Born as Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, he was a business tycoon from India. He had been awarded posthumous Padma Vibhushan Award by Government of India, the second highest civilian honour in India.
Since his school days, he was active in politics. He was a part of PrajaMandalMovement, which brought him to the notice of political leaders. He was also associated with a new Social party that had emerged from Congress and campaigned for its candidates. However, later on, he left aside his political pursuits. After his matriculation, he had to quit studies due to bad economic condition in his family. He took up a clerical job in Aden at A.Besse& Co., which was the largest transcontinental business holding east of Suez. Very soon, he simultaneously started working at a Gujarati trading firm, where he learned about accounting, shipping papers, bookkeeping, and documents. He helped the firms to make profitable deals, which was indicative of his knack in trade. Later, he was promoted to work in an oil filling station at a newly built harbour. Due to the Yemeni movement, he returned to India in 1958. In partnership with his cousin ChampaklalDamani, Ambani started ‘Majin’ which was to import yarn and export spices.
Initially, Ambani focused on high volumes, low profits and rich quality. In 1965, Ambani broke his partnership as Champaklal Damani did not believe in setting up yarn inventories. Eventually, Ambani made a couple of hefty deals which drove enough capital for him to start Reliance textiles. He also became the director of the Bombay Yarn Merchants Association. He set up a textile mill in Ahmedabad in 1966, thus founded Reliance Industries. He flew from Bombay to Ahmedabad frequently to track the progress of the establishment. As the wholesalers refused to buy fabrics from this new company, he personally stepped on the road and sold his stock to retailers directly. Soon, his brand ‘Vimal’ gained immense popularity and became the best-selling fabric during its time. The company’s operations were also expanded to meet the increasing demands. Later in the early 1980’s his two sons joined the business and helped in expanding it further. Reliance Company got into polyester fiber business along with petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, and petroleum refining. Over the period of time, the firm diversified into other sectors like technology, energy, retail, capital markets, logistics, telecommunications, etc. Today Reliance Industries has total assets worth over US$ 110 Billion.
He is seen as the pioneer in shaping ‘Equity culture’ in the country. Reliance was the first company from India to be listed on Forbes Fortune 500. He was conferred with ‘Man of the Century’ Award by Chemctech Foundation and Chemical Engineering World for his contribution to the development of Chemical industries in India. He has been featured on Power 50 list of Most Powerful People in Asia multiple times by Asiaweek Magazine. He was voted the “Greatest creator of Wealth in the centuries’ in 2000 in a poll conducted by Times of India.