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Maheshwaris – Doing Well, Doing Good

Ranjani Saigal

Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America (MMNA) national convention was held in Stamford, CT on the weekend of July 4th.  “It was my dream to have this convention in New England and we are delighted we are able to do it almost 19 years after its inception’ said Prabhulal Rathi, one of the founding members of the MMNA.  Rathi, a native of Pakistan migrated to the USA and is one of the earliest immigrants to the Boston area. 

“Maheshwaris were originally Kshtriyas, the warrior clan. But at the request of Lord Shiva (Mahesh) they laid down their arms and turned into a business community” said Mona Khaitan, who was the convener of the conference.  “The conference is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our culture and pass it on to the next generation”. 

For Sushma Pallod , the chairman of the MMNA board, passing on the baton to the younger generation and the welfare of the younger generation is key to the MMNA’s success. “We have noticed that many youngsters are not able to easily find a match. So this year we are beginning to focus on matrimony and have created a sub-site on our website for the same”

The guest of honor for the event was Mr. Govind Chadak,  Founder of Focus Properties in Raleigh North Carolina. “We have a great focus on education. Many philanthropists have established colleges. Business is in our blood.  We have risk taking nature.  Important to our success is the fact that we learn from failures and are focused” said Chadak, whose success in the world of business is inspirational. 

Vijay Pallod, founder member of MMNA compared Maheswaris to the Jews. “Like the Jews, the Maheshwaris came from a dessert land and spread far and wide in search of opportunity. Amongst them we see several successful businessmen and compassionate philanthropists”

Vinod Agrawal, who is the Director General & E.O  Spi Cs to Govt for the Government of Telangana. “My forefathers migrated to Andra and we have become well integrated into the community” says Agrawal. 

Pakistan also has a large number of Maheshwaris. Bhibeksen Chowdary, who was from Pakistan has an attachment to that land. “It is our home. Of course we have all the issues that minorities face in any country. In Pakistan, Maheshwaris are the educated class. We become an important part of the country’, says Chowdary. “one of the major challenges for us is actually that we do not get visa to go to India. We have family in India and visiting them becomes difficult”

It was clear from the conversations that while the Maheshwaris have travelled far and wide and established themselves in different countries, there are still a common thread that draws them together.  The people that originated in the desserts of Rajasthan have become key to transforming the world with their entrepreneurial skills and philanthropic efforts. Lokvani salutes the community. 

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