REMEMBERING A LAS VEGAS PIONEER
Pioneer is a person who blazes a new trail in any aspect of life. A pioneer may look as being alone, live lonely and outwardly appear lonesome, but inwardly he/she is possessed, rather pregnant with bubbling ideas. He is restless to deliver it out to the world. Settlers follow a trail blazer once a new ground is broken.
This line of thinking has been hovering over my mind since January 10, 2021 when I heard of the death of Ronan (Ranendra Nath Ghatak). Two days ago, after visiting his wife at a prayer congregation, the memories of Ronan flashed into my mind. Ronan grew up in India when the middle class parents pushed and supported their children either in the medical profession or in an engineering one. For 20 years after India’s independence in 1947, there was little attraction for any other areas – including business/commerce and even law. Ronan and I belonged to the generations born in this period.
The reason I think of Ronan as a pioneer is that with all the varied experiences he had in engineering education and jobs, he did not want to continue to work for anyone as an engineer no matter how prestigious a firm or a company was. Being your own boss is an American cliche and a dream too. However, even for a dream, it is difficult to quit the comfort of a monthly cheque and plunge into a manufacturing business. Ranon’s company, United Solar Energy, built solar heaters, pumps and ovens etc. that were sold in the US as well as overseas.
The point is that by and large, a typical engineer trained in India has no acumen in business, finances, factory operations and human resources etc. I don’t know how he did it. I never asked him, and he never bragged about it even when he had built his million $$ mansion, the first by an Indian in Las Vegas. That was 25 years ago. In the housewarming celebration, the then Nevada Governor, Bob Miller had said that Ronan’s mansion was bigger than the official residence of the governor of Nevada. My reaction was that in the state of Nevada the taxpayers’ money was not wasted in pompous ways!
Life is full of paradoxes. No matter what drives a successful man towards his goal, ultimate satisfaction comes to him in providing the best for his wife and children – in terms of a beautiful home and worldly amenities, especially things that he was deprived of in his adult years. Unfortunately, when such a mindset goes on for too long, then a heavy price is paid in not taking care of one’s well-being.
Ronan was 72 according to an obituary. However, some 30 years ago, he was almost Gone due to severe setbacks to his health. A cracked up glass cannot be glued back to normal. It was then that Ronan turned religious in the sense that he was a regular worshipper at a family Sai Temple in Las Vegas.
Every life comes and goes, but it leaves some fragrance for those who come in close contact with it. The obituary says that Ranon moved to Las Vegas in 1977 – three years after I moved to Las Vegas with my family. I do not have any memories of Ronan’s early social interactions – all his time and energy went into the jobs that he had and in the planning of his future business. That is the way to succeed! Viva Ronan Ghatak!
Satish C. Bhatnagar
Satish C. Bhatnagar, PhD
Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4020.Tele: 702-895-0383 (O) and 702-895-4343 (FAX); Office – CDC- 1006Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adjunct Professor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda (2019 – )UNLV Faculty Senate (2018 – 2021)
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