The urge to unite for a common cause – a very prevalent trait years ago and also now – gave birth to UPASI on 28th August 1893. Thirteen District Planting Associations assembled on 28th August 1893 in the Mayo Hall, Bangalore for a UNITED organization; thus the United Planters’ Association of Southern India was formed.
During these years UPASI was not a bystander but an insider in the metamorphosis that has taken place in the country. In the historical event of India gaining Independence and subsequently declaring as a Sovereign Republic, the gradual and smooth ownership change from British to Indians, in the social reforms, building up of the infrastructure, in the awakening of the country and in hundreds of such momentous journey of the nation, UPASI adapted itself to the changes with remarkable resilience. It is a measure of the statesmanship, pragmatic leadership and foresight of those who were at the helm of affairs of UPASI that ripples created by these developments on the functioning of UPASI were not allowed to become waves.
Differences notwithstanding; it is this macro level approach of adjustment to changing times, to changing Government styles and approaches, to expectations and aspirations of those connected with plantation industry, that led to acceptance of the representative character and credibility of UPASI by the powers that be at various times. UPASI was heard with respect. UPASI was given place in various Committees and Forums. And that continues even today.
It was the foresight of the founding fathers of UPASI that for achieving unity among planters of different regions and crops, a pyramidal structure was conceived, starting from District Planters Associations to State Planters Associations and at the apex level UPASI.
Today there are 13 District Planting Associations and 3 State Planters Associations affiliated to UPASI.
Enlightened planters decades back chalked out programmes and activities of UPASI encompassing areas, such as, research, welfare schemes for workers, sports etc. UPASI and State Planters Association have been entering into settlements with the Unions which had lead to comparatively better industrial relations climate in the planting industry.
Appreciating the fact that Research is the backbone of development, tea planters of South India set up a Tea Research Institute in Tamil Nadu as early as 1936.
Yet another unique feature of the bygone era was that planting industry took lead in implementing labour welfare measures legislated and by far the benefits given under the schemes were above the legislative frame.