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Nadar Brothers, the cracker entrepreneurs

Sivakasi was a sleepy little town established in the 15th century by Harikesari Parakkirama Pandian. With black soil that doesn’t get enough rain to grow any crops other than cotton, chillies and millets, people in this town had nothing of interest happening until two brothers did something amazing. Within few years Sivakasi claimed its place on the world map. Nadar brothers, as they are called, were two cousins – Ayya Nadar and Shanmuga Nadar had come back from their trip to Calcutta where they learnt how match industry worked. Whether it is Anil Matches or National Fireworks or Standard Fireworks, their story is one of the biggest entrepreneurial successes in India.

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After a brief stint in Calcutta, Ayya and Shanmuga understood how much potential the match industry had and once they were back in Sivakasi, they set up the National Fireworks in 1925. They experimented with various designs and showed skill in making a variety of fireworks that dazzled the sky along with the hearts of people vying for them. With the license to hold and manufacture fireworks and explosive materials becoming more open after the 2nd World War, their business exploded and lit up the sky!

Today, as many as 800+ factories manufacture and sell crackers and fireworks and the business is approximated to touch 2000 crores. Sivakasi today is one of the biggest grossers in business when it comes to concentrated sales for Diwali. Today close to 70% of all crackers sold in India are manufactured in Sivakasi.

Ayya Nadar, along with Shanmuga Nadar, is credited with transforming the small poverty-stricken Sivakasi village into a bustling polluting industrial town. He later founded two educational institutions and was involved in sharing his knowledge for the improvement of Sivakasi – including medical facilities, drinking water along with employment for the youth of his town.

Overcoming hurdles during the British rule, setting up industries that challenged markets in China, establishing a brand that is so well known to all – Standard, helping develop his community makes Ayya and Shanmuga nothing less than demigods for the people of Sivakasi.

Remembering the pioneers in fireworks on this special day, Happy Diwali from all of us at #PlantScience. #StaySafe


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