Sindhis- The Trade Masters

The story goes back to 1947. It was the time of partition and Sindh was falling into Pakistan. A lot of Sindhi Hindus had to migrate to India, as the partition was based on religion. Hindus will stay in India and Muslims in Pakistan. They are a section of society who migrated from Sindh, Pakistan and settled across different western regions of India.

When they reached back to India, they felt a misery. A misery on how to survive and thrive in this disastrous situation. This is when the whole family stood up to work and earn money for their survival. The women of the families took part in making papads(Sindhi Papads) and other beautiful objects which can be sold later in the local markets. The men got involved in trading, they were getting paid for the exchange of commodities. During this process, they observed the intricacies of business very minutely. The more deeper they were getting into it, the more money-conscious they were becoming.

A Biluchi Soldier and Hindu Trader of Sindh ()

There have been multiple instances where they have proved their business acumen. We can understand it by two incidents-

  1. There were two shopkeepers who used to sell groceries in the local market.

Part I — One day, a person went to the first shopkeeper and asked for a kg of sugar. He added 1050 gms of Sugar on the weighing machine and started reducing the sugar gradually to make it weigh exactly 1 kg(1000 gms). He did it by reducing 10 gm, then another 10 gm and so on, until he reached 1000 gms. He was saving every penny that he could but the buyer standing in front of the shop was witnessing the whole incident. This caused a very bitter feeling in the buyer’s mind and created a notion that the shopkeeper is reducing it from his/her share. What happened next is that the buyer never went to that shopkeeper again.

Part II — The other shopkeeper was a Sindhi. The same buyer went to him and asked for a kg of sugar. He put the sugar weighing approximately 950 gms and started adding every 10 gm in it to reach 1 kg. Here also the shopkeeper tried to save every penny that he could. The buyer got so impressed with the shopkeeper thinking he is adding to his share. He went happy and became his repeated customer.

What was different in this, Customer Experience. One created a negative experience and the other created a positive one, in turn reaping the benefits of it for a very long time. Sindhis have excelled this by trading and observing the business minutely over the years. Customer Experience is at the core of any business. It's all about how you make your customers feel.

2. This incident is of a Sindhi family who moved to Bombay after the partition. They used to buy 50 sugar bags(of 1 kg each) at the market price of 1 Rupee per kg and used to sell it at a cheaper price of 99 Paise per kg. They were definitely making a loss of 50 paise per 50 kg. So why were they selling it at a loss when they were suffering from so much. This is where the situation took a turn. They were selling the empty sugar bags each at Rupee 1 and were making a net profit of 50 paise per bag. Amazing, Isn't it. They are well known for making large turnovers even by sacrificing a huge chunk of their profit margin.

We all know, how the economy has shifted from Primary(Agricultural) to Secondary(Industrial) to Tertiary(Service Focused) and now to Experience-based economy. Here we are paying for experiences, look around and you will notice a number of experiential stuff you have been spending on.

Key learnings from the Sindhi Community -

“Life is simpler if we keep focusing on the basics. Money is easier to make. Focus on the customer experience. Pass on your learnings and keep working hard”

Reference — Paiso by Maya Bathija and Street Smart by Suresh Padmanabhan

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