Monday, June 20, 2011

An NRI’s rags-to-riches tale

For a struggling Gurdaspur guy doing odd jobs like petrol station attendant, pizza delivery man and security guard, relishing luxuries like an 18,000 sq ft bungalow having an array of facilities like a shooting range, an arcade, a swimming pool and a movie theatre and owning of a business empire worth $ 250 million, is nothing but a distant dream.

But for Jassie Singh, an agriculture engineering graduate hailing from Majara village, who had migrated to the USA in search of greener pastures 13 years back, it was indeed a case of a dream taking the shape of reality, but with a lot of hard work and what he described, "sincerity, dedication and a sense of networking with people".

"I believe in the philosophy that be fair to everyone as whatever good or bad you do is bound to cast a shadow on your", said Jassie, the owner of three big concerns including the (BJS or Jassie Singh Electronics) said to be the third largest US company owned by an NRI. Jassie is the recipient of the, Punjab Rattan Award 1998, conferred on him by the State Government.

Recalling his journey from Majra village to the El Dorado, Jassie said it seemed to be near-impossible to even think of becoming a big shot in the business world. "It is a miracle, though it involved years of hard work and toil. I had just $ 20 — the maximum an immigrant could carry with him as per the then US laws — the day I landed in the USA. Out of this I spent $ 12 to buy liquor aboard the plane to get myself relieved of the anxiety of stepping on an alien land", said Jassie, who was in town to attend a marriage of one of his relatives.

"Until December 1986, I along with my wife had been doing petty jobs, the earnings from which were not even enough to meet expenses of food and rented accommodation. The situation was so disappointing that we had to send Sunny, our elder son to live with my sister in Canada for six months as we were not in a position to look after him properly", added Jassie recalling the days of struggle.

Lady Luck started smiling on him after he jumped into the business of computer software and started investing his meagre savings in it as advised by a Delhi-based computer software exporter. "It was a day of thrill when I earned my first profit of $ 9 out of a $ 100 order placed by my friend. At the same time inspiration poured in the shape of Prof Nirmal Singh of the Cogswell Polytechnic College, where I had got myself enrolled for the B. Tech (Computers) course".

"Stop crying, it is you and none else who has to decide how far you have to go. Have a dream and work towards its realisation", was the advice of Prof Nirmal Singh, which eventually changed my life", reminisced Jassie, when asked about the driving force in his life. "And soon I found myself dealing in leather and cotton garments business in addition to computers and had taste of success with my annual earnings jumping to $ 70,000 to 80,000. But that was not an easy task. For that I had to work 17 to 18 hours a day", he recalled.

The former student of the local Seventh Day Adventist Elementary School and later of Doaba Khalsa College (Jalandhar), visualises Punjab as a big info-tech market. But he adds corruption had been discouraging NRIs from investing in their home state, though they were willing to contribute to the development of their motherland. "We need politicians like Chandrababu Naidu. Look, what he has done to Andhra Pradesh", said Jassie, who is involved in a number of welfare projects in the USA and is the first Indian whose picture has found place in the prestigious Hall of Success Museum of Silicon Valley. The NRI is also the Civil Rights Award recipient for 1998, conferred upon him by the local Santa Clara County in California.

Source: The Tribune

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