Tag Archives: Globalization

Rivalry of two retail trade sectors in India

It is very interesting to observe the people divided mostly into two groups of competition for one or the other goals of their own. From individuals to nations, all are in race to go ahead from their rivals. Subjects and goals of such rivalries may be many. Here in this brief Article, I am going to discuss the ‘Rivalry’ of two sectors of Retail Trade. Both strive for the same customers or the markets. These two retail sectors will be named further as ‘Former’- An Unorganized Small Traders’ Group, serving the society for not only centuries but millenniums; and ‘Latter’ – The Organized Mall Culture, recently developed during the last two decades and growing fast throughout the world.

Mall retail shop india

The back and forth between these two retail sectors is rapid. I just remember an old Hindi movie “Toofan Aur Diya”. The title may be taken in English version as “Lamp (lit with kerosene with no shield of glass) against whirl-wind”. Here, as an observer, we can watch the exertions of the weak with the strong. Let us see how long this competition does go on and what its future would be. It can be presumed that this ‘Rivalry’ may end with either of the two outcomes – one, as per Charles Darwin’s theory “Survival of the Fittest”; and the other the “Co-existence of Both”. Whether we Love it or hate it, the organized retail sector is to stay everywhere. On the basis of viability of business, some units of both the retail sectors may close their shutters for ever or may shift elsewhere, but all of them are never to quit the battle field of their rivalry.

Whirl Candle

Due to straight result of globalization, the Latter is increasing at the speed of light stretching the feet towards even smaller cities. Some Social Activists have started their movements against the Mall Culture with their slogans as “No more Shopping Malls in India”. One of such Activists, Medha Patkar says, “Opening of a mall in a city puts an end to the business of thousands of hawkers and traders. This mall culture will plunge the middle class into a greater financial crisis and turn hawkers into beggars.”

On the other hand, quite contradictory to above, ICRIER (a renowned think tank) commissioned by the Ministry of Commerce to study impact of the Latter on the Former reported that they both can co-exist. How surprising the finding is that a lion and a hare can live together in a den as we might have read in some fables in our childhood days. It is easy to say ‘Nothing is impossible in the world’, but somebody has humorously commented as whether we have ever tried to insert back the tooth paste once pressed out from the tube!

I have studied the Report with a bird-fly-view and noted as over all that ICRIER has, no doubt, sought opinions from various people concerned to the studies; but at the same time, we should bear in our mind that it is not all the time necessary to believe that few opinion givers represent the views of all the people. Just to have fair and authentic opinions, the Researchers should take into consideration many factors and particularly intellectual standards of the opinion givers. We have witnessed many Reports of Commissions and findings of Opinion Polls, not only in India but worldwide, and found that realities and such calculative results have no match of their ends. We all know that when Saddam was in power, he had gone under the exercise of having mandate of the people of Iraq and showed to the world that 98.5% of the population was in favor of his dictatorial rule of Government. But, when he was finished, the very same public had destroyed the statues of Saddam erected in public places.

While summing up, I would say that the casting votes are in the hands of the customers and they only can play a role of a king-maker whom the crown of success is awarded. Any sector, whether be a traditional retail street shop or a big mall, will have to create good relationships with customers and attract them to pay frequent visits to their respective business premises. They would need to win the trust of the customers with standard quality of goods, fair price, genuine weight & measurement and prompt services after sale. The customer will never compromise with these fundamental expectations. A trader, in any status, may fool the customer for one time, but not all the times. Now-a-days, the customer everywhere has become more aware of his best interests as well as laws of consumer protection. Those days have gone when they were easily cheated and exploited.

– Valibhai Musa


Posted by on October 7, 2008 in Article, MB


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Rays of hope in ways of humanity

Click here to read in Gujarati
I was one of the founder trustees, the framer of Constitution and Chairman of the first Board of the local NGO – “The Guardian Trust, Kanodar”. I worked for first seven years in team spirit with my fellow trustees to achieve the goals of the Trust and now I am retired. Here, I am pleased to disclose one of the objects of the Trust which will be self explanatory to my Readers and particularly those NRIs and PRs of Kanodar residing elsewhere representing young generation to know about this village, its community, its culture and many other aspects of its heritage descending from the ancestors for the last half millennium since the foundation of this village by Kaano (Kanji) Patel whose name reflects in the word ‘KANODAR’.

The text of the above referred object of the Trust is as follows:

”The Mo’mineen (Muslims) of Kanodar have spread all over the world with their own identity that they live with love with others, accept others with their differences and make their contributions in their social lives wherever they live. This Trust will encourage the individuals and various organizations of this peculiar community to continue to set an example to other communities to respect everybody’s dignity and rights and to carry out social responsibilities for the common good of people.”

To build up integrity and reputation of the village, many honorable personalities have contributed in past; and present leadership also is on the same track walking on the footprints of the former devoted Chiefs. This Article is aimed to remind the new generation the culture and traditions of the community, inspire them to preserve the image of this village intact with good behavior and pass on the same heritage to the next generation by providing the live examples to them. During my life span of almost seven decades, I have been the witness of the hundreds of those local heroes who have devoted their most of time to uplift the village to higher summits of its fame. Due to my limitation to the size of the Article, I am unable to highlight the services of all those ever shining stars in detail.

But, I would like to bring out in knowledge some opinions of other people about this village of Kanodar in order to mention in general its integrity, peace and prosperity. Most of the people may be familiar with the name of Swami Sachchidanand. He is a Karmyogi Saint of Gujarat engaged in social, literary and spiritual activities. Some years past, he was invited to the opening ceremony of the local High School for its starting of Science stream. Swamiji had never visited this village but while on his way from Petlad to Kanodar, he was given some briefs and feedbacks about the village. Endowed with sharp intellect, spirituality and own intuition, he knew everything about the village and its people as if he had visited the village previously and lived here. While delivering his speech he said, “If the Lahore Conference for the discussion of partition of India would have been organized at Kanodar, India would have remained united.” These words are the best compliments to the village and at the same time making conscious to the natives of Kanodar to remain firm and deserving for the preservation of conception of integrity of not only our village, bur wherever we live. Generally, Swamiji was being honored with donation to his Ashram wherever he was invited, but here he donated Rs.25,000/- to the High School from the funds of his own Trust.

If we go to some past, the memories of Dr. H. L.Purohit, a Maharashtriyan Brahmin and Dwarkagiri Maharaj, a gymnastic practicing Saint (અખાડા સાધુ) from U.P. (India) will surely revive into our minds. Dr. Purohit as a Physician rendered his services to the local Hospital for about 33 years and Dwatkagiri Maharaj as a worshipper of the local Temple of Shiva; but mainly with his social services, had devoted his whole life for the welfare of the village. Both these personalities had so high opinions as well as feelings for this village that they wished to have their last breaths here and get their funeral services in the earth of this village. Dr. Purohit was not fortunate in this regard as his offspring called him at his native place Baroda after retirement, but Bapji breathed his last here and was buried in the position of Samadhi in the premises of the temple. They both, having their Hindu creed, told emotionally in public that if the God gave them rebirth in any form, they would prefer to be here not only once but again and again. These words are the great rewards to the local Muslim community and also strong enough to bring tears of gratitude into our eyes.

There is no room for remembering the specific contributions of numerous Muslims (both male and female) here in this precise Article; but in general, I may say that they people remained rays of hope in ways of humanity. They people laid a firm foundation of Secularism and Unity in the village. It is a fitting time to recall all these memories in the prevailing situation everywhere in world when violence in various forms has risen high and universal peace is thrown in danger.

As mentioned in my earlier Article “A full circle swallowed 22 years”, the new generation of the village has spread over all continents of the world to meet with their financial needs. We should thank God that He has been kind and merciful to lead the world think broadly for globalization and liberalization and thus windows of settling abroad have opened. As a result, hundreds of youths with their spouse and offspring have migrated elsewhere in the world. This old man (me) thinks by heart that all these youngsters are the representatives of our secular village of Kanodar, Gandhiji’s Gujarat and our great country, India to spread the mission of Universal brotherhood and peace.

I would just remind, to all NRIs and PRs residing elsewhere in world who are natives of Kanodar and in wider sense to say any human wherever it lives, the story of migration of Zoroastrians (Parsis) during 18th century from Iran to harbor of Sanjaanaa in Gujarat (India). They had assured the ruler of Gujarat then that they will mix up with local people as sugar mixes in milk. My brothers and sisters, we know the exemplary role played by these Parsis such as Jamshedji Tata, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, and Homi Jehangir Bhabha in the progress of India. You have to awaken and mobilize the people with whom you happen to come in contact as a neighbor, a co-worker, a businessman or in any other status with mission of secular ideology, feelings of mutual co-operation and motto of ‘Live and Let Live” of ‘Sarvoadaya-ism’ founded by Vinoba Bhave and Jay Prakash Narayana.

While nearing to sum up my Article, I’ll quote somebody’s experience from unknown source in the words as “When I was running in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, wearing a spiffy suit, on my way to a meeting, a kind lady (a stranger) offered me her umbrella, gave me her address, and trusted I would return it when the rain died down.” This is a very little weighing episode, but a heavy and hidden sense lies therein. Here is the importance of mutual trust, not the cost of umbrella. One should take such affordable risks to be helpful to others to make the foundation of trust with human to human strong and I am sure it will not go in vain.

Summing up, we should remember that hate can never be ceased by hate. Let us renew and spread our hope in humanity. If we are going to err, let us err on the positive side of compassion, generosity and tolerance.

Friends, it is time to close now. Bye,

– Valibhai Musa
August 6, 2008


Posted by on August 6, 2008 in Article, લેખ, FB, Humanity, MB


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A Full Circle Swallowed 22 Years

Click here to read in Gujarati 

Concept of Globalization has opened the windows of the compact minds of the people of the entire world. Numerous people have started to migrate abroad from their home country to elsewhere in search of sources of income for happy family life. Some migrate merely to bring change in their present living and settle abroad permanently for pleasure. Thus, the migration may be either for commerce or pleasure, for whatever it may be, it is good in all respects.

But ….. my ‘but’ is not at all intended to discourage you, my Readers. I have just tried to make you well prepared in advance for further more migration, God save you all – the migration that may be forced upon you.

The countries of the world being ruled by any style of Government like Democratic, Monarchy or Dictatorial; may face any revolutionary or political crisis at any time. They may be put in any critical and unpleasant situations of some false demeanors such as intolerance of others, confessional hatred, racist attacks, the slaughter of innocents, so-called ethnic cleansing or other forms of oppressions. Such man-made disasters either derived from the Rulers or the Ruled may happen anywhere, anytime. We people are like a singing bird which has nested and hatched her young ones in the mouth of a cannon. All of a sudden, the scenario changes; and smooth going public life gets disturbed.

God save you-us all, but in such circumstances; one must be mentally prepared to take hard decision of migration to protect life, prestige, self-respect and one’s own faith. One must be ready to accept the challenge of destiny and be courageous for ‘Come what may’.

Here, I would like to introduce a gentle friend of mine – Mr. Jafferali Soonasra (Jeff), born in Uganda (Africa), studied (only primary education) in India and now settled in U.S.A.. We are friends; but more than that, it can be said that we are like brothers since 1959. Mr. Jafferbhai’s odyssey of 22 years will follow next to my preface of this blog and you will yourselves evaluate his patience, struggle and many more qualities of his personality.

In the News paper – “The Morning Call”, on November 6, 1994; an article prepared by Bob Wittman was published under the Headline mentioned below. This article is represented here for all my Readers for their reference and knowledge to get inspiration to stand straight like a rock to face any kind of adversity in life.

My good Readers, please proceed further and be witness of a struggle faced for more than two decades by one more – a Gentle Giant:

“Stateless” Ugandan’s 22 – year Odyssey will end

“Twenty-two years ago this month, Jafferali Soonasra stood in a queue a thousand people long on an air-port tarmac in Kampala, Uganda. When he reached the head of the line, a stern looking man in a uniform took Soonasra’s Ugandan birth certificate and pressed a rubber stamp against it. As the indelible purple ink dried beneath the searing African sun, Soonasra read the single word that it would take him more than two decades to overcome. The word was “Stateless”.jafarbhai_jeni.jpg

On that day began a three-continent odyssey for Soonasra that will really, finally, only draw to a close on Thursday in the courtroom of the Old Leigh County Courthouse, when the 61-year-old man raises his right hand to swear allegiance to the United States and becomes U.S. citizen. At least 48 others are expected to become citizens of the United States in the 4 p.m. naturalization ceremony, according to Bernadette Carwell, LeighCounty’s naturalization clerk.

Growing up, Soonasra never could have anticipated that his life would take him to a place called Allentown (PA). Soonasra was born to a prosperous family of merchants and businessmen in the equatorial country of Uganda. His grandfather emigrated there from India when East Africa was ruled as a British colony. The British encouraged Indian settlement of the region to help Great Britain administer its possession. Eventually, tens of thousands of Indians settled there to fill civil service jobs and manage the nation’s businesses.

After completing his schooling, Soonasra went to work in 1957 for the Northern Province Bus Co. in the city of Lira, Uganda. Through the years he worked as ticket examiner, mechanic and traffic manager before becoming a stockholder and a director in 1965.

In 1960 Soonasra married a girl from Madras, India, and in time the couple had three daughters and a son. Soonasra owned a four bedroom home, three automobiles and took regular fishing holidays to Lake Albert. By any measure, he was a success.

But in 1971, Army Field Marshall Idi Amin seized control of the government, and the country plunged into chaos. There was guerrilla fighting in the country-side, and police inflicted terror upon the citizenry. Fearing for the safety of his family, Soonasra sent his wife and children to Madras to live with his wife’s family until the strife in Uganda settled down. Little did he know when he said goodbye to them that he would not see them for 16 years.

Still, sending them off to safety turned out to be a prudent move because Amin reserved his harshest treatment for the country’s Indian minority. Indeed, at one point Soonasra was arrested and held for three days of questioning in an armed camp. The bus company’s chief executive officer was arrested at the same time and was never heard from again. Soonasra was released unharmed, but life for him was never the same. He never returned to his office, and the company disintegrated. He lived in hiding with friends and relatives, never spending two nights in the same place.

Then, in August 1972, Amin announced that the Indians living in the country would have to leave. The United Nations organized a hasty evacuation program, and Soonasra and his family and 45,000 other members of the minority were flown to resettlement camps all over Europe. They were not allowed to take any cash or possessions out of the country, and before they left, Ugandan officials stamped each of their birth certificates with the word “stateless”. The United Nations eventually resettled Soonasra to Norway. The Norwegian government gave him an apartment in the coastal town of Bergen and a laborer’s job in a ship yard. Soonasra’s family, meanwhile – his mother, brother, sister-in-law and their children – were resettled to the United States. St. John’sLutheranChurch in Allentown became their sponsor and brought them to the LeighValley.

Soonasra disliked Norway. He could not adjust to the cold. He found the people unfriendly. And he was unused to physically strenuous manual labor. He decided this was no place to bring the family, so he told them to remain in India until he worked something out.

Soonasra is a reflective man, not afraid to acknowledge his mistakes, and one of the gravest he made was his decision in 1976 to travel to the United States and never return to Norway. He received an 11-week travel visa to visit his mother and brother and never went back. Soonasra knew he was violating U.S. Immigration law, but he did not realize how inflexible those laws could be. He figured his refugee’s story would compel U.S. Immigration authorities to realize the desperateness of his plight and allow him to become a permanent resident.

It turned out nothing could have been further from the truth. When he laid out his story in a letter he wrote to President, Jimmy Carter early the next year, he received a terse letter in return from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service saying the president had “no authority to modify the law in any respect.”

On the other hand, the INS never came after Soonasra, even though he had by now long over-stayed his visa. Meanwhile, a friend gave him a job behind the counter of what was then called the 7-Eleven Food Store on College Heights Boulevard. The years drifted by. Soonasra missed his wife and children terribly, of course, and it was in their interest that he finally acted. In 1980, he traveled to Philadelphia and turned himself in to Immigration officials. They responded by handing him a deportation order.

But there was no place to deport him to. Although Amin by this time had been deposed, Uganda was still in chaos and unwilling to take him back. Norway would not allow his return, either, since he had left after authorities had given him the chance to make a life there. Even India, where his wife lived, had no obligation to take him in. So Soonasra was the United States’ problem now. Soonasra’s lawyer won an extension of the deportation order. Then another and another and another. Finally, in 1984, the INS notified Soonasra that it would grant no additional extensions and that he should report to its offices with his personal belongings on Feb.21.

To what country the INS might have deported Soonasra is an interesting question, but matters never go that far. In the nick of time, Soonasra’s name had threaded its way through INS quota system, and with only days to spare he became eligible for permanent residency under the sponsorship of his brother, Liaquatali. That was not the end of the story, however. Going by the book, the INS still required Soonasra to enter the country legally so it could process his papers and open a file on him as a permanent resident.

But in a bureaucratic Catch-22, Soonasra could not leave the country because he had no valid travel documents. The United States could not give him the documents because he was still, technically, an illegal alien. Only after a chance meeting in New York with an old friend from his boyhood who happened now to work for the Uganda consulate in Manhattan was Soonasra able to get temporary travel papers. With them, he flew to Norway, processed his application for permanent residency at the U.S.Consulate in Oslo, and flew back to New York, a legal resident alien at last.

Almost immediately, Soonasra flew to India for a reunion with his wife and children after 16 years of separation. During their years apart, his oldest child, Mohamed, had grown into a 26-year-old adult. His youngest, daughter Naseem, a 15-month old baby when he last saw her, was now completing high school. Soonasra stayed more than a month. That spring, the whole family moved to Allentown.

Since then, daughter Rukshana had married. She lives in Chicago with her husband and a daughter, the Soonasra’s first grandchild. Another daughter, Shaheda, works for Meridian Bank, and Naseem is a student of CedarCrestCollege. She plans to become a dentil assistant. Mohamed helps run Don’s Food Store at Harrison and Leigh streets in Emmaus. Soonasra and his brother, Liaquatali, are partners in that store as well as what is now renamed the 7-Ten Food Store on College Heights Boulevard.

Five years after, Soonasra became a permanent resident of United States, he became eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.He passed the naturalization test a few months ago, and has been looking forward to the dignified ceremony this week at the Old Courthouse that makes his citizenship official.

Jafferali Soonasra feels at last that he has come full circle.”

Lastly, I quote a dialogue from the play – “Abraham Lincoln” written by John Drinkwater. It is this: “When it comes, it seems so simply.”

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. :
6th June, 2007


Posted by on June 9, 2007 in Article, લેખ, FB, MB


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