Saturday, May 7, 2011

Finest store

Why did so many Gujarati traders come down to Madras during the middle of the 19th century? It must have had something to do with their relationship with the English, who had set up their first trading post in the sub-continent at Surat, for sure. Among the later arrivals was Poppat Jamal, who came in to the city as an apprentice to Ibrahim Peer Mohammed & Co., dealers in fine glassware and china. He did well, for when the founders decided to sell out of the business, it was Poppat Jamal they handed it over to, in 1901.

Ever since then, the establishment in Chennai has been called Poppat Jamal & Sons, even though the branches in Kochi, Bengaluru and Vijayawada have been re-branded as Jamal's. It is quite likely the ownership has become fragmented and there are several of these "finest store of its kind in India" in all these cities!


mehulkamdar said...

Many Gujaratis initially came to Tamil Nadu when a princess from Gujarat was given in marriage to a Maratha Maharaja at Tanjore. These early Gujaratis are called "Thanjavariyas" by later Gujarati migrants because that is where they first settled. Later Gujarati migrations to the South came for two main reasons - the first was the superb education available especially in Chennai and secondly because it was a very orderly region without the violence and law and order issues of the North. My own grandparents moved to Chennai in the 1930s and stayed on - we do not have family, property or assets in Gujarat anymore. I am sure that this is also true of the bulk of the Gujaratis in Tamilnadu now.

Shantaram said...

@Mani: Thanks!
@Mehul: I know what you mean - there are many from Gujarat who have spent more time in this city than those who claim to be Chennai-ites! And Thanjavur seems to have been a big magnet for both Gujaratis and the Marathis..... must have been the agriculture!