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1984 Rising From the Ashes

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Jun 17, 2004
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    RISING FROM THE ASHES-II - `Tough times don't last, tough people do

    "Displacement" is a word that Ludhiana-based Harminder Singh Malik understands very well. He experienced its repercussions as a child when his family migrated from Mandi Bahauddin in Pakistan to New Delhi in post-Partition India. More than three-anda-half decades later during the 1984 riots, the family again had to leave their home and a flourishing business at Ambikapur in Madhya Pradesh (now in Chhattisgarh) .

    Though Harminder was born two years after the "first" displacement, he grew up with its pain. "My mother says Partition was an accident...a horrendous accident.

    One of her relatives was killed during Partition. We lost our garments business.

    We had to leave our agricultural land. Everything was over in a snap," he says.

    His father died young. The family shifted to Ambikapur.

    He saw his mother slog to make ends meet. She would sew clothes for well-off families. It was at this point that Harminder learnt two basic lessons of life: dignity of labour and never-say-die attitude.

    In his early teens, he too started pitching in to help the family financially. He forsake regular education after matriculation and helped his mother in her stitching work. He would earn during the day and study at night.

    Fortune favours the brave.

    The family was able to establish a garments business in the town. It could have been a smooth sailing had their shop not been attacked in the riots.

    Again, the spectre of "displacement" loomed; the killing of four persons in the area hurried their decision to relocate to Punjab.

    "It was time for taking quick decisions. If we came to Punjab, I knew we would have to start from the scratch. But there was no way out. We decided to shift to Ludhiana. I thought Ludhiana is an industrial town and I would at least be able to earn something. Perhaps, I could take up a job," he shares.

    The next few years were strewn with struggle.

    Harminder had to marry off his younger sister. The hosiery business he had started did not click. But he remained unfazed. He remembered his mother's oft-repeated advice: "This too shall pass. Tough times don't last; tough people do."

    In 1986, he started a plastic manufacturing unit, "Helly Plasto Work". He operated from a rented accommodation in Shimla Puri area. He could barely afford to employ any workers. At this juncture, the two basic lessons of life learnt early in childhood guided him.

    He was determined to build up his business, even if it meant working 24x7.
    For good eight years, it was a tireless struggle. Finally, in 1994, he owned a home and a factory that was slowly and steadily moving up the growth curve. Today, the annual turnover of "Helly Plasto Works" is around Rs 70 lakh.

    "When I started my manufacturing unit in Ludhiana, I did not have any money to invest. I sold off my wife's gold bangles and also took some loan to pool in the money," he says. "Now I know that with the grace of Almighty, I can weather all storms. I would never flinch when it comes to hard work...we can build our destiny if we're determined enough," he adds. WRITE THOUGHTS Harminder is fond of writing.

    "My life experiences find a distinct echo in my write-ups.

    Thoughts often spill over to paper. We write about our cumulative experiences," he says. This state media convener of the BJP travelled across the country to research on the life of Guru Teg Bahadur.

    http://epaper. hindustantimes. com/ArticleText. aspx?article= 06_11_2009_ 001_009&kword=&mode=1
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    This is not exactly rising form the ashes..but still in a way..as it is Post 1947 !! Partition success story of a Sikh Sardar..

    HE BUILT HIS honey empire from scratch. What started with a Rs 10,000 loan,
    has turned into a multi-crore business.

    Ranked the fourth largest honey exporter in the world, his honey-licious
    products have people hooked.

    MINNA ZUTSHI meets the 'honey-man'.


    He's discussing the details of a possible acquisition of a
    honey plant in the European Union. His tone is even and measured. There's an
    aura of minimalism in his office that has a no-fuss seating arrangement. A
    big mural of Guru Gobind Singh adorns the wall at the back of his desk. On
    another wall hangs the photograph of his late father Sardar Jaswant Singh.
    That's our introduction to 58-year-old Jagjit Singh Kapoor, the MD &
    Chairperson of Kashmir Apiaries & Little Bee Impex at Doraha. (Little Bee
    Impex is the largest exporter of honey in India.) You mention the words
    'economic slump', and Kapoor talks of expansion and growth. There was an
    increase of more than 60 per cent in the company's turnover in 2008 as
    compared to that the previous year, he says. "Our turnover was Rs 134 crore
    in 2007 and that went up to Rs 215 crore in 2008. Our target for this fiscal
    year is Rs 400 crore. We're presently ranked the fourth-largest honey
    exporter in the world. Now, we're vying for the first position. We plan to
    set up warehouses in Germany, US and UK.
    Later, we'd also have processing units in these countries."

    At the time when companies are reeling under the impact of global recession,
    Kapoor has his expansion plans all chalked out. Surely, his must be a
    recession-proof model of business? He takes this question with a faint
    smile. "Ours is a team work. We make collective decisions."

    That's his pithy statement. He leaves it to A.K. Singh, the vice-president
    of Little Bee Impex, to elaborate: "When businesses elsewhere were
    re-orienting themselves to profit dips, we were focusing on ways to improve
    our market share. We increased our visibility in our niche export markets.
    And we explored the hitherto unexplored markets. We added to our existing
    base ten new export destinations, including Japan, South Africa and France."

    Kapoor has absolute clarity when it comes to his business. He believes that
    each little detail counts. "Even if your product is excellent, you have to
    make sure that the packaging is in consonance with cultural preferences.
    People in Arab countries are fond of kahwa tea. We use mug-shaped containers
    to export honey to these countries. The people there reuse the mugs for
    drinking kahwa."

    Doubtless, the 'honey-man' knows his business well. "Right marketing is
    important. And still more important is the right attitude. I would never
    skimp on basic honesty.

    His was a humble start. His father, who had migrated from Pak-Occupied
    Kashmir (PoK) in 1947, was a schoolteacher. The very name 'Kashmir Apiaries'
    is a nostalgic reminder of their connection with PoK! With a sum of Rs
    10,000 that was pooled in through loans, Kapoor started his beekeeping
    venture in 1978. As he recalls, "I did a course in beekeeping from Punjab
    Agricultural University at Ludhiana. Right from the inception of Kashmir
    Apiaries, we focused equally on production as well as exploration and
    creation of the market for the produce. Initially, we targeted Punjab. Then
    we shifted our attention to Haryana, UP, West Bengal and South. Once we
    started with the exports, there was no looking back."

    In 1978, the beehive count at Kashmir Apiaries was only fifty. Now they have
    more than 25,000 beehives. They also collect honey from apiculturists across
    the country. Around two-lakh kilogram of honey is processed everyday.
    "More than 1500 persons are employed at Kashmir Apiaries. My wife and our
    two sons are also associated with the business. Even my daughter, who's
    still a student, accompanies me on my national and international tours. Our
    diversified product portfolio includes snacks, fruit jams, syrups and
    pickles," Kapoor tells us.

    What's the USP of Kashmir Apiaries?
    "Stringent quality control. First, we check from the source the methods of
    honey production and extraction. Later, we conduct a series of tests.
    Depending upon the specifications of the market, we export the produce
    accordingly. Europe, for instance, has zero tolerance level for the presence
    of antibiotics," explains Kapoor, as he takes us around his Lee Bee
    International Institute of Beekeeping and Agro-Enterprises where R&D work is
    done and training is imparted to aspiring apiculturists. "Apiculture
    (beekeeping) is a viable income-generating activity that can transform the
    rural economy," he says with a visionary's clearness.

    Well, the man is never short on ideas!
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