Montgomery, British IndiaPresent-day Sahiwal, Pakistanearly 1900s
We grew up listening to the stories of our forefathers, and they have played an influential role in our being. In the early 20th century, our grandfather Sardar Ram Singh worked tirelessly with our great grand Sardar Gopal Singh in buying and selling quality textiles and agricultural produce from the neighbouring towns of British India. They had together grown into the large textile business operation. India in 1940s was going through a significant political change. Much of the large family business in undivided India was not going to fare well during the upheaval towards India's independence.
Sadly, as was the tale of many entrepreneurs, our forefathers and their business would not be spared during this harsh transition period. The partition of India-Pakistan was painful in many ways for both sides and also saw the tragic loss of both our great-grandfather and our grandfather, leaving only our Grandmother Sardarni Inder Kaur along with her five children who had then moved to New Delhi after the partition in hot summer of 1947.
She was in a new place with no one to help - destitute and penniless. That was the dawn of a new beginning in New India. She worked hard to make a livelihood for her five children.
Chandni Chownk, Delhi.1970s C S International
Our father Sardar Chatter Singh Arora, at the age of 23 was perusing his carrier in Indian Air Force but always had a desire to resurrect the family business of textiles and didn’t want to see all his mother's hard work go to waste. So he left his job at the Air Force to restart the family business, undetermined with no experience in textiles and minimal capital investment. He worked tirelessly to build a highly successful wholesale business of textiles in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, India .
He managed to turn the small business into a significantly big export house of the garment manufacturing industry.
Kunwar Ajit Singh joined the business in 1989, he efficiently turned our domestic brands into the favourite among many Bollywood celebrities. By the late 1980s, the family had expanded the brands to include: CJ Club, Joshe Jeans and Kunwar Ajit Exports. As the brands continued to grow and gain in popularity, it made sense to establish a base in the UK.
Kunwar moved to the UK in 1993 to establish an office in London and continued to manage the distribution business of garments within Europe from the London Office.
In the late 1990s, Josh Arora joined the family business and moved to London in 1997. The first venture that we started in the UK was the establishment of Pure Life UK Ltd in the year 1999. By using the versatile and innovative POP-UP retail model, our family managed to turn Pure Life into a leading global import network to include home furnishings, furniture & electrical gadgets. By then our trade and logistics had broadened the scope to import goods from the Far East and Europe. The hunger to continue growing the business led the family to branch out into Hospitality leading to the inception of Project Mantra, a concept Restaurant bringing fine dining to West London and Pink Turban in 2011. Alongside we branched out into construction and Real Estate which is now the core of our family's business.
Thanks to our grandmother's vision, my father's commitment to that vision and the family's strong allegiance for success that we now manage a considerably large & diversified real estate portfolio.
Sadly our grandmother passed away on 2nd July 1988, before she could enjoy the fruits of the seeds she sow. But she lives with everything our family does.
She often quoted: