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The Hindu Bureau

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala death | PM Modi leads the way in paying homage to ‘India’s Warren Buffet’

Tributes started to pour in moments after the news of the sudden death of ace stock investor and newly-launched Akasa Air founder Rakesh Jhunjhunwala surfaced on August 14, 2022 morning.

Known as “India’s Warren Buffet” for his ability to pick up low-priced quality stocks much before they become high performers, Mr. Jhunjhunwala was a cult figure in the Indian capital market. Retail investors followed his investment pattern.

Also known as the “Big Bull”, he was always bullish about the Indian growth story. His latest investment was in low-cost airline Akasa Air which started flying operations last week.

Though the family is yet to issue a statement, Mr. Jhunjhunwala reportedly died of kidney-related problems and acute multiple organ failure.

Several political leaders, market experts, businesspersons took to Twitter to pay their last tributes to Mr. Jhunjhunwala.

Political leaders:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, offered condolences to his family.

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable. Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world. He was also very passionate about India’s progress. His passing away is saddening. My condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” PM Modi wrote.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she fondly remembered several conversations with Mr. Jhunjhunwala and that he had strong beliefs in India’s strength and capabilities.

“Shri Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is no more. Investor, bold risk taker, masterly understanding of the stock market, clear in communication- a leader in his own right. Fondly remember several conversations we’ve had. Had strong belief in India’s strength and capabilities. Condolences,” her tweet read.

Union Home Minister Shah said Mr. Jhunjhunwala will always be remembered for his bullish outlook. “Anguished to learn about the passing away of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Ji. His vast experience and understanding of the stock market have inspired countless investors. He will always be remembered for his bullish outlook,” he tweeted. “My deepest condolences to his family. Om Shanti Shanti.”

Union Minister for Civil Aviation, who on August 7 virtually flagged off Akasa Air’s first commercial flight, said Mr. Jhunjhunwala will be remembered for giving India its new airline after more than a decade.

He wrote on Twitter, “Sh Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Ji was not only an astute businessman, but also passionately invested in India’s growth story. He will be remembered for giving India its new airline @AkasaAir after more than a decade. My deepest condolences to his family & loved ones.”

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal also condoled the demise of the ace investor. Taking to the microblogging site, Mr. Goyal said Mr. Jhunjhunwala was an inspiration for wealth creation for crores.

“Deeply anguished at the demise of veteran investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. He was an inspiration for wealth creation for crores. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti,” he wrote.

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said, ”Deeply saddened by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Ji’s passing. A veteran investor & industrialist, his contribution to the Indian Capital Market was immense.”

“The Big Bull of Dalal Street leaves behind an inspiring legacy. Condolences to his family and friends,” the TDP supremo added.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde wrote on Twitter, “Very saddened to know about the passing of the veteran investor Shree Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. India has lost a gem, who made a mark not just on the stock market but on the minds of almost every investor in India.”

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Saddened to know about the demise of Shri Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ji. His contribution in Indian industry & economic development will be remembered forever. Our deepest condolences to his family & admirers. My humble tributes.”

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “Saddened to hear of the passing away of Shri Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, just days after launching his budget airline, Akasa Airline. He was not just bullish about the stock market but also about the nation.”

“My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, “Condolences to family of Sh Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Ji on his sudden demise. His death is a big loss to the financial world and his ability to sense the pulse of the market will always remain unmatched. Rest in Peace.

‘Lost my brother’: Smriti Irani’s rich tribute to Jhunjhunwala

Union Minister Smriti Irani paid tribute to Mr. Jhunjhunwala, saying she lost her brother.

“I lost my brother today .. a relationship not known to many. They call him a billionaire investor, the badshah of BSE .. but what he really was .. is and always will be .. is a dreamer,” she tweeted.

Ms. Irani said the ace investor was tenacious, tender, graceful, and “my gentle giant”.

“Bhaiyya always told me ‘ apan apne dam par jeyenge ‘ .. and he lived on his own terms …Rakesh Jhunjhunwala… the legend, the legacy will live on,” she said in another tweet.

India Inc:

Richest Indian Gautam Adani and mining baron Anil Agarwal led India Inc in paying tributes to the veteran stock market investor.

“Extremely saddened by the untimely passing away of the most legendary investor that India has had. Shri Jhunjhunwala inspired an entire generation to believe in our equity markets with his brilliant views. We will miss him. India will miss him but we will never forget him. RIP,” Mr. Adani tweeted.

Veteran banker Deepak Parekh said Mr. Jhunjhunwala was a modern day legend with the optimism that gave a fillip to the Indian market trajectory.

“He was a strong proponent of Indian enterprise and the ensuing uptick of the India growth story,”he said. “He believed in the caliber and innovativeness of the typical Indian entrepreneur, asserting always that India would not only meet all geopolitical challenges but emerge as the front runner of the world economy.”

Banker Uday Kotak said, “Rakesh Jhunjhunwala: my school and college mate. One year my junior. Believed stock India was undervalued. He is right. Amazingly sharp in understanding financial markets. We spoke regularly, more so during Covid. Will miss you Rakesh!”

Mining baron Anil Agarwal said Mr. Jhunjhunwala will forever be known as the man who popularised public understanding of stock markets.

“Breaks my heart to know that a friend of mine, and more widely known as the big bull of our stock market, is no more...Rakesh Jhunjhunwala will forever be known as the man who popularised public understanding of stock markets. My prayers go out to his family & friends. Om Shanti,” he tweeted.

Essel Group chairman and Rajya Sabha member, Subhash Chandra, said, “His confidence and belief in India Inc. has contributed immensely to its growth. Not just one Street, but many across the Nation will miss you, forever! Rest in Peace #RakeshJhunjhunwala Om Shanti.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Rakesh Jhujhunwala at the time of their tragic loss,” said IndiGo through its spokesperson.

“Mr. Jhunjhunwala was a towering figure in India's financial world, and we also commend his recent contribution to Indian aviation with the launch of Akasa Air,” the IndiGo statement said.

“He was an inspiring personality, and will be deeply missed,” it added.

Market experts:

Several market experts mourned Mr. Jhunjhunwala’s death and said his strong belief in the country’s growth story and sheer energy made him one of a kind.

Condoling his death, Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath tweeted, “There will never again be someone like you, RIP.”

B. Gopkumar - MD & CEO, Axis Securities, said Mr. Jhunjhunwala will be missed for the sheer energy he brought to the TV studios. “His strong belief in India growth story and his bullishness on Indian markets are a tale of legend. He proved to each and everyone that if one stays invested in quality companies for long then wealth generation is almost assured,” he added.   

Another expert Sandeep Parekh said Mr. Jhunjhunwala was a legend whose folksy speeches could convince non-believers in the India story.

“Rakesh ji was ambitious. He was a sharp thinker, a thought leader, a calculative risk taker as a trader and a successful investor. His analysis were meticulous,” said Deven Choksey, managing director, KRChoksey Share and Securities Pvt. Ltd.

“He saw a big picture in India story, he supported the Government and decision makers for taking bold steps in putting India’s economy on a fast track. His conviction in India and her prospects, inspired decision makers in the country,” he said.

“He planned his exit well ahead of his time by significantly allocating his wealth to philanthropy. He combined ambition with action. His life was blessed by these rare qualities,” he added

Hailing Mr. Jhunjhunwala as the biggest believer in the India story, Sushant Bhansali, CEO, Ambit Asset Management, said the ace investor put not only his words but his entire wealth behind this story and got rewarded for it.

Mr. Bhansali described Mr. Jhunjhunwala as a roaring titan of long-term investing in India.

“A man of passion, simplicity and high conviction he inspired millions of people to believe and invest in the equity participation with Indian corporates. A true legend we all will miss. Be it investor calls, conferences, business TV channels, his roaring presence will be truly missed,” he added.

Mr. Jhunjhunwala started off his journey in stock markets while still in college with a capital of just ₹5,000. He began investing with ₹5,000 in 1985 when the BSE’s benchmark index Sensex was at 150. It now trades at over 59,000.   

He had investments in more than three dozen companies, the most valuable being watch and jewellery maker Titan, part of the Tata conglomerate. He earned his first big profit in 1986 when he bought 5,000 shares of Tata Tea at ₹43 and the stock rose to ₹143 within three months. In three years, he earned ₹20-25 lakh.

(With inputs from PTI)

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