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History of textile industry in India – Bombay Dying

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History of textile industry in India – Bombay Dying



History of textile industry in India – Bombay Dying – The fourth generation – Nusli N. Wadia




The fourth generation

Nusli N. Wadia

15 February 1944 –

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The letter is date 6 August 1962, signed by S.M. Bilimoria, Manager of the Spring Mills and addressed
to Mr. Nusli [sic] N. Wadia. It reads, in part:

“As you have been found to be medically fit… we have appointed you as Junior Officer (Trainee) at the Bombay
Dyeing & Mfg.Co. Ltd.’s Spring Mills, with effect from 2 August 1962 on a consolidated salary of Rs 185 per
month. You will be on probation for a period of six months. If during the probationary period your work or
conduct is found to be unsatisfactory in any way, your services will be terminated forthwith, without any notice.
If, however, your work is found to be satisfactory during the probationary period… you will be confirmed in the
above post. You will have to abide by all the Mills’ rules and regulations, and observe the hours of work stipulated
by the Company. Although during the period of training you will be employed in the first shift, please, however,
note that you will have to work in any of the three shifts if required by us to do so.”

This somewhat chilly message confirmed what Nusli Wadia already knew, having clocked in at the Spring
Mills four days before the letter arrived, on the same morning of his return to Bombay from his term of
education in England. Mr. Wadia’s work and conduct proved to be satisfactory during a 36-month training
period – every bit of it carefully assessed not only by Mr. Bilimoria but by his own father. From then on, not
unexpectedly, his direction was up. ( History of textile industry in India )

In 1966, at 22, he took over sales and directed a systematic overhaul of the system. Previously, Bombay Dyeing had
sold principally to wholesalers. Largely through Nusli Wadia’s initiative, a network of distributors and retail
stores spread across India, beginning with Bombay. These shops, under license, either stock Bombay Dyeing
fabrics only or else feature them in their line of goods. Today more than 600 exclusive Company stockists are
in business, their number growing at the rate of 50 a year.

The new Chairman also diversified Bombay Dyeing’s already extensive production, with new lines of saris and
dress materials, shirtings and suitings in more con- temporary designs. In appearances before the Textile
Export Promotion Council (Texprocil), of which he was appointed Chairman in 1974, he stressed the importance
of the textile export market, of which Bombay Dyeing was cutting a consistent 10%-12% slice. Under him,
despite a three-year recession in the country’s textile industry which drove many a weak mill into Government
hands, Bombay Dyeing successively increased its profits during each of those lean years.

DMT annually – enough for 55,000 tonnes of polyester fibre and filament, and the equivalent of 550 million
linear metres of cloth. An aggressive defender of private enterprise, Nusli Wadia has outspokenly opposed excessive government
and political interference in the textile mills sector. “The Government,” he says, “should do no more than provide
the infrastructure power, water, communications. Then it should step back and let those who are equipped
and trained to exploit those services manage the industry.”

Installation of the third-generation looms, the Sulzers, has proceeded on schedule under its fourth chairman;
by August 1979 the full complement of 308 Sulzers was expected to be operational in the new, airy and un-
cluttered building designed specifically for these machines. Just as Bombay Dyeing was the first Indian
textile operation to introduce automatic looms, so it is the first to turn to the shuttle-less looms, able to weave
virtually fault-free cloth in multiple widths up to a maximum of 153 inches.
The future success and growth of Bombay Dyeing can be forecasted with confidence. The Company is investing
Rs 85 million on fixed assets during the year ending March 1979, and another Rs 80 million in fiscal 1980.
In January 1979, the Board of Director stated its confidence in the Company’s future by voting a bonus to
shareholders of one share for every share outstanding. Nusli Wadia’s marriage in 1970, to Maureen Annette
Keelan, has assured the Wadia succession. They have two sons, Ness, born in 1971 on the birth anniversary
of his great-great grandfather, after whom he was named, and Jeh, born in 1973.


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