Destiny is connected by those events in history, which when traced back show a magical pattern suggesting a divine plan. The revered Sufi Saint, Hazrat Babajaan spent her last 25 years in the city of Pune and left for heavenly abode in 1931. Two decades before her passing away, a chance encounter with a 19 year old Parsi Boy, Merwan Sherian Irani, transformed not only the young man but also the world. The young man went on to describe this encounter as his moment of enlightenment and he later came to be known as the World renowned Spiritual Guru, Meher Baba, whose teachings and writings caused a paradigm shift in the philosophical school of thoughts competing for the Mind space of the world during those times. From Mahatma Gandhi to iconic West based Rock Bands, hardly any soul seeking refuge in spirituality was left untouched.
In all these History defining movements, lays the little humble story of Heritage, whose birth is linked to the above accidents of faith. Born in 1925, in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, the eldest of the 6 siblings, Haji Habib-ullah Baig had a fairly comfortable, blessed childhood until tragedy struck at the age of 16, when he lost his father. This irreplaceable loss caused a dent in the boy’s spirits. The late father’s business was heavily reliant on Pashmina weaving, which now seemed to be of no interest to his bereaved son. His mother took him to a revered Kashmiri Sufi Saint for advice and guidance. Luckily at that moment itself, Mehr Baba and his disciples were visiting the same Sufi Saint. The boy caught the attention of Baba and immediately made an impression on him; he noted that the boy was special and very witty. He was then tasked with being the guide of Baba and his disciples during their stay in the Valley of Saints. He did such an exceptional job that his mother was requested to let the young boy accompany Baba back to Aurangabad and she obliged.
At Mehr Baba Centre in Aurangabad, Habib-ullah Baig would regularly meet people across nationalities and faiths. Interactions with missionaries and foreigners were enriching for both parties and this reignited his passion to follow the path of his late father, of working with Shawls (Pashmina) and rugs. He started a hawking business which drew terrific response. His associates at the Meher Baba centre supported him. As Meher Baba undertook his journeys to US, Japan and Australia, to promote a dialogue between the East and the West, his young student laboured hard, day and night, across the length and breadth of Maharashtra to kick start his business of Indian Handicrafts. Year after Year, journeys would be undertaken on a bicycle, taking those Kashmiri Shawls and Carpets to potential clients. A story of sheer grit, wit and hard work.
The base was now shifted to the larger city of Pune, the business opportunities being bigger there. In between offers were made by valued clients to start the business overseas, but they were all politely rejected due to the eternal connection with Pune.