150 years back a lone person starts off from a small town near the border in western India to the farthest corner of Eastern India. After a month of travel and prayers, he reaches a settlement. He had heard that this place is where there is a lot of scope of vyapar, of commerce. He takes up a job with a firm and starts to build on his dream to be economically independent and provide a better life to his family and friends. On his visit to his home town, he shares his aspirations and readies his trusted friend or brother to join him as he sets out to set up his own Dukan.
There was a genuine feeling to be able to make lives better for everyone he knows and gradually he would get his friends, brother and family to come and join him in the business. The idea was to grow the business and there was a clear understanding that when economic growth happens, lives of everyone improves.
This is where the seeds of a business empire was sowed. What is so interesting is to understand the bonding and the compassion with which people managed to create inclusive wealth.
I have been fortunate to see that in the early years of my life. Since the physical setup was same, the memory stayed though people moved on to a different business model. My forefathers were from Ratangarh – a district in western Rajasthan area of Shekawati; their karm bhoomi was Tinsukia Assam, the last junction in North east India. As for me, my janmbhoomi / birthplace was Tinsukia and karmbhoomi is Bangalore Karnataka.
I vividly remember the munimji, the numerous admin who managed the retail counter or the person responsible to manage the godown. They were mostly friends of our grandfather’s and had taken the same journey. It was a wonderful system. Dukan was always an extension of the house with the kitchen falling right in the middle.
Dukan always had a gaadi where the cash box was kept and where the head of the family would sit. When they closed for the day, the gaadi turned into a sleeping mattress. There used to be an accounts room if the business was large which also had a gaadi which was used by the munimji to retire in the night. Food was prepared for everyone in the kitchen by the family members and everyone ate in the kitchen sitting on the floor while sharing exciting stories of the day with the family members, making them part of what was going on outside.
The place of work used to turn into a place to stay for the team, saving a lot of time and money and most importantly providing an amazing bonding and feeling of family. Eventually all these people who came to join the business will move out and set up their own business or expand the business into newer locations, to become a stakeholder. Resources were optimized and the efficiency was mind blowing. There was no commute from home to work, no challenges of good food during work hours and no loneliness. People saved money and invested in building spaces which helped the community like schools, dharamsalas, wells back home, places to pray and medical clinics.
I have been fortunate to do this very thing when starting off here in Bangalore. I ended up getting people from Assam (my birthplace) to Bangalore. I am a Vyapari or as we know these days, an Entrepreneur.
Written by Mr. Nikhil Thard, CMD Edifice Builders
Dukan: Shop / Business establishment
Vyapari: Businessman or Entrepreneur
Vyapar: Commerce / Business.
Rasoighar / Rasoi: Kitchen
Gaadi: A cotton mattress laid out on a flat surface with a clean white sheet spread neatly over it.
Karam Bhoomi: Workplace
Dharamsalas: Staying places for out of town travellers or to conduct large family gatherings and event, mostly run on charity and the goodness of people.
Chikitsalayas: Medical clinic.