A picture that I saw in the Puja room of my cousins home, brought back some old memories….
There was this young man ‘R’, in the first half of last century, who left his native place Kumbakonam, and came away to Madras. Here. he was working as a health officer with the Government. And then he had a chance encounter with an astrologer who told him that his lot was not to be in service, and that he was destined for great success in business. And so “R” left the comfort of a salaried job, and started a small shop. This was in the 1920s, and he came under the influence of the Gandhian movement. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s call of Swadeshi, he made his shop totally ‘Swadeshi’. The shop would stock goods of all kinds, but all Swadeshi – made in India. And he called the shop “Indian Industrials”.
That shop was a huge success. As the old saying goes, it would sell ‘from pin to elephants’. More than that, it became tagged with ‘good luck’. Word was that it was good luck to purchase from here! So much so, that even fellow shopkeepers in the market, would make some symbolic purchases from here, for their family functions, like weddings etc.
The shop was such a draw, that it became the focal point for the city elite. Like the case of “V”, a young man who was returning from London in 1936, having qualified for the Indian Civil Service… He got off his ship and made his way straight to Indian Industrials, to catch up on whats-been-happening…
“R” used to drive a motor cycle with a side-car, and was an anchor of the developing culture scene in Madras. He and his partner in business “L”, did their bit in contributing to religion and culture.
Having taken his business to great heights, “R” passed away sometime around 1940. His partner and heirs carried on the shop for another thirty years or so, before winding up the business.
And now, the picture that brought all these memories back.
In the early 1960s. The sage of Kanchi, Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, graciously accepted “L”‘s prayer, and graced “India Industrials” with a brief visit. This picture was taken then. The sage, radiance “le spirituelle”, standing with “L” and some others….
Actually, this post is because of the picture. The memories are incidental…
Tags: Kanchi Mahaswami