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The Dharma of Business

I was 9 at that time, very keen to start my own library. And so I did. I with two of my closest friend on the 1st Monday of May set up our very own library. Everyone was invited, all they needed to pay was an entrance fee of Rs 5/- if they didn’t rent a book, and Rs 2/- if they rented any book. As we started making money we got more and more creative. More money followed. The neighborhood guy Abhay, kept a close watch. Within a week, we were staring at his library, far fancy, and much superior. And then one day we lost everything. Just like that, our dreams shattered. The reason: Water from somewhere destroyed all our books.

Five days later we came to know through some internal sources that, it was Abhay’s idea. We were heartbroken and seething with anger, we wanted justice but we had no proof. It was then that my teacher gave me the biggest lesson of my life: At the end of the day you have to do your duty, and if someone comes in between you and your duty, you deal with it through Chanakya’s four principles of Saam (Equality), Daam (Enticement), Dand (Punishment/ war), Bhed (sowing dissension). The dharma of our business was at that time to preserve its existence, in whatever way it could.

I look at a business as an end in itself. We all are cogs in that intricate machinery. Our purpose is to keep it running, because it in a big way defines who we are as owners. It gives us everything, food, clothes and a roof. If anything poses any risk to it, we should defend it. It’s a scary world we’re living in. A world where one can trust no one but oneself, the biggest dharma of our business is to keep itself running and protect itself from the world.

In an ideal world everyone would play by the rule and there would be no need to play hard. But this is the real world where and I quote “you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain”. The world at some point was fair and then somewhere something went wrong, terribly wrong. And then this ugliness spread until the root of corruption entangled everyone and everything. We are at a point of no return, the only way to fight is to fight hard and fight rough. So I believe it’s ok to undercut if the survival of the business is at stake. In the context of a business it’s nothing more than a creative intervention. There is always someone waiting for you to give them the first chance to destroy you. To fight them you have to think like them. That’s the only way, and that the only right ‘wrong’ way!

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