Any event, however momentous, once relegated to memory, is likely to deteriorate into a vague impression and lost to posterity. However, lofty ideals and efforts associated with a significant venture ought to be enshrined as a perennial source of motivation for future generations.
“Memoirs of a Silvermaster,” brought out on the 150th Anniversary of Bartons is a chronicle of inspirational values and monumental efforts of pioneers who made this historical milestone possible.
Anything that evokes an emotional response is very subjective, as perceptions and reactions vary from person to person. If we were to succeed in our endeavour to acknowledge the creditable contributions of the Founder and subsequent Managing Directors, it made sense for us to go to as many
individuals, who had something unique to say, so that the collective compilation of these could give a comprehensive and inspiring account of their virtues, qualities and nobility.
The most authentic source of information was available with the descendants of the Founder, Mr. Thomas Barton, who established the business in 1861. We were lucky to be in touch with his great grand son, Dr. Andrew Orr, whom I had the privilege to meet about 10 years ago, when he came to
Bangalore. I clung to this association. When we approached our 150th Anniversary, Dr. Orr was gracious enough to research and collect bits of information from records, relatives, photos etc., and put the whole lot together as an informative article.
An interesting feature of the history of the business was that for almost half a century, Bartons were referred to as “Silversmiths to the Defence Forces,” predominantly the Indian Army. This unique honour prompted me to request Maj. Gen. Ram Naidu to write the Foreword to this book.
He has been of great help to me, in advising and suggesting ideas while preparing ourselves for this event.
Apart from this, I relied on my Father’s friends, Mr. TPG Nambiar and Mr. AS Lakshmanan, who were kind enough to contribute to this book by way of articles detailing their interaction with my Father.
At the next level were my sisters, Geeta and Arti, then my children Amreeta and Aashish, my wife Nayna, my daughter-in-law Aashima, my son-in-law Premal, my brother-in-law Prakash, my nephew Neelan, my cousin Pankaj, my Father’s secretary Mrs.Matthews - who have all written very moving accounts of their fond recollections about Bartons and how my Father did his business as its MD.
This work would not have been complete, if I had not approached some of our well known customers, requesting them to share their experiences in dealing with our Company. All this put together, along with pictures of well known personalities associated with Bartons, scanned images from 100 year old brochures, product
photographs, testimonials, buildings that housed the business, Letters of Appointment from the erstwhile Royalty, all arranged chronologically, presents a vivid and pulsating account of the evolution of Bartons, Bangalore as a reputed institution spanning 150 years.
I sometimes wonder if I would like to retire. But when I ask myself “retire from what,” I am clueless. Bartons had become an integral part of my life even before I actually came to work in 1970. It has made me what I am. It has taught me more than all my formal education put together. It has given me recognition, beyond blood relationships. It has given me a certain status in society. I am tempted to say that Mehta is synonymous with Bartons, and this prompts me to wonder if I was born in England in my last birth!
I do not consider Bartons just as a family business - it’s rather as a sacred platform that has given me insights into business morals, ethics and a spiritual outlook.