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The Slum Dweller (Not Dog) Millionaire

Zafrus Salam, BeyondHeadlines

All eyes see dreams. There are very few who see dreams and make it a reality in their lifetime & Mohd Mustaqueem is one of them. 

He, originally from Uttar Pradesh, has been in Dharavi since he was 14 and is now close to 55. Family hardships compelled him to drop-out of class six, and he left his home at Rae Bareli to try his luck out in Mumbai. Starting out as a tea server and then as a tailor he slept on the streets of Kamathipura initially.

Frequent visits to Dharavi to meet his relatives and friends not only inspired him, but also provided him a suitable place to start his own business. In 1974, his luck clicked when he bought two sewing machines of his own and swung into business.  “Life was very tough,” he says. “I had to run extensively from one garment factory to another to get bulk orders.”

Today he is a well known garment exporter and runs C M Craft, with eight units. More than 400 people work in his factory and his major clients are Burlington, K-Mart and MKL.

He attributes his success to the almighty and humbly says, “With Allah’s grace, my hard work, sincerity and honesty I am here today.”  On another note he informs that the export market dipped significantly in the past few years due to several reasons.  “The market will revive,” he predicts optimistically. C M Craft, achieved a total turnover of Rs. 10, Cr. in 2009.

Having tasted success Mustaqueem could afford to live in a well furnished flat and drive imported cars, but he prefers to live in Dharavi where his heart resides.  He is an owner of two small cars.

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