Story of Ajanta clock founder, who faced many ups and downs before tasting real success

There is nobody in this world who wants to lead a frugal life. Though we all dream of being successful very few of us actually get to relish the taste of success. Many of them give up dreams midway due to lack of perseverance or loss at some point or some distractions. But none of these negative factors defeated Odhavji Patel as he pushed himself to do better and hence he succeeded in becoming a great Indian entrepreneur and businessman.

Patel began his business with Rs 1 lakh in 1971 is today a Rs 1,200 crore empire, this is one of the most inspirational stories. Today, he is the founder of Ajanta Orpat Group and he is also known as the “father of wall clocks”.

Let’s take a look at how Odhavji Patel touched the pinnacle of success from the wall clock. 

Hailing from a Gujarati family, Patel wanted to become a pilot when he was young. He completed his graduate (BSc), but did not get support from his traditional and conservative family in pursuing his dream.

Therefore, he resorted to teaching and started teaching science at a high school in Morbi for a salary of about ₹ 55 a month. As the years passed by, he realised his resources were not enough to raise his four sons and two daughters. He had always an innate sense of doing something big, but was in a dilemma of how a science teacher could do on his own.

He came in contact with various people in Morbi, he came to know that some of them wanted to start a clock manufacturing business. He then ran the business from a rented premise, manufacturing magnetic clocks with coil.

Today, It is a Rs 1,200-crore company with 450 distributors which exports to around 45 countries. The company sells diverse products such as—switches, snacks, electric bikes, tubelights, telephones, calculators and watches, to name a few, besides wall clocks. The group has been planning to venture into cement and car manufacturing as well.

“We travelled abroad and this helped us understand which way the world is moving,” Patel said in an interview to Mint in October 2007.

“This kept us ahead of our competitors in Morbi. Using this new technology, we could manufacture a clock at, say, something like ₹ 45 per wall clock, but sold the same piece at ₹ 105 per piece. So, profit margins were high, but the only difference is that we pumped all the money earned back into business,” Patel had said.

Over the years, the company generated impressive revenue, today it touched Rs 1,200 crore and it has over 4,500 workers. The Gujarat-based company, which is the world’s largest wall clock manufacturer, aims to double its turnover in next five years to Rs 2,400 crore.

Patel will always be remembered for the number of women he employed as he said he found women more productive than men. The company, which started with Rs 1 lakh, is today included in the club of 1,200 crores. What else could have led to great success?

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.