Few ventures are as exciting as those pursued in an environment of continuous improvement and constant customer feed back. Those who aspire to the challenge of such opportunities and equip themselves accordingly are rewarded with rare success. One such story began in 1949, when one man dared to dream of taking Indian leather to the centre stage of the world leather industry. Mr. T. Abdul Wahid established his first tannery in 1949, with a leased tannery in Madras. A remarkably short five years later, the company had emerged as the largest exporter of vegetable tanned leather to America & Europe, and wet blue skins to the Soviet Union. During the seventies TAW diversified into finished leathers, with two ultra modern tanneries, outfitted with equipment from Europe, and capable of producing 2 million square feet every month. By the turn of the decade, TAW was supplying fine kid skin to reputed shoe manufacturers worldwide. TAW's next move was to enter into production of shoes for the western markets and today, its highly sophisticated shoe factories are a pool of American and European footwear manufacturing expertise.
Our Founder, Janab T. Abdul Wahid Sahib's life was a rich tapestry encompassing the educational field, a distinguished sojourn in politics with an outstanding term as Member of Parliament and philanthropy at its modest best.
Born in 1910 in Ambur in the Thadey Family which was popular throughout North Arcot District for its wealth and generosity. Mr. Wahid had his elementary education from Mazharul Uloom High School, Ambur, which was originally founded by his uncle Janab T. Abdullah Sahib.
He joined High School in Madras-e-Azam, Madras. Later he completed his intermediate from Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi and joined Mohamedan College, Madras for his Bachelor of Arts Course. Later he completed the Bachelor of Law from Law College, Madras. Even in his early school days when he was around 12 years, he was enthusiastic in the Khilafath and non-cooperation movement and gave a brilliant and powerful extempore speech in one of the meetings. The audience were all pleased and they carried Mr. Wahid on their shoulders. Since then whenever public meetings were held, Mr. Wahid was given an opportunity by elders to give speeches. This gave him big popularity.
After education Mr. Wahid had the opportunity to serve in Government Service as Panchayat officer and later he became the Municipal Commissioner of Priyan Kudam Municipality. After serving 2-3 years. Mr. Wahid joined the Leather trade as trade secretary of the Southern India Skin and Hides Merchants Association (SISHMA) which later became the AISHTMA. During this period, in this capacity he used to make frequent trips to Delhi representing the needs of the trade. In 1949, Mr. Wahid established his tanning business first in Pallavaram, Madras, later in Ranipet and then shifted his operation to Ambur, where his business grew into large volume and he became one of the leading leather exporters of India.
In mid 1970's he decided to establish the first shoe upper factory in the state. In those days, shoe industry was non-existent in Tamil Nadu. With contacts in Delhi and Agra, he brought 15 skilled workers along with 2 experienced supervisors to Ambur. This team imparted shoe making training to the women in the factory.
When he decided to start the shoe business, he also decided to give employment opportunity to only women in the shoe factory. There were objections from his own community for bringing the Muslim ladies to the factory environment. But he firmly withstood all those oppositions and went on expanding his shoe upper manufacturing activities to help all the women of Ambur Town. Today almost all the factories in North Arcot District, employ women and as many as 16,000 women are working in the shoe factories in his region.
Mr. Wahid felt the need for a modern English Medium School in the town of Ambur to help the families of the town as well as those who had migrated to Ambur to work in tanneries and shoe factories. With this in mind, he founded the T. Abdul Wahid Charitable Foundation, and under its auspices, constructed most modern and spacious buildings to accommodate kindergarten, elementary school, high school and higher secondary schools for boys and girls separately. Equipped with excellent infrastructure and with a strength of 2000 students the school works towards imparting the best of education, to make successful citizens of the future.
The foundation also constructed a Girl's home at the Anjuman-e-Himayath-e-Islam, and residential apartments at Ambur which are leased out on subsidised rents.
Mr. Wahid's concern for the educational emancipation of the community was no secret. He was among the founder fathers of the Muslim Educational Association of Southern India which runs the New College and number of allied institutions, and the Southern India Education Trust which runs the SIET College for Women and the JBAS Matriculation School. He also headed various other educational and social institutions notable among them being the Anjuman-e-Himayath-e-Islam which runs the boys and girls orphanages.
All in all, Mr. Wahid led a full and meaningful life culminating in his sad demise on 5th october 1998. The legacy he had created, the T. Abdul Wahid Group of Companies, is now into its Golden Jubilee Year.
Today T. Abdul Wahid Tanneries (Pvt) LTD is one of the leading leather manufacturing group of companies across the globe and is ably led by its Chairman - Mr. T. Rafeeq Ahmed and Managing Director - Mr. T. Adnan Ahmed. Highly Qualified Engineers, technicians and administrative managers work towards one goal unitedly:Quality. Several leathers developed by TAW are the obvious choice of trend setting brands across the world. To keep pace with the ever changing needs of the industry, the company constantly sources global expertise. Essentially, it is a commitment that has translated exceptionally into the success story that TAW is today.
Taw's expansion policies have always evolved around the upliftment of the people in the rural areas. While its tanneries provide direct employment to over 500 people, the factories employ around 1000 people, a significant percentage of which are women. A foundation started by the founder Mr. T. Abdul Wahid also runs a full-fledged Higher Secondary School in the town of Ambur, imparting quality education to 2000 children from the town.
TAW has also always been concerned about its ecological print. Pioneering effluent treatment of its tanneries in South India. T. Abdul Wahid Tanneries has been audited by the Leather Working Group and has achieved a Sliver Rating.