To Give or Not To Give

Dr Vijaypat Singhania, one of India’s richest persons, is now penniless, all thanks to his tycoon son, Gautam.
He is completely broke, and by his own admission, is living hand-to-mouth.

Dr Singhania had put his blood, sweat and tears into building a company named ‘Raymond’ that started as a woollen fabric manufacturer, but became a household name in India as it diversified into a large number of products like suits, shirts, denims, cosmetics etc.

Dr Singhania was a keen aviator and at the age of 67, he created world record for gaining the highest altitude in a hot air balloon. But with his advancing age, he felt that it was better to leave the important decisions to the younger generation.

Dr Singhania, therefore, gave up all his 37.17% shares in his company worth around Rs 1000 crore in his son, Gautam’s favour, under the impression that Gautam as a loyal son would never betray or mistreat him. Gautam thus became the Chairman of Raymond Ltd.

But that proved to be his stupidest mistake, the Himalayan blunder, as he himself has admitted. The day came when Dr Singhania was sacked as Chairman-emeritus by the Board of the company he had founded. With this sacking, the ugly feud between the two plumbed new depths and reached courts.

His autobiography, “An Incomplete Life” is an eye-opener and worth reading.

This story, however, doesn’t establish the fact that all sons are like Gautam, but it’s also a fact that there is no dearth of Gautam’s, as we see old age homes are mushrooming in almost all cities.

Now many banks and other organisations, as a welfare measure, conduct programmes for their retiring employees for giving tips on the maintenance of health and finance, and one important suggestion given is, “not to transfer your money or properties to sons or daughters in your lifetime. At the most, you write a will.”

That is the reason why many a businessmen don’t hand over the keys of business to their sons, though they make succession plannings.

For people in business, they have the luxury of deciding when they want to retire, but in case of services, one has to retire after reaching a certain age, but we see how judges and senior bankers and bureaucrats wangle their ways onto some committee, commission or agency,  post-retirement.

Why? Nobody wants to miss the power and importance, once they had relished. Even a retired politician somehow tries to wangle a Governor’s post to enjoy the power in peace. 

We have seen how a King or Queen doesn’t abdicate the throne to Prince in his or her lifetime, because King or Queen knows that the day he or she is out of power, he or she will be relegated to a corner in the same Palace.

But there are also instances in the history, when Kings had been dethroned by their own sons, and even imprisoned till death.

One day one has to go, it’s a universal fact. The only thing matters is how one goes. But there is no sure shot formula. It has to be decided by the person concerned, looking to the circumstances prevailing at his or her time, that may prove right or wrong.

In either case, destiny is written, as sometimes one chooses the path, and sometimes the path chooses one.

–Kaushal Kishore

images: pinterest



    1. I’m really touched by your deep reflections, Aparna ji. Stark realities of life needs to be stated and understood at times.💕💕💕


    1. Thank you, Devang, for your kind words! You’re welcome, always. I simply write what I have seen, experienced and read, nothing much.
      I was moved by this story, so today I decided to write about it and other related issues.


  1. Thank you, Kaushal, for the philosophical discourse with the title inspired by
    Sheckspear, and for your writing that is admired by all!
    This is an important subject that is ignored by some adoring parents with dire consequences. If I may, I will adopt your most wonderful saying ” the Himalayan blunder”!
    Thank you for the lovely presentation.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right, Joanna, it was the Himalayan blunder, but normally our eyes of wisdom are opened only after the damage. I have seen a number of my senior colleagues in the Bank getting penniless due to follies of their sons. Such cases are not few and far between.
      Thank you, Joanna, for your kind comment! I’m glad you liked the presentation.


  2. If I remember correctly, you posted a similar story some time ago. If his is the new trend, the elderly have to safeguard themselves against their own children. That is very sad. The advice to make a will instead of giving property away while alive seems good. When people do the latter in Europe it is for saving inheritance taxes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your memory, Stella, that you remember the earlier story. More or less, that story was inspired by this story. But this story is not isolated, we find more and more such cases now-a-days, even in middle-class families. So the need of the hour is to exercise caution. I was not aware that inheritance tax in Europe can be saved this way. Thank you for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right, Nancy, but once I had asked the same question to such a son in my vicinity, and his curt reply was, ‘will see when it comes.’ They don’t visualise the future. Thank you for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Imagine the sense of desolation and despondency he would be experiencing. Not that my miniscule purchases make a dent in Raymond topline, I have since given up buying from them. The Karma Theory propounded by Bhagavad Gita will eventually come back to haunt his son, but only in due course and perhaps in a different way altogether. I have taken the liberty of mentioning this sordid episode in a book which I have written, connecting Management and Gita.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate you and your thoughts. I’m in full agreement with you in this regard. Whether it matters or not to Raymond, but it will certainly give some satisfaction that you’re not with the wrong-doer. I’m happy that you have written a book. What’s the title of book? Thank you for sharing your beautiful reflections.

      Liked by 1 person

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