Draft:Chhattu Ram Horil Ram Private Limited
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Mica Kings of India - Chhattu Ram & Horil Ram
Mica Kings refer to a business house, which took shape in the early twentieth century, in Koderma, Jharkhand state, India. This business house, at a particular point of time, controlled the largest share of mica mining and export activity in the world.
Koderma is a small place and is located in Chhottanagpur. Chota Nagpur Plateau consists of three smaller plateaus of Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Koderma. The CH saga, the birth, growth and the emergence of the business house of Mica Kings (Chhattu Ram Horil Ram Private Limited, in short, CH Pvt. Ltd., or mostly known as CH), emerged in the plateau of Koderma.
The Damodar river rises from Chota Nagpur Plateau and flows eastward 592 kilometeres through the West Bengal to join Hoogli River, southward of Kolkata. The Damodar valley is a treasure trove of a variety of minerals, from vast deposits of coal and iron ore to several others. Mica, mostly with a silvery shine, but available in various other colours, is one of them. Mica slabs in Koderama plateau were found by British engineers in the later part of the nineteenth century, while laying the (Grand Chord section) of railway tracks , which links Howrah, (Calcutta, West Bengal) and Mughalsarai (near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh).
CH had extended their business empire from a small place in the eastern India to the western part of India in Mumbai (then called Bombay, and the capital of Bombay Presidency, and to regions of Gujarat. Currently (2006) their activities are limited to Jhumri Telaiya, a small town in Jharkhand.
However, discovery of electricity, and continuous proliferation of appliances using electricity from the late nineteenth century / early twentieth century, gave an unprecedented boost to mica mining and related activities. The CH Private Limited, along with certain other business houses, emerged as one of the pioneers, who spearheaded the mica movement in India, from the early part of twentieth century to next 50 years.
Birth of Mica Kings
At that time, two simple, innocent and very young Mahuri Vaisya boys, hardly having any schooling and not directly related to each other, but having a common surname / family name (Bhadani) – one, Chhattu Ram Bhadani and the other, Horil Ram Bhadani joined hands with only 500 pieces of British India One Rupee Silver coins (about 5 kg of silver, present valuation 1000 USD or 50000 INR) and commenced building a mica mining and exporting venture. This business venture within a short span of 2 decades, from the period of the First World War (1914-1919), and the intervening period, till the Second World War (1939-1945) had emerged as a Business Empire, which, at a point of time, controlled the largest share of mica mining and exporting activity in the World. This growth attracted attention of the then-elite business circle of India. CH had properties all over India i.e. Bombay, Kolkatta. Banaras, Otty, Delhi but surprising none exists today. Mica kings owned 3 cotton mills at one time, one in Ahmedabad, Bombay and Gaya in Bihar. That Business Empire, over a period of time, could not sustain growth and declined on account of several known / unknown factors, including turn down in the business cycle. But, the fact remains that such a business growth has remained a rare phenomenon in the economic history of Jharkhand state, India.
Later business was moved to government corporations sometime in 1973-74 through a government venture called as Bihar Mica Syndicate which was having Mica mines in Sapahi, 40 Kms from Jhumri Telaiya. This government venture was renamed to Bihar State Mineral Development Corporation (BSMDC), which is now known as: Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC) (after the formation of a new state of Jharkhand).
Mica mining through government corporations went on well till mid 1990s and slowly succumbed to lack of demand / political willpower and changing times.
It is remarkable that even after a lapse of 50 years after the Second World War, in Jhumri Telaiya town (Koderma), Jharkhand state, India, from where the CH Saga had began, two government-run educational institutions, a movie theatre, a private school and several other establishments still bear the Bhadani name. Sadanand Bhadani, (a descendant of the CH Family), who was once a member of XLRI Management Board, Jamshedpur, when it was established in 1949 had once recalled: once upon a time, teams from Indian Institute of Management and Indian Institute of Mines and other institutions used to visit CH facilities to have practical trainings. Persons having CH recommendations use to get decent jobs in all the premier companies of India. Once upon a time, The CH brought in 1920's telephone connectivity to Jhumri Telaiya.
The Jhumri Telaiya town (Koderma), Jharkhand state, India, from where the CH Saga had begun, two government-run educational institutions, a movie theatre, a private school and several other establishments still bear the Bhadname.Once upon a time, The CH brought in 1920's telephone connectivity to Jhumri Telaiya.Now, almost 100 years thereafter, the town lacks even good internet connectivity.
- "A rags to riches to rags story". Deccan Herald. 2005-05-12. Retrieved 2012-04-02.