A learning period (1978-1998)

NKC spent three years working at his father’s store, but his inclination towards art never stopped. There was a spark inside his heart to make a difference in the conventional exploitative business customs. He emphasized on fostering the spark within and studied the art of weaving and scope of carpets at Jaipur, and got acquainted with exporters. He refrained to pursue his father’s shoe-selling business and a job for the position of a cashier in a bank, which he got selected for. He asked his father to lend him a sum of Rs. 5000, which he expended to buy a bicycle, raw material and loom for carpet production.

In 1978, he initiated a small setup, with just two looms and a handful of weavers. Worked round the clock to establish business, travelled miles on his bicycle to procure the raw material, ate with weavers near the loom, spent nights at the production center, but loved the designs created. He mastered the art by learning from weavers and by the end of third year 10 additional looms with a few more artisans were installed. His hard work and determination observed expansion of business, and the looms were installed in Ratangad, Sujangad, Laxmangad and Jodhpur, within years. Exports of these hand knotted carpets were a big leap.

From Rajasthan, the business expanded to Gujarat, where he faced many challenges and worked with Tribes, SC/ ST and other backward classes. He stayed with tribal people, understood them and their lifestyle, and brought their traditional designs on the carpet. A small scale industry was set-up at a small town, Valsad, where he initiated to export directly, this began to benefit the weavers.

Thought plus emotion created conviction, conviction created reality. NKC realized the strength of the poor and felt an urge to help the poor with sustainable source of earnings leading them towards a dignified life. His next step included mobilizing the poverty-struck deprived communities, training them to weave carpets. Moreover, government schemes for the poor were brought to practice by NKC. The funds from government helped the establishment of looms in Gujarat. The business grew from Valsad, to a number of towns in Gujarat, as his products and designs were appreciated all around.

He recollects, “Gujarat’s was an enriching period, a school, where learning of various knotting techniques and design trends was undertaken, a Gurukul. All along with delivering the best of the quality, I tried bridging the gaps between the two worlds, viz. the grassroots and the global markets.”

NKC - 1978