From small seller to eminent entrepreneur, from eminent entrepreneur to renowned philanthropist, and from philanthropist to a man of high social stature, recognized at the national as well as international level, Sirajuddin Qureshi’s story sounds like a fairytale. Within a span of three decades, he has risen to heights that only the gifted few can scale. Qureshi is a pragmatic genius who has successfully fought the challenges of time to emerge as one of the most notable Muslim personalities of the current India.
A self made successful entrepreneur, Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi, B.A., LL.B started from a scratch and succeeded to set up a business conglomerate. Besides his flagship company in the business of Food Processing and Marketing, Mr. Qureshi has business interests in aviation, real estate, hospitality, communication and heads the Hind Group of Companies.
Qureshi is the President of India Islamic Cultural Centre which under him has in recent years acquired the status of the most prestigious social and cultural centre of Indian Muslims.
The stories of persons rising from a scratch to eminence in the field of business money enterprise are quite a few, Dhirubai Ambani’s story being perhaps the most famous of them. Sirajuddin Qureshi’s story is no less interesting and inspiring at least for Muslims of the country. He can very well be called Dhirubai of Muslim India. Siraj, a young boy of Bulandshahr, a small town of Uttar Pradesh always dreamt of becoming a businessman. He belonged to a poor family and a biradari (caste) with educational status among the lowest even in Muslims. But he soon started showing the glimpses of the pragmatic genius that he ultimately turned out to be. Siraj had big ambitions but he had very small beginnings. He would sell Ruh Afza and Sattoo. He would even use the bicycle rickshaw to carry the goods that he sold. The only thing important to him was that he was earning money through his own personal efforts. His efforts soon started finding their own avenues. He belonged to a Qureshi family, so he had seen the business of meat being carried out by his relatives. But he had innovative ideas. He studied the market and started thinking in terms of modernizing the business. He knew that with little improvement in the techniques of storage, packing and supplying, he could export the meat to rich Arab countries. But the big problem was that he had hardly any money to enter the big zone. His strength however was his belief in Allah. And Allah always helps those who earnest seek His help and are ready to work hard in accordance with the demands of their ambitions. Allah’s help descended in the form of a person who was ready to help him by giving him the orders paying money in advance. From then onwards he did not look back. He established the most modern meat plant of that time in Aligarh. The export orders continued to swell and swell fast. His name started shining. And now Siraj Qureshi owns a business empire that has a turnover of around 1000 crores. (!00 million rupees). His son Samar is also doing extremely well in his new venture of Fast Food Chains.
Sirajuddin Qureshi did not confiner himself to the business world. The business tycoon was now ready to embark upon a new project. To keep earning without contributing to social development of the people he belonged to was simply unacceptable to him, He wanted to serve society. In his student life — he is a Law graduate — , he had formed a Students Organisation that worked day and night to get the children admitted in schools. This had a remarkable effect on several localities where the number of children doing high schools and intermediates rose sharply.
Qureshi has been one of the noblest philanthropists of the Northern India. He arranged scholarships for a sizeable number of children who showed promise. His Noble Education Foundation is helping the students right from the nursery to doctorate and other professional courses.
Qureshi does not agree however with those who have been single-mindedly concentrating on education among Muslims, because he believes that education without economic and political empowerment does not serve any big purpose. Qureshi stresses that the time now has come when Muslims must engage in all sorts of businesses small or big. He feels concerned that not only Muslims are not entering the business world in a big way, but they are also losing their dominance in several businesses in which they used to be the leaders. Treason for this, according to Qureshi, is lack of enterprise among Muslims and their inability to cope with the demands of the global; market. Sirajuddin Qureshi’s rise to a philanthropist of great reckoning and a community leader has been no less phenomenal. He was barely known in social circles at the beginning of the current century. But his charitable disposition soon made him a popular figure in social circles. And then came the most notable success of his life that made him a celebrity overnight. He became the Chairman of India Islamic Cultural Centre, which was a dream project of Indian Muslims that had run into difficulties. As soon as the members of the Committee chose Qureshi as its Chairman, things immediately got moving. It was his dedication, devotion and commitment that India Islamic Culture Centre’s building was completed within a short period. The popularity of Qureshi in fact rose to such heights that in his re-election in 2008, he won by a landslide, and in 2013 it was even better.
In recent years, he has worked along with Mr Rahman Khan, the former Minister of Minority Affairs and Dr. Javed Jamil, the well-known thinker and analyst, in planning strategies to empower Muslims. He was one of the chief motivation along with Mr Khan in Dr Jamil’s celebrated work, ”Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Roadmap”, which prepared a comprehensive plan for an all-round development of Muslim community6 within India’s secular framework. He also combined with him in preparing an agenda of demands on behalf of Muslims in the pre-election period of 2014 Parliamentary Elections. For the first time, the intellectuals of the country discussed the issues in detail and made political parties take notice.
He is now one of the few Muslims who have an international popularity. He was one of the six selected entrepreneurs from India who were invited by President Obama during April 2010 for PRESIDENTIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMIT. He has travelled to almost all the parts of the world in different capacities.
1. Achievements and Positions
Revolutionizing Indian Meat Industry
Through his acumen in processing of meat and marketing in the state-of-art fully integrated slaughter house-cum-meat processing complex located in Aligarh, the concept in the Indian Meat Industry has completely changed because of the innovative practices adopted by Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi.
He has established backward integration to the meat processing plant by animal rearing with the farmers and in the intensive feedlot, where male buffalo calves are commercially raised. Thus, the concept of ‘FARM TO FORK’ as envisaged in the Codex Alimentarius has been implemented in its truest sense in his establishment with individual identification and traceability as the hallmark which is an essential tool to instill confidence in the consumer. Through the animal rearing project with about 160,000 farmers’ families, the mortality in calves has been reduced from 80% to 10% and milk production has increased by 15% with the farmers. The economic condition of the families of small and marginal farmers has considerably improved.
Mr. Qureshi has established network in marketing of meat in South-East Asia, Middle East, CIS countries and Africa and build a name that is trusted by more than 50 countries across the globe. Today, HAIL is synonym of Halal; and EATCCO and SIBACO are Brand Names in International sophisticated markets.
National Meat Development Board
It is on account of Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi’s tireless efforts that the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, have taken the initiative to establish a National Meat and Poultry Processing Board which was launched by the Hon’ble Minister of Food Processing Industry on 19th February, 2009.
The Aviation Business
Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi, Managing Director, has over 20 years of comprehensive experience of the Aviation Industry. The Hind Group has been seamlessly and efficiently handling the General Sales Agent office for Thai Airways (Western India) since 2004. Recently the Hind Group has been appointed as the General Sales Agent for Thai Air Asia to represent the Airline all across India.
Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi’s knowledge of the business, his vision and guidance has helped the Group see great success in this business in a very short span of time.
2. Awards and Honors
On account of his business excellence in quality meat export, he has been continuously receiving Awards from APEDA, Export Promotion Council National Productivity and best Export Promotion from Government of Uttar Pradesh, India. The Company enjoys the status of 3-Star Export House.
3. A Visionary
By establishing a vertical linkage of rearing and processing and marketing, he has been instrumental in linking more than 1,70,000 farmers in Aligarh district where animal health, animal breeding and feeding services are provided at the farmers’ door.
He is now envisaging to increase corporate farming of calves, namely from 5,000 to 50,000 to raise male buffalo calves at one place in Aligarh so as to improve the economic condition of the poor farmers who are raising buffaloes in that particular area.
He is also trying to train the people involved in the meat and allied industries for vocational training so that they become independent entrepreneur, by training butchers in learning modern techniques of processing, utilization of slaughter house by-products, tannery etc. with a holistic approach to buffalo rearing.
He is also involved in the education of minorities by helping the opening of schools and institutions of higher learning, hospitals and diversifying business in pharmaceuticals.
4. Association with Social, Economic, Cultural and Educational Associations
Despite involvement in day-to-day activities of the business he heads, he takes out time for numerous multifarious activities in the field of education, culture and socio-economic activities. In view of his practical and pragmatic approach, he has been associated with the following prestigious National Organizations as President / Chairman / Member :
- President, India Islamic Cultural Centre, (IICC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi — 110 003
- President, All-India Jamiat-ul Quresh, Delhi — 110 006
- President, India Kuwait Chamber of Commerce, New Delhi — 110 065
- President, Federation of India-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi — 110 065
- President, Noble Education Foundation, New Delhi — 110 065
- Vice President, Infrastructure and Logistics Federation of India, New Delhi — 110 066
- Chairman, India Bahrain Joint Business Council of India (JBC) Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi-110 00
- Co-Chairman, India Malaysia Joint Business Council of India (JBC) Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi-110 001
- Chairman, Friends of Central Asia Forum, New Delhi — 110 020
- Chairman, Noble Foundation Trust, New Delhi — 110 065
- Member, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi-110 001
- Member of the Executive Committee — India Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry
- Member, Confederaton of Indian Industry (CII), 23, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110 003
- Member, National Meat and Poultry Processing Board, Ministry of Food Processing Industry, New Delhi — 110 049
- Member, All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA), Mumbai
- Member, Food & Agriculture Division Council, (FADC, FAD-5–18–22), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Manik Bhawan, New Delhi-110 003
- Member, Society for Communal Harmony, New Delhi — 110 001
- Member, Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial College Trust, New Delhi — 110 006
- Member of Governing Council, World Education and Development Organisation, North of Humayun Tomb, Mathura Road, New Delhi — 110 003
- Member, Crescent Education Society, Darya Ganj, New Delhi–110 002
- Member, Delhi Education Society, Anglo Arabic School Complex, Ajmeri Gate, Delhi — 110 006
- Patron, All India Muslim Educational Society, Chennai
- Non-official Part-time Director on the Board of National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC), Okhla Industrial Estate, New Delhi — 110 020
Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi was invited as one of the six selected entrepreneurs from India by United States’ President Barack H. Obama in Washington DC during April, 2010 for Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit.
His Excellency, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia had especially invited Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi in the programme of Presidential Friends of Indonesia 2011 in Jakarta to meet him and attend the Independence Day celebrations of Indonesia on August 17, 2011.
5. Life Time Achievements
With his unique qualities of leadership and devotion to the tasks handled by him in various capacities, it will be no exaggeration to say that he has enhanced the prestige of these institutions because of his association with them. Following are just a few Awards bestowed on him from a long list of Awards:
- Life Time Achievement Award by the Asian Buffalo Association at the Fourth ABA Congress held in New Delhi in 2003 and again in October, 2009 at the 6th Asian Buffalo Congress held in Lahore, Pakistan in recognition of his services for Buffalo Development as an Enterprise.
- Conferment of the Honorary Fellowship of the NAVS by the National Academy of Veterinary Sciences in recognition of the services to the cause of Veterinary Profession.
- Life Time Achievement Award in Meat Industry in 2006–07 by the All India Food Processors’ Association.
Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi silently helps several charitable institutions in his own inimitable fashion.
“Real knowledge is not necessarily reflected in degrees. Practical knowledge often proves to be a much bigger asset than degrees”
“While immediately after the inauguration of the new building our aim was to develop IICC into a hub of all Muslim cultural, social and inter-communal activities, in the third term we are concentrating more on the development and education of Muslims while promoting communal harmony.”
“The primary purpose of the Centre was to present a positive image of Islam and Muslims, and we are holding regular lectures, seminars and conferences on different aspects of Islam. Coaching courses for professional courses, personality development programmes are being run, and coaching for civil services is also being planned.”
“I wish to establish some educational institutes”. When asked about any political ambition, but I certainly believe in political empowerment of Muslims, and I want to help Muslims in that regard in my own humble way. Almost every political party has ditched Muslims, and there is a need to have fresh look into how Muslims can play an effective political role.”