Me Thinks

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Man of Steel

As Rediff would want us to believe, the whole of India is celebrating Lakshmi Mittal's progress as a billionaire, him being the 3rd richest man in the world and all but according to the following report, his raise is met with a frown in the West, more specifically in Europe, which generally has a superiority complex for some unknown reason. Salil Tripathi writes thus in International Herald Tribune.

Mittal is an immigrant in Fortress Europe, and they resent the idea of a man
from the Orient gate-crashing a carefully laid-out garden party, in which a
precise pecking order used to determine who sat where.

Mittal does not follow those rules. The Mittal group is family-owned, and
Lakshmi Mittal is a peripatetic Indian who has moved around the world with
the ease that globalization promises.

Born into a family that owned a steel mill, Mittal first went to Indonesia
and then, in the 1980s and 1990s, in countries of limited interest to bigger
companies, slowly set about acquiring and making viable steel plants that
would have otherwise gone under.

By carefully pursuing his vision and remaining focused, he built the world's
biggest steel company, and became, according to Forbes magazine, the world's
third-richest person.

Criticism naturally followed, but it had less to do with his business plan
and more with his tastes. Tabloids across Europe gleefully reported his
purchase of a palatial 12-bedroom home in London's Kensington Palace Gardens
for $127 million, a record price for a private home; or the lavish,
$78-million wedding of his daughter over five days of festivities in a
17th-century French chateau; and the £125,000 he donated to Britain's Labour
Party.

If a pedigreed European count or British lord had done any of this, it would
have been taken for granted, perhaps even termed charmingly eccentric. But
when a man who grew up in rural India does it, questions are raised suddenly
about Mittal's "methods."

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I very much support Salil Tripathi's statement .
The western world societies behave as if they are the model societies, guardian of human rights and a very honest of societies.
I have traveled all over the world, and especially in the white dominated societies, they behave really bad with Indians. We Indians
are the most docile and polite of all, we are "ready to please all" people. This is taken as weakness by the western world. There sure is so much racism still to over come in the western world. All the plush positions/ decision making positions are white dominated - yes, that is the hard truth.

In spite all this Mittal's rise is commendable. He must be a very focused, hard working, determined and strong willed man to be where he is now.

He surely is a man of steel, his achievement is really commendable.

3:31 PM  
Blogger NaiKutti said...

i have views for and against mittal's :-)... the critisicsm that "a man who grew up in rural India does it" is totally illogical and uncalled for... what does it got to do with rural india or where he grew up from?

but on another note, spending $78 million for a wedding is something to really think about... was it another event to showcase his wealth... was it really necessary...

but, we sure shld appreciate and admire his character for getting up there fighting odds!

9:40 PM  
Blogger ashok said...

i respect mittal a lot for his strong character and achievement...

Its hard to change the western mindset easily ....but with India growing strongly in recent times, things will change hopefuly in the future...

I appriciated India's decision to deny relief aid from the west during Tsunami and the earth quakes recently for this same reason...these r strong signals to the west. They can no more deal with us like they do with pakistan or bangladesh...

2:09 AM  
Blogger Rajesh said...

Things will change as Ashok points out. India and Indians are making inroads.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Vanathi said...

Mittal is 3rd richest person !!! Good to know it :)

7:39 AM  
Anonymous prakash said...

naikutti,

"""spending $78 million for a wedding is something to really think about... was it another event to showcase his wealth... was it really necessary...""

BTW, is tat an intended criticism??

Avan kitta irukku selavu panraan...umakku enna vae

4:22 PM  
Blogger Me said...

ivar eppo man of steel aanaru...i am under assumption that Sardar Vallabhai Patel was man of steel...:p

6:32 PM  
Blogger Me said...

oh avar iron man ooo...

6:37 PM  
Blogger Ginkgo said...

well....letz see...

How wud u feel if a nepali or Bdesi comes up to that level..

Guess it will take time for ppl to accept such stuff...
it will happen....albeit slowly..:)

10:43 PM  
Blogger Kaps said...

Mittal is called Carneggie from Calcutta. BTW, eventhough he lives in London, he still retains his Indian passport.

3:07 AM  
Blogger I said...

Well. I don't think its an issue of racism as much as "economic patriotism". When Pepsi Co bought a French dairy or when HP tried to shed jobs in France, it was marked by outrage.

Old Europe -as Rumsie put it- has not woken up to globalization. They are still caught up in their socialist, protectionist utopia.

While it is true that Europeans are racist, I don't think that they'd extrapolate that as a reason against the take-over. Its like I hate Arab Moslems but I buy their oil. No love lost, but its a business transaction.

The eurotrash would have done the same thing if it had been anyone else. While its true some racist comments were made, I attribute the Mittal issue more to protectionism, rather than racism.

10:17 PM  
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