Mangilal Jain had a roaring business in gem and jewellery in Hyderabad in those days. His books would only show clients who were multi millionaires. Starting with smaller states, he would act as the jeweller for big states too.
Hs business reach was far and wide. So much so that other jewellers would never get a look in where he had his foothold. But as his business grew, so did his worries. He lost his two young and able sons to some illness.
The third remaining son was a spoilt brat. He was pampered so much since childhood that he never took any interest in his father’s business. Try as he might, he just could not train his eighteen year old son….Dhanpat was his name,…..in his business. He was wedded only to pleasure.
There was one more reason for his worry……his advancing age. He was now not in a position to teach him even the fundamentals of his business. Dhanpat was a total novice with no experience at all.
At that time in Hyderabad, there was another very well known firm of jewellers, Shreechand Jewellers.
His four young and capable sons had expanded their business consi derably. Leaving aside Mangilal’s clients, They knew that so long as Mangilal was alive, there was no question of their getting an entry in the harems of the Nawabs.
SO, instead of the Begums, they concentrated on the wives of rich businessmen, Landlords annd Zamindars.
So, on the day they saw Dhanpat working in their own firm, they created a racket at home.
“Father, what have you done? Dhanpat! and in our office?!”
“Yes, sons, his father has sent him here to learn the ropes.’
“But nowhere else but here, why?”
“After Mngilal’s firm, we are number two, so here” said Shreechand with a smile.
“But he is our enemy”
“Not an enemy son, call him a rival”
“What difference does it make?”
“Oh, it makes a lot of difference”, said the father,, fixing his spectacles.
“He is from our own community, actually, he happens to be a distant relative of ours. If we do not support one of our own, then who will? After all, this is business and only if there is competition in business, will you be on your toes. It is because of Mangilal’s competence that you are running around for business, otherwise you would have easily added a few Nawabs to your clients’ list and would be taking life easy.’
“So we have to teach Dhanpal the ropes?….teach him?”
“Yes, if we train him, one from our community will survive, otherwise this boy will squander all his father’s property and will some day sit as a diamond polisher with some jeweller. ..understand that only a lamp can light another lamp….therefore, train him well, so well that people say that this diamond was polished in Shreechand Jain’s firm, is that clear?”
“And once we train him, he will be our rival in future, isn’t it?” argued the younger son
“For rivalry, you need business acumen too, my sons.” said the old man. “Mangilal had much more business acumen than me, so he could penetrate everywhere. He had more guts, too. You can teach a person everything but you can’t give him guts. Now go, and prepare him. After all, he is also our own child.”
For full five years, Dhanpat worked with Shreechand Jewellers. Shreechand kept him occupied from early morning till late night with his sweet tongue. He taught him to test the purity of gold or detect faults in diamonds, as also how to evaluate any jewellery..
After five years, one day he called Mangilal, and said,” Mangilal, your son is now ready , so you can now take him away.
I have not paid him anything in these five years, so please name a figure.”
At the mention of money, there was a spark in Mangilal’s eyes. Normally, one would have to pay for the training, while here, he was offering money! He saluted Shreechand’s nobility in his own mind, and said,”Shreechand, you have kept him for five years. you may keep him for another fifty years. I understand that you have an unmarried daughter. If you think it appropriate, take my son and give me your daughter in marriage .”
To-day, the fifth generation of M.S. Jewellers is doing business in Hyderabad.
How deep are its roots and how great the business acumen of its founders must have been?…..one only has to think about it.
BY GIRISH GANATRA