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PERSONALITIES



Palanpur may be best known for having produced the leading lights of the Indian diamond industry, but there are a number of other personalities whose achievements in different fields shine equally brightly. Though less well-known, these personalities are equally important facets of this small city in North Gujarat.

The vibrancy of this multicultural land has given birth to poets and artists, scientists and scholars, doctors and researchers, business barons and social workers, administrators and educationists......

In the literary and artistic field, the ghazals composed by Shunya Palanpuri, Saif Palanpuri, Amar Palanpuri, Ojas Palanpuri and Musafir Palanpuri; the classic photographic compositions of A L .Syed, K. L. Syed and Dr K. L. Kothari, the exquisite paintings of Amrut Vaan, the enchanting writings of Chandrakant Bakshi and Bakulbhai Bakshi are stars that shine brightly in the creative firmament.

Another set of Palanpuri gems are those who have excelled in the academic sphere -- scientists, educationists, doctors and researchers. In the medical field there are Dr. P. V. Mehta who pioneered mass family planning camps and Dr. Prakash Kothari who is a world recognized sexologist; while Dr. Ajay Kothari in aerospace engineering and Dr. Rohit Parikh in mathematics are scientists doing cutting edge research. Sociologist, Prof Rajni Kothari’s books are standard texts in many universities, and the unique research organization he founded, Lokayan, was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Among the business barons, there are a long list of diamantaires – the founder figures of this industry like Surajmal Lallubhai and Amulakhchand Parikh, the pillars on which the modern industry took shape like Kirtilal Manilal Mehta, Mafatlal Mohanlal Mehta, Bagmal Laxmichand Parikh, Kantilal Chhotalal, S G Jhaveri, Kirtibhai Doshi, Arunbhai Mehta and others; and those who have built successful empires in other industries like U. N. Mehta, Fakhruddin and Habil Khorakiwala.

The Palanpuris have also excelled in the art of statecraft, whether it was the redoubtable Pitamber Mehta, who served as Vazir to the Nawabs, to the more contemporary Prakash Shah, who served as Ambassador and India's representative to the United Nations. Others who showed similar prowess in conducting negotiations, though in a different field are the trade unionists Kantibhai Mehta and R.J. Mehta, lawyer Dinesh Mody and political leader Nathalal Dahyabhai Parekh.

Finally there are the gems who turned their attention to the under privileged and needy sections of society – social workers who set up institutions and trusts that have worked for the all round development of Palanpur and its surroundings. These stalwarts include Kantilal Chhotalal Mehta whose vision created an educational revolution in Palanpur, Mafatlal Mehta, the diamantaire who set up Diwaliben Trust and contributed to various charitable causes, Dineshbhai and Maheshbhai Bhansali, whose largesse has benefited the rural people in many parts of India.

These are the real gems of Palanpur, whose achievements and contributions will be recalled and honoured for decades to come.
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