Friday, February 17, 2012

Community and Second Hand Car Market

I never knew a parallel auto industry exists in New Delhi till last Thursday when for the purpose of some project research my colleague Saswata and I spent almost half a day in Mayapuri. I was astonished to see the strength of innovation that exists in India because of the entrepreneuring grey matter originating from the "Jugaad" zones of our brains.

Mayapuri, a place in West Delhi is marked by a wide array of shops that are dealing with all forms of second hand motor, auto components. It is also creating a value out of these second hand components. We realized that when we saw a jeep which looks like a new car. Some investigation revealed that the engine of that car is from Japan (a second hand engine), the tyre is from United States. I could not believe that a car can look so fresh and new even after its components are second hand and have been imported. The entire Mayapuri market is informal and unorganized and the health, safety aspects of the people working over there seemed to me of an issue of grave concern. But here, I wont get into all these. Rather, I would share another observation that was found in Mayapuri.

Most owners of all the second hand car manufacturing and motor shops were from Punjab. This was a real life example of how a certain community which can develop certain skill over a long period of time can understand the business of that sector. People from punjab have always been good mechanics, drivers and they understand the functioning of auto parts. Many of them, through historical land and family lineage have got exposed to the mechanics of how machine components of tractors, heavy vehicle cars behave. It is this exposure that have helped them to accumulate a skill over the years to understand how second hand car and motor components can be further reused. They have understood to create value out of these second hand components.

History and exposure of communities plays an important role to establish market share in a certain business. I was seeing the real life example of that. What was making me more surprised is the strength of human skill that each community of our country possess. We just need to provide the right environment, platform, infrastructure for these skills to be nurtured and bloom more. If we can really do that, with the big companies supporting the informal segments having their innate human skills, we can even have our own second hand car manufacturing industry which can meet the domestic market as well as the ones in other countries of South Asia, Latin America and other countries of South. We have the biggest strength to do that! Our strength lies in the continuous supply of innate human skills and craftsman/craftswomanship (disobeying the gender biasedness!) within our country.

Visit to Mayapuri not only revealed an entire new world but also made me realize our strengths and challenges as a nation. But, I am sure that the future is only towards the brighter side for us and for many of the people working in Mayapuri who possess skills no less than a highly qualified engineer working in the factory of Maruti/Honda/Hyundai. Its just that, we need to bring them together and exchange the skills in a similar platform which will do wonders. And when that happens, the next time during the visit to Mayapuri, I will feel more proud to be an Indian!

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