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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Sanjiv Saraf, Maharani Bagh

The 46th death.

[Text by Sanjiv Saraf; photo by The Rekhta Team]

Sanjiv Saraf, businessman and Urdu poetry lover, died yesterday.

When he was just 26 years old, Mr Saraf, an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, left a cushy position in his family’s successful business and struck out on his own. He started a small venture in 1988 that nearly went bankrupt within three years. Persevering, he clawed his way back to build Polyplex, a successful multinational business in plastics.

An entrepreneur at heart, Mr Saraf hated the humdrum of day-to-day management. He jokingly called himself “the ultimate delegator”, doing what he enjoyed most, i.e., creating. Apart from factories in India, Thailand, Turkey and the U.S., he also set up a number of eco-friendly hydroelectric plants. He came across a void in online legal resources and made his Internet foray by promoting Manupatra – India’s premier legal resource.

Unconventional, Mr Saraf rarely bothered about “what people say”; he mostly followed his heart, both professionally and personally. Money, for him, was merely a means and an enabler, never an end.

Attraction to Urdu, especially to Ghalib’s poetry and the ghazals sung by Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hasan et al, led him to give up involvement in his business empire, learn the Urdu script at the age of 52 and pour himself completely into launching – the world’s most comprehensive online resource for Urdu poetry. In 2015 he started the Jashn-e-Rekhta festival, which has now become the signature event for Urdu culture.

Sipping his customary single malt with friends recently, Mr Saraf presciently shared his satisfaction on enriching millions of lives and said that Rekhta would be his true legacy.

Our Self-Written Obituaries invites people to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at

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