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BW Businessworld

Doing Business, The Sindhi Way

The book also recounts details of the success stories of three more Sindhi families – the Fabiani family, Lakhi group and the Embassy group

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When you meet a sindhi for the first time, you will probably assume he or she is an accomplished businessperson. And you may not be too far from your assumption. Sindhi, a person native of Sindh province, are, indeed, popular for their business acumen akin to the Jewish around the world who are known for financial intelligence. If one tries to understand the “success mantra” of the Sindhi  community, it is found that generations of Sindhis have faced several hardships and some have even lost everything that defined them. Still, that has not deterred them to rise from the phoenix and regain the lost glory. This undying spirit of the community  has been extensively portrayed in Maya Bathija’s book Paiso: How Sindhis do Business. 

A writer and a travel consultant, Bathija, in her book, has tried to discover the key to the success of the Sindhi community through five highly accomplished Sindhi families. Bathija has also been a journalist for more than a decade, contributing to magazines like Mercedes-Benz India and Global Gujarati, and heading her family magazine, The Sindhian.

The ‘Sindhi’ success stories are celebrated in detail in the book -- be it the Hong Kong-based Harilela family, whose patriarch Naroomal started a tailoring business in Hong Kong and went on to specialising in customised suit, which was very successful. He later  diversified to the hospitality industry. Or, the story of Merrimac Ventures headed by Ramola Motwani. Merrimac Ventures is a real estate investment and development giant started by Ramola and her husband. It was originally a small import export business, which later went on to be  a real estate venture, which Ramola, with hard work and smart investments,  transformed into an empire.

The book also recounts details of the success stories of three more Sindhi families – the Fabiani family, Lakhi group and the Embassy group.

Bathija has done her research and it shows in the chapter where she writes about the origin, heritage, and history of the community – the different sub castes in Sindhis, how a majority of the community went through the post-Partition trauma, their tales of sacrifice and their roles as money lenders in major cities of Independent India or as financiers of movies.

Across all the success stories, tales of sacrifice, entrepreneurship and perseverance, one major change stands out -- few generations ago skills were learnt through “hands on” training and formal education wasn’t really a priority. However, now, the perception is gradually changing and the current generation is going the formal education route to hone the Sindhi business wisdom.

Paiso is an insightful book on Sindhi business thought processes. And if you are partial to stories of wealth and entrepreneurship, then, Nikhil Inamdar’s Rokda: How Baniyas Do Business and Thomas A. Timberg’s The Marwaris: From Jagat Seth to the Birlas are recommended read.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 17 March 2018 books books review

Aparna Tadimety

The author is a freelance contributor

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