“My life is an open book,” proclaims O P Nangia, founder and managing director, Stead Electronics Industries, a reputable producer of wire wound resistors, rheostats and potentiometers, whose products are extensively used by electronic industries, technical institutes and laboratories. With over 56 years of experience, Nangia is one of the oldest manufacturers in the electronics industry. Explicating the ‘never say die’ spirit of his father, Nangia’s son, Girish Nangia, says, “My father has been a true karamyogi. He has been a mentor and a friend to me. His sound moral values and consistency towards work have always been an inspiring and motivating force for the company. Even at this age, he is as laborious as he used to be 20 years ago.” The dynamic 73-yea rold shares snippets of his life with Himanshu Yadav of Electronics Bazaar and narrates his journey to success and the inevitable pitfalls he encountered along the way.
The journey to success has been simple as well as toilsome. For me, to be a man of value is much more crucial than to be a man of success and I attribute my growth and accomplishments to the good values that were inculcated in me by my parents during my growing years. Whatever I aspired for, I treated like a mission and with the blessings of my parents, hard work and sincerity, I have achieved almost everything that I have desired.
I have always been a believer in the philosophy of simple living and high thinking and my lifestyle reflects the same. Virtues like honesty, loyalty and generosity have always impressed me and I try to embody them both at the workplace as well as in family life.
Childhood, a smooth sailing
I was born on September 30, 1936 in Karachi (Sindh). Belonging to a Hindu family, it was indeed difficult to experience the pangs of partition at the tender age of 11. To set up a base from scratch in new, relocated borders was intimidating and the feeling of displacement was constantly there, but hardships yield a strong will and committed determination to achieve.
Ours was a family of eight—six siblings and my parents. My father was in a government job and my mother, a pious lady. Everything that I have learned or acquired is because of their guiding support and the moral values that they incorporated in me. After partition, we first moved to Lucknow and later to Agra. I completed my studies from D A V School, Agra and later came to Delhi to establish my own enterprise.
My childhood years were simple and went by smoothly. As such, there was no pressure, in terms of studies or scoring high results. I was an average performer, with minimal interest in sports and co-curricular activities. However, I was deeply intrigued by practical learning and my favourite subjects included science, mathematics and general knowledge. My interest in mechanical knowledge and electronics led.
Stead in business
Although my paternal and maternal relatives were in government services, I did not want to get into a boring, mundane job. Even my father, who himself was in the railways, never approved of the idea and wanted me to jumpstart my career through my own attempts. Hence, after completing high school, I decided to join my elder brother, who was already engaged in the trading of electronic components. Thus, at the young age of 17, I embarked upon my career.
As I wanted to do something of my own, I thought of venturing into the manufacturing space. Electronics or hardware manufacturing was negligible in those days and the demand, paltry, making it very risky and arduous to establish a manufacturing practice. Despite the hurdles, Stead Electronics Industries was formed in Delhi in 1953. Stead means ‘stable’ and like the polar star, my products and my company have remained salient in the industry.
Albeit there have been trying times, as business is all about risks, I never let impediments cloud the growth of the company. For instance, 1986 brought a tumultuous phase in my life, both on the personal and professional fronts. A very close relative of mine defrauded me, leading to huge losses in wealth and immense mental stress. My wife, Ushaji, who was my pillar of support, passed away and I was left all alone. Nevertheless, I did not succumb to these misfortunes and continued to work diligently. With the blessings of my elders, I had managed to come out of that rough patch. Since then, the company has been experiencing a growth rate of 10-15 per cent every year.
Our goods are supplied to government organisations, engineering colleges, defence and aeronautics and also exported to European countries. Manufactured under stringent quality control measures, our products ensure smooth operation, accurate results and minimal long-term wear and tear.
Our approach is very customer-centric. I have maintained my faith in my clients and believe that the customer is always right. We are forever toiling to make continuous improvements in product features and the overall manufacturing process. Therefore, we are able to offer the best quality of wire wound resistors, rheostats and potentiometers at most reasonable prices.
In 1958, when I was offered the position of a senior scientific assistant at the Central Electronics Research Institute, Pilani, my father told me note to quit my business. He advised me to have faith in my abilities and assured that I would be rewarded with success for my endeavours. His predictions have come true because today Stead is a renowned name in the industry. I started Stead Electronics with a mere Rs 1,000 and now our annual turnover is more than Rs 20 million. Our employee strength stands at 50, compared to the humble number of three that we initially started with and all these achievements are because of the cooperation of my staff.
I have three children—two daughters and a son. All of them are married and well-settled. Both my sons-in law are also in the electronic components business and my son, Girish, is an efficient businessman. My daughter-in-law and two grandsons consummate my circle of happiness.
I have travelled extensively to European countries and love visiting the Electronica and Productronica trade shows held in Germany every year. Usually, my hectic schedule leaves me with little time to pursue hobbies but whenever I have spare time, I try to spend it with my family or by reading good literature. I am very fond of technical books and like discussing business and technology with knowledgeable people. I have always valued knowledge. If I am stuck with a problem, I have no qualms about consulting my juniors in the hope of finding a solution.
My business and family are two binding forces and I have nurtured them with value and hard work. What I have aspired from my children I am getting back as the best reward in my life. When I look back, I find a blissful life with no regrets or qualms. I thank God for what he has offered me and believe that a life full of labour is a life filled with contentment and achievement.