How a Brilliant Gujarati Created ‘Sabki Pasand Nirma’ in His Backyard…!!!

Washing powder Nirma
Nirma!

You may or may not use Nirma’s detergent powder to wash your clothes today, but it is highly unlikely that you would be unfamiliar with this jingle, or the advertisement featuring a young girl in a spotless white frock, twirling around playfully.

The catchy jingle and the young girl were exactly what Karsanbhai Patel, the founder of the Nirma brand, used to capture India’s attention to and overtake the big names in the market in the early 1980s.

This is Patel’s story of how he took a new detergent brand from his backyard to every middle-class house in India.

The year was 1969, and a brand named ‘Surf’ by Hindustan Lever Ltd (now Hindustan Unilever) had complete monopoly over the detergent market in India.

Priced between Rs 10 and Rs 15, it removed the stains from your clothes without harming your hands and was better for your clothes than a regular bar of washing soap.

However, the price was a major pain point for middle-class households, who found it to be beyond their budget. So, they continued to use soap bars.

Karsanbhai Patel, a chemist at the Gujarat Government’s Department of Mining and Geology, wanted to enter this very market and provide middle-class families like his, some relief.

He decided to make a detergent from scratch in his backyard in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, keeping in mind that that the price of the product, as well as the production costs, needed to be low.

He developed the formula, manufactured a yellow-coloured detergent powder, and started selling it for Rs 3. The brand was named Nirma, after Nirupama, Patel’s daughter, who had passed away in an accident.

He would go from door to door in each neighbourhood and give a ‘money back’ guarantee with every packet he sold.

A quality product, Nirma was also the lowest-priced branded washing powder at the time and became a huge hit in Ahmedabad.

Soon, Patel quit his job and decided to pursue this venture full time and take on the big players in the market. In those days, credit terms were the norm for retailers to follow. If Patel followed those, he would have been left with a huge cash crunch. Something he could not risk.

So, he devised a brilliant plan. One that would make Nirma a household name across India.

The washing powder was doing fairly well in Ahmedabad so Patel invested a little money in a television advertisement.

The catchy jingle—which stated that Nirma was “sab ki pasand”(everyone’s choice)—and the girl in a frilly white dress, became an instant hit.

Customers flocked to local markets to buy the product. However, the cunning Patel had withdrawn 90% of the stock, to lather up the demand.

For about a month, customers kept watching the advertisement, but when they would head out to purchase the washing powder, they would return home empty-handed.

The retailers pleaded with Patel to resume the supply, and after a month, he obliged and flooded the markets with the product.

The demand was sky high—so much so, in fact, that Nirma overtook Surf’s purchases by a large margin and became the most sold detergent that year. In fact, it managed to keep up its production and sales for a decade after this brilliant move.

While the product was affected by the obvious ups and downs of the market, Patel was not too concerned because he had decided to beyond manufacturing just a detergent. Soon, he launched toilet soaps, beauty soaps, shampoos and toothpaste.

Some products were successful, some not so much. But the brand Nirma never lost its firm hold on the market. Today, it has a 20% market share in soap cakes and about 35% in detergents.

In 1995, Patel established the Nirma Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad, and in 2003, he founded the Institute of Management and the Nirma University of Science and Technology in 2003.

He maintains that the passion for keeping up the business and expanding its branches across markets is rooted in love for his late daughter.

Patel has been presented with several prestigious awards, including the Padma Shri in 2010 and was also featured in the Forbes list of India’s wealthiest (2009 and 2017).

Undeterred by the lack of a management degree, unafraid to go up against big names, and equipped only with a sharp business sense and a brilliant mind, Karsanbhai is a legend in the entrepreneurial fraternity, today.

He has proved that it is not just his brand, but his brilliance which is “sab ki pasand” in India.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Source……..Tanvi Patel in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

 

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Fort Kochi To Have 100 ‘Lantana’ Elephants. And Here’s Why You Need To See Them…

On February 7, if you are wandering around the popular South Beach in Fort Kochi, you are sure to come across a magnificent herd of 100 Asian elephants.

If you are wondering about the possibility of such a huge congregation of these beings at one place, let us break the news.

These are beautifully sculpted life-size elephants that have been made by tribal artisans from Thorapalli in Gudalur using Lantana camara or Lantana, a toxic invasive weed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlighting the cause of nature and wildlife conservation at a global scale, the Lantana elephants are part of a greater initiative to raise funds for conservation and help people and elephants live together more harmoniously.

The collaborators of the project involve various non-profit organisations from across the world including the UK based Elephant FamilyThe Real Elephant Collective(TREC), the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), and The Shola Trust.

“Our vision is to bring Asia’s elephants and the issues they face out of India and the shadow cast by the African ivory crisis. With Asian elephants numbering only a tenth of their African counterparts, the importance of this unique migration cannot be underplayed. The survival of a species is at stake,” says Ruth Ganesh, principal trustee and the creative force of Elephant Family.

She had conceptualised the Lantana herd along with Shubhra Nayar of TREC.

Modelled on real elephants from the Gudalur-Pandalur region, in its bid to raise awareness and funds for the conservation of Asian elephants, this unique project is also clearing the harmful Lantana from the Nilgiri forests while providing livelihoods to about 70 artisans from the Paniya, Bettakurumba and Soliga communities.

With their inherent knowledge of wild elephants and their exceptional crafting skills with Lantana, these artisans are bringing life to the elephant forms, while earning a dignified income.

Lantana was introduced to the Indian subcontinent as an ornamental shrub by the British.

However, it has taken over forests at a disturbingly fast pace, and is threatening the survival of the pachyderms by reducing their fodder base in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tribal artisans. Courtesy: The Shola Trust.

“Lantana encroachment has a negative impact on the regeneration of native flora, fodder and also non-timber forest products. It pushes animals out of forests, causing crop damage for local people, with a huge negative impact on livelihood of the indigenous communities. This project provides them with a livelihood opportunity and also gradually clears the forests from Lantana,” says Dr. Siddappa Setty, a fellow at ATREE.

This magnificent herd will stay in Kochi for about a month and then travel across the world to be part of exhibitions at different locations for auctioning.

The proceeds will be routed to a newly created Asian Elephant Fund that will be governed by a panel of elephant specialists in Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This project is innovative in many ways—it uses traditional indigenous artisanry to create these beautiful forms which can raise both awareness and funds for conservation while contributing significantly to indigenous livelihoods and clearing an invasive species to restore ecosystems,” adds Dr Nitin Pandit, Director of ATREE.

To know more about the Lantana elephants and their global tour, click here.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Source…….LeksmiPriya.S in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

 

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை….” நீர்ப் பரப்பில் ஒரு மீன் “

நீர்ப் பரப்பில் ஒரு மீன்
======================
சுற்றி சுற்றி வருது  அந்த ஒரு மீன்
மீன் தொட்டியில் தனியாக !
தன் துணை மீனையும் இன மீன்களையும்
காணாமல் தவிக்குது இன்று !
நேற்று வரை ஒரு பெரிய தொட்டியில்
அந்த மீன் ஒரு கடையில் !
வாஸ்து மீன் அந்தஸ்த்தில் அந்த மீன்
இன்று ஒரு சிறிய தொட்டியில் ,ஒரு
வீட்டின் மூலையில் !
வாஸ்து மீன் வந்த மகிழ்ச்சியில் அந்த
வீடு ! தங்கள் அந்தஸ்து உயரும் என்னும்
நம்பிக்கையில் வீட்டில் எல்லோரும் !
தான் ஒரு வாஸ்து மீன் என்று புரியாமல்
தொட்டியில் தனியாக சுற்றி சுற்றி மற்ற
மீன்களைத் தேடுது அந்த ஒரு மீன் !
என்ன அய்யா உங்கள் வாஸ்து மோகம் ?
மீன் தொட்டியில் தனியாய் தவிக்கும் ஒரு மீனுக்கும்
நீர்ப் பரப்பு விடுத்து  நிலத்து  மண்ணில் துள்ளித்
துடிக்கும் ஒரு மீனுக்கும் இல்லை பெரிய வித்தியாசம் !
வாஸ்துவின் பெயரால் அவஸ்தை மீனுக்கு ! இது
புரிய வேண்டாமா நமக்கு ? தொட்டியில் மீனை நம்
வீட்டில் சிறை வைக்க உரிமை ஏது  நமக்கு ? விட்டு
விடுவோம் மீனை அதன் வீட்டில்! பெரிய நீர்ப்பரப்பில் !
K.Natarajan
02/02/2019

Meet The Incredible, Inspiring Odisha Chaiwala Who Just Won Padma Shri….

For every cup of tea sold at his stall, he used half the amount towards the education and health of the slum kids.

“For 54 years, I was a roadside tea-seller. But today, I am a Padma Shri tea-seller,” beams Odisha-based 61-year-old D Prakash Rao, who was conferred the prestigious award on Republic Day by the Government of India.

How did a tea-seller win the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, you ask.

His beautiful story will move you.                     D Prakash Rao

Rao was only six-years-old when he started working at his father’s tea-stall. His father served during the second world war. When the war ended, he returned to his hometown, Cuttack. He hoped that his service during the war would help him find an alternate job. But to his disappointment, nobody wanted to employ him.

Pushed by unemployment and poverty, with a meagre capital of Rs 5, he started the tea-stall. One that Rao continued to run for the next five decades.

He tells The Better India, “Living and working in a slum, I witnessed the resistance of parents towards education first-hand. Living in their makeshift jhuggi jhopdis, they thought of their children as means of earning income. Instead of enrolling them in schools, these children were enrolled in menial labour. Working odd jobs and becoming domestic helpers, whatever money they earned was often snatched by the men in the home, who would buy alcohol and turn to domestic violence. It deeply affected me, every single day.”

He continues, “I was a good student. Bright in academics, adept at football. I wanted to become a doctor but landed up becoming a chaiwala. I knew what it was like to not have any opportunities. And I did not want these kids to have the same fate.”

For every cup of tea sold at his stall, he used half the amount towards the education and health of the slum kids.

He first operated from his two-room thatched house, with four children, where he provided them with food and education, completely free of cost.

He faced opposition from the parents who complained, “Yeh bacche kya kar lenge padh ke? Meri ladki ghar kaam karke Rs 700 leke aati hai mahine ka. Aap padhake kyun humaare pet par lat maarna chahte ho? (What will our kids do if they study? My daughter works as a maid and earns Rs 700 monthly. Why are you kicking our stomachs by educating her?)”

But he did not give up.

Slowly, the number of kids rose, and today his school, ‘Asha o Ashwasana’, has transformed the lives of more than a hundred kids.

The same parents who complained about education, gratefully look on as they watch their sons and daughters cycle to their colleges today.

“Every day I cook dalma for them (a preparation of dal, rice and sabji). It gives me immense joy to see them relish the home-cooked meal that is high in nutrition. When the Prime Minister visited Cuttack five months ago, we had a brief meeting where he told me this meal was one of the best, being served in schools.”

The humble tea seller found a mention in the PM’s radio show, Mann Ki Baat where he said that Rao embodied the spirit of ‘Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya’ which means, ‘From darkness, lead me to light.’

The Prime Minister referred to him as a diya (lamp) which guides underprivileged kids to the path of enlightenment.

When asked about his reaction on being bestowed the award, he sayExclusive: Meet The Incredible, Inspiring Odisha Chaiwala Who Just Won Padma Shri

 

He tells The Better India, “Living and working in a slum, I witnessed the resistance of parents towards education first-hand. Living in their makeshift jhuggi jhopdis, they thought of their children as means of earning income. Instead of enrolling them in schools, these children were enrolled in menial labour. Working odd jobs and becoming domestic helpers, whatever money they earned was often snatched by the men in the home, who would buy alcohol and turn to domestic violence. It deeply affected me, every single day.”

He continues, “I was a good student. Bright in academics, adept at football. I wanted to become a doctor but landed up becoming a chaiwala. I knew what it was like to not have any opportunities. And I did not want these kids to have the same fate.”

For every cup of tea sold at his stall, he used half the amount towards the education and health of the slum kids.

He first operated from his two-room thatched house, with four children, where he provided them with food and education, completely free of cost.

He faced opposition from the parents who complained, “Yeh bacche kya kar lenge padh ke? Meri ladki ghar kaam karke Rs 700 leke aati hai mahine ka. Aap padhake kyun humaare pet par lat maarna chahte ho? (What will our kids do if they study? My daughter works as a maid and earns Rs 700 monthly. Why are you kicking our stomachs by educating her?)”

But he did not give up.

Slowly, the number of kids rose, and today his school, ‘Asha o Ashwasana’, has transformed the lives of more than a hundred kids.

The same parents who complained about education, gratefully look on as they watch their sons and daughters cycle to their colleges today.

“Every day I cook dalma for them (a preparation of dal, rice and sabji). It gives me immense joy to see them relish the home-cooked meal that is high in nutrition. When the Prime Minister visited Cuttack five months ago, we had a brief meeting where he told me this meal was one of the best, being served in schools.”


 


The humble tea seller found a mention in the PM’s radio show, Mann Ki Baat where he said that Rao embodied the spirit of ‘Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya’ which means, ‘From darkness, lead me to light.’

The Prime Minister referred to him as a diya (lamp) which guides underprivileged kids to the path of enlightenment.

When asked about his reaction on being bestowed the award, he says,

“The adulation and support that people have extended is overwhelming. I am honoured and humbled all at once by their warmth and the place they gave me in their hearts. When people say that I have transformed the lives of these kids, I say that it is these 100 children who have helped me reach this point and improved the quality of my life. Today, my small school has become a temple of education, where I serve these living gods (children). Even at 61, I am as fit as a fiddle and consider myself the richest man in the world, because serving them gives me the joy that no bundles of cash or jewels in the world can buy.”

Apart from the people of Cuttack and Odisha, who have supported his initiative, Rao also attributes his success to the media, which he says has been highly instrumental in taking his story to the masses.

He signs off with a message to the youth and aspiring social workers:

“In today’s fast-paced world, where many youths are driven by the passion for becoming rich overnight, remember that money is not everything. There is no shortcut to success. You will encounter several obstacles, but only when you serve selflessly will you attain success. Live your own lives but don’t shy away from extending a helping hand to those less privileged than you. It is only when we join hands to uplift the downtrodden, will India really become the sone ki chidiya (golden bird) that we sing odes to.”

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Source………  in http://www.the betterindia.com 

Natarajan

 

Remembering Raja Ramanna: The Unsung Man Who Put India on the Nuclear Power Map…

41years ago, Indian physicist, Raja Ramanna, was invited to stay in Iraq, as a prized guest of Saddam Hussein. As expected, such an invite sent by the Iraqi dictator to a nuclear physicist, was not all that cordial and had a hidden agenda.

Surprisingly, this was just four years after Dr Ramanna conducted India’s first nuclear test in Pokhran.

A 1974 event that shook the world out of its slumber as India renounced its status as a ‘Third world country’ to move towards becoming a ‘developed nation’, also affected Saddam.

Angry and desperate, Saddam wanted Dr Ramanna to stay back and lead the country’s nuclear programme to create an Iraqi nuclear bomb.

He was even taken on a tour to Baghdad and Iraq’s main nuclear facility at Tuwaitha, and at the end of the trip, an offer was made by Saddam.

“You have done enough for your country. Don’t go back. Stay here and take over our nuclear programme. I will pay you whatever you want,” was the statement Saddam made, as reported in a book, Saddam’s Bomb, by British journalists Shyam Bhatia and Daniel McGrory.

Perplexed, scared and afflicted by a sleepless night, the 53-year-old (then) wasn’t sure if he might ever see India again, and at the next opportunity, booked a flight and fled.

Although a sensitive topic of discussion for the late scientist, this incident, after so many years, stands out as an interesting one reflecting India’s advancement as a prominent nuclear power, all thanks to Dr Ramanna.

Hence, on his 94th birth anniversary, it is important to remember him as the visionary scientist who is the reason behind India’s promising strides in nuclear science.

A multifaceted talent

Born on January 28, 1925, in Tumkur, Karnataka, Dr Ramanna was a protégé of Dr Homi Bhabha, the founding father of the Indian nuclear programme.

His acquaintance with Dr Bhabha also had a musical beginning, when they were set up to meet in 1944 by a mutual friend, based on their shared passion for music, especially Mozart.

That meeting eventually brought the two closer, as five years later, Dr Ramanna landed a job at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the centre of India’s atomic energy programme. Under Dr Bhabha’s guidance, he went on the lead the first underground nuclear test on May 18, 1974 at Pokhran, Rajasthan.


But being an internationally renowned scientist was not all, he was an administrator and a teacher as well. A perfect example of a man reflecting the blend of science, technology and arts, he was also a scholar with a penchant for Sanskrit literature, and an accomplished pianist, with several concerts to his credit.

His deep interest in philosophy was said to have given him a holistic understanding of science.

In an interview, he had reportedly said, “The Greek understanding of an atom was more from a philosophical point of view; but the current idea of dividing until we come to an ultimate indivisible unit, is very clearly explained in Visheshika theory. Thus, the idea of an atom has been hovering in people’s mind for a very long time more deeply in India than anywhere else.”

This was not all.

He was also an author, the first and only former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), to have penned an autobiography, Years of Pilgrimage: An Autobiography.

Later, he wrote a book on music as well, The Structure of Music in Raga and Western Systems, in 1993.

The story behind the ‘Smiling Buddha’

On May 18, 1974, Dr Ramanna played a crucial role in making India’s first underground nuclear bomb explosion a reality.

Despite the criticism it garnered, the nuclear test did not hurt anyone, nor did it intend to. The only idea was to send out a strong message to the world. It was hence called the “Peaceful Nuclear Explosion” with an interesting code name: The Smiling Buddha; as it took place on Buddha Jayanti!

But, at the initial stages, it was a top-secret project, as Dr R Chidambaram, former chairman of the AEC recollected.

In an interview published by the DAE in 1998, Chidambaram said that to maintain secrecy the first step was not to put anything in writing.

The next was to work on the project on a part-time basis.

According to him, Dr Ramanna had begun thinking about developing a nuclear explosion even before the death of Dr Bhabha in 1966.

“Once the clearance (for conducting the test) had been obtained by Dr Ramanna, the crucial thing was to move the plutonium. That was moved with the help of a military convoy – in an unannounced box – and the people in the convoy were wondering why Roy and I were always keeping close to the box. I remember the excitement when we safely reached Pokhran with the consignment. Incidentally, when we lowered the device, there was a dust storm that worried us. But in the event, it helped us. For no spy satellite picked it up,” Chidambaram recollected.

The erudite scientist won several awards, including the three of the four most prominent Indian civilian awards–Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan.

Even after his death 15 years ago on September 24, 2004, his contributions to the field of science, technology as well as defence, continue to drive India towards a developed tomorrow!

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Source……..Ananya Barua  in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan