A German Joke

Ich untersuchte ein geschamiges junges Maedchen und stellte eine Graviditaet mens IV fest.

“Ja,da werden Sie wohl heiraten muessen, mein Fraeulein. Haben Sie denn einen festen Freund?”

“Ja’

“Und welchen Beruf uebt er aus?”

“Horizontalbohrer!”

(Anmerkung: Horizontalbohrer ist einer der hoechst bezahlten Berufe in der Eisen-Industrie.Dr. A.R.)

Mangilal’s Business Acumen

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

The Second World War

The day was 1st September 1939. Hitler’s armies marched into Poland. The second world war had started.

I was just a kid of seven years then, but was strangely drawn to it. I used to read in the newspapers with great interest, the day to day happenings on the Western Front.

The famous, so called invincible Maginot Line of defence, of the French, collapsed like a pack of cards, before the “Blitzkrieg” of the marauding Germans. France capitulated in no time. One vivid impression that captured my mind was the miraculous evacuation of the trapped allied forces.

Meanwhile, the Germans had overrun Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Norway.

The air attacks on England with V1 and V2 rockets had played havoc but in the so called Battle of Britain, the British Spitfires proved to be more than a match against the Messerschmidts of the German Luftwaffe.

Come December 71941. Japan bombed Pearl Harbour and America entered the war.

The Japanese were as swift as the Germans and conquered territory after territory and were soon on the outskirts of Imphal and Kohima in Eastern India after having taken Burma.

They proved their prowess in sea too, their Kamikaze bombers(SUICIDE BOMBERS) sinking the Prince of Wales and Repulse, which were prowling in the Pacific and making life difficult for the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, while facing the Parliament.

Talking of sea battles, the Germans had launched with great fanfare the pride of their navy ,the Bismarck, with cries of “SIEG HEIL” “HAIL VICTORY” rending the air.

It sailed out, and in the very first sea battle, blew apart The Hood, the pride of British Navy, within minutes. But a lucky Torpedo hit had made it rudderless, and it was just drifting. A stung Britain vowed revenge and their warships located and sunk the Bismarck.

Against all sane advice, that mad dictator marched against Russia, opening a second front. His eyes were on the oil rich fields of Ukraine. In no time the German armies were on the outskirts of Leningrad and Moscow. But the Russians held on to Leningrad despite massive casualties……..and the tide turned. The German retreat began.

There was another important theatre of war. North Africa. I remember it especially because of the heroic battles between my most favourite commander ,’ROMMEL” and “MONTGOMERY” in the Libyan desert. If memory serves me right, the allies gained an upper hand with the battle of Tobruk and with the defeat in Al Alamein,, the Germans were finally driven out of Africa.

The island of Sicily was taken next, providing a stepping stone to invade Italy.

The writing was clearly on the wall, but that mad man would just not want to read it.

As expected, the allied forces landed in Italy, and started pushing north. The Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini, was captured by the Resistance fighters, and hanged. His concubine, Clara Petachhi, met the same fate.

For that matter, there were attempts to kill Hitler too, but the plots ether failed or were discovered and the perpetrators paid with their lives.

The final phase of the war began with the allied forces, under the overall command of General Eisenhower ,landing on the beaches of Normandy. World had never before seen such a massive invasion.

The Germans continued to fight valiantly but now they were clearly no match for the combined power of the allies.

The allies reclaimed France and other countries and were now inside Germany , pushing from the west, while the Russians were doing likewise, from the east.

With the German Luftwaffe now unable to give a fight, the allied bombings of German cities increased, and with that, the civilian casualties.

The advancing allies freed the Jews from the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Dachau and elsewhere and many horror stories of the German atrocities came to light. It is a very sad and dark picture of German history.

The allies too, were no saints when it came to taking revenge. With the German Luftwaffe rendered totally ineffective, carpet bombing of cities started. Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Nuremberg, to name only a few, were systematically bombed out, resulting in countless deaths and untold destruction. Nuremberg, with which I was going to have a lifelong attachment in future, was bombed out on the 2nd January,1945, just a few months before the war ended.

Well, ultimately the carnage ended in May 1945 , with the death of Hitler, and Germany’s surrender.

But the Japs continued their fight in the east. Subhash Chandra Bose, Our Indian National hero, had formed his Azad Hind Fauj , consisting of the soldiers captured by the Japanese, while fighting for the British. He was hoping to free India from the British yoke, militarily. But ultimately, all that proved to be in vain. With the dropping of two Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the brave Japs too, surrendered.

As I mentioned earlier, Nuremberg was flattened on January 2, 1945. Little did I know then, that one day, my destiny would take me there and I would form lifelong friendship with many German friends.

Well, I started my apprenticeship there on the 4th February 1952, with Siemens, and made fourteen German friends on the very first day!. I am happy and proud to say that ,from the original fourteen, I am still in touch with the surviving four! A friendship of 69 years….and going strong! Apart from them, I have quite a few other friends with

over 65 years of friendship.

Coming to the end of the story, To-day, on the 82nd Anniversary of the second world war, I would like to pay my homage to all those, who fell, fighting for their country. May God grant eternal peace to their souls.

I hope and pray that we may never again see such carnage.