Although the Second World War ended unexpectedly, its damaging consequences had a long lasting effect on peoples’ lives and especially on the nation’s industries. On the 15th August, 1947, India was to become a free country. But prior to this the country was suffering the intense birth pangs of freedom. Janab Kayde Azam Jinnah was instrumental in the partition born out of fire, only here the fire was one of communal hatred. Innumerable innocent lives were sacrificed in this fire. The nation was torn apart. As a result of this there was a mass exodus of people, the likes of which the world had never seen before and could never have imagined. From India, lakhs of Muslims migrated to Pakistan and from Pakistan lakhs of Hindus migrated to India to live and settle down there.
Of course the dawn of freedom arose, but it was stained red with blood. That rosy dawn was not joyful or rousing. It was filled with the trauma of hatred and misery. For the time being even the English government was forgotten due to the colossal number of murders committed, staining the land red with blood. Only, that prophet of peace, Gandhiji had the courage to resolve this great conflagration, and he did so single handed. This superhuman man took up this Herculean task at the end of his life, because he was aghast at these cold blooded murders. The whole world witnessed these terrible incidents that could stir up the oceans and move mountains, with fear and shame.
This great disaster, which shook crores of people to the core and the many ugly incidents that followed in political circles, also affected industry like dark clouds in the sky. The financial state of affairs of the whole nation was at risk. Efforts were made to protect business by imposing controls. How could Kamani Industries remain an exception? Jaipur Meta Industries Ltd. was supplying defence articles and fulfilling the needs of the railways. It had to endure a lot of hardships. To reduce the difficulties of private industry, the government put forward a scheme to supply non ferrous metals that were governed by the controls, in various ways. This was known as the ‘civil stock pile scheme.’ The government ordered all the major factories in the country to supply all small and large industries the various non-ferrous materials they required for production. Initially some copper, zinc, lead and tin, sufficient for their immediate needs was supplied. Every month the major factories had to hand over a report to the government with copies of the main orders received and details of how much material was supplied to whom, along with the accounts. The government supplied the metals used at a fixed rate. This scheme went on for two years. Both small and large industries obtained gun metal, phosphor bronze, tin solder etc. at fixed rates. The factory in Jaipur, produced a lot of goods from all these materials and fulfilled the needs of the people to a great extent.
The freedom that the nation had got was political in nature. She still had to achieve financial freedom. The late prime minister Shri Nehruji, was worried about how to ensure the financial competency and independence of the nation. Nehru knew for a fact that Russia had successfully employed ‘five year plans’ for many years to make that country financially independent, and he had been very impressed by this. As soon as Pandit Nehru realised the fact that without proper thinking and foresighted planning the financial state of the nation could not improve and become strong, he set up a committee for the ‘five year plans.’ He himself took the position of chairman and started work on the first ‘five year plan.’ The first five year plan even took shape. In this plan priority was naturally given to agricultural activities. To improve and develop agriculture, it was decided to formulate plans for water and electricity. Ramjibhai instructed both his factories in Jaipur and Mumbai to participate as much as possible in these plans. As a step in the direction of development after the war, a program was adopted to supply the requirements needed in the field of agriculture.
The seed for the role the Jaipur factory could play in the nation’s self-sufficiency after the war, especially its financial independence was planted by Pandit Nehru when came to Jaipur on the occasion of the P.E.N. Conference in October 1945.
At that time he visited the Jaipur factory. He visited the factory on 22nd October and observed its workings in detail and was very impressed by it.
He was totally captivated on observing the excellent workmanship, with its visible and hidden strengths, in the manufacture of indigenous machines. On that occasion, the workers and other staff in the factory presented Pandit Nehru with a bag. After seeing the whole factory Pandit Nehru wrote (or words to that effect) in the visitor’s book:
“My short visit to this factory has turned out to be very interesting. This factory is proof that given the proper facilities it is possible to achieve success without any foreign aid. Just as this factory was able to fulfil all the wartime needs, it can as easily fulfil the needs of peace time.”
The Jaipur factory was progressing steadily. In the beginning of 1950 this factory started production of electrical transmission wires and copper conductors. Along with electrical instruments electrical meters were also required. To develop agricultural activities, more Artesian wells and pumps were needed, and along with this the need for more electrical conductors and meters also increased. Conductors were being produced in the country but electrical meters had to be imported, as no one was making them. So Ramjibhai sent his own technical director to Japan, and started discussions with experts there to manufacture electrical meters in the Jaipur factory, with their technical collaboration. As a result, in July 1952, the Jaipur factory started manufacturing electrical meters in technical collaboration with Japan’s well known electrical company – Fuji. They also started manufacturing cadmium-copper conductors in February 1953. Just as arsenical copper was first manufactured in the Jaipur factory, the credit for first producing cadmium-copper conductors and electrical meters also goes to the Jaipur factory. The Jaipur factory was the first in the country to take a risk in this industrial aspect. As the production of conductors and meters increased, the name of Jaipur Metal Industries Ltd. was changed to Jaipur Metals and Electricals Ltd. on 13th March, 1953.
In the beginning, the Jaipur factory only had the capacity to manufacture 10,000 meters per month. This increased to 30,000 per month, and moreover as instruments developed, negotiations were started with the world famous West German company, Siemens Co., with the intention of manufacturing modern and high sensitivity meters, and in November 1961, the Jaipur factory also started manufacturing Siemens meters, with a production capacity of 20,000 units per month.
Another scheme was put forward to manufacture the various parts required in electrical meters. Accordingly, in the initial years, 20 to 25% of the parts were manufactured. The production capacity increased day-by-day, so the import of parts became less. Today (at the time of publication of this book in 1971), the production capacity has increased and 95% of the parts are manufactured. Industrial licences have also been obtained for the remaining parts.
There was an increase in the scarcity of non-ferrous metals, so as soon as the government decided to use aluminium, which was found in the country, instead of copper, a plan was formulated in the Jaipur factory to manufacture all aluminium conductors and A.C.S.R. conductors. This plan came into force at the end of 1962 and the production of conductors was started. The capacity of the factory in this regard was 3000 tons. A plan was put forward to increase this capacity as much as possible. To this end, the industrial licence necessary to manufacture aluminium rods was obtained and the necessary machines procured.
Thus Ramjibhai’s long desired wish to manufacture A.C.S.R. conductors was fulfilled.
The Jaipur factory has a laboratory with the latest instruments. Here, items at every stage of the production are inspected and tested in order to maintain quality. The experts who work there have been well trained in leading factories in Germany, Japan and America.
This factory in Rajasthan was unique and unparalleled amongst the whole group of Kamani Industries. People of every caste and creed in India are working there. Seeing Ramjibhai’s astuteness in appointing the properly qualified persons, the late Mokshgandam Vishveshwaraya, said in a tribute to Ramjibhai on 21st February 1945, “You deserve to be congratulated on your ethics for appointing people based only on whether they are suitably qualified, without any regard to caste or creed.”