3 Indian Rags to Riches Stories (Last One is a Shocking Surprise!)

Here we share the incredible stories of three great Indian personalities who went from rags to riches. Get inspired

3 Great Rags to Riches Stories for Entrepreneurs

Life is not a cakewalk. It can either make or break you.

Nobody can become what they dream about overnight. There is a story of hardship and hurdles behind successful people.  

Because dreams come with some costs. You have to take that giant leap at the cost of something.

Sometimes you have to fight the battles like a valorous hero to get through. Because anything worth having won’t come easy.

Here we share the incredible stories of three great Indian personalities who went from rags to riches. Get inspired!  

  1. PC Musthafa – CEO & Founder, ID Foods

Inspiring Story of Indian Entrepreneurs

Musthafa still remembers his school days.  The image of a boy who failed in sixth standard and decided to drop out of the school adorn his mind.  

But he was good at numbers. So his beloved teacher, Mr Mathew, decided to bring him back to school.

He lent a helping hand to his student and that was the first stepping stone towards realizing  his dreams.  Now he is at the helm of ID Fresh Food, a ₹100 crore company that sells fresh batter.

Musthafa hails from god’s own country, Kerala. He was born in a remote village in Wayanad, one of the most educationally backward districts in Kerala.

His father was a coolie who had to burn candles at both ends to meet the necessities of life. Obviously he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He had his share of pain and humiliations.

When he was at college, he didn’t have enough money to afford his academic commitments. So he enrolled under a free scheme since he was brilliant in studies.

His fellow students often insulted him. But Musthafa never let himself get discouraged.

His flight to success began when he secured a good job at Motorola after completing engineering from Regional Engineering College, Calicut (Now NIT).

He gave up his well-paid job at Citi Bank to commence his business in 2005. It was indeed the toughest decision in his life.

He pondered over many business ideas. Finally, his cousin Shamsudheen came up with the idea of selling dosa batter.

The idea was to sell preservative-free dosa and idli batter to people in Bangalore.  His cousins supported him and partnered with the business.

Top Rags to Riches Stories

They hired a small room in Bangalore with minimum investment and set up the business. The target was to sell 10 packets of batter a day.

Surprisingly, the business made profit from the first month itself. As the demand for their products skyrocketed, Musthafa invested ₹4 million in his business and moved to a better place.

The company produced 3500 kg batter each day. The company’s turnover reached 100 crore mark in 2015.

He believes in making a difference in society. Today his company provides employment for over 1,000 people and he mostly prefers youngsters from rural parts of the country for employment.

Now Musthafa is looking forward to realize his vision-  to reach ₹10 billion mark by 2020. But people who know him are pretty sure he will make it.

  1. Indra Nooyi-  CEO, Pepsico

Top 3 Rags to Riches Stories in India

Indra Nooyi is undoubtedly the most powerful woman entrepreneur from India. She was born in a conservative Tamil family in Chennai.

When girls of her age were either married off early or resorted to household works, Indra decided to take the riskier, less-travelled and rebellious path.

Indra always dreamt of achieving something big in life. She envisioned her superlative success and put her heart and soul into making it happen.

She realized education was the primary tool to scale great heights. As a first step, she joined Malabar Christian College, Chennai.

Later, she joined IIM Kolkata and earned a business management degree in 1976.  She worked at Johnson and Johnson for sometime and applied at Yale School of Management for higher studies.

She was selected and she flew down to America to explore new avenues of life.

However, she struggled to make ends meet. She worked as a receptionist in America to support her studies. Her night shifts stole her sleeping hours. But amidst all the adversities she kept her optimism intact.

After completing her Masters from Yale University, she thought she would get employment right away. 

She applied for a job and got an interview call. She got rejected in the interview for not wearing her suit properly.

Though taken aback by the response of the interviewers, she wasn’t ready to give up. She told why she got rejected to her professor at Yale University. He encouraged her to wear whatever she likes while attending interviews.

She wore a sari for the next interview and was selected. That was the beginning of her spectacular career in America.

At the initial phase of her career, she faced a lot of challenges just because she was a woman.  She proved being a woman is not barrier to a successful career. Her talent attracted admiration wherever she went.

She joined Pepsico in 1994 as Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning. The industry she had been into was highly competitive and notorious for corporate politics.

But she stood strong and unshaken. She became the CEO of Pepsi in 2006, when the company had caught headlines over excessive use of water in countries having severe water scarcity.

The brand was under scrutiny. But Indra rose to the occasion. She launched a campaign to regain the fading reputation of Pepsi in India.

Inspiring Stories of Indian Entrepreneurs

The company successfully carried out the campaign that emphasized conserving water for future.

Through this campaign, Pepsico restocked 6 billion litres of water in India.  The campaign was extended to other countries as well and yielded success.

She diversified Pepsico and made the company a highly profitable business entity. She received Padmabhushan, the third highest civilian award in India in 2007.

Indra Nooyi’s life is an extraordinary tale of rags to riches through passion, hard work and ambition. It demonstrates the strongest side of a woman and depicts how to realize your biggest dreams!

  1. Shah Rukh Khan – Bollywood actor/ Producer/ Entrepreneur/Philanthropist

Famous Rags to Riches Stories in India

Years ago, a youngster in his early twenties stood at the magnificent Marine Drive, Mumbai, penniless, watching the sea with his friend. No one cared to notice him.

Looking at Mumbai city that gleamed in street lights, he told his friend:

“One day I will rule this city”.  

Rest is history!

Shah Rukh Khan needs no introduction. He’s an epitome of the heights film stars can ever achieve. He’s popularly known as the ‘King Khan” in Indian cinema.

The story of Shah Rukh reveals the fact that his life wasn’t a bed of roses. He was born in a refugee colony in New Delhi. His father was a freedom fighter and mother, a homemaker. He lost both his parents when in his early twenties and was left with nothing to hold on.

Did you know?

He learnt to drive a car on the spot when the taxi driver refused to take his father’s dead body from the hospital because Khan did not tip him well.

Later, he moved to Mumbai to realize his long-cherished dream  – to act in Hindi films.

But the way to film wasn’t as easy as he thought. He faced rejections, humiliations and insults. But nothing overpowered his passion.

He got a chance to act in a television series titled Fauji aired by Doordarshan in 1988.

Bollywood was still a distant dream. But the 13-episode TV series made him a familiar face among the audience.

His first film released in 1992. Still he was a struggling actor, who found it hard to remain in Bollywood.

Then he acted in Aditya Chopra’s film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. It became a monumental success in Bollywood.

It is still the longest-running Indian film of all time. This film redefined Shahrukh’s destiny as an actor and catapulted him to a superstar. 

Now Shahrukh is the most popular Indian celebrity with millions of followers across the globe. He has been awarded Padma Shri for his immense contributions to Indian cinema.

Rags to Riches Celebrities

He also adorns the seventh position in the list of most-paid actors in the world. He owns Red Chillies Entertainment, a leading film production company in India and also is the co-owner of IPL cricket team, Kolkata Knight Riders.

Now not only Mumbai, but the whole world gives him a standing ovation whenever he makes an entry! Yes, he has indeed become the king of Indian cinema.

His journey from the refugee colony to the heart of Indian cinema itself is more intriguing than any of his films!

Key takeaway:

The only thing that matters is your dream or idea. Though it might take some time to realize it, you need to put your heart and soul into it. Then all your endeavours will bear fruit.

There will be setbacks.

But remember:

Don’t give up when you face hurdles. After all, hurdles prove your strength to persuade your dreams!   

How about you?  What obstacles are you working through as part of your journey from rags to riches?

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