Palanpuri Jains: How the Palanpuri Jains captured the worldwide diamond commerce

In Belgium’s Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world, a diamond dealer is most probably to be from one specific faith and one specific village in India.

The Jain group is thought for its excellence in enterprise and commerce not solely in India however in lots of different international locations too, most popularly in Belgium the place they commerce in diamonds. In just a little greater than half a century, a small Jain group, the Palanpuri Jains, so known as as a result of they got here from Palanpur city in Banakantha district of Gujarat, had a maintain on the diamond commerce in Antwerp.

On Mahavir Jayanti at present, this is the story of a group which is thought to have attained enterprise excellence as a consequence of their ascetic faith that places nice emphasis on moral habits.

From Palanpur to Antwerp

Within the 1960’s, when Jains from Gujarat’s Palanpur, principally Shahs and Mehtas, began arriving in Antwerp, the diamond commerce was managed by a tight-knit group of the Hasidic Jews dominated by their very own group rules. The Palanpuri Jains have been in no place to compete with them, so that they began out by working in a associated smaller section, the diamond mud, the very small diamonds which weren’t simple to chop or polish and thus drew little curiosity from the Hasidic Jews.

Since Jains operated in a section which was not thought-about essential, the Hasidic Jews didn’t really feel threatened by them. In truth, it’s stated the Hasidic Jews additionally supplied credit score services to the Jains to start with. From Antwerp, the buying and selling hub for tough diamonds from South Africa, Australia and Siberia, the Jains purchased smaller diamonds, or diamond mud, and despatched them to Surat and Navsari the place they might get them reduce and polished from high-skilled however low-cost labour. Few in Antwerp would hassle to chop or polish such small diamonds. The processed diamonds have been then shipped again to Antwerp and bought there and in different European cities.

As soon as the Palanpuri Jains began thriving on this enterprise, and their siblings and cousins ​​made a beeline for Antwerp, creating a large immigrant group there, it was solely a matter of time earlier than they might edge out the Hasidic Jews to realize management of the entire commerce.How did the Palanpuri Jains achieve Antwerp?

The design for small gems among the many main diamond sellers was as a consequence of the truth that the worldwide demand was primarily centered on bigger stones. The tenacity and distinctive group of the Jains would, nevertheless, make that state of affairs change very quickly, writes Manuel A. Gómez, an Affiliate Professor of Regulation on the Florida Worldwide College, in a analysis article. Within the small diamonds enterprise, the Jains managed each step of the method, from the supply of the stones, which was finished by trusted couriers generally known as Angadias, to the slicing, sharpening, grading, and distribution of diamonds again to the market.

The Palanpuri Jains developed a high-quality/low-cost manufacturing course of and a forceful distribution community that ignited the worldwide marketplace for small diamonds, wrote Gómez. And by the tip of the 20 th century, the Palanpuri Jains of Antwerp got here to have a grip over the worldwide diamond commerce.

Like Hasidic Jews, who managed the diamond commerce in Antwerp earlier than them, the Palanpuri Jains too have been a tight-knit group sure by their strict social and spiritual codes in addition to supported by sprawling household networks. Each of those elements helped the Jain group as a result of belief issues extra within the diamond commerce than another enterprise.

The principle attribute of the Jain buying and selling community is the familial and private ties that join their members, and which have secured their entry and consolidation into completely different sides of the diamond enterprise, writes Gómez.

The faith that guides

The Palanpuri Jains’ abidance to the identical faith – Jainism – can also be an essential issue that reinforces belief, enhances cooperation, and ensures their allegiance to a standard set of moral values ​​and norms, writes Gómez . Even among the many least spiritual members of the Jain group, the values ​​professed by Jainism seem to play a key position in guaranteeing legislation abidance and voluntary cooperation, which in flip contributes to the effectiveness of the dispute processing mechanisms employed to type out any diamond-related grievances, he says.

“In teams such because the Jains, that are ethnically and religiously homogeneous, their habits is bolstered by way of the interaction between completely different units of social, spiritual and enterprise norms, which in flip create an efficient platform of intra-community policing and compliance,” writes Gómez.

“Most disputes involving solely Jains have been primarily resolved by way of using conciliation or consensus constructing methods. The processes ranged from these involving group leaders and industrial elders who carried out the position of mediators, to lengthy winded inter-family conferences held till a passable decision was achieved. The outcomes of those processes have been by no means punitive and the duties imposed as sanctions all the time had in thoughts the rehabilitation of the purported offenders, and their reinsertion within the household enterprise,” wrote Gómez.