A.N. Hussunally & Co. was established on 13 July 1917 by Mr. Hasanali Vadnagarwala, an enterprising trader from Sidhpur (a small town in Gujarat), who began his career running a flour mill in Ajmer. Witnessing firsthand the Imperial powers making inroads into trade and commerce in India and encouraged by his younger brother Abdullah who had already established himself in Madras, young Hasanali moved to Calcutta in search of greener pastures.
At that time, the East India Company, Whiteway Laidlow and Balmer Lawrie were the only suppliers to the British who had by then established their ambitions of ruling India. Sensing an opportunity to tap into a nascent yet fast-growing segment where he knew that the market would ultimately gravitate towards establishments with indigenous roots, Hussunally was quick to set-up business at 28, Strand Road in Calcutta.
In doing so, A.N. Hussunally & Co. emerged as probably the first Indian enterprise supplying hardware goods to the East India Company, comprising such products as engineering tools, pipes, pipe fittings, measuring tools, valves and pressure gauges, among others.
Hardly 12 years into establishing the Company, Hussunally expired and his young 20-year-old son Kurbanhusain, who was studying at the prestigious St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta at that time, took up the mantle.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, business was booming. There was a constant requirement for tools and materials and the Company progressed well. When communal riots broke out in 1947 on the partition of India, the business weakened but saw a gradual uptick again on the departure of foreign firms from the country and when the foundations of India were being cemented.
Interestingly, in 1965, an opportunity came the Company’s way when the building in which the premises is located was put up on auction by its owners, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). A.N. Hussunally & Co. was swift to put in its bid and soon became the owners of the building, which today, has become a cent re of trade and commerce in Eastern India’s hardware market on Kolkata’s Strand Road.
Over the years, Kurbanhusain’s family, comprising the fourth generation today, has helmed the Company and taken it to even greater heights.
As a responsible corporate and a thought leader in the industry, A.N. Hussunally & Co. has given roots to many firms, helping them start off with capital, knowledge and support.