DELHI HINDUSTANI MERCHANTILE ASSOCIATION
History 1919 to 1943
In 1923 Mahatma Gandhi started the Non- Cooperation movement. To support this movement many DHMA members cancelled their orders of imported fabrics for which they had to suffer great loss, their patriotism was praiseworthy. Traders who did not want to break trade commitments and wanted to stay loyal towards India faced greater problems. In 1932 – 33 Delhi Cloth merchants as loyal Indians supported the boycott of imported fabric. The whole of North India followed them.
Till now DHMA had become the apex association of traders in Dehli. In 1922 Government gave the right to DHMA to send their one representative to Dehli Municipal Committee. Seth Ramlal Khemka was the first nominated representative of DHMA to go to Municipal Committee. During the tenure of Lala Atma Ram Sahavaisa this right was taken back. To reinforce this right DHMA kept making efforts and in 1950 DHMA got the right back and could again send their one representative to Delhi Municipal Committee. In getting this right back Lala Deshbandhu Gupta and Sir Lala Sri Ram gave incredible contribution.
Association has firmly solved disputes within textile community in harmonious atmosphere since the beginning. It will not be an exaggeration to say that Panchayati way of governance which the Indian Democratic Government wants to establish has been smoothly working in DHMA from last 120 years which has been appreciated by all. Even opposition could not criticize the working of association. It is a matter of pride for the association that it gave total opportunity to parties to present their side in the dispute before the panel of Panch. Late Shri Asaf Ali graced the association with his presence to listen to the disputes in the association.
Association has not only solved disputes between the traders but has contributed greatly for the growth of textile trade by removing problems arising in trade from time to time. Not only traders but Industrialists, Importers, Exporters, Banks etc. have also been members of the association.
DHMA has always supported trade and traders. During Second World War association struggled to revolt against government policy of ration and control. These were the testing times for the association. It had to bear great loss by not paying ration and control tax; Dehli trade distribution system also faced loss.
Rai Saheb Gurprasad Kapoor use to work as devotedly as Shri Ram Lal Khemka was doing ealier. After Shri Ram Lal Khemka resigned in June 1941 Rai Saheb Gurprasad Kapoor was elected President with majority. Rai Sahab Lal Ram Prasad was elected the Secretary.
In 1942 Country faced the shortage of fabric, so rationing system on cloth was imposed on textile. This created a problem for textile traders. Quota was fixed for every state. Quota for Dehli was 10000 bales according to its population. Licensing system was imposed on cloth distribution. In the beginning three members of DHMA got the license, DHMA opposed this. Members demanded that traders who have ancestral textile business should get the license. Lala Harprasad Aggarwal was elected Secretary in those days and in his leadership an action committee was formed.
Action committee met the Director of Civil Supplies and warned him that they will go on Satyagraha and then on Hunger Strike if licenses are not given. As a result all the cloth traders were given license. But they did not agree that textile exported from Dehli should be exported through Dehli traders only. Action committee went to Bombay and gave memorandum to the Textile Commissioner Sir Akbar Haideri. They got the quota of 13000bales and permission to sell textile to neighboring states as a result Delhi became the centre for textile distribution.
In 1942 Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement. As a result atmosphere of loots, arrests, strikes etc was created in Delhi. Textile traders went to jails, shops became empty, and trade was closed. Association and its members fought with the freedom fighters to attain independence for India. Association encouraged handlooms in this period. Handloom trade flourished and Delhi remained the textile distribution centre as before. The members of DHMA also burnt the foreign cloth as a Holi on the call of Mahatma Gandhi at the Clock Tower of Chandni Chowk.