The Entrepreneurial Seed Ball That Made Coimbatore Flourish With Superb Enterprises – Part I

Coimbatore had its first joint stock company in Janopakara Bank Limited in the year 1883. It was being managed by C.Sadasivam Mudaliar, the father of Diwan bahadur C.S.Rathinasabapathy Mudaliar. The Europeans went into the Nilgiris in the nineteenth century and it gave an oppourtunity for people in Coimbatore and Mettupalayam. P.Samanna Naidu of Mettupalayam took part in a number of operations in the last decade of the nineteenth century and was very successful. S.P.Narasimhalu Naidu visited Mumbai in the year 1885 to participate in the first session of the Indian National Congress as a delegate from the Madras Presidency. His observation and interest ensured that Sir Robert Stanes founded the C.S & W Mills at Coimbatore in the year 1888. The Zamindar of Uthukuli was one of the signatories to the Memorandum & Articles of Association. S.P.Narasimhalu Naidu was responsible for a number of ventures during his time. St.Josephs ITI was the first one of its kind in Coimbatore and it was founded in the nineteenth century. In fact, the first table tennis table was produced in this ITI a few decades later. This ITI was of great help for it helped people to assimilate much from the technical side.
Rao Bahadur A.T.Thiruvengaswamy Mudaliar (1855 – 1923) was an abkari contractor who made much money. He was also the Chairman of the Coimbatore Municipality. He was behind the first modern sugar mill in Podanur. M.M.Sambanda Mudaliar (Chairman – Coimbatore Municipality) was involved in the management of the sugar mill. Later on Diwan Bahadur P.Somasundaram Chettiar founded the Kaleeswarar Mills with the guidance and help of the Zamindar of Devakottai. The amazing entrepreneurs of Peelamedu – P.S.G.Venkataswamy Naidu, Diwan Bahadur P.S.G.Rangaswamy Naidu, P.S.G.Ganga Naidu, P.S.G.Narayanaswamy Naidu, V.Rangaswamy Naidu and Rao Bahadur V.Gopal Naidu took to cotton trading and used to cycle upto Sankagiri, Erode and Avinashi. They were later involved with a number of ginning factories. Ultimately the first Coimbatorean spinning mills came up in the form of Sri Ranga Vilas Mills (1922 – PSG family), Radhakrishna Mills (V.Rangaswamy Naidu, Rao Bahadur V.Gopal Naidu and A.G.Guruswamy Naidu families – 1924). DPF Narayanaswamy Naidu founded the DPF Foundry around the year 1924 as a workshop in Pappanaickenpalayam. G.Kuppuswamy Naidu founded the Lakshmi Mills as a start up in the year 1910 and went into spinning later on. V.C.Vellingiri Gounder and his brothers established the Gnanambikai Mills.The first mill in India had come up in the year 1818.
Swamikannu Vincent was India’s first movie millionaire and Coimbatore was his home. He built the second oldest movie theatre ‘Variety Hall’ in the year 1914 at Coimbatore. Vincent founded the first electric printing press in the city and his power surplus was used to light up the streets in the night. Until then, lamps with wicks used to illuminate the streets in the nights. Vincent was involved with a number of ventures.
The Stanes family established a number of plantations and coffee during works over the decades. G.D.Naidu and his transport business helped all these ventures in the best manner because transport was the need of the hour. Until then, the cycles helped the entrepreneurs. Cycles had been introduced into the region by Frazer, the Secretary of Sir Robert Stanes. The P.S.G.Industrial Institute was a big hit. They use to make a number of products including agricultural implements and high quality furniture. The silver fixture fitted rose wood furniture of P.A.Raju Chettiar & Brother were made at the P.S.G Industrial Institute. The Institute used to collaborate with the Agricultural College and the PSG Farms at Vedapatti in order to make implements. Agricultural, industrial, electrical and textile engineering products were made in the PSG facility.
Coimbatore had 7 spinning mills by the year 1930 and many more joined later. Dr.R.K.Shanmukham Chetty was responsible for quite a few ventures and trade bodies. P.S.Sathappa Chettiar was the first Coimbatorean to visit Europe in order to absorb newer techniques and this was followed by the visits of G.D.Naidu. ‘Kamadhenu’, the textile brand was an outcome of this visit. B.Rangaswamy Naidu of Rajalakshmi Mills was the other maverick. The movie industry did well, thanks to the initiative of R.K.Ramakrishnan Chettiar who founded Central Studios in the year 1936.
Sundarapuram and Lotus Mills founded by A.T.Devaraja Mudaliar along with Sharadha Mills belonging to V.S.Sengottiah made the Kurichi region industrial over 80 years ago. He had a dealership for the import of textile machinery into India. A.Balakrishna Naidu, the first graduate of Peelamedu and technocrat textile mill owner K.Venkatesalu were known for their free lance approach.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu
—To Be Continued

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