Dubai: There is a Chris Gardner-like truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story in Dubai and its roots are in J&K. If you have watched ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, you would exactly know what’s in store.
From a floor mopper to CEO of a multi-million dollar company, life has come a long way for Bal Krishen, a man from Jammu who has become a known name in the ever-competitive world of global financial market.
Son of a school master in Doda district, Krishen has risen from ranks to become the CEO of Century Financial, Dubai’s oldest investment solutions provider. Interestingly it is the same company where he once mopped floor to eke out his living.
In fact Krishen did small jobs like working as room boy at one hotel, bellboy at another and loader at a factory in Jebel Ali before conquering the financial world by his prowess.
Given the poor financial health and a huge family, Krishen, who is one of the nine siblings, started earning from early age back home in Doda district.
“I would take agricultural products like mushrooms and chilli pepper from my village to the city and use the money from their sale to buy toys and bangles which I then sold to the villagers,” he told Gulf News in an interview.
Life took a new turn when he decided to go abroad for earning his living in 1993. With Rs 16,000 of his family property share and some savings he went to New Delhi where a travel agent provided him UAE visa and air ticket. “I told the agent I wanted to go abroad. He asked me if I would consider the UAE and I said ‘yes’ half realizing where it was and what it would be like there,” he said.
The journey was not smooth as he expected.
“I landed in Fujairah which received international flights from India those days. I couldn’t afford a taxi so I waited at a fuel station till late evening until a cabbie, who was going to Dubai, offered to take me along. I still remember where I spent my first night in Dubai. It was at Blue Star Hotel in Deira where the room tariff was Dh20,” he recalled.
From a dishwasher at Hotel in Deira to a loader at a carton factory where he was required to haul gum sacks weighing 40 kilograms each to bell boy to floor cleaner, he did all jobs before he came in contact with a European bank manager while working at Orchid Hotel.
Impressed by his mental maths skills, the manager suggested him to try his luck in a financial institution.
The advice proved to be a turning point in Krishen’s life. He quit his job, prepared a CV and showed up at the Al Khaleej Centre office of Century Financial.
“Even their peons were more educated than me. Understandably so, they refused to touch my CV. Requests to arrange a meeting with the management were also declined. But I didn’t let the setback deter me. Instead, I came up with an outrageous plan. I used to stand outside their office with a placard saying that I was willing to work for free for six months,” he said.
His idea clicked and attracted the attention of Century Financial chairman Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi, who founded the company in 1989 to make global financial markets accessible to Emirati and expat clients.
“He hired me as a cleaner. My job was to dust the furniture, mop the floor and clear the trashbins. The stock market fascinated me but I had no idea how it worked. I watched transfixed as dealers struck deals over the phone. In fact, I was so much in awe of them that I picked a few words from their conversation and used to practice speaking them before the mirror,” said Krishen.
“One day, when I was confident enough, I approached the chairman and expressed my desire to go into sales. He appeared a bit skeptical but when I told him that instead of a regular salary I will take a commission of Dh25 from every Dh100 I made for the company, he agreed.”
And then there was no looking back for Krishen.
Krishen begun with going to Gold Souk, one of the oldest and fascinating traditional market for gold jewellery, gemstones in Dubai.
“I tapped into the Gold Souk. It’s another story how I did that. I would walk up and down the Gold Souk road several times a day, doing nothing other than smiling and waving at the bemused traders and exchanging greetings with them. Often, I would step into their shop and buy tea for all the customers. The idea was to pique the curiosity of traders. It worked. Soon they started to recognise my face. Before long, they began to ask what I did for a living. At that point I would give them my business card and invite them to invest with us. That’s how I got most of my clients some of whom are still with me,” said Krishen
Married with three children, Krishen now employs nearly a hundred dealers.
Century Financial today operates across 100 global markets, giving customers access to multiple asset classes; currencies, stocks, commodities, indices, metals, energies, and exchange traded funds.
“I am planning to open a retail bank in Dubai,” he lets in. “I want to keep going and keep growing,” he said.
SHO injured in Anantnag attack succumbs at AIIMS
Srinagar, Jun 16: The Station House Officer of the police station Sadr in Anantnag succumbed on Sunday, four days after he had received critical injuries in a militant attack in the town.
The slain officer Arshad Ahmad Khan was critically injured after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at a bus stand in Anantnag on June 12.
In the attack, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including the Station House Officer were injured in the attack. Besides, a girl Snober (18) daughter of Ashraf Malik of Danter also sustained a bullet wound in her leg.
Khan according to reports was being operated in Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. However, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on Sunday where he succumbed to injuries.
Malik instrumental in bringing JRL together: NIA
Claims Aalam revealed ‘rift between separatists on funds’
New Delhi, Jun 16: National Investigating Agency (NIA) Sunday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing the Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq together to spearhead the 2016 agitation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat and formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the 2016 agitation in Kashmir,” NIA said in a press statement.
It said that the JRL issued protest calendars leading to economic shutdown for over four months and also caused death/injuries to civilians and security forces in the valley.
“Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Geelani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley,” the NIA said in the statement.
It said that Muslim League chairman Masarat Aalam Bhat revealed in the investigation that Pakistan based agents route funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani.
“Aalam said there are rifts in the Hurriyat regarding collection/use of funds,” it said.
The NIA said leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in the alleged funding case.
“During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed.
The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said.
Another separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said.
“During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said.
The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.
The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters.
Have busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ inside jails: Police
Srinagar, Jun 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ (supreme council for jail), a term used by militants for governance inside prisons, and restored the prison manual completely, officials said here.
After the escape of Naveed Jatt, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, last February, the Jammu and Kashmir prison department under the leadership of Dilbagh Singh took a series of measures to “sanitise” prisons, including shifting all hardcore militants from the Srinagar Central Jail.
“A complete analysis of the prisoners was carried out and the message was loud and clear that the hold of terrorists inside the prison needs to be broken and rule of law needs to be implemented,” says Singh, who recently relinquished the post of Director General of Prisons, said.
However, he did not elaborate further on the measures carried out and said “we have only ensured that hardened militants and separatists are segregated from those who are first-timers and have a scope of improvement.”
However, the officials in the state prison department said after Singh took charge, raids and searches were carried out regularly and militants were shifted to other jails in Jammu and Udhampur.
Two cases were registered at Rainawari police station which includes the one where militants were operating “Shaura-e-Zindan” inside the jail which used to decide allotment of barracks and other amenities to the prisoners, the officials said.
The ‘Shaura-e-Zindan’ used to provide facilities to the prisoners based on their experience in the field of militancy, which includes food of their choice and other facilities, they said, adding Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, serving life sentence, was the supreme commander of this group.
Now, after the crackdown and repeated searches, all private kitchens operating inside the jail premises, have been shut and all inmates queue up to the common ‘langar’ where they are served food, they said.
There was a report in December 2017 that “sermons are given on Jehad…The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youths in particular who develop inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants).”
It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is “instead being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment”.
“It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks,” it said. However, Singh ensured that there is a segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with higher degree of caution and separated from inmates arrested for petty crimes.
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