Tucked away on a busy road in south Bangalore is probably the only location in the country where the flags of the Congress party, the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party and others fly proudly together.
Before you think this is some unholy alliance in these days of coalition politics, Jaswanth Jain, who runs Rushabh Enterprises, steps in to explain. “We’ve been making flags, banners, posters, stickers, badges and pretty much every kind of promotional merchandise for more than 50 years now.”
“You know the sails you see in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games? We make those.”
The IPL is a big boon for Jain, who has produced decks of playing cards bearing the pictures of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag for the Delhi Daredevils and their sponsors, besides similar items for other teams.
“Politics is our main business, but the problem in that is that elections happen only once in five years,” explains Jain. “It’s good for the country to have a stable government, but for our business, the more often there are elections the better it is. That’s when we do the bulk of our business, but once in five years is not enough.”
Rushabh Enterprises’ work was of such a quality that they recently began exporting. “Vote Obama” pennants strung across the shop is not an endorsement, but samples of the work Jain produced in the lead-up to the race for the White House in 2008.
Every IPL team is exploring the possibilities of merchandising, doing their best to monetise every angle of the cricketing business. Apparel industry experts work hard to push their product. Little do they know that a family business set up by Umichand Jain in 1954 is already ahead of the curve.