Mr. Vijay Kharabanda, the founder of NIVIA was a visionary and patriarch, whose boundless ambition and deep sense of passion led him to establish one of the most successful Indian Sports Brands in history.
1960's : Kolkata, not Jalandhar was the center in India where quality footballs were manufactured before NIVIA came onto the horizon. He established NIVIA and with that the reputation of Jalandhar as the quality football, volleyball and basketball manufacturing base.
1970's : When women empowerment and equal rights were not even an issue, he opened training centers to impart skill to women to stitch sports balls so that they could supplement their household income. Today, it is estimated that 60% of thousands of craftsmen stitching football are women.
1980's : While the world had moved to rubber and plastics in football shoes, Indian footballers were still playing in leather studs. He launched the first successful plastic sole shoe in the Country called NIVIA Low Cut. This revolutionized the Indian Football shoe market and soon Jalandhar became the center for shoe manufacturing. With less than 1% share in the Indian football shoe market in 1980, today Punjab is estimated to produce 90% of all football shoes Made in India.
1990's He established the first successful molded ball unit in the Sports City of Jalandhar. Which today is the largest manufacturer of molded balls in the country. The town which had no history of molded ball manufacturing then, today boasts of half a dozen established and upcoming plants which would enhance India's export and widen the range that Indian exporters can offer to the world.
2000's Under his leadership, NIVIA was the first Indian company to get FIFA approval for its footballs. When the entire industry had surrendered to imported material for making footballs, he took up the challenge to upgrade the local rubber material to global standards. NIVIA today, is probably the only company in the world which has been successful in getting FIFA PRO marking on a football made of rubber.
His undaunted resolve that enabled him to break past every obstacle and his ideals of giving love and help at any cost leave behind a legacy that will guide us in every endeavour and help work upon the solid foundations that he left behind.
The company today is headed by Rajesh, the second of Vijay & Sushil's four children, and is married to Divya who is the daughter of a retired Brigadier of the Indian Army. They live in Jalandhar with their two sons Dhruv and Ojas.
Dhruv researched the roots of the sports industry in India and Ojas curated the idea of the Sports Heritage Museum of India, which is now located at the Head Office of the company.
Both the boys study in the colleges in US and plan to continue the legacy as fourth generation custodians of the name Freewill and NIVIA.