Nadars – An overview about Nadar Community – From Toddy Tappers to Business Tycoons
An overview about Nadar Community
Article Courtesy By: L. Sujanitha
Nadar Community of South India are generally concentrated in the Southern most part of Tamil Nadu, India.They had originally emanated only from this region and though they have migrated all over India, (even overseas) for many decades now, they are part of a very specialist community in the South.
They appear to have been originally very much involved in agricultural products. Considering the general nature of agricultural pattern in the Southern most part of India, it is not surprising that they have been associated in dealing with sugar, grains and other related cereals.Their business evolution, has been for many years, now in trading and distribution, only.
Their networking has been remarkably well organized, in spite of basic deficiencies in modern communication. Buying and Selling has been their expertise. From early stages, they have cultivated a close business acumen to procure farm products, at best prices, transporting them to ware houses, and distributing them, for both whole sale and retail markets all over India.
It is interesting to note that their range of products in the early stage of their development was confined to:
- Edible Oils
- Sugar, etc.
It would be appear, in the early stages and even now, they have become the most essential link with the actual farmer and the consumer on the other end.
It is therefore easy to realize that they have emerged dominant, not only in whole sale purchase and sale, but also as retail shop owners in many towns and centers all over the country.
As mentioned earlier, their networking is superb, and their ability and skill to get involved in such farm products, and make them available across the counter, all over the country has been possible mainly due to their close business and community linkage.
This traditional business specialization has been their main strength for several decades.
However, with the growing economy and improvements, in infra structure all over India, they have been modifying their business pattern to spread into many other areas of trading business.
Such new patterns started with the building industry and they developed equal skills in procuring such vital materials like:
- Iron Hardware for building
- Roofing materials
- Other constructional Inputs
- Paints, varnishes and related materials
As such, the traditional business of the family continue in a more professional manner, with such educated member of a family leading to considerable changes in modernization approach, proper business forecast combined with sound management principals looking at the future.
Another interesting thing that has been happening is their ability to channel talent with proper focus. Every family has been grooming and training both academically and otherwise the necessary managerial man-power. However, where the business was not big enough to accommodate such members of the family, they have been branching off into other areas to support the trading activities. In the past 20-30 years, there has been a big boom in building in construction work, and in the Nadar community have established themselves very well in principal cities, towns and even many villages.
It is, therefore, a familiar sight, as one drives through the country side, to notice, shops of groceries, big whole sale distribution centers, etc., for agricultural products. Alongside one would notice shops selling building and construction materials, cement, paints, varnishes, etc.
In the past few decades, this community has shed its conservative attitude and almost all families have sent their children to Universities to qualify as Professional Managers, Engineers, etc.
So, further diversification has been seen by getting into manufacturing business generally small scale, in areas which are closely compatible to the trade linkages. Such manufacturing activities have been spread around agricultural sectors and other support areas.
One important industry, in which they have been very dominant in the manufacturing sector in the South, relates to the Edible Oil Industry. Many brands of edible oils with constant innovation has been their effort. Such edible oils include coconut oil, ground nut oil, sesame oil, etc. Their latest attempts are to refine and improve such cooking media to high standards.
Whilst discussing the business pattern and growth of the Nadar community a certain amount of exclusive discussion on one Industry in the South needs merit. This industry is actually the brain product of the Nadar community namely that of producing safety matches.
In a small town called Sivakasi, in the southern part Tamil Nadu, India, the making of matches became a reality over a few decades ago, started by the Nadar Community. These matches are made in Cottage Industries employing considerable number of people including children.
There is not much mechanization, and all the processes are practically manual and follow a stereo type process.
Hundreds of such units exist in and around Sivakasi, producing millions of safety matches every month. This entire business is run and managed by the Nadar Community at large, very successfully and very efficiently.
One of the offshoots of the match industry, is the making of fire crackers. This also is produced in a specialized manner and controlled closely by the same community.
The supply infrastructure of chemicals and pyro-technical requirements are also interestingly produced by them in surrounding industrial areas, and very successfully managed.
If one were to look at the success story of this community, there is nothing to beat the safety match Industry in the South. Not only looking after the Indian requirements, they are also exporting to various other countries.
The Nadars are very hard working people. They have been well known for their perseverance, untiring energy, commitments and dedication to their business. They have become highly modernized. Many of them are qualified nowadays from advanced countries from Engineering institutions and Business Schools. They are emerging in a changed manner leaving aside their traditional shackles and are forcefully looking into the future relating to manufacture and distribution of many modern materials, products and services, etc. Electronics field is also no exception and of one of the top leading computer companies in India, has been founded by a member of this community.