Ananta Centre conferred its first Annual Leadership Award 2019 to Mr Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto on 9th of February 2019.
While presenting the Award, Mr Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, Ananta Centre said “Mr Bajaj is receiving the award for what he has achieved and how he has achieved all that he has. He is a man of integrity with the refreshing habit of calling a spade a spade. He does good without wanting to look or sound good doing it. It earns him brickbats and bouquets in equal measure, but it certainly does not deter him from carrying on nonetheless.”
For the larger part of the twentieth century, Indian middle class travelled through life on their faithful steed, the Bajaj Chetak. It was grey, it was blue, it was old, it was new, sometimes it had one solitary rider but most often five, it carried children to school, men to offices and families to happiness. Life was good because there was a Chetak in the stable.
As all good things go, Chetak went, making way for the newer breeds. But what it left behind was indelible memories for millions of families. Chetak was never a vehicle, it was the member of a family as its manufacturer had intended it to be.
Rahul Bajaj did not only make scooters. He made vehicles of empowerment. So strong was his belief that he took on the government’s rigid licensing policies to increase production because he strongly believed that the common man had the right to mobility and a quality of life.
In the age of ‘Licence Raj’ when the Bajaj Chetak had a waiting period of almost a decade, Rahul Bajaj never once leveraged the demand to unfairly raise its price. His scooters were meant to be within easy reach of the middle class and they remained so.
Throughout his life as an Industrialist, parliamentarian and philanthropist, Rahul Bajaj stuck to his guns but never shot from the hip. He knew what he was doing and saying because he was confident about how he was doing his business. For him business and social service were never at odds.
Rahul Bajaj received the Ananta Leadership Award 2019 for being a leader with a difference, a leader of the people, who chose to do business differently.
While felicitating Mr Bajaj, Mr Naresh Gujral, Member of Parliament and Trustee, Ananta Aspen Centre said, “That is Rahul Bajaj, a man who has the courage of his conviction and the conviction of his courage”.
Mr A R Roy, Former Director General of Maharashtra Police said “It’s Rahul’s willingness and capacity to learn that makes him the leader he is”.
The Ananta Leadership Award recognises leaders, from different walks of life, who operate out of a set of closely held beliefs and evaluate their success through the lens of larger good. Rahul Bajaj does not just contribute to the economy of the country; he contributes to its DNA and makes it stronger.
Every daybreak flags off an unequal race. A race everyone must run. Only those at the front can see what lies ahead and choose between forking paths. Some choose to win. Others, choose to lead. It’s not why they run the race that defines these leaders. How they run it, does. The Ananta Leadership Award is for those who understand that leading is not always about winning.