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Bagmalbhai Laxmichand Parikh (1918-1995)

Bagmalbhai Laxmichand Parikh, fondly known as Babushah throughout the diamond industry is regarded as one of the most important mentors and teachers of the modern diamond industry in India as well as the founder of the diamond manufacturing industry in India. Large numbers of Indian diamantaires have learnt their technical skills and developed their business acumen either directly or indirectly from him.

 

Born on July 20, 1918 in Palanpur, Bagmalbhai lost his father at a very young age, and was brought up by his elder brother Chimanbhai. But his brother too passed away when Bagmalbhai was just 22 and then he shouldered the responsibility of looking after the family.

 

A visionary, Bagmalbhai took an unprecedented step in the early 1940s, when he set up a diamond cutting factory in the town of Navsari, bypassing his native Palanpur as it was plagued with power shortages. This pioneering move was the small seed which flowered into the mega diamond industry of South Gujarat today.

 

But Babushah’s legacy is much greater, for it was not just his pioneering step, but the manner in which he developed the business, that really counted. Working closely with his artisans, Bagmalbhai first learnt and then advanced the techniques with which the rough diamonds were cut, innovating the technique of single spindle bruting, and later pioneering the conversion of flat round diamonds which he procured from the royal families into marquises.

 

Despite being a pioneer in the industry, Babushah was ever ready to share his knowledge and experience with new entrants to the industry, and many of the leading diamantaires learnt their skills from him. It is widely said that “Babushah was a one man college!”

 

In 1960, Bagmalbhai set up Mahendra Brothers, and in 1966 the company was the first recipient of the National Award for Outstanding Exports of Cut and Polished Diamonds from India. Three years later, in 1969, Mahendra Brothers became the first company to be awarded a Manufacturing Sight in India. In 1974, the family business expanded to Antwerp where it established Diarough NV, today one of the leading diamond companies in the world.

 

Bagmalbhai’s contribution to the Indian diamond industry was recognized by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council in 1987 with an award for being the Pioneer of Indian Diamond Manufacturing. The company, Mahendra Brothers has also won numerous other export awards.


GJEPC Lifetime Achievement Award being presented
by Shri N.D.Tiwari, then Minister of Finance.

Another facet of Bagmalbhai was his philanthropic initiatives which included projects for rural development, setting up education and medical institutions, various relief activities at times of natural calamities and towards the preservation of Jain heritage.

 

Bagmalbhai passed away in Mumbai on August 5, 1995, but his legacy will live on for time immemorial.

 

 


To read more about Manjula Bagmal Parikh Trust click here...

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