Traditional Industries : The Legacy of a Family Business in Jhansi

“I’m a part of history” – writing this statement gives me a feeling of deluge. When I realized that we all were part of history; it stirred a sense of pride and gratitude in me. This heritage walk has been a walk of deep contemplation -a deep look into the history of my own family. Manik chowk, the heart of the walled city of Jhansi is without doubt, the busiest market area in Jhansi. A walk through the grand city of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh takes us back to the era of Maharani Lakshmi Bai. This walk helped us explore not just the bazaar, but cultural landscape of this area as well.

Styles have changed, the legacy remains

The primary focus of attention is the architecture of this market. The ancient buildings of different styles of architecture like Chanderi, British, Maratha, Mughal, Rajputhi can be seen towering the bazaar. Manik Chowk comprises of three bazaars, Baad Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar and Purani Najhai. This historic market is a particularly popular destination for wedding shoppers who are looking to purchase gold jewellery. The apparels can be found in Sarafa Bazaar and the dress material in Bada Bazaar. On week days it is typically over crowded.

The heritage walk was scheduled on 20th February, 2017. We started our walk from the Chandra Shekhar Azaad Murti and headed towards the Bada Bazaar. The highlight of the walk was on one of the oldest shop of Jhansi, ‘Seth Daryaolal Maniklal Firm’. The main reason that I chose this particular shop was, because it belonged to my family.  I visit my shop a lot, but this time it was different for I came to know about the past of my family.

A busy day at the shop

We’re all incredibly self-absorbed, and in being so, we forget to care around the context of the lives we’re so immersed in. We can use google to find out anything we want about world history and our other affairs, but our own personal history, the legacy of our families is something we are oblivious too. This can be changed by asking questions.

Seth Daryaolal Taraiya, my great grandfather commenced the business in 1857 at Lalitpur. The business dealt in soot cloths. He would earn just Rs.5 a day, not more, not less. After him came his son Seth Manik Lal Taraiya, because of whom the firm officially came into existence. Up till that time they used to deal with cotton clothes and it was a wholesale shop. However, in 1945 when Seth Maniklal’s sons Seth Dalchand Taraiya and Seth Nihalchand Taraiya took over the shop,  and got the importer of the whole commissioner of Jhansi. At this stage the business sky rocketed and a huge growth was observed. As  time passed, the wholesale market of cotton started declining so the inheritance of the firm went to  Late Mr. Sunil Kumar Taraiya, Mr. Sudhir Kumar Taraiya and Mr. Sushil Kumar Taraiya who started the handloom retail work. Presently, there are two major shops. The main branch is in Lalitpur and another in Jhansi. The shop in Jhansi; “Teenu suit collection”deals with ladies ethnic clothing, while the Lalitpur shop deals on handloom items.

The team that makes it possible

Family history takes me back to the struggling yet so thrilling life of my grandfathers.”I am proud of my family heritage, I feel honored of my roots. Through this article, I wish to shed some light on the struggle and real heritage of it. Being part of such an honored family, it gives me a great sense of responsibility to carry forward the legacy laid down by my ancestors.

Go Heritage Run is being organized in Orchha in October – goheritagerun.com/orchha

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