etc for Indian Railways for their diesel and electric locomotives for more than a decade now. Its other notable clients include SAIL and Coal India Ltd. His elder brother Parmeshwar who died of heart ailment in 2005 was Rajya Sabha MP. High profile guests like AB Vajpayee, LK Advani and other senior leaders would frequent his mansion. A business with political affiliations can be a very heady cocktail but for DK, as he is popularly called, it is all about how you run the show.

"I have a flat organization which makes me available for my nearly 300 personnel, round the clock. I own their problems, so they own me. Being nice to people costs nothing, so I put a lot of premium on it," he says.

"Being a big businessman does not make you immortal but being a man with a big heart definitely does," states the contented businessman.

Late Parmeshwar’s is an established name in Mumbai. He furthered his business of supplying coal with two major plants in Gujarat and MP, with his sons Asim and Anup supporting him. He established the first plant of metallurgical coke in Gujarat in 1989. Nearly a decade back, there was acute shortage of water in Dhanbad and Jharia region. As an MP he used his contacts to build a pipeline from Maithon to Dhanbad to provide potable drinking water to its residents. He was member of the parliamentary consultative committee of steel in 1994-95. He put his foot down on the issue of partial disinvestment of a major public sector iron and steel company and saved a national asset rom going into the hands of a vested private party. Devendra Kumar fondly remembers his doting elder brother, "He lived a dual role for a good part of his life. After our father died in 1969 he took over the charge of our family and shouldered the responsibility of marrying three younger brothers and a sister. He even arranged for higher studies ofour children abroad," he shares. The businessman, however, maintains that earning money is far easier than earning respect. "If you win the hearts, money and fame will follow. But if your success occurs to you at the cost of others' plight, you have no right to pat your back. But as long as you keep up with your values you will always end up saying, yes I am the one who is successful and I am the one who is the winner!"