<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> An Evening with Mr.Indu P.Bhatia




An Evening with Mr.Indu P.Bhatia

"Indubhai" - as he is popularly known - Mr.Indu Purshotamdas Bhatia is the doyen of Indian business community in Bahrain. He heads a vast business empire - their group is also known as Kumar's Group in more common language, ' Raymond Walleye Batas'. Just talking him, one can feel the 'power' radiating from his countenance, his words, and his mannerisms. It's little wonder, since he moves around the rubs shoulders with the centres of power and influence on the island.

Mr.Indu Bhatia was just seven years old when he along with his parents, came to Bahrain in 1947 - after pre-partition riots broke out in their hometown of Karachi. His elder brother was already settled and doing business in Bahrain since 1928. The family started a hotel called 'Taj Mahal' at the very place where presently, Ibn Sina Health Centre is located. The hotel was based in the ground floor and they used to stay in the same building on the first floor. He studied in Sacred Heart School, which was at that time located in the Sacred Heart Church premises. As there were no proper roads for mechanized means of transport, he vividly remembers that he used to go to school riding on a horse. There was no refrigeration or air conditioning in those days, so they would often go to the 'furdha' - as the corniche was known for getting cool sea breeze and which used to be at the site where Manama Centres is currently located.

In 1952 Mr.Indu Bhatia was sent to Bombay for higher studies and came back to Bahrain in 1962. Although he could have joined his father in the family business right away, the senior Bhatia believed that his son must 'serve' before he was inducted in the family business. So, young Indu joined Ahmed Abdulla Fakhro, who were at that time agents for Morris - remember, those were the days when Wolseleys, Morrises, Hilmas and Austins used to rule the roads. He served there for about six years and then joined his father in business - which had by then, shifted focus from hotel to fabrics and textiles. In the meantime, he got married in 1963 - he is now the proud father of one son who is in business with him and three daughters, two of whom are settled in Bahrain and a still more proud grandfather of eight grandchildren.

Mr. Bhatia became a member of The Indian Club - then Bahrain Sports Club - in 1963. He fondly recalls how on Thursdays, tables would be laid out in the Tennis court in the evenings and different 'groups' like Bhatias, Bohris, Bahrainis used to congregate on their special tables and the club used to be the place for family socializing. Fridays were always taken up by Cricket matches, which would start in the mornings, then towards noon all the families would also reach the venue with packed lunches and the event would become a community luncheon. Ours was the 'classiest' of al clubs in Bahrain, with the exception of Bapco Club, which was funded and run by Caltex, the oil giants. It was considered a matter of prestige to be a member of The Indian Club and Mr.Bhatia recalls names like Mr.Megchiani, Mr.Bhojwani, Mr.Mohan Jashanmal, Mr.Karim Khan - to name a few, who used to be the stalwarts in their times. However, with a sigh of regret, Mr.Bhatia was very much pained to say that none of the senior members are 'in touch'. Through this, he wished appeal to all of them to take some time out from their busy routines and make it a point to come to the club at least once in a week to try to bring back those olden golden days gone by. On behalf of the Executive Committee, I assured him that the Club would give full support to start any such move on their part.

Courtesy:- The Indian Club, Iqbal Talwar.