The dynamic and outgoing magnate B.N. Bahadur, whose successful company BBK has been profiled in an earlier feature, was kind enough to submit to a personal interview on the patio of his Oakland County home on July 12. The home itself showed Bahadur and his wife’s meticulous attention to detail, including an amazing model of the coronation parade and grounds which resemble a botanical garden.
These, of course, are the trappings of business success. It was the trappings of the soul, which Bahadur revealed in detail, which made the interview one of the most gratifying that we have conducted.
Born in Mysore, near Bangalore, Bahadur comes from a family of ten children, each of whom, he says with pride, ‘Received individual attention from our parents in all phases of our youth.’ It was this outpouring of family love, as well as his childhood spent near Bangalore, which is today a destination point for global technology, which help direct Bahadur into business. Having received his education in Mysore, Bahadur has today returned the favor by establishing an MBA college at that city’s renowned university. The 240 students who are now pursuing higher degrees at that college can expect to have their lives enhanced, whether they remain in India or emigrate, as Bahadur chose to do in the early 1970’s.
“Business acumen, integrity and hard work,” says Bahadur, “are the key elements to success. I owe a lot to timing, luck, and to my wife as well: I entered the Detroit business scene at a time when a lot of law firms were not interested in bankruptcy consulting. It was an open field when I began Bahadur & Associates, of which BBK is an offshoot. Now, of course, the ‘silk stocking’ firms want to get involved.”
“Detroit,” he continues, “offers a wonderful environment for Indian immigrants willing to overcome the obvious obstacles of language and culture and work hard.” He cites Indian-owned companies like NYX, Covansys and Lakeshore Engineering. “The fact that many different sects from India, many dialects and religious traditions exist here, make the transitions easier.”
He speaks of his Hindu faith with the utmost reverence, and reminisces about his childhood and mourns his late father with the utmost candor; meanwhile offering an overview of the traditions of his homeland, including arranged marriages, Gandhi and some of the ethnic stereotypes that he has had to overcome.
The ‘lessons’ of B.N. Bahadur seem grounded in a basic principle: “Be responsible,” he insists. “This involves all aspects of your life, cultural cohesion and business integrity, but most of all, in how you treat other people. Respect is foremost.”