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Nathalal Dahyalal Parikh (1903-1957)

Nathalal Dahyalal Parikh was born in an eminent family of diamond merchants on January 7, 1903. After completing his matriculation, he joined the family business.


He joined the Congress during the mass movements of 1920-23, and became a leader of the Zaveri Bazar Volunteer Wing at the age of 18. He boycotted foreign goods and organized picketing near wine shops.


In 1927, he went abroad to further develop the family business, travelling to various countries over three years. He was elected President of the Diamonds Merchants’ Association in 1931-32 at the young age of 28.


When Vithalbhai Patel, fell sick in Switzerland in 1933, Nathalalbhai rushed there to help him, never hesitating to consider whether it would impact his own business. Nathalalbhai organised the best of treatment for him, but unfortunately, Vithalbhai did not survive. While in Switzerland, Nathalalbhai met Netaji Subhashchandra Bose and both of them became fast friends. He was actively associated with Azad Hind Fauz of Netaji.


He was very active in helping the police maintain peace during the riots that broke out soon after Independence. In recognition of his social service, the Government honoured him with the title of J.P. (Justice of Peace), a very coveted and respectful title in those days.


In 1950-51, he was elected as Municipal Corporator from Bori Bunder Constituency. He was associated with about 100 organizations of the Fort area and was appointed Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Municipality. He was also elected as an MLA from Fort and Colaba constituency in 1952. During his stint as an MLA, he did a lot of work for the welfare of Dalits.


He was actively involved in the establishment of Bhrihad Bhartiya Samaj, along with late Mr. S K Patil, a towering personality of the Congress and late Sheth Nanji Kalidas. He visited Africa and raised a huge sum of Rs 5 lakhs for providing facilities to visiting NRIs.


In 1957, he once again became the President of the Diamond Merchants’ Association. He was also an active member of Jain Shwetambar Conference.


He died on February 15, 1957 in Mumbai. 


In recognition of his contribution to society at large, one prominent road in Colaba area of Mumbai is named after him as Nathalal Parikh Marg.

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