Dr Aneel Kashi Murarka is Managing Director of Mirachem Industriies, one of the country’s leading manufacturing and export firms of specialty chemicals for the textile industry. He is definitely one person in contemporary times who is on an unstoppable voyage to make the world a better place for everyone. Team Optimist spoke to Dr Aneel Kashi Murarka. Excerpts…
Team Optimist: How were your initial days in the textile industry? How did Mirachem Industries take shape?
Dr AK Murarka: I started very young at age 15 as a trainee in the company under the guidance of my father and mentor, Kashiprasad Murarka, who started Mirachem Industriies in 1975, to cater to the textile industry, which was developing into a technology-oriented industry for the domestic markets. I was put up at the plant to understand the operations under supervisors. I drew a blank at first, facing challenges at every level. Since my father was a very strict disciplinarian, he would often tell me, “Why are you standing in the production unit? Get into the zone and understand each and every bit of it.”
In those days, I’d report to my seniors. They would, in turn, report to my father. He insisted that I become so capable that these bosses would ask for my valuable inputs for improvement. At first, I wondered how it would be possible, since I had just joined the business. But then, I realized that it was my dad’s belief in me and that I should live up to it by all means. Well, it happened and, within five months, I was able to deliver my responsibilities successfully and live up to my father’s expectations. We all can do it. Let’s be positive… The world is ours!
Team Optimist: Being a true philanthropist, do you think there’s, indeed, food for thought for corporate social responsibility for companies?
Dr AK Murarka: I don’t believe in doing philanthropy just for the sake of CSR. We earnestly believe in social change and uplift of our fellow beings. It’s in our blood to serve society in whatever way possible. My grandfather, the late Chiranjilal Murarka, was a well-known philanthropist of his times and, then, my father, Kashi Murarka, has continued to do a lot in terms of public service and social betterment.
Trust me, it gives me immense satisfaction when I extend a helping hand to the needy. Doing something for society through our family-owned CB Murarka Charitable Trust, SAMARPN, is extremely satisfying and it’s our way of giving back to society in a humble way whatever we’ve earned so far. I believe one should find a little time to help make life better for one’s fellow citizens. That’s why we’re called human beings. Now, my teenage son, Sidhaant, is taking forward the social initiatives through our social organization, Ample Missiion. I’m sure he will take my new-age philanthropy to a different level altogether.
Team Optimist: What are your views on the future of the textile industry in India? Is sustainability a problem?
Dr AK Murarka: After agriculture, textile is the second-largest employment generator in India. The future of the Indian textile industry looks bright to me. The textile sector is characterized by unique self-sustainability, high mass and low cost of labour and also translates into lower production costs. As a result, Indian producers enjoy immense competitive advantages over their finished products. Besides, within India, the propensity to spend on textile consumption is rising with an increase in disposable income levels. This trend creates significant revenue opportunities for the domestic textiles and apparel market. On the negative side, we’re facing competition from import of cheaper Chinese textiles. If we can combat that, the future of this industry is pretty bright.
Team Optimist: Through your social organization, Ample Missiion, you’ve stood by people in the true sense of the term. Tell us about the endeavours you are currently looking at through Ample Missiion?
Dr AK Murarka: As the founder, I’m proud of Team Ample Missiion, now led by Sidhaant, who is involved in several activities, ranging from uplift of the economically less-privileged in the city slums and taking education to such marginalized communities as tribal children. It entails everything — from youth suicide prevention to providing medical care and other life-saving essentials to vulnerable communities in emergencies during natural calamities that affect the masses.
Annually, we also organize four unique award ceremonies honouring unsung heroes, encouraging specially abled achievers and saluting our brave martyrs from the defence forces. We’ve also produced many thought-provoking short films on social awareness. Many of them have gone viral on social media. From community empowerment and peace-building to alleviating the mental and physical trauma of acid victims, team Ample Missiion is rendering yeoman service right across society. We believe in standing by our fellow human beings through thick and thin and working towards the welfare of society and the nation at large.
Team Optimist: You’ve been patronizing artistes in the true sense of the term across various platforms. Do you think there should be a comprehensive approach to safeguarding the interests of artistes in India?
Dr AK Murarka: As a patron of the arts and artistes, I believe they’re our society’s inalienable part and I totally believe in inclusion of such people in the mainstream of society. At Ample Missiion, we’re glad that we support and appreciate many such highly talented men and women — both able and differently abled. Our team encourages and channels their brimming expressionism into passionate strokes on canvas, in addition to providing them with numerous platforms, both online and offline, group exhibitions to showcase their talents and help them sell their artwork to be financially independent.
We also work towards removing the stigma that differently abled artistes face, conduct counselling and training sessions owing to their special needs to succeed, thus using art as a medium to facilitate, heal and empower differently abled persons.
Team Optimist: As an educationist, what are your suggestions for millennials?
Dr AK Murarka: I’ve been interacting with the youths of our nation through various colleges and, considering the fact that many of our students are working in full- and part-time jobs, while taking classes, we may need to ‘repurpose’ our teaching practices. Similar to the ways that students have to juggle time committed to work and studies, members of the faculty may need to approach the classroom with new and inventive ways to impart learning. To address these new approaches, the faculty can offer deliberate and meaningful learning experiences and opportunities, where students can see the connections between new material and real-world applications.
It’s not necessary to abandon traditional lectures, or other tried and time-tested instructional strategies, but it is crucial to adapt them to suit the learning needs of millennial and other students. Our students represent backgrounds as diverse as the subjects we embrace and scrutinize the way we teach and the way we impart education. We should, therefore, prepare them for successful careers to suit the prevailing job market and, above all, to be good citizens. Remember that every student has a spark within. Let’s give them the opportunity to explore their talents beyond the limits of academic success.
Team Optimist: Being a Swachh Bharat Ambassador, what are your plans to increase awareness among the common people?
Dr AK Murarka:Cleanliness is a problem for many Indians, who believe in keeping their homes clean, but don’t spare a thought before throwing garbage out and polluting their surroundings. Our short film, #DontLetHerGo, starring Kangana Ranaut and Amitabh Bachchan, spoke for a cleaner India. The video went viral on social media and earned appreciation from the Government of India — even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself — resulting in my brother and I being appointed Swachh Bharat Ambassadors — an honour hitherto reserved only for national celebrities.
Besides organizing a garbage cleanliness drive for the public and hygiene awareness programmes in schools, called ‘Dhodala’, we’ve also constructed many toilets in rural India through our social organization, Ample Missiion. We’re now planning to approach the chief minister of Maharashtra to include a lesson in civics on cleanliness at the school level. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan should not be a mere re-branding exercise. There’s no doubt about the fact that change begins at home. Every citizen of the country should take it upon herself or himself to make this campaign a success, rather than waiting for the government to do it for them. Let’s also hope that we can change the attitude of the people towards hygiene and bring the change we want to see.