| 3 minutes read

3 minutes read

The Rise & Controversial Fall Of India’s Dosa King

| Published on July 29, 2019

“Humble beginnings driven by passion and dreams to make it big is the perfect recipe for consistent success.”

With this inspiring thought, let’s start with the story of P. Rajagopala, the visionary creator of a trailblazing India restaurant chain, who was subject to self-destruction just because of his weakness.

Who is Rajagopala?

He was a pious son of a low-caste onion trader from a village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. He always believed that good food begets satisfied soul. He was the founder of the eatery found in India, Saravana Bhavan, which has its branches spread from Leicester Square to Lexington Avenue via Singapore, Sydney, and Stockholm.

Saravana Bhavan

In 1981, Rajagopala opened a grocery shop in Madras (now Chennai). At that time, eating out was unusual for most Indians. Unlike any other man, he chose to set himself out of the box, by taking a brave step of opening his first restaurant, Saravana Bhavan.

His module, though, was very intriguing, wherein the winning formula remains, it offers southern Indian vegetarian delights- dosa pancakes, deep-fried vadas, and idli rice cakes, which taste home-made, and are affordable, to a lower middle-class family.

The concept has spread its branches to the United States, the Gulf, Europe, and Australia, with around 80 outlets.

Rajagopala’s Generosity

At 71, Rajagopala will be seen wearing all white attire, along with a strip of sandalwood paste on his forehead.
His staff calls him “annachi”, which means elder brother in Tamil. This is because, he treats them very generously, and gives benefits like health insurance to even his lowest-ranking employees.

His Obsession

The reason for his downfall, his obsession for young women. Yes! He was not a person to take no for an answer.

Rajagopala had his eyes on the daughter of an employee, who rejected his advances to marry Rajagopala, as his third wife, because she was already married.

He then threatened the woman and his husband, and even directed exorcisms on them, including her family. But they all failed. Then later in 2001, he ordered the murder of the woman’s husband, after a failed attempt.

A sentence for life

He was found guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, which later increased to a sentence for life imprisonment, on the grounds of murder, which he was convicted for.

Rajagopala’s one weakness just turned his life upside down, with the downfall of all he has built over the years, with dedication, passion, and commitment.

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