Headlines have been abuzz for the last couple of days about the family feud that has plagued Chennai's oldest and most well-known business houses, the Murugappa Group. In a nutshell, the controversy involves Valli Arunachalam, one of the great-granddaughters of the Murugappa Group founder Dewan Bahadur Murugappa Chettiar, who is fighting for representation on the board of Ambadi Investments Limited (AIL), which is the holding company of the Murugappa Group.
Standing in Valli's way is a 120-year-long tradition practiced by the family with fierce zeal - no female heirs of the Murugappa family are allowed to take up positions in the board. Although largely unchallenged by the family, the practice began being put to the test in 2017, when Valli Arunachalam's father MV Murugappan, died leaving no male heirs. Ever since, Valli has battled for representation on the AIL board that continues to hold firm to its archaic traditions, refusing to move with the times.
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