Friday, September 03, 2004

BUSINESS: Victorinox launches Swiss Army, Erm, Daggers

SWISS ARMY knife-makers Victorinox are launching a new range of kirpans, the Sikh ceremonial daggers, in India to coincide with the 400th anniversary of installation of the Guru Granth Sahib.

“We want people to treasure the kirpan the way the Samurai sword is prized,” said Anish Goel, whose Sasana Enterprise is the sole representative of Victorinox in the country. Goel believes that the popularity of Victorinox’s stainless steel kirpans won’t be limited to the 500-year-old religion’s more than 20 million followers around the world.

“You don’t have to be a Sikh to appreciate the ideals that the kirpan stands for - valour, spirit, honour, sacrifice, pride and determination,” Goel told IANS. “Just like the Samurai sword finds place in many non-Japanese households, we believe that knife-collectors around the world would be fascinated by the kirpan.”

The company has invested about Rs 10 million in the last one year for the production of the kirpans. They come in two sizes - one with a handle length of five inches and a blade size of 7.2 inches, and another with a 3.5-inch handle and 3.6-inch blade.

Started in 1884 in the tiny Swiss town of Schwyz high up in the mountains, Victorinox is renowned for its Swiss army knives, which are used by armies across the world, including NATO forces, the South African and the Malaysian armies and some of the Indian special security forces.

The company sold 30,000 knives in India last year and is targeting a growth of 20 per cent this year.


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