Civilised relations: the Financial Times tells half the Godrej story

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With a respectful and detailed emphasis on its wealth, the Financial Times reports that Godrej, the Indian consumer goods group, plans to establish operations in Pakistan and will begin exporting to Pakistan this year.

This move follows a visit by Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, to New Delhi earlier this year. Legal changes agreed between the two countries allowed the export of certain products from India into Pakistan.

The article records that Adi Godrej, who is chairman of Godrej Group and president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, led a delegation of more than 40 Indian business leaders on a trip to Pakistan in May as part of broader attempts to increase bilateral trade.

The FT could have looked at the wider Godrej contribution

The FT reference to Godrej ‘consumer goods’ – itemising only hair dye – gives no indication of its commercial integrity which leads so many to opt for its large range of highly valued solid and reliable household goods – including splendid strong padlocks and tall weather/insect proof cupboards which are passed down the generations – no planned obsolescence there.

Though emphasising the billions made, there is no mention of Godrej’ environmental conservation work – which includes many years spent preserving coastal mangrove swamps. Later goals now include achieving zero waste, carbon neutrality, a positive water balance and a 30% renewable energy source.

Those visiting its Vikhroli complex can see pleasant integrated social housing for workers set in woodland and advanced education for their children in a superb primary school, where theory and practice surpassed any seen in Britain by this former teacher.

These conditions promote social harmony/peace in localities, just as Godrej’ proposals to trade with Pakistan have the potential to improve relationships between the two countries.

As Adi Godrej explained to interviewer Dipti Jain: “When two countries trade with each other a lot then they don’t let other differences come in”.

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Earlier posts on India and Pakistan:

Divide and rule didn’t reach the hearts of most people in India and Pakistan

Building peace through trade agreements

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