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Business Ethics - Ghanshyam Das Rathod - Ghanshyam Machineries Pvt Ltd

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The court rose to its feet as the Judge wound up his long and carefully worded verdict. In the

defendant's chair sat a towering middle-aged gentleman in a natty blue pin-stripe suit, an

expression of acute boredom numbing his otherwise handsome face. Clearly, this was a man who

had been through many a trial - a man who had seen it all. Sitting next to him and listening

intently to every word of the Judge's verdict was a dark, well-built young man, presumably in his

mid-thirties. He seemed to be listening intently to the Judge's verdict, but somewhere written

across his face was a look of resignation, as if in reluctant acceptance of a hard truth. The

prosecutor's lawyer, a highly respected name in his fraternity, looked indignant at some grave

injustice about to be inflicted upon him and his client. The 'client' herself looked a defeated

woman. More than anything, the last few hours at the court had only reinforced her worst fears.

With every word that the Judge uttered, she felt her tireless efforts over the last year being

mercilessly swept away by the raging waters of the Purna - a cruel irony, given that protecting

the waters of the Purna had become her raison d'être.

Ghanshyam Das Rathod

Ghanshyam Das Rathod, 52, had built his sprawling empire almost out of nothing. Born and

raised in a family of garment traders in suburban Haridevpur, he was the third of seven siblings.

Although education had never been strictly enforced in the Rathod household, Ghanshyam took

his studies very seriously. His academic prowess notwithstanding, his neighbours knew him to

be a lad of tremendous ambition and resolve. Having breezed through school with distinction,

Ghanshyam went to study law at the renowned Radhapur University, some 300 kms away.

Completing his education, Ghanshyam returned to Haridevpur to look after his ageing father's

business. Lucrative as his father's fortune was, the commonplace business and mundane life in

Haridevpur did not appeal to the ambitious young Ghanshyam at all. Perhaps more pertinently,

he liked to see himself as a self-made man and did not want to stake claim to the wealth his

father had amassed. Soon thereafter, Ghanshyam's father fell ill and succumbed to his illness

after prolonged suffering. Dutifully performing the last rites of his father to the tee, Ghanshyam

handed over the reigns of his father's empire to his younger brothers. Late one balmy April

evening, after taking leave of his ageing mother and wishing his brothers luck, he set foot for the

city to seek his own fortune - to build his own empire.

The Early Years

Ghanshyam Machineries Pvt Ltd, Ghanshyam's brainchild, had a history of its own. Starting out

with several failed ventures in the city, Ghanshyam finally stumbled upon the idea of

Ghanshyam Machineries Pvt Ltd. Its main business was manufacturing state-of-the-art farm

machinery and equipment ranging from tillers, ploughs, ridgers, harrows, levelers, slashers to

sprinklers. He identified the nouveau-riche agrarian society that had sprung up on either side of

the Purna in the Azamgarh hinterland as his target customers. However, it was in choosing his

suppliers that Ghanshyam was at his astute best. He acquired high quality mild steel in measured

quantities from iron ore plants located upstream along the Purna, and mixed it with inferior

quality alloys of cheaper metals. Identifying the seasonal need for farm equipment, he lured

away skilled forgers and blacksmiths from the iron-ore plants to work for him on a rotational

basis with hefty remunerations. The tool fabrication was carefully executed in a plant

Ghanshyam set up at the banks of the Purna. While the tool bodies would be crafted out of

inferior quality alloy, the most skilled craftsmen were employed in fashioning the tool tips and

edges out of the best quality mild steel.

This turned out to be a highly profitable venture for Ghanshyam. By diluting the mild steel with

spurious alloys, he was able to drive costs down to the bare minimum. Apart from a small team

of

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