On Saturday, ZEE TV aired the season finale of its new television series, Those Who Made It – a show created to celebrate the men and women of Indian heritage who have contributed to society and risen to the top. Each of the seven entrepreneurs and philanthropists featured in the series had a unique story to tell – all of them overcoming the odds to become the successes they are today. While their journeys may have been different, they each shared one common trait – perseverance.
For more than two decades, the media and entertainment mega-giant, ZEE Entertainment, has been committed to celebrating its Indian roots. The ZEE team felt that it was important to shed light on the profound impact Indian-Americans have had in the U.S. and beyond. Those Who Made It inspired viewers by sharing the real stories of some of the most successful people in the world. The interviews were often raw, and at times emotional when they spoke about the challenges and hardships they faced along the way.
Featuring A-list names, including Sheela Murthy, Sant Chatwal, Frank Islam, AJ Khubani, Suri Sehgal, Javad Hassan and Mafat Patel, ZEE TV’s Those Who Made It was a powerful series that drew in millions of viewers. From watching the bloodshed in pre-partition India, to sexism and racism in the United States, viewers learned about the the lives and struggles of each of the profiled entrepreneurs – all of them motivated to give back to the world through charity.
The first episode of Those Who Made it explored the life of Sheela Murthy – a lawyer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who overcame the odds to become one of the most respected immigration attorneys and advocates in the globe. Following in the humanitarian footsteps of her father, a veteran of the Indian military; and her mother, a teacher, Murthy knew at a young age that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. During a time when the legal profession was looked down upon in her native country of India, she was sure of one thing – she was destined to become a voice for the voiceless.
Today, Frank Islam is regarded as a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic leader and thought leader in both his home county and the United States. On Those Who Made It, viewers learned about his journey from living in a remote village in India to a 16-bedroom mansion in Washington D.C. Despite the fact that his parents passed away when he was just 24-years-old, long before he built his tech empire, Islam tells ZEE TV that they played a major role in his success. Not a day goes by where he does not mourn the loss of his parents, and while they may no longer be with him today, Islam says he carries the lessons he learned from his parents every day.
Born in pre-partition Pakistan as one of 8 siblings, Sant Singh Chatwal defied the odds to become one of the most successful hoteliers in the United States. As Chairman of the highly successful Dream Hotel Group’s portfolio of brands – Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels; and owner several restaurants, Chatwal climbed his way to the top to become the multi-millionaire he is today. During a time of political uncertainty, Chatwal vividly remembers spending six months in a refugee camp as a child. In the years that followed, Chatwal, the son of a small tea stall owner, recognized that his parents struggled to provide for 8 children. They often stressed the value of a good education, paving the way for Chatwal’s drive for success.
Born during an uncertain time in India’s political climate, AJ Khubani’s father was born in pre-partition India, then known as Pakistan, and spent time in a refugee camp. On Those Who Made It, Khubani revealed that there were many bumps in the road. In 2000, after making a few bad business investments, he was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Luckily, his company Telebrands rose through the ashes and rebuilt the entire company from scratch, bouncing back bigger than ever before. Khubani tells ZEE TV this setback made him smarter and stronger.
From a small town in undivided India, to the streets of New Delhi during the bloodshed of partition, to the halls of Harvard University, and ultimately back to his motherland – Suri Sehgal’s life is living proof that the greatest journey in life is the one that brings you back home. Today, Sehgal’s name is synonymous with science and philanthropy. Boasting a long, fruitful career as a crop scientist, seedsman and entrepreneur, he is regarded as one most successful researchers in seed industry development. At just 13-years-old, Seghal witnessed the violent invasion of his hometown before India gained its independance. Being a community leader, his father was not able to leave his people behind, but he sent Seghal and his siblings away on a train headed to Delhi to keep the family safe. Seghal told ZEE TV that the grueling ride would be engraved in his mind for an eternity. Decades later, the memories of the violence and bloodshed still brings tears to his eyes.
As the grandson of one of the largest exporters of lemon grass in India, Javad K. Hassan was born into an agricultural family. If Hassan had followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, his life would be dramatically different. On the season finale of “Those Who Made It,”viewers learned about the life of successful tech industry leader Javad Hassan – founder and chairman of NeST Group, a global conglomerate of more than 25 companies spread across several continents. Like many South Asians living in America during the 1960s, Hassan encountered racism. While earning acclimates in the tech sphere, Hassan reveals on the season finale of Those Who Made It that while looking for an apartment, a landlord had shut the door in his face after mistaking him for a Puerto Rican. But these encounters with racism, Hassan says, did not hold him back from climbing up the corporate ladder at IBM.
Born in 1945 in a remote Indian village into a farm family, Mafat Patel was the eldest of six siblings and had very humble beginnings. Today, Mafat Patel and his brother, Tulsi Patel, known as the “Patel Brothers,” have built a multi-million dollar empire that is giving Americans a taste of Indian culture, but as viewers will learn on the season finale of Those Who Made It, airing on ZEE TV this Saturday, the Patel family owes their success to the perseverance, hard work and dedication of five generations. It was this commitment to tradition and hard work that marked their beginning successful family business.
To watch any of the seven Those Who Made It episodes, visit http://www.india.com/americas/those-who-made-it-episode-2-2554671/
For more information about ZEE TV’s Those Who Made it, visit http://www.zeetvusa.com/zeetv/videos/coming-soon-to-zee-tv-those-who-made-it-1.html.