Anil Agarwal: A Journey from Scrap Dealer to Business Tycoon


Anil Agarwal, the Chairman of Vedanta Resources Plc, is a self-made billionaire whose journey from a humble background to becoming a prominent businessman is inspirational. Agarwal faced numerous challenges but emerged victorious through resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of his dreams.

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Who is Anil Agarwal?

Anil Agarwal is a billionaire businessman who is the Founder and Chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited. He is known professionally as "Metal King”. He controls Vedanta Resources through Volcan Investments, a holding vehicle with a 100% stake in the business. His family has a net worth of more than Rs 32,000 crore.

Early Years and Entrepreneurial Spirit:

He was born in Patna, Bihar in 1954 and belongs to a Marwadi family. His father Dwarka Prasad Agarwal had a small aluminium conductor business. He completed his schooling at Miller High School in Patna. From childhood, he was never very interested in studies and always wanted to do business. He decided to join his father's business, making aluminium conductors instead of going to university. At 19, he left Patna for Mumbai to explore career opportunities and to help his father.

Agarwal's entrepreneurial journey began in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Anil Agarwal arrived in Mumbai with a dream to achieve success. He only had a tiffin and blanket. Despite having nothing, he prayed to Hanuman Ji for guidance and to move forward with his dream.  He was inspired by the city he had seen in movies.

In 1976, Agarwal acquired Shamsher Sterling Corporation with a bank loan. He managed Shamsher Sterling and his father's company for the next 10 years.  In 1986, a pivotal moment came, when private sector companies were allowed to manufacture telephone cables. Agarwal seized this opportunity and founded Sterlite Industries. It was the first private company to set up a copper smelter and refinery in India.

Struggles and Resilience:

The initial years were far from smooth for Agarwal. The ten years following the acquisition of Shamsher Sterling were perhaps the toughest of his life. He even faced challenges in paying employee salaries, and difficulties in procuring raw materials tested his resolve. Undeterred by failures, he ventured into various businesses, including magnetic wires, different cables, aluminium rods, and multiplexes with Warner Brothers. Despite facing setbacks, he refused to give up.

Depression and Spiritual Coping Mechanisms:

The financial crises took a toll on Agarwal, leading to a three-year battle with depression. During this period, he not only faced financial stress but also an emotional and mental struggle. Agarwal turned to exercise, meditation, and prayers as coping mechanisms. Visiting revered places like Mumbadevi, Siddhivinayak, Haji Ali, and Mahim Church provided him solace during challenging times. He also used to watch cinema which gave him an escape for some time from reality.

Marriage and Family

He was married at the age of 22. Since it was an arranged marriage, his father decided to select his friend's daughter for him. However, the girl's father chose to marry his daughter to someone else because he was residing in Mumbai. At that time the image of men living in Mumbai was not so good. But, Anil's father and the girl's father were friends. Thus, the father of the girl later chose to wed his younger daughter Kiran to Anil. Kiran Agarwal was always there for him. Her wife gave him hope that the crisis would pass quickly.

Anil Agarwal's wife, Kiran Agarwal 

Kiran Agarwal is the Chairperson of Hindustan Zinc and an accomplished author, poet, and entrepreneur. She shares a special bond with her husband, who often admires her unwavering support throughout their journey together. 

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Heart-warming Interactions by Mr. Agarwal

When Anil was living in Mumbai, he found that every film celebrity dressed in Kachin brand clothes. He became interested towards it and decided to buy it. However, he discovered that it was excessively costly. Akbar bhai, who used to work and head there, became a buddy of his. One day, he went there and encountered celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Dimple Kapadia, and Rajesh Khanna. Akbar Bhai made a Safari suit for him similar to Amitabh Bachchan and he also wore that at his wedding.


Struggles in Mumbai moved to London

In his early days, nobody in Mumbai knew who Anil was. He faced setbacks and the struggle to find an equal chance, so he left Mumbai and travelled to London with his wife and kids. He did not pack many things but took his mother’s parathas and Babu Ji’s shawl as a symbol of his parents' blessings. When he landed in London, he had fear at the back of his mind, being reminded of everyone who told him “chhoti chidiyaan bade aasmano me nahi uda karti.” But his family's blessing around him made him feel calm and confident. His father always taught him to focus on the journey, and not the ending. He used to say “As long as you are enjoying the ride you are on, you will find your way”. Anil followed him and won his dreams. After three to four years of shifting, he eventually listed his business in London.

In 2003, he became the first Indian to list his Company, Vedanta Resources, in London on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). He says that faith is the true source of strength, that he had faith in his deity, and that one day he would attain his goal. He then made the front page of the Telegraph and other international publications. That time he became the headline of Telegram and other foreign newspapers. He also made a lot of friends in London - his way of making friends with love and a smile.

Philanthropy and Legacy:

Agarwal's success didn't make him forget his roots. In 1992, he established the Vedanta Foundation for philanthropic endeavours. Inspired by figures like Bill Gates, Agarwal pledged to donate 75% of his family's wealth to charitable causes.


Recently Anil Agarwal won Toronto, Canada's CIF Global Indian Award 2022. In addition, he has received other honours, including the Mining Journal Lifetime Achievement Award (2009), The Economic Times, Business Leader Award (2012), and many more.

Vedanta Limited

Vedanta Group was founded 44 years ago, an Indian multinational mining company that has built its reputation as one of the world's leading natural resources companies. Earlier It was known as Sterlite Industries. It was founded by Dwarka Prasad Agarwal, father of Anil Agarwal. The Company was later taken over by Anil, who founded its parent organisation, Vedanta Resources Limited. Vedanta Group or Vedanta Limited is a mining company with primary operations in aluminium, iron ore, and gold.

Vedanta Group aims for all its light motor vehicles (LMVs) to be carbon neutral by 2030. In addition, the Vedanta Group is actively implementing significant adjustments to its renewable energy business.


Anil Agarwal's life is a testament to the adage that success often arises from overcoming failures. From a small scrap dealer to a global business tycoon, Agarwal's journey is marked by an indomitable spirit. His story serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.