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Francis was born aboard a Portuguese ship in the Caribbean Sea and spent his childhood in Cuba, Morocco and France. While working as a French diplomat in Mumbai and then as head of the representative office of a French Bank in New Delhi, Francis developed a deep passion for India’s cultural heritage and decided to settle here in the 1970s. He is the co-founder and director of Neemrana Hotels, which restores heritage properties and converts them into hotels. He also leads many companies involved in sourcing handicrafts, garments, home furnishings and fashion accessories for global markets. Francis has co-authored two books on the arts, crafts and built heritage of Rajasthan. Who pioneered along with friend and business partner Aman Nath the idea of heritage hotels in India with Neemrana, passed away here on Monday evening. He had been battling blood cancer for the past eight years.
Wacziarg, originally from France, arrived in India 40 years ago, fell in love with the country and decided to stay on. He went on to become the founding member of Intach, and a very significant figure on Delhi's cultural scene. He was also credited with pioneering a path-breaking genre of music that can only be described as Indianized western operas.
"He used to say 'I'm more Indian than you because I have sworn by the Constitution to be one'," says Nath. Wacziarg had sought and got Indian citizenship. "We would often tell him to go to France for treatment and he would say 'Why should I, I am an Indian'."
Just two days ago, he along with Nath, had been awarded the Life Time Achievement Award by the tourism ministry for their work in promoting heritage tourism. Their transformation of the 500-year-old Neemrana fort palace from ruins to a flourishing property has inspired several heritage owners to do the same.
Wacziarg set up the Neemrana Music Foundation to promote and produce operas in India. His daughter, Priya Aude, is an accomplished opera singer and an integral part of the foundation's productions. "I loved the opera and he said we need to do this," Priya had told TOI while receiving the award on Wacziarg's behalf.
Till 15 days ago, when Wacziarg had to be hospitalized, he was at the Foundation, working with remarkable energy. "He would come to office, go to the doctor and come back to office at 10am and wish us all a cheerful 'good afternoon'. This foundation was his baby, nothing could keep him away," says Antoine Redon, executive producer at the foundation.
He was equally devoted to Neemrana, says Dr Raman Kapur, head of acupuncture, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, adding that his relationship with Wacziarg went from patient to friend in the 10 years that he knew him. "In 2004, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. I cautioned him not to travel much but he was constantly on the go, visiting Neemrana properties in South India which were under his jurisdiction. It was simply not in his nature to take it easy," added Kapur.
Founder Neemrana Hotels
Francis Wacziarg, co-chairman and founder, Neemrana Hotels Pvt Ltd With an eye for craft and an ear for music, Wacziarg made India his home when he arrived in 1970 after completing his MBA in France. What began as a project at an abandoned 15th century property soon grew into a heritage hotel empire. Wacziarg and Aman Nath co-authored The Painted Frescoes of Shekhavati. They were given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ministry of Tourism for pioneering heritage tourism in India.
Historical Back Ground
Alumnus of the Ecole Superieur de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), One of the three leading business schools in France, Francis Wacziarg came to India in 1970. Initially, he was commercial attache at the French embassy in Bombay, subsequently, he headed the representative office of the Banque National de Paris (BNP) in New Delhi, where his role comprised of giving advise to foreign investors wishing to
find Indian partners or to develop business schemes in India in 1978, with the vast experience gained in the preceding years, and aware of the market potential for export from India, he created the Francis Wacziarg Buying Agency. The Bangalore, Tirupur and Mumbai (Previously Bombay) offices of the Francis Wacziarg Company were created almost simultaneously between 1987 and 1989 with one employee each in 1987 to essentially source garments from the various cities for clients who were interested in buying woven & knitted garments from India.
A Sustained and uninterrupted Development as an Export Agent
Since it was created, Francis Wacziarg in India has witnessed an ever increasing steady growth as an Export Agent, representing foreign buyers and helping them to discover the tremendous potential of buying garments with the object to meet the best of the local suppliers. It is a quintessential intermediary between the buyer and the exporter as the offices best ensure the buyers interest and stimulate trade currents through activities of sampling definition of the orders, initial and mid production follow-up, Quality control, shipment monitoring… Over the years the offices have grown and developed into full fledged buying operations catering to over 25 clients and working with approximately 150 suppliers, having a yearly turnover of 100 million USD.
The Francis Wacziarg Group has expanded over the years. With its corporate office headquartered in New Delhi, Francis Wacziarg Agencies (P) Ltd. has 180 Professionals in 6 FW Offices across the Indian Sub-Continent. Client partnerships have endured for decades and the mission of showcasing the Indian sub-continent professionally drives the company, even today.
There multi-location presence in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Tirupur and Dhaka provides our clients the flexibility to buy the right products from the right region. All the offices work with the same philosophy, providing valuable sourcing partnerships and have developed into full fledged buying offices catering to numerous clients.
Francis Wacziarg Agencies (P) Ltd
Francis Wacziarg Agencies (P) Ltd. is a buying agency based in India and Bangladesh. Pan-India reach, leverage, long experience and established supply chain allows our clients to avail the right product, at the time, at the lowest price. There client’s include well known international brands, hypermarkets and supermarkets, retailers, department stores, mail order companies and importers, mostly in Europe.
They build the bridge and mediate for there clients, as their representative in India and Bangladesh. They offer design, input collection development, salesman sampling, definition of production, order placement, order follow up, quality control and assurance, logistical follow up till the goods reach our clients warehouse.
Service company and offer a transparent supply chain, welcome client visits to factories and raw material suppliers.
As a matter of policy, aim for protection of human rights, adherence to factory safety standards & have zero tolerance for child labour.