Ajit Ravi Pegasus THE MAN WHO NEVER GIVES UP
There isn’t a single person on the planet who has managed to reach the top without struggle of some kind. From afar, it may look like a smooth ride but if you interact closely with any successful individual, you are sure to learn about the many hurdles and setbacks on the way to enviable achievement.
Dr Ajit Ravi’s life has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. He is now back at the helm as the chairman of Pegasus Global Private Ltd but the one who conceptualised the string of prestigious beauty pageants, had to be away from his business empire for a span of five years, during which period he handed over the responsibilities to his wife Jebitha Ajit.
It is fascinating to listen to his story of blood, sweat, tears and triumph.
Let us go back in time to 2001 when a catastrophe in the form of a road accident turned his life upside down. Ajit was barely 23 years old when his beloved sister and brother-in-law died in that tragic accident.
He was then working as an airport staff at Cochin International Airport Ltd, earning barely Rs 3,000 per month, and in the aftermath of the tragic event, he had a big financial obligation on his shoulders due to the unaffordable hospital expenditure. He now had the additional responsibility of raising his sister’s children, and he accepted it stoically.
Ajit’s meagre earnings, however, were insufficient to support his extended family. He opted to enter the world of fashion and entertainment with a lot of grit and perseverance. He was an ardent Amitabh Bachchan fan who was astounded and impressed by Mr Bachchan’s organisation of the Miss World Pageant in Bangalore. When Ajit’s favourite actor brought the world-famous pageant to India in 1996, it was a truly inspiring moment for him. But it wasn’t until much later that Ajit Ravi learned about the massive financial crisis that Mr Bachchan and his firm ABCL had to deal with as a result of this single event. However, this did not douse his enthusiasm, and he bravely pushed ahead to make inroads into the world of fashion, which even the mighty Amitabh Bachchan had failed to conquer.
Thus, in the year 2001, Dr Ajit Ravi established his own event production company, Pegasus, and became the founder and chairman of the company, ushering in a new chapter in his life. And the rest is history.
Today, he owns the majority of India’s and Asia’s most valuable beauty pageants including Miss Tamil Nadu, Miss Queen Kerala, Miss South India, Miss Queen of India, Mrs Tamil Nadu, Mrs Kerala Global, Mrs Karnataka, Mrs Andhra, Mrs Telangana, Mrs South India and Mrs India Global. He is also the mastermind behind the prestigious international pageants, Miss Asia and Miss Asia Global. All of his beauty pageants are well-known around the world, and they are organised by Pegasus Event Production Company, which he kickstarted in 2001.
Another goal he cherished was to organise a global beauty pageant in Kerala, which he realised in 2018 with the Miss Glam World pageant, which honoured attractive and brilliant women from 40 different nations. The key highlight is that whenever Ajit Ravi takes on a project, he always makes sure that the event is a huge success both creatively and financially.
Other than the beauty pageants, Ajit Ravi was also the mastermind behind various award shows such as the Film Media Business (FMB) awards, to honour achievers from the fields of films, media and business, and the MBA Award to honour eminent business personalities with an asset of Rs 2000 crore and more. But it is not just the money they have amassed that matters but also their commitment towards the society. Ajit has also formed a club of millionares and billionares called Federal International Chamber Forum (FICF). The winners of the MBA Award automatically become eligible for membership in this prestigious forum. Ajit is always indebted to VP Nandakumar, MD and CEO of Manappuram Finance Ltd who always supported him as a mentor, and as a tribute, Ajit has dedicated an award category in his name called VPN IBE Award. Yet another initiative by him is the International Fashion Fest (IFF) that showcases the attires of different designers. Then there is the Celebrity Cricket Tournament (CCT) that is conducted every year with players from films, television and media.
Apart from organising events, he also stepped into film production. The first film he produced was ‘Raavu’, a Malayalam movie which was also released in Tamil language with the name ‘Thottal Vidathe’. His next venture ‘August 27’, an investigative thriller, is on the floor. Ajit’s love for music has seen him forming a music band under the name ‘Minnalai’. He has a significant presence in the media industry with the Unique Times and other news portals and YouTube channels. Europe Times and Times New are popular in European and American regions respectively.
Ajit Ravi always thinks out of the box and took everyone by surprise when he got into the FMCG product marketing under the brand name DQUE; already in the market are DQUE watches, masks, sanitiser, soap, hand wash, and T-shirts.
It is indeed rare to find another entrepreneur who has dabbled in so many diverse fields and proved his staying power over the last two decades. But where there is success, can envy be far behind? That’s what happened in Ajit’s life too.
In the year 2017, during the farewell party of an officer of CIAL called Babu, Ajit Ravi spoke a few words as the Union representative. Ajit Ravi pointed out that VJ Kurian extended the service of employees who were in his good books and also those who supported his misdeeds. Later, during a personal conversation with Kurian, Ajit talked about certain corrupt practices of VJ Kurian. This obviously led to a chain of events that opened a dark chapter in the life of Ajit.
During a personal conversation with VJ Kurian, Ajit Ravi had also requested that he wishes to fulfill his dream project called ‘100 Life Challenge’ and once that gets completed, he would resign from the job at the airport. But VJ Kurian would have none of it and he first suspended Ajit, then demoted him and finally terminated him from his job. It was Ajit’s wish to complete his dream project while being an employee of CIAL but this desire of Ajit was cut short by Kurian and Ajit is still engaged in a legal fight to get justice.
He was given the above punishments under the pretext that Ajit Ravi owns his own company while being an employee of CIAL. Due to the unexpected accident of Ajit’s sister and brother-in-law, he had to start a business to manage his expenses. This he did after taking permission from the then MD of CIAL Mr Shriram Bharath (2007) and, the HR department head then had also accepted the fact that the said document of permission granted was safely kept at the HR department but now the documents are mysteriously missing. Mr Shriram Bharath had even confirmed on mail that he had granted permission to Ajit. But regardless of the said evidence, VJ Kurian with his unlimited powers proceeded with the termination.
Being honest and loyal to his talent and work was the only mistake on the part of Ajit Ravi but his life became a living hell. He was mentally harassed and humiliated numerous times and a fake case was foisted on him. The case was registered by ACK Nair, Airport Director. Due to the rejection of the Zone A pass, Ajit had called ACK Nair to report the matter. It was a short phone conversation about the entry pass but ACK Nair alleged that Ajit Ravi threatened him during the call. A fake threatening case was filed against Ajit and this gradually tarnished Ajit’s reputation. He was even demoted from the Superintendent’s post to a lower post which clearly affected Ajit’s mental health. He was given a shabby cabin for his official duty which clearly degraded his goodwill and dignity among others. This kind of continuous harassment by senior authorities, mainly VJ Kurian and ACK Nair mentally harrassed Ajit Ravi which gradually led him to depression. But still, he never complained, rather he fulfilled all the imposed duties as a loyal employee, says Ajit. Even when CIAL was facing a financial crisis, Ajit used to organize the functions and events of CIAL at minimal cost, and the magazine owned by Ajit Ravi was also displayed at the airport. But after the conversation about the corruption done by VJ Kurian all the deeds done by Ajit Ravi were trashed and even the magazine was removed from display.
But none of this could extinquish the fire inside Ajit. By the year 2018, he handed over the responsibilities of his business to his biggest supporter and his backbone, his wife Mrs Jebitha Ajit.
But again the management was in search of some excuse to trouble Ajit Ravi. It came in the form of a Facebook post in 2020 uploaded on Ajit’s official Facebook account mentioning the selling of three of the beauty pageants conceptualized by Ajit Ravi. Half the proceeds from the sale was to be donated to the Prime Minister’s Care fund at a time when the pandemic was wreaking havoc. The management used this to allege that Ajit Ravi was still doing business while being an employee of CIAL and terminated Ajit forever even though the business was handled by his wife, recollects Ajit Ravi. Jealousy, ego and the fact that Ajit didn’t put up with his corrupt activities were the reasons for VJ Kurian to form a grudge towards Ajit Ravi. Ajit’s loyalty and sincerety became a barrier to his career. It’s a clear irony but that is what Ajit’s life convinced him.
Nevertheless, Ajit Ravi has continued his social activities and outspoken nature. Many people are aware of the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but he was the one who coined the term Individual Social Responsibility (ISR). He believes that everyone has a duty to do their part to aid the less fortunate and society as a whole. He established the Pegasus Trust for charity purposes and has been putting aside tiny sums of money from his earnings for a long time to help the poor.
In 2015, he started the ‘100 Life Challenge,’ a charity programme in which he pledged to set aside a portion of his monthly salary for 100 months in order to help the truly impoverished, and to date, he has successfully come to the aid of approximately 76 vulnerable and destitute people.
When asked about his future ambitions, he foresees a Rs 100 crore turnover company in five years and the production of one movie per year. Of course, there is also the goal to devote his entire life to social service and, set an example for the youth. He is always indebted to V P Nandakumar, MD, and CEO of Manappuram Finance Ltd who has always supported and stood by him as a mentor.
Dr Ajit Ravi’s life philosophy is simple: “Do or die.” Pegasus has quietly but steadily risen to become one of India’s leading event production businesses, thanks to his single-minded focus, steely determination, and unwavering work ethic. The idea behind narrating this inspiring tale is in the hope that his story would transform many people who may be on the verge of giving up and motivate them to move forward in life, much like Dr Ajit Ravi, who has essentially risen like a phoenix bird from the depths of despair, thanks to his unwavering self-belief.