Jan 20, 2007

Made in the USA

USA here stands for Ulhasnagar Sindhi Association.

Made in the USA in this case refers to goods manufactured in Ulhasnagar by local industries. These goods were a knock-off of consumer goods such as shoes, apparels, watches, bags, and electronic items. The goods were substandard in quality, but they provided the "made in the USA" brand for the masses that was cheap even by the local standards.

Due to the awareness of this alternate branding strategy, Mumbai citizens often suspicious of the cheap goods cayyring a brand "Made in the USA". It stands for counterfeit goods -- making Ulhasnagar the capital of knocked-off goods in India.

More interesting is the history behind formation of Ulhasnagar. After the partition of India (1947), over 100,000 Sindhi refugees from the newly created West Pakistan were relocated in the military camps five kilometres from Kalyan. It was converted into a township in 1949, and named Ulhasnagar by the then Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari.

A suburban railway station was built in 1955. Five years later, the first municipal council was nominated. In 1965, elections to this council were held for the first time. Now this 22 square kilometer area holds 350,000 Sindhis, the largest enclave of this ethnic group in India. The town lies outside Mumbai city but in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It is a major business district, with a claimed turnover of Rs. 1,000 crores (10 billion) in 1995.

Sindhi's are a key community in Mumbai and significant contributors to the business, entertainment, charity, and culture of the city.