Am A School Dropout, Says Diamond Merchant Everyone's Talking about

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Surat:  A diamond merchant in Gujarat has gifted over 1,000 employees cars, homes and jewelery as Diwali bonus in a stunning act of generosity, Oprah-style. Savjibhai Dholakiya says his workers deserve big rewards for their hard work and loyalty.

Here are highlights of his interview with NDTV's Ravish:

  • This is God's blessing that I have come this far from zero. I had nothing.This is God's gift.
  • I have experienced it in my life that I will not have less if I give.  
  • It is the law of nature. When I sow one seed, I'll have hundred.
  • These are my employees. They will not let me suffer losses.
  • So we thought that we should have a loyalty programme. In 1991 when we started the company, our exports were worth Rs 1 crore, now it's close to Rs 6000 Crore.
  • Our employees are responsible for this growth.
  • We analysed the work done by these 1200 people and realised that they had a major role in taking us forward.
  • People should hear about these 1200 people and be inspired. Everyone should feel responsible for their own work. People have skills but they need motivation.
  • We had our own method of choosing people. My son has done an MBA from New York and has been working with me for 6 years.
  • Everyone got together and analysed who are the people responsible for our growth. We know who has added what value to the company.
  • What we have given them is nothing compared to the effort put in by these people.
  • You are speaking to a person who has had little formal education but I read everyday, learn everyday. I inspire myself, motivate myself.
  • I have studied till the 4th Grade. I dropped out of school when I was 12 and joined the diamond industry.
  • The employees who I gave gifts to - I did their kind of work in Surat for 10 years with my brothers.
  • All four brothers put together will not make a graduate. My youngest brother is the most educated - he made it to the 10th Grade.
  • (Q: Are you a Communist?) I don't understand what 'communist' means. Is there a Gujarati word for it? I have learnt whatever little Hindi I know speaking to people like you.
  • In the next five years, you'll see how this impacts the diamond industry. 
  • We had decided on a budget of Rs. 50 crore.
  • I wanted to give cars to everyone but then we found out that about 200 employees don't have their own houses. 
  • Then we found out that there were 500 people who had both houses and cars. So we then thought we should give them jewelery for their wives. 
  • Wives support the workers who work here. We do not give priority to wives in Gujarat so we thought this should be our priority.
  • I am happy that you've highlighted this effort. I did not expect it.
  • I think people will be inspired by this move. Even in your industry, the mindsets will change and you'll have higher salaries. 
  • I'm a very ordinary man and you've made me very big.
  • This stadium belongs to our factory because I saw Ganguly play cricket in London.
  • My workers play cricket and I sit in the pavilion and watch them.
  • We have a gym, a steam-sauna facility. We have other sports facilities where managers and workers play volleyball together. 
  • Whether the government gives us an exemption in taxes or not doesn't matter. Paying your taxes will not kill you. These 1200 people have contributed over Rs 10 Crore to taxes.  
  • I have decided to call diamond-cutters 'diamond engineers' because they may not be educated but they work better than engineers. And we want to call the workers who polish diamonds 'diamond artists'. 
  • These people earn Rs. 70-80,000 a work. They're people who earn by their talent and skill.
  • I have workers from 21 states in India and 361 villages. Everyone's parents know me because I take them on pilgrimages to Haridwar. We're indebted to their parents too.
  • I'm in what is called 'social business'.
  • When you give money to someone, the responsibility of the person who takes that money increases.
  • I am a businessmen. I want more therefore I'm paying more. I'm not doing anyone a favour.
  • I have with three others have bought a plane to start charter service for Surat. The idea is to give a service not profit. But you see in the next five years this too will be profitable.
  • I'm trying to show businessmen what they can do. I'm also telling all workers to work hard like my workers do so that your bosses are compelled to act...
  • No one from the Surat diamond industry has told me what I'm doing is wrong... I am a trader - I give first and then I take... some people do it the other way round. 
  • By God's grace, none of the 28 members in the family go against what I say. My wife or brothers  have never disagreed with what I do. 
  • I had given three Maruti cars as gifts 18 years ago. They cost Rs. 52,000 each and I had no money them.
  • We have never sacked people but there are 2 or 3 per cent people who sometimes do not fit our criteria - but some of them get training and come back and we hire them again. 
  • I train my workers - they do not chew tobacco, they respect their parents...
  • My factory is not  to make diamonds, it makes men. (Meri factory heerey bananey ki nahi hain, manav bananey ki hai)




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