On Nirma being a personality-based company: Well, I am still involved with Nirma, but now I work only eight hours a day compared to those days when between 12 and 16 hours at work was a norm. Now Nirma is quite a team effort in all senses of the term. The next rung of management (Patel's sons and son-in-law) is even more aggressive than me. Their enthusiasm and plans about the company are as strong. It is their ambition that is driving the group today.
On expansion plans:I had backward integration in my mind from day one. To remain competitive with the highly resourceful transnationals in the country, we had to integrate our detergent operations.
On who takes the decisions: The next generation has been responsible for the financing patterns, timely execution of new projects, and high technology orientation of the plants. I initiated the plans, but they found the ways and means to go about executing them.
On family control: After the 1994 public issue, our stake fell to 74 per cent. The recent...