In Gujarat’s Palanpur, diamond trade is in decay but few think solution lies in the ballot boxAbdul Gh Lone 1 December 2022 0 COMMENTS
This article is part of a special Scroll reporting project: Gujarat’s ‘dhandho’ elections, exploring the state’s complex relationship between business and politics as it heads into elections.
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In the early 2000s, Shailesh Prajapati failed his junior college exams. But he couldn’t have been less bothered. “Apne ko to pehle se hi heera me jaana tha,” he said when we met at an ice-cream parlour in Gujarat’s Palanpur city one warm November afternoon. “I always knew I wanted to be in the diamond business, what was the point of studying too much?”
Several of his neighbours in the village he grew up in, on the fringes of Palanpur, were diamond traders in Mumbai. When they came home for their holidays, they dazzled the youngster with their “tewar”, swagger. “If a government employee earned Rs 800 then, they would make Rs 8,000 easily – and it showed in their lifestyle,” he recalled
Today, Prajapati owns his own diamond processing unit in Palanpur, where he employs 40 people.
One would imagine from his thick gold chain – an undone shirt button means it is difficult to miss – a massive diamond-studded silver ring on his right index finger and impeccably-set, wavy, jet black hair, he’d have…