Witnessing the transformation of Kuwait past 70 years! Mr Vallie D'Sa - the steel man of Kuwait

IIK Staff Reporter
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Just only twenty years in India… and spending a long and beautiful 70 years of life here in Kuwait… Something unimaginable for many… but here is Mr Valerian M. D'Sa - the steel man of Kuwait, affectionately known as Vallie D'Sa.

Prominent industrialist Vallie D'Sa came to Kuwait in February 1952. Witnessing this long era of transformation of this beautiful country, which previously relied on trade, fishing and pearl diving and then boomed to the oil richness, Mr Vallie D'Sa became an integral part of this country in the long innings of his life.

"Looking back, I've been witness to the transition from mud houses to skyscrapers, dirt roads to some of the best freeways in the world" In the '70s, a visit from Kuwait City to Fahaheel took over 2 hours, and today it's less than a 30-minute drive, Mr Vallie D'Sa recollects his memories.

Overall, I feel nostalgic and blessed at the same time. Nostalgic, thinking of all my friends over the past 70 years who have either passed on or left Kuwait. Blessed because I had a front seat to observe the development of a country that has benefitted not just my family but the millions of people who came here over the years to seek a better future, Mr Vallie D'Sa said.

Born on 15th December 1927 in Mangalore, Mr Vallie D'Sa began his career with Anglo Iranian Oil Company in 1947 in Abadan, Iran. Subsequently, he arrived in Kuwait in 1952 and joined Gulf Engineering Company, a leading Civil Engineering company. Gulf Engineering Company was owned by Abdulla Mulla Saleh, who was the father Bader Al-Mulla. He left Abdulla Mulla Saleh in 1956 and started an alliance with the Bahman family, a notable and highly respectable Kuwaiti family that lasted the past 66 years. The private trading company was Initially called Ahmad Bahman & Brothers Company. In the mid 70’s while Ahmad and the other Bahman brothers went their independent ways, Mr Vallie D'Sa and Mr. Khalil Bahman continued the business under the name of Khalil Bahman Trading Company. In 1983 a Contracting Division was added and Mr. Vallie D’Sa successfully managed the Company as its Managing Partner and Vice President.

Over the past 70 years, I have witnessed the birth and growth of Kuwait into a rich, flourishing country. When I bought my wife to Kuwait in 1952, she was the fifth Indian lady in Kuwait! recollects Mr Vallie D'Sa.

During that time, Kuwait had a strong relationship with India, and the Indian Rupee was the official Kuwaiti currency. After Independence in 1961, we witnessed how oil income was used to develop this country's infrastructure, with an early focus on education, medicine and construction. While the rest of the Arabian Gulf countries were still starting up, Kuwait was a booming country in the '70s and 80's, recollects Mr Vallie D'Sa.

During the boom, many Indians joined up with Kuwaiti partners and grew a variety of businesses in Kuwait and helped develop this country. Of course, the Iraq war did hurt the growth and pushed the country back, but after the liberation, we Indians were there with the Kuwaitis to roll up our sleeves and restored the country to its previous glory, said Mr Vallie D'Sa.

Indian diaspora played a very significant role in converting this barren desert into a modern luxurious welfare state. Let it be exploring crude oil or filling the city's skyline with skyscrapers. Undoubtedly, the contribution of Khalil Bahman and Partners and its great visionary Mr Vallie D'Sa is tremendous in its journey.

"During the sixties and seventies, the trading activities were at their peak, and the Company did huge business here in Kuwait, particularly with India, specializing in building materials", Mr Vallie D'Sa recollects his journey. Prior to the establishment of cement factories in Kuwait, we imported cement from India. That was a flourishing business as Kuwait transitioned from mud houses to stone buildings. Later Kuwait built its own cement factories in the 1960s.

Later the Company started importing jute bags from India for the Kuwaiti petrochemical industries. That was an excellent business for 10-15 years, but the Iraq war stopped that. In the early 1980's he saw the potential of fabrication as the oil industry and construction in Kuwait was booming and have remained focused on that business for the past 40 years.

Khalil Bahman & Partners Company is now one of the noted steel fabrication plants producing wide spectrum heavy, medium and light steel products and employs more than 300 skilled employees. The Company also owns a Machine shop , blasting / Painting / hot-dip galvanizing plant under one umbrella Khalil Bahman & Partners General Trading Contracting company Wll.

While Mr D'Sa's professional life has reached glorious heights over the years, his personal life, too, has been eventful. A spirit-filled man of generous heart, always ready to lend a helping hand to the needy.

He was always there to support the jobless youths and poor children of the community who could not afford their basic education. Pope Francis has awarded him the Papal Honour the 'Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice' for his meritorious and distinguished service rendered to the society.

Back home in India, he had supported many to get their basic education. "I can see that the demand for well-educated people for good-paying jobs just keeps on increasing. Hence, I always emphasize the youths to strengthen their academic credentials," Mr Vallie D'Sa shares his thoughts. "My advice to the young generation is, ensure your academic credentials are strong and can be easily verified before you come to Kuwait," he said. Also, it is a golden mantra that hard work pays. "Be ready to put in your hard work. Hard work gets noticed and well rewarded, and I only expect good opportunities for expats to keep growing for a very long time," Mr Vallie D'Sa says.

To conclude, it will be on record that behind this towering personality is an unassuming, big-hearted and hardworking person whose efforts, dedication and generosity have been the cornerstone of God's countless blessings on him and his family through the years.


Read this article at www.indiansinkuwait.com