08 Apr 2024  |   05:56am IST

60 years of service in Vasco: Illuminating the unsung legacy of Abdul Kadar and his family of electricians

60 years of service in Vasco: Illuminating the unsung legacy of Abdul Kadar and his  family of electricians

Shoaib Shaikh

VASCO: Being an electrician has never been regarded as a traditional trade in Goa. Even governmental classifications fail to acknowledge it as a traditional profession or a branch of Goan entrepreneurship. However, when three successive generations of a family have dedicated themselves to the same trade, operating their business from the same humble shop and providing an essential service for over six decades – it surely passes into the category of legacy.

Meet Abdul Kadar Shaikh, a second-generation electrician from Vasco. At 57 years old, ‘Kadar bhai’, as he is affectionately known in New Vaddem, the most densely populated area of the port town, has been immersed in the electrical trade since his early teens. His father, the late Ismail Shaikh, initiated the family’s venture in 1967, setting up shop in what would now be considered a modest space in the Vasco municipal market. As a student, Kadar balanced his academic pursuits at the Anjuman Himayatul Islam High School in Baina’s Islampura with assisting his father at the shop post-lunch. Neither his father nor the three children who followed in his footsteps received any formal education in electrical appliance repair or wiring, but have learnt the  intricacies of the trade the hard way – on the job. Nevertheless, the family has sustained for over 60 years, faithfully serving the people of Vasco-da-Gama.

The soft-spoken Kadar bhai embarked on his own entrepreneurial journey in 1987, at the age of 20, guided by his father’s 

expertise. Since then, he has been the go-to person for every household electrical need and appliance repair in the New Vaddem locality.

Reflecting on his nearly four-decade journey as an entrepreneur, he humbly says, “People place their trust in my work, and I consider it my duty to serve them. It has been a humbling experience, starting with my father in the Vasco shop and continuing for the past 37 years in this establishment.”

Regarding the continuity of the family trade, he explained, “We carried on the business after learning from our father. My elder brother, Mohamed Gaus, and younger brother Haroon manage the main shop in town, while I cater to the needs of our local community. Haroon’s son has joined us, but the competition nowadays is fierce. Sustaining oneself with the modest earnings from our small trade isn’t easy.” Known for their integrity, Kadar and his brothers have kept their charges at a minimum despite inflation and are known for their quick turn-around time.

Even before apprenticeships became fashionable, Kadar had been recruiting teenagers in difficult family circumstances, providing them with on-the-job training and offering a source of livelihood for 

numerous local youths, to help keep them out of trouble.

Kadar is a popular man within the community too. His involvement in the community service of the local mosque, Noorani Masjid, is a witness to his dedicated and selfless people-centric life. He is one of the few in the locality who knows every nook and cranny of the town like 

the back of the palm and in cases of emergency, he is just a phone call away. He can be literally seen at almost everyone’s funeral unless he is out of town or has fallen sick.

Regarding the future of the trade, he observed, “The way we’ve conducted this trade, it’s been a hand-to-mouth existence. Survival is possible, but achieving financial success amidst growing competition is challenging. That’s why, apart from one, none of our third generation has pursued this trade; they’re charting their own paths.”

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar