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Baniya—a derivative of the Sanskrit word Vanij, is a term synonymous with India’s trader class. Over the decades, these capitalists spread their footprint across vast sectors of the economy from steel and mining to telecom and retail. And now even e-tail. Nikhil Inamdar’s Rokda features the stories of a few pioneering men from this mercantile community—Radheshyam Agarwal a Baniya—a derivative of the Sanskrit word Vanij, is a term synonymous with India’s trader class. Over the decades, these capitalists spread their footprint across vast sectors of the economy from steel and mining to telecom and retail. And now even e-tail. Nikhil Inamdar’s Rokda features the stories of a few pioneering men from this mercantile community—Radheshyam Agarwal and Radheshyam Goenka, founders of the cosmetic major Emami; Rohit Bansal, co-founder of Snapdeal; Neeraj Gupta, founder of Meru Cabs; and V.K. Bansal, a humble mathematics tutor whose genius spawned a massive coaching industry in Kota—amongst others. Through the triumphs and tribulations of these men in the epoch marking India’s entire post independence struggle with entrepreneurship—from the License Raj to the opening up of the floodgates in 1991, and the dawn of the digital era—Rokda seeks to uncover the indomitable spirit of the Baniya.


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Baniya—a derivative of the Sanskrit word Vanij, is a term synonymous with India’s trader class. Over the decades, these capitalists spread their footprint across vast sectors of the economy from steel and mining to telecom and retail. And now even e-tail. Nikhil Inamdar’s Rokda features the stories of a few pioneering men from this mercantile community—Radheshyam Agarwal a Baniya—a derivative of the Sanskrit word Vanij, is a term synonymous with India’s trader class. Over the decades, these capitalists spread their footprint across vast sectors of the economy from steel and mining to telecom and retail. And now even e-tail. Nikhil Inamdar’s Rokda features the stories of a few pioneering men from this mercantile community—Radheshyam Agarwal and Radheshyam Goenka, founders of the cosmetic major Emami; Rohit Bansal, co-founder of Snapdeal; Neeraj Gupta, founder of Meru Cabs; and V.K. Bansal, a humble mathematics tutor whose genius spawned a massive coaching industry in Kota—amongst others. Through the triumphs and tribulations of these men in the epoch marking India’s entire post independence struggle with entrepreneurship—from the License Raj to the opening up of the floodgates in 1991, and the dawn of the digital era—Rokda seeks to uncover the indomitable spirit of the Baniya.

30 review for Rokda: How Baniyas Do Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aoi

    Poorly researched , there are extremely few instances of insider news behind all the success stories. Maybe it is an irony to be reading the book in a time when Meru is doing poorly and Snapdeal is on the verge of a takeover

  2. 5 out of 5

    Riddhi Kishnadwala

    This is a very easy to read book with some really inspiring stories of building businesses from scratch, ingenuity, perseverance, doggedness with some relevant management lessons at its core. Even though the stories of Meru and Snapdeal seem a bit outdated with both the companies doing not so well currently, the high-handedness of its founders having come to the fore. It is a fun and enjoyable read without too many business jargons or technicalities. This book would definitely go on my second ti This is a very easy to read book with some really inspiring stories of building businesses from scratch, ingenuity, perseverance, doggedness with some relevant management lessons at its core. Even though the stories of Meru and Snapdeal seem a bit outdated with both the companies doing not so well currently, the high-handedness of its founders having come to the fore. It is a fun and enjoyable read without too many business jargons or technicalities. This book would definitely go on my second time reading list!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek

    This is a story of 5 bania entrepreneurs and their journeys to riches. It is very poorly researched and leaves an insatiated appetite. It is an agglomeration of interviews and there too only few characters around the central ones have been interviewed. A long form New Yorker article is a much better read than the 50 pages each story is roughly told. There are many details which are mentioned only briefly but haven't been followed up. The title is catchy, the cover is attractive but the book is at This is a story of 5 bania entrepreneurs and their journeys to riches. It is very poorly researched and leaves an insatiated appetite. It is an agglomeration of interviews and there too only few characters around the central ones have been interviewed. A long form New Yorker article is a much better read than the 50 pages each story is roughly told. There are many details which are mentioned only briefly but haven't been followed up. The title is catchy, the cover is attractive but the book is at best a collection of well-written Wikipedia entries.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tathagat Varma

    I come from a family with three generations of rich heritage and modest achievements in education. I belong to a community that traditionally excels in anything to do with "pen and paper", i.e., writing, teaching, accounting, etc. We hardly ever find anyone successful in our community with #business or #entrepreneurship. So, it has always been a big source of learning and inspiration to learn about traditional trading communities that are so successful in business, wherever they are. This book p I come from a family with three generations of rich heritage and modest achievements in education. I belong to a community that traditionally excels in anything to do with "pen and paper", i.e., writing, teaching, accounting, etc. We hardly ever find anyone successful in our community with #business or #entrepreneurship. So, it has always been a big source of learning and inspiration to learn about traditional trading communities that are so successful in business, wherever they are. This book provides an interesting angle on probably the most successful of Indian communities when it comes to business. Without sounding casteist, let me me express my unabashed admiration and respect for anyone who builds even a corner tea shop business, and here we are talking of hundreds of successful examples over hundreds of years in hundreds of countries without any master plan. How do you explain this sustained and scaled success? Are there any #socialgenes that determine the success quotient of a community as a whole? How else do you explain it?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Akshata Tare

    There are typical characters of the baniya way of life and anyone who has grown up in India will know these by virtue of just being observant. The book repeats those ideals with no additional insights as to how each of those characteristics molded the growth of the company. It was informative to know about the growth story of certain beloved Indian brands but it could have been condensed to length of a magazine article at most. I picked it at an airport and left it there when I was done. So meh. There are typical characters of the baniya way of life and anyone who has grown up in India will know these by virtue of just being observant. The book repeats those ideals with no additional insights as to how each of those characteristics molded the growth of the company. It was informative to know about the growth story of certain beloved Indian brands but it could have been condensed to length of a magazine article at most. I picked it at an airport and left it there when I was done. So meh..

  6. 4 out of 5

    Arjun

    The book entails us into stories of some of the most successful businessmen of the country, a pure business oriented taletelling, however the book is shallow when it comes to storytelling as against its breadth. Book is not a long read however provides a good glimpse of hardships, mindsets of the protagonists. Personally i felt the depth was an issue but that gets compensated when you read about awe-inspiring tales.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aditi Khanna

    I throughly enjoyed reading this book. Very motivating and teaches a lot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Prashant

    Chosen impressive characters Good one, well written, need little more simpler English, chose impressive character Logic will in regular life Thanks write such fantastic book

  9. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka Batra Harjai

    Baniya is a caste belonging to Hindu religion. Though, the author has provided a fair description about the caste in his book but I would like to mention here that this community is very well identified by the masses as the ‘wealthiest’ of all. I understand and agree that caste system is now the subject of past then, what made the author and publisher choose such a theme to discuss a few more cases of entrepreneurship? Well, the answer is it is in their blood and this is what he elaborates, span Baniya is a caste belonging to Hindu religion. Though, the author has provided a fair description about the caste in his book but I would like to mention here that this community is very well identified by the masses as the ‘wealthiest’ of all. I understand and agree that caste system is now the subject of past then, what made the author and publisher choose such a theme to discuss a few more cases of entrepreneurship? Well, the answer is it is in their blood and this is what he elaborates, spanning pages. The choices made by him to understand the art of making business, are varied. If there is a mention of hard times facing paucity of money then there is a contrasting case where there was no looking back due to money short fall; he has picked instances which date back to pre-independence era to current date; he presents the overview of then prevalent conditions and highlights the transformation existing today. So, in short, I can say that he has provided the readers with a holistic view of how this gene is passed on from generation to generation. Generally speaking, this covers around three generations, which is enough to understand and appreciate the importance of choosing such a sensitive theme. Why I call it sensitive because surprisingly the term ‘Baniya’ is often used in a sarcastic manner these days. An irony indeed! Read these case studies to appreciate the will power and commitment running through generations to ‘make business’; to understand the art of minimizing expenditures and to acquire the skill to sustain the ‘continuous benefits’! The author has made a wise attempt to categorically discuss the problem faced, the dilemmas discussed, the hurdles crossed, the strategies devised, the opportunities grabbed and solutions envisaged. There is a lot to be learnt. Learn about – How to do business? How to think business and how to run business? Source: https://booksnewsindia.wordpress.com/...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ankit Agrawal

    Inspiring stories of dogged entrepreneurs who navigated through stifling regulations and bureaucracies, uncertain market environments, labour troubles and difficult personal circumstances to build successful businesses. A look into the kind of perseverance and single-minded determination it takes to accept enormous risks and bet it all on just an idea or a dream.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brijesh Kartha

    For me, this book was just a collection of businessmen who managed to start a good business. Very interesting in itself, but not clear with the baniya angle. Other than the fact that in some cases there was more of a risk taking and work for yourself attitude within the larger community I find that these cases are all about individuals doing good. Decent book worth a read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anuradha Goyal

    Detailed review here http://www.anureviews.com/rokda-how-b... Detailed review here http://www.anureviews.com/rokda-how-b...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vinayan

    A close knit community benefiting business and common drivers for success

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abhijeet Lele

    5 fantastic stories of Indian businessmen.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Niveditha N

    Each story motivates you to grow more in life...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Varun Aggarwal

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vasim Shaikh

  18. 4 out of 5

    Manish

  19. 4 out of 5

    Siddharth Shah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mudit Tanwani

  21. 5 out of 5

    Khushi Vyas

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kunal

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Thevercad

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandeep Pal

    The book tells you the life stories of 5 businesses in brief, focussing specifically on the struggles of the founders. It's a fun read, not a value add.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aarti

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abhinav

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harshita Bajaj

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie Misra

  29. 5 out of 5

    Has

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zameer Gajiyani

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