Gaja Capital Business
Book Prize 2021


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2021 Winner

Indian Icon: A Cult Called Royal Enfield by Amrit Raj

The 2021 shortlist comprised of an eclectic range of stories of enterprises and their protagonists – the entrepreneur and philanthropist in Azim Premji, an Indian consumer brand for the global audience in Royal Enfield, roadmap for India’s manufacturing prowess, the fall of Yes Bank, and Indian banking’s bad debt challenges by Urjit Patel.

Former Head of the National Corporate Bureau at Mint, Amrit Raj has built a strong understanding of Indian corporates and family businesses, as a journalist. All this comes to the fore in this book, telling the story of an iconic Indian brand looking to go global, the individuals behind this turnaround story who made it what it is. It is also a story of the old guard clashing with the ideas of the new, leading to dramatic changes in the business that resulted in the successful brand we know today. This is also a story of a leader who lived his product and brand experience, translating his passion of the biker lifestyle to consumers in India and around the world.

Hear Amrit Raj talk about his book

2021 Jury

Manish Sabharwal

Jury Chairman

Manish is a successful serial entrepreneur, currently co-founder and chairman of TeamLease Services. Manish also currently serves as an Independent Director on the Board of the RBI, as member of the Central Advisory Board on Education in the HRD Ministry and Member of Advisory Board of Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Imran Jafar

Imran is a founding member of the Gaja Capital team and has over 22 years of experience in private equity, pharmaceuticals, and technology services. Imran has co-led investments in the education and consumer clusters. He holds an MBA from IIM Bangalore and a master’s degree in software engineering from  

Dr. Lakshmi Venu

Dr. Lakshmi Venu is the Joint MD of Sundaram-Clayton Ltd (SCL), which forms part of the $8.5 billion TVS Group. She is also the Deputy MD of TAFE Motors and Tractors Limited. Dr. Venu’s focus at SCL has been to create a sustainable foundation for the companies’ future growth and to create flexible and agile companies for a VUCA world.

Michael Queen

Michael is a reputed successful global investment professional, currently Chairman of the University of Surrey. He was formerly Chief Executive of 3i Group plc and served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association. He is also serving as the Chairman of Thames Bridge Capital, where he provides strategic advisory to alternative asset managers and corporates.

Narayan Ramachandran

Narayan is a successful investment professional and a keen social entrepreneur. He was earlier the country head of Morgan Stanley in India (2007-10). He had also previously led portfolio management of Morgan Stanley’s Global Emerging Markets and Global Asset Allocation teams, managing over US$25 billion in assets.

Neelkanth Mishra

Neelkanth Mishra is Co-​Head of Equity Strategy, APAC and India Equity Strategist, Securities Research, at Credit Suisse. He is part of the Advisory Council to India’s 15th Finance Commission and has been an advisor to government committees such as the Revenue Neutral Rate Committee on GST and the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Review Committee.

Prithvi Haldea

Prithvi is a member of several capital market related committees of SEBI and has served as a member of the Indian finance minister’s high level expert committee on corporate bonds and securitization. Prithvi has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1989, he set up Prime Database, India’s first and largest repository for all primary capital market offerings.

Shailesh Haribhakti

Shailesh Haribhakti is an experienced accountant and an independent board member of several leading Indian companies. He is also the Chairman of DHC (Desai Haribhakti) one of India’s leading accountancy and advisory firms. He is actively involved with several prominent financial institutions in India, including the NSE, CII, IMC and ASSOCHAM.

Upendra Kumar Sinha

Upendra Kumar Sinha headed the RBI Expert Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He was the Chairman of the SEBI, having served two consecutive three-year terms, starting in 2011. He was also the Chairman and Managing Director of UTI Mutual Fund. He was selected for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS)  
in 1976.

2021 Shortlist

Yes Man: The Untold Story of Rana Kapoor

by Pavan C. Lall

Contributor at Fortune India, Business Standard and The Telegraph, Pavan C. Lall has combined his upbringing in Bihar and West Bengal and his education in West Texas to better understand the flawed billionaires India has produced. After his first book on Nirav Modi, Yes Man is the story of Rana Kapoor, and his whirlwind rise that eventually led to the Yes Bank crisis. From starting out as a junior employee at Bank of America to leading Yes Bank, Kapoor’s rise and fall is a case study in ambition and greed. The author details not only Rana Kapoor’s journey, but also raises questions about the banking system, regulation and the business environment that also played a role in precipitating the Yes Bank crisis.

Overdraft: Saving the Indian Saver

by Urjit Patel

Former Governor of the RBI throws light on the bad debt challenge in Indian banks, which landed on his desk when he assumed the office in September 2016; a problem which would end up defining his term in office. In the line of fire of the crisis were some of India’s largest PSU banks and some of India’s best known business magnates running their empires on unpaid debts. Based on thirty years of macroeconomic experience, he worked out the ‘9R’ strategy which would save our savings, rescue our banks and protect them from unscrupulous racketeers – if only he had been allowed to.

Getting Competitive: A Practitioner’s Guide for India

by R.C. Bhargava

R.C. Bhargava’s 25 years as an IAS officer before leading India’s biggest personal vehicle company, Maruti Suzuki, uniquely positions him to comment on and provide practical suggestions for stimulating manufacturing in India. Today, manufacturing is far from competitive and contributes only 15 per cent of India’s GDP. In this book, the author lists his suggestions to bring manufacturing to the fore in India and builds a strong case for making manufacturing competitiveness a national priority. For policymakers and general readers alike, this book brings promise and leads with an actionable guide to reverse what has been a secular decline in India’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions

by Sundeep Khanna and Varun Sood

Azim Hasham Premji is a man renowned for his business prowess, having built one of India’s most successful software companies. Journalists and authors Sandeep Khanna and Varun Sood, however, focus not only on his business acumen but also how Premji sought global scale even in his giving and philanthropy. Gleaned from numerous interviews with Wipro Executives, competitors, family friends and industry associates, the book is a business journalist’s account of Premji, the businessman who built a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, investor who created one of the first institutional family offices in India and twelfth on the list of the top philanthropists of the century.