Interview: Vijay Kumar Berlia, NRI global business tycoon

While the Indian diaspora is spread far and wide across the world, there are a few towering Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who outshine others through their unique achievements and perspectives. One such luminary is Vijay Kumar Berlia, an NRI who is based out of Dubai and Europe. 

In an interview, Vijay Kumar Berlia talks about the NRI experience, business, charity and life in general.


WHRD: What prompted you to move out of India and how has the NRI experience been for you.  

Vijay Kumar Berlia: I firmly believe that geographies should not act as a constraint for those who seek their karma and fortune outside of their home country. I sensed the burgeoning opportunities in Dubai and Europe, especially in my chosen career domains of Chemicals, Plastics, Value Added Trading and Real Estate. The NRI experience has been extremely positive and thankfully with God’s grace I have been able to find success.

Unnecessary state restrictions on the Indian economy prior to the liberalisation wind of 1991 had thwarted the growth in India for decades. I am very positive about the India story today though. In fact, it is the limitations of opportunities on the home turf in those days which prompted many an enterprising souls to venture big time in the world out there. It is not necessary that one can serve the motherland only by remaining inside the country. One should follow their instincts in the search for self-actualisation.

WHRD: You have taken semi-retirement from your business related activities, focusing only on the supervisory and mentoring role. What else occupies you at present? 

Vijay Kumar Berlia: I have always believed that a person should follow a path of appropriate age, and when one gets older spend more time mentoring, coaching and advising and let the new generation come up.

In that sense I have been lucky to have a very supportive family. While I only return to India a few times a year, I think that India is within me as I possess abiding love for my country.

With advancing age even as I have slowed down on the fast pace that I used to maintain in my heydays, I am involved in a lot of charitable and social outreach initiatives for India from my offices in Dubai, which is my home away from home. I love Dubai for its economic vibrancy, among other things, and I am deeply appreciative of the space Dubai and Europe has given me to grow.

WHRD: Do you miss out anything in particular about India? 

Vijay Kumar Berlia:  The food always. One of the daunting challenges I faced and still feels off shores is the dearth of authentic vegetarian cuisines. I used to spend a lot of time traveling to Eastern Europe when I first left India, and often had to survive simply on bread and butter for days especially during the chaos of the break-up of the Soviet Union. Today, Indian food, and vegetarian food is widely available and celebrated, and Dubai, as well as cities such as Hamburg and London have widely embraced the Indian culture and experience. I am fortunate to be part of their thriving Indian communities.

WHRD: Tell us something about your family.

Vijay Kumar Berlia:  My wife is a successful entrepreneur herself who keeps on shuttling between Dubai and India, where her business interests are thriving. In fact, both of us are out-and-out high achievers who inspire each other professionally while complimenting each other personally. I am regularly in touch with my globetrotting children as well – If not all the time in person, then over Skype, internet and social media. Since I spend most of my time in Dubai and Europe they travel frequently here to meet me.

WHRD: Do you see winds of change in India?  

Vijay Kumar Berlia:  I am an optimist to the core and am gung-ho about the transformative changes taking place in India in the recent times. I am very excited to see the new focus on development, and a fast developing young entrepreneurial culture. I firmly believe that young Indians are globally competitive and many more can achieve international success if they are willing to come out of their comfort zones to shine in the world out there.

Vijay Kumar Berlia

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