CHENNAI:From the heady days of pioneering Indian industrialism, when the reigns of industrialisation were snatched for the first time by local Indian businessmen, springs a tale of one of the city’s oldest industrial concerns — the Rayala Corporation.
Through 150 odd pages, spanning over nine decades, the book The Rayala Story seeks to tell the tale of the group — and the three generations that built it.
Launched on Monday, amid the gathered elite of Chennai’s business community, there were several excerpts from the privileged few who had read the book in advance paid homage to the man who began it all — M Rajagopal Naidu.
For in his transition from an employee of Simpson and Company Ltd and a foreman in Addison Co to the towering patriarch of a business empire, lies the seeds of what is as much a tale of family as it is the story of a constantly changing business group.
Written by Sriram V and containing extensive accounts from the surviving members of the family, the book chronicles it all.
Rajagopal Naidu’s first steps in his earliest entrepreneurial venture began with his breaking away from his former employers and setting up his own automobile service business just streets away in 1921.
Beginning there, until his sudden demise in 1956, Naidu builds up a group that already had footholds in a variety of business ventures. A group that his son, M R Pratap and his grandson, Ranjit Pratap, build up into the Rs 600 crore empire it now is.
But more importantly, The Rayala Story is also about the people behind the corporation and its 94 year history as the book launch proved with very human accounts of the man who founded the group.
The Rayala Story also chronicles, along the way the group’s ties with another famous Chennai business entity — the Rane Group, when one of Rane’s earliest automotive concerns, Engine Valves, was initially incorporated by the Rayala Corporation.
If the book sets in stone the journey that the group and the family has taken, stressing their influence through the journey were the people on the dias.