Many leading lights of the Indian diamond industry returned to their roots as the Vidyamandir Trust, an education initiative that was launched by the pioneering diamantaires of the Indian industry from the town of Palanpur in Gujarat, recently celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Trust Chairman Russell Mehta of Rosy Blue noted that an attachment to their original hometown has continued to inspire the second, third and even fourth generations of diamantaires to give back to the city, even though their preceding generations had moved out from there in the pursuit of business many decades ago. Observing that the community has a shared sense of involvement and commitment, Mehta stated, “For many, Palanpur is as much a sentiment as it is a place — an embodiment of a spirit — a shared sense of working for the common good.”
Tracing the history and growth of Vidyamandir over the past seven decades, Managing Trustee Ashish Mehta of Kantilal Chhotalal particularly recalled the sterling role played by two visionaries — his father, the late Kantilal “Kanubhai” Chhotalal and the late Surykant Parikh. He also recalled the three initial donors — all of whom are no more — Kesarben Amrutlal Raichand Jhaveri, Leelaben Gaffurchand Mehta and Leelaben Surajmal Mehta, as well as the donation of a 56-acre plot of land by Capt. A.D. Lohani, whose generosity had made this possible.
Ashish Mehta said that Vidyamandir has strived to give a liberal, secular and gender-neutral education to its students, always emphasising the importance of extra-curricular activities and sports. He added that its latest thrust is to move towards integrating the tools of the digital age into teaching and to develop skill education centres where students are equipped for the careers and jobs of the future.
The event had as its guest of honour, Union Minister of State for Coal & Mines Haribhai Chaudhary, an alumnus of the institution, as well as Bollywood leading man Aamir Khan and HDFC group Chairman Deepak Parekh as special guests.