I remember reading an article on Gujaratis published in The Economist a few years back. The article talked about how Gujaratis have businesses in all the countries in the world with political stability. Many of the big Indian businesses too are run by Gujarati entrepreneurs.

However, many of the senior executives in Indian businesses are South Indians. To be more precise, most of them are Tamil Brahmins. The tradition of senior officials coming from the Tamil Brahmin community is continuing from the days of British rule. The number of civil servants from theĀ  Iyer or Iyengar subcastes (of the brahmin caste) was so high that the IAS service was nicknamed as the ‘Iyer and Iyengar service’. A number of South Indian brahmin CEOs head some of the biggest corporations in the world like Google and Microsoft. Despite their intellect and education Tamil Brahmins fail to start their businesses and become successful entrepreneurs.


So what explains this difference? Some business analysts opine that the Gujaratis have the knack for business which is embedded in their blood. Why do Gujaratis succeed in business anywhere in the world? And, why do South Indians do a great job of being the top executives in an organization but fail to start their businesses?

The real cause is cultural. A South Indian is brainwashed from his childhood to get a secure job. A Gujarati does not like working under somebody and will be content of running a convenience store at the street corner. He will be watching the success of his father and uncles in running a business from his childhood. No wonder, some of these small businesses grow up to be the Reliances and Tatas of India.

Proper understanding of business and entrepreneurship from the childhood is the key in creating the next major businesses out of India.