Potter's quiet journey to success
It has been said that one can achieve success with honesty and hard-work. This has been proven true by Anil Paul of Jhenidah.
“Earlier, I used to gather dry tree leaves from neighbouring villages to burn to cook food on earthen pots. Due to extreme poverty, I was unable to go to school after my dad's death when I was a toddler of two years. My mother raised me alone.”
“At the age of five, I worked on other peoples' farms to earn a living. At eight, I learnt to make earthen pots. Now I am an industrialist in Bangladesh through pursuing pottery and timber trade.”
Anil, son of late Bhushan Chandra Paul of Shibnagar village under Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah, was born in 1949. His ancestors were all involved in the pottery business. At first it was difficult for him to make pots as he did not have enough money to buy fuel to bake the pots.
At 22, he planned to use a round kiln. He took a loan of Tk 1,400 from his neighbour, Abul Hasnat. He started making bricks and continued this trade for 6 years. Later, he transferred the trade to his neighbour Shamsuddin Biswas.
At 35, he tried his luck in the timber trade. He bought timber from remote areas and supplied them to Dhaka, Khulna, Bogra and other places. After 15 years, he went to Sylhet to expand his business. He bought timber from Srimangal to supply to Bogra, Sirajganj, Khulna, Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh.
After another three years, he went to Ukhia in Chittagang and met with a large scale timber trader, Nur Alam Hazi. He bought two truckloads of teak and made a profit of Tk 2 lakh. Later, he started buying timber in wagonloads and made hefty profits.
“As my name and fame as an honest timber trader spread, one company of Chittagong gave me timber worth over Tk 1 crore on credit,” said Anil. He supplied the whole lot to Palli Bidyut.
To venture far out, Anil next went to Myanmar accompanied by Kuddus Khan of Khulna. He even contacted an African company and till now he has been procuring timber from Africa and Myanmar and running his business well.
Anil is now one of the biggest timber traders in Bangladesh. He also established a big poultry farm in Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah, a brick kiln in the same upazila, two garment units named Atoshi Fashion Ltd in Gazipur, one CNG fuel station in Dhamrai, Paul Diesel Station at Dhamrai and several saw mills in Dhaka.
Besides, he bought 18 bighas of land in Dhamrai, 84 decimals of land in Hemayet pur worth around Tk 15 crore and 25 bighas of land in his native village of Shibnagar.
He employs about 4,000 people in his firms, paying Tk 1.8 crore in salaries a month. In addition, he pays Tk 2 crore in income taxes to the government exchequer a year, Anil said.
His eldest son, Nikhil Kumar Paul, is the managing director of the CNG station and other firms, his second son, Akhil Kumar Paul, looks after the garment factories and his third son, Sudip Kumar Paul, is a student of BBA in India.
His second son says he is proud that his father achieved success through honesty and labour. He added that he has never heard anyone say a bad thing about his father.
Anil is a person of humble beginnings But he has never undermined the importance of hard work and ambition. He is also understanding of the needs of his employees, who have helped his business grow.
An accountant at his main office in Kaliganj said, “Anil Paul is a noble, modest and generous person. He behaves kindly with his employees.”
Jhenidah District Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahmudul Islam said, “As far as I know Anil, he lives a simple life. He has reached his goals through industry and honesty. He is not a political person.”