Shri Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani.

Name                                   Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani
Born on                                   28 December 1932 ( deceased )
Place of Birth                           Chorward, Junagadh in Gujarat
Education                                   Matriculation
Works for                                   Reliance Industries
Valued at US $ 6.10 billion, at the time of death
Position                                   Founder
Married to                           Kokilaben Ambani
Children                                   Mukesh Ambani,Anil Ambani
                                                  Nina Ambani, Deepti Ambani


Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, famously known as Dhirubhai Ambani, the Indian business tycoon and the founder of Reliance Industries, was born on 28th December 1932 into a Gujarati Family, in Chorward, Junagadh in Gujarat.

Aden was the second busiest trading and oil bunkering port in the world then. A. Besse & Co. was engaged in almost every branch of trading business- cargo booking, handling, shipping, forwarding and wholesale merchandising. Initially Dhirubhai worked in the trading section of the firm, later he was transferred to another section that handled petroleum products for the oil giant shell. Dhirubhai had done well at office and hence A. Besse & Co. became the agent for distribution of Shell refinery products to the Shell oil refinery and the first Oil harbor that came up in Aden in 1954. The same year, Dhirubhai returned to Gujarat to marry Kokilaben. Due to his hard work, he was sent on promotion to the oil filling station at the newly built harbour, which was more challenging, unlike the desk work in the commodities section.He was the second son to Hirachand Gordhandas Ambani and Jamanaben. He had two brothers, Ramnikbhai and Natubhai and two sisters, Trilochanaben and Jasuben. 

His father worked as a village school teacher. They were a reputed family in the village, but they were financially not very strong, since his father was the only earning member in a family of 5 children.

Growing Up

Since Dhirubhai's father was a village school teacher, he did not earn much. Though he was highly intelligent, he chose to use his physical abilities over cramming school lessons. He was said to be impatient of the oppressive grinding mill in the classroom. Once his mother asked him and his elder brother to support their father financially, after which he began putting up onion/potato fries stall at village fairs and gave the extra money he earned to his mother. He was enthusiastic and impatient about earning money as soon as possible.

Dhirubhai wanted to pursue a bachelor's degree, but due to his father's illness he had to take up a job in Aden, arranged by his elder brother, Ramnikbhai and so he could not study further.

He came to know about his matriculation examination results through a Gujarati newspaper, when he had already boarded the ship to Aden. He got to know that he had passed his matriculation examinations in second division.


Dhirubhai started working as a clerk in A. Besse & Co. (named after its French founder Antonin Besse) from the very first day he reached there.
  • In 1957, Dhirubhai returned to India and started “Majin” in partnership with his second cousin, Champaklal Damani, who used to be with him in Aden. Polyester yarn was imported and spices were exported to Yemen by Majin. They setup the first Reliance Commercial Corporation office at the Narsinatha Street in Masjid Bunder, which was a 350 sq.ft room, with a telephone, a table and three chairs and had only two assistants to help them. The Ambani family had been living in a one bedroom apartment till now. Dhirubhai and Champaklaal Damani ended their partnership in 1965 since they possessed different temperaments and business perspectives and ideals. So Dhirubhai started his own individual business and founded the Reliance Group.
The Ideal Beginning
  • It all started when Dhirubhai started his own individual business, after ending partnership with Mr.Damani, his second cousin in 1965. Dhirubhai was known for his risk-taking ability and his belief was in building inventories, anticipating a price rise and making profits.
  • In 1966, sensing good business opportunities he setup Reliance Textiles, his first textile mill at Naroda, Ahemdabad. A brand, named 'Vimal' was started by Dhirubhai, which was named after his elder brother's son. It was such a success that it became a famous household name in India. Franchises were distributed and famous retail outlets would sell only 'Vimal' brand of textiles. In 1975, Reliance Textiles' manufacturing unit was visited by a technical team from the World Bank and was certified as 'excellent even by developed country standards' during that period. By the late 1970s, Dhirubhai had a net worth of an estimated Rs.10 lakh.
  • Not only was his textile business a great success, but also his idea of starting equity cult in India. Dhirubhai convinced a large number of investors from rural Gujarat to invest in his company and assured them that being shareholders of his company would be profitable. Reliance Companies was a private sector company and its Annual meetings were held in large stadiums. By the early 1980's Dhirubhai Ambani’s net worth was estimated at about 1 billion.
Conjugal Relationship

Dhirubhai was married to Kokilaben in 1954 and was blessed with two sons, Mukesh and Anil and two daughters, Nina and Deepti. His sons later took over the Reliance industries after his death.
Though Dhirubhai himself could not study much, his sons are highly educated. Mukesh, Dirubhai's elder son is a graduate and Anil, his younger son is a post graduate.

Man of Substance

Dhirubhai Ambani is the founder of the Reliance Group of Industries which is a conglomerate and only privately owned company in India, with a net worth of $6.10 billion at the time of his death. Dhirubhai's Reliance has almost taken over all types of trading sectors in India. From capital markets to households, Reliance is a common name.

This great Indian business tycoon was worldly recognized and awarded.
  • In June 1998, he became the first Indian to receive the Wharton School Dean medal for setting an excellent example of leadership.
  • Dhirubhai was featured among 'Power 50- the most powerful people in Asia' in the Asia week Magazine for three alternate years-1996, 1998, and 2000.
  • He was also named the 'Man of 20th Century' by the FCCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).
  • He was also awarded the Economic Times 'Lifetime achievement' Award in august 2001.
  • Dhirubhai was famously known as 'Polyester Prince'.
Company Profile

Reliance Group of Industries, founded by Dhirubhai, is a conglomerate company which is indulged in petrochemicals, communications, textiles and power. The company has over 85000 employees at present and provides almost 5% of the Central government's Total tax revenue.
The Reliance Group split soon after Dhirubhai's death into Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and Anil Ambani's Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.

Obstacles Faced

There were several business rivalries faced by Dhirubhai Ambani.
At one point of time, Nusli Wadia of Bombay Dyeing was the greatest competitor and threat to Dhirubhai's Reliance Industries. The competition between the two turned out to be ugly.
Another obstacle was Dhirubhai's tussle with Ramnath Goenka, who once was Dhirubhai's friend. It all began because Ramnath Goenka was not getting his equal share in the company and so he teamed up with Dhirubhai's rival, Nusli Wadia and tried hard to cause a major harm to the Reliance group. The Indian express, a broadsheet daily published by Goenka, carried a series of articles stating the unfair means used by the Reliance Industries to make profits. But soon Dhirubhai handled the pressure and came over it.

Dhirubhai faced severe health problems. In 1986 he suffered a major stroke, which paralyzed his right hand and in June 2002, he suffered his second stroke, after which he was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai. A number of doctors attended to him but not much could be done and the Indian business magnet died on July 6, 2002.


Dhirubhai was a hardworking and intelligent man, since childhood. Though he couldn't study after his matriculation examination, he built up a great business due to his determination and skills he learned at A. Besse & Co. in Aden. Dhirubhai's journey has been also depicted into a famous Bollywood movie named 'Guru', which was a great commercial success.