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Anand Mahindra's 'Startup Hero' Is a Phoenix Who Rose From the Ashes Of Religious Riots, Car Accidents & More After Mahindra drew the attention of his 9.5 million twitter followers to Paramjeet Singh's resilience against challenging times, many outpoured their appreciation and support for him

By Soumya Duggal

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The Better India (Twitter handle)

What would billionaire industrialist Anand Mahindra's 'startup hero' look like? A Doon School-educated Ivy League grad whose tech company just turned into a Unicorn? It seems not.

The Mahindra Group chairman recently took to Twitter to introduce his 'startup hero'. The man is Paramjeet Singh, once the "sole distributor" of Rasna, who overcame many professional setbacks incurred in national and personal tragedies. Today, Singh drives an auto rickshaw for a living and has kept his 'joie de vivre' intact.

"He is my 'Start-up' hero. What he has done takes much more spirit & courage than just starting up a business—he has restarted & reinvented his life…not just once, but twice," tweeted Mahindra, throwing light on Singh's inspirational life story as reported by The Better India.

"He was the sole distributor of 'Rasna'. Then the 1984 riots happened. He lost everything. So he restarted life by driving a taxi. 6 yrs later, he had a terrible accident. He got back on his feet & now drives an auto. Hats off to you, Mr. Paramjeet Singh!" The Better India had tweeted earlier this month.

According to the digital media platform, Singh was raised in a middle class household in Delhi's Lodhi Colony and after growing up, he operated a fairly large warehouse in Lajpat Nagar, with 7-8 auto rickshaws supplying Rasna throughout Delhi at one point. However, the 1984 Sick Massacre—a series of organised pogroms against Sikhs following Indira Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards in the wake of Operation Blue Star—robbed Singh of his thriving business, including his Rasna dealership.

Instead of surrendering to despair, he turned to driving a taxi to make money until he met with a horrible accident six years later, waking up to crushed bones in a Dehradun hospital after spending 13 days in coma. Not one to give up, Singh underwent medical treatment and physiotherapy before buying an auto rickshaw to drive to support his family. Although he sadly also suffered a stroke a few years later, Singh continues to persevere till date, personifying the American proverb, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

After Mahindra drew the attention of his 9.5 million twitter followers to Singh's resilience against challenging times, many poured out their appreciation and support for him. "Hats off Mr Paramjeet Singh. You're a role model for millions," one user said, while another commented, "Truly an inspiration, sir." However, one user pointed out that Singh's story is not just a demonstration of his strong will power but also of the jarring lack political will to rehabilitate the thousands of '84 riot victims. "Singh who could build Rasna is now forced to drive an auto because of riots, this is not resilience.....this is a huge loss for India. He deserves the right support system for building the next Rasna," said the user.

There may still be hope for Singh to receive the right support to achieve his full professional potential. Last evening, soft drink brand Rasna replied to The Better India's post on Twitter. "Can you help us reach Mr. Paramjeet Singh? He's a long lost associate and a proud member of our Rasna Family. And we'd really love to make his life Rasnaful again!" tweeted Rasna International.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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