The Electric Entrepreneur

by Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas

The late Armando de Souza, with roots in Saligao’s Cotula ward, was the co-founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Evans Electric Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai. The firm, founded in 1951 by Armando de Souza and Silus Evans, has branches operating in Sancoale, Goa, and Bilaspur, as well as in the northern and southern regions of India.

I had a chance to meet the Goan entrepreneur Armando in Saligao at the time of the feast of Mae de Deus in May many years ago. That year, he was the president of the feast. A tall figure dressed in his “opa e murca” and carrying the staff of the Confraria de Mae de Deus de Saligao, Armando was thanking Our Lady for his assiduous climb to the top with Evans Electric, and also for giving him a superb memory, which he put to good use when writing articles for the Saligao Newsletter.

Armando was witty and at the same time his talk had substance that gripped one’s imagination. He knew lots of facts and faces of Saligao, and this was evident when he recalled and described a particular situation or personality with relative ease and flair. He read a lot, observed keenly and lost no opportunity to learn; then, whenever feasible he placed his thoughts on a platter for one to accept or reject. Never the sleeping fox that counted hens in his dreams, Armando strived to convert most of his dreams into reality.

At that time, the Editor of the Saligao Newsletter was Alfred D’Cruz (Cruzvaddo/Mumbai), and the Associate Editors were Joseph St Anne (Donvaddo/Mumbai) and Raymond Dantas (Grande Morodd/Mumbai). In the Jul-Sep 1985 edition of the newsletter (Vol 1 No 2), Alfred D’Cruz wrote an article on Armando de Souza and his company, from which I reproduce below an excerpt:

“Drive along the busy and bustling Mahakali Caves Road in Andheri (East), Bombay’s galloping and sprawling suburban industrial complex, and your roving eye will easily catch sight of an imposing building with well-manicured lawns. It is Evans Electric Company, one of Bombay’s leading industrial firms of over 30 years’ standing in the specialised field of rebuilding, rewinding and redesigning of electrical equipment, complete with a most sophisticated testing laboratory. Bombay’s leading newspapers: The Economic Times, The Times of India, The Indian Express and The Financial Express had reported not too long ago a major breakthrough by Evans Electric Ltd. It has built a reputation as a “trouble shooter” for the country’s large power plants. The Times of India, in fact, had on June 22, 1978, in a report from its correspondent, observed that the firm had saved the country Rs.10 crore in foreign exchange by commissioning two damaged sets of the thermal power plant of the Uttar Pradesh Electric Board. All this has merited for Evans Electric a gold medal from the Transworld Trade Fair Authority and the award of the Green Leaf from FICCI.

“Who was behind it all? How and when did it all start? It is an inspiring story of a man who started from scratch, boldly surmounted heavy obstacles and rose to the top. Go through a large sheaf of files, official reports, commendation certificates and press clippings and you will get an answer. Meet a tall, fair, debonair, smiling, youthful-looking man with a jaunty gait—Mr. Armando de Souza. At moments, a touch of sadness grips him. He lost a promising son and recently his wife.

“Today, Evans Electric has scaled higher peaks. Evans has also developed its own Pneumatic Coil Forming Machines which are exported the world over. The gross sales of the Bombay Company alone annually are almost Rs 2 crore.”

Armando de Souza evinced keen interest in the village affairs of Saligao as well as in Saligao Union, Mumbai. He was a self-made man who worked his way to the top. I always read with gusto his short articles on Men, Matters and Memories in the Saligao Newsletter and other reviews related to our native village. Like William Cowper in Hope, I would like to say: “Such stuff the world is made of.”

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