Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often referred to as the "Big Bull of India," was a visionary billionaire, celebrated stock trader, and astute investor who etched his name into the annals of India's financial history.
Born on July 5, 1960, and passed away on August 14, 2022, Jhunjhunwala's journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the world's wealthiest individuals is a testament to his financial acumen and unwavering determination.
Hailing from a Rajasthani Marwadi family, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was destined for greatness. His surname, which signified his ancestral roots in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, hinted at the entrepreneurial spirit that would define his life.
He pursued his education at Sydenham College and later enrolled at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Little did he know that these foundations would serve as the launchpad for his extraordinary career.
Jhunjhunwala's tryst with the stock markets began when he observed his father discussing market dynamics with friends.
His father's wisdom served as guidance, but he never provided financial support or allowed Rakesh to seek money from friends. Armed with his savings and a thirst for investing, Rakesh embarked on his journey.
In 1985, he initiated his investment journey with a capital of just ₹5,000. Within a year, he achieved his first significant success, raking in ₹5 lakh in 1986.
The period between 1986 and 1989 witnessed Jhunjhunwala accumulating profits amounting to nearly ₹20–25 lakh. By 2022, his investments had grown exponentially to ₹11,000 crores.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala managed his investments as a partner in Rare Enterprises, his asset management firm. His portfolio showcased a diverse array of holdings, with his most substantial investment being in Titan Company, valued at ₹7,294.8 crore as of 2021.
Beyond his personal investments, Jhunjhunwala held influential positions as chairperson and director in numerous companies, demonstrating his multifaceted leadership. His business acumen extended across sectors, from education to media and finance.
In 2021, Jhunjhunwala faced a challenging moment in his illustrious career when he was investigated for insider trading related to shares of Aptech Computers.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) alleged that he traded in Aptech shares while in possession of unpublished price-sensitive information (UPSI). After a settlement with SEBI, he paid ₹18.5 crore, and his wife contributed ₹3.2 crores to resolve the issue.
With a net worth of US$5.8 billion at the time of his passing, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala had plans to donate a quarter of his wealth to charitable causes.
His philanthropic endeavours included healthcare and education initiatives, supporting organisations like St. Jude, Agastya International Foundation, Ashoka University, Friends of Tribals Society, and Olympic Gold Quest.
He was particularly active in efforts to construct the R J Sankara eye hospital in New Panvel.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's impact extended to popular culture, with his life being the subject of books and even a portrayal in the web series "Scam 1992." His financial wisdom and charismatic personality resonated with audiences far and wide.
On August 14, 2022, the financial world mourned the loss of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Despite succumbing to kidney-related problems and acute multiple organ failure, he left behind a lasting legacy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute, highlighting Jhunjhunwala's indomitable spirit, sharp wit, and valuable contributions to India's progress.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's personal life was anchored by his marriage to Rekha Jhunjhunwala, with whom he shared three children: Nishtha, Aryaman, and Aryaveer.
In the annals of Indian finance, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's name will forever shine as a beacon of inspiration and innovation, reminding us all that with determination and foresight, the sky is the limit.