His inspiring journey from a dusty village in Moga, Punjab, to an elite business circle has made him a living legend.
Starting his career as a government clerk in Punab, in four decades, 90-year-old Ram Parshotam (RP) Mittal built a sprawling business that included a thriving fertiliser and steel factory, a high-tech lightning company, and a five-star hotel in Delhi. In the business circle, he is respected for his vision, resilience, and integrity.
While his friends and well-wishers admired his success achieved through relentless hard work, foresight, and skills,his own immediate family, including his six younger siblings, were filled with envy and resentment. However, RP ignored their hostility and continued to support them, giving them opportunities in his fledgling businesses. He believed in the power of family and wanted to help them succeed as well. However, at the end,this support and generosity resulted in his own downfall. The purchase of Hotel Royal Plaza in an auction by the government in 2002 was the high point of his business career, but one mistake proved to be fatal. His decision to give a small equity stake in the hotel to his younger brother, Ashok Kumar Mittal, ultimately led to his downfall. The ownership of the prized property became a bone of contention between the two brothers, resulting in a series of legal battles, ultimately impacting business and relationships. In the last 20 years, multiple cases have been filed against each other over the disputed property. The fight has not only extracted a financial burden on RP Mittal but has also led to the degradation of his emotional and physical health. The betrayal of his trusted brother has further exacerbated the situation.
Born in the village of Moga,Punjab, on May 17, 1933, he had always dreamed of a peaceful and harmonious life. His early years, steeped in modesty, instilled in him a profound sense of determination and a knack for overcoming adversity. His commitment to supporting his family and his relentless pursuit of knowledge throughout his educational journey, which came to an end around 1950, were both hallmarks. His initial role as a government clerk in Punjab was more than a job—it was the crucible in which his business acumen was forged, shaping a mind adept at trade and negotiation.
Fate brought him to Delhi, the capital of a nascent nation and a thriving trading centre. Here, he honed his skills under the tutelage of a watchful and caring uncle. Since the city was the centre of political activities and power corridors, a resurgent Bharat (India) that has finally won freedom from Britain’s long, dark rule and has just adopted the constitution and chosen a democratic form of governance system has massively energised millions of youths who have all migrated from different parts of the country but have now made their homes. Mittal, too, was part of the same migrant crowd and so naturally started dreaming big, of becoming a successful entrepreneur. His rise was rapid, from a hopeful young man to a business magnate. Under his uncle’s mentorship, he mastered the art of sales and communication, skills that would become cornerstones of his future success.
Mittal’s foray into entrepreneurship began in New Delhi’s Bhagirath Palace. His electrical goods shop soon became a landmark, not just for its products but for the experience it offered. His deep understanding of customer needs, coupled with his ability to offer premium service, set his business apart. His ascent to becoming a top distributor for global brands was meteoric. As a dealer for Siemens, J&J, and L&T, Mittal’s strategies and performance were unmatched, placing him at the forefront of the distribution sector in India. His travels to Europe opened new vistas, leading to the establishment of Litolier, a venture that marked India’s foray into the luxury lighting segment.
Like any successful businessman, Mittal started diversifying his businesses. This led to the fertiliser industry, establishing a plant in Rai Bareilly. Despite governmental hurdles, his company, Mittal Fertilisers, stood out for its quality and innovation. His venture into the steel industry further exemplified his ability to identify and capitalise on market opportunities, bolstering the economy of Puducherry and creating a legacy in the steel sector.
However, at the turn of the century, different sets of personal challenges emerged that changed the course of his life. In the early 2000s, his health started failing. This necessitated a reevaluation of his expansive business operations, leading to the strategic acquisition of Hotel Indraprastha (now Hotel Royal Plaza). This period was not just about business consolidation but also about introspection and resilience. Throughout his career, he was known for his exceptional ability to foster relationships, a trait that he leveraged in both his role as the president of Delhi’s oldest and most elite Roshanara Club and in his business dealings. However, this trust in people, particularly in his family, led to profound betrayals. Each of his six brothers, whom he had selflessly integrated into his businesses, failed to replicate his success and drive. Their resentment towards Mittal grew, overshadowing his generous efforts to support them.
Ram Parshotam Mittal’s story is not just a chronicle of business success; it is a narrative of human resilience, strategic foresight, and the complexities of human relationships. Despite facing setbacks and betrayals, he remained steadfast in his values and vision. His life is a testament to the power of perseverance, the importance of nurturing relationships, and the harsh realities of entrepreneurial success. In the annals of Indian business history, Mittal’s journey from the streets of Moga to the pinnacle of the business world stands as an unparalleled saga of triumph over adversity.