Saturday, August 29, 2015



The author, Madhu Chandra, has been working with the Ashiana Group for more than a decade. She is responsible for their ‘Apna Asiana’ newsletter and for copy editing of their brochures. She is also a well-known journalist. Her association with the Group gave her an unique opportunity to closely study the leadership style of the founder of the Group, Mr Om Prakash Gupta. She has learnt very important lessons in the art and science of management. It was quite natural that she wanted to convey those lessons to a larger audience through this book.

OPG as he was popularly known in his circle of relatives, friends, other well-wishers and admirers established the Ashiana Group of companies as a Real Estate company literally from scratch. OPG graduated in engineering from IIT and went to USA to do his Masters. On his return, he decided to venture out on his own and broke away from the practice of  joining the family business. His fiercely independent thinking was appreciated by his father who gave his blessings to his strongly independent son. OPG had a vision. That of providing affordable housing of excellent standards to middle-class people. He decided to translate that vision into reality. He aptly named his group Ashiana which means nest or shelter.  He was not profit-driven like many others in the realty business and at the same time he understood that for long-term sustainability, his organization had to be run on sound business lines. He led his company with both his head and heart. He had some very strong personal values which he never compromised.He was kind, helpful, empathetic, sincere, hardworking and a great motivator and leader. He took Ashiana to great heights and the mantle has fallen on his capable sons after his demise two years back after fighting cancer for about 5 years.

Madhu Chandra recalls all the sterling qualities of OPG in the form of encomiums from his colleagues and some outsiders who came into contact with him. She has also written about his sterling qualities. His attention to detail, quick thinking, ability to face hurdles and take setbacks in his stride, endeared him to one and all. A pioneer in the setting up of retirement homes where the aged could lead a peaceful life free from hassles and worries and with round the clock security and medical care, he set up ‘Utsav’- residential complexes for senior citizens. With the population of the elderly on the rise and with a gradual shift from joint family structures to nuclear families, he realized that the time had come for elders to live separately with dignity and self-respect.

The book is a tribute to a great leader and visionary and a very good human being. His love for everyone, compassion and positive energy and thinking were qualities that endeared him to his associates and they reciprocated with the same warmth enabling the blossoming of fruitful and happy relationships. The book would be very useful for management students and young entrepreneurs who can learn many lessons from the various anecdotes spread over the book.  Success and trust does not come overnight. Hard work, modesty, respect for others, honesty, fairness, uprightness and clean dealings go a long way in building a lasting organization. OPG has shown that this is possible even in a not so conducive environment by leading from the front and by example.

OPG’s brother- in- law Sri Anil Agarwal, Chairman of the Vedanta group has written the Foreword to the book where he says that once he started reading the book,  he just could not put it down. The book ends with moving tributes from his two sisters and from his loving wife.

The  illustration on the cover page of ‘OM’ goes well with the wisdom of OPG which the book oozes through Madhur Chandra’s words. I strongly recommend this book to both young students and management practitioners who surely will immensely benefit from this book. OPG has left behind an indelible impression for generations to come.

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