Noted businessman, philanthropist, and pioneer of the diamond community in Belgium Prabodh Kirtilal Mehta passed away on November 3rd, 2020, in Antwerp, Belgium. He is survived by his children Chetan and Neena, his daughter-in-law Seema, son-in-law Sonu Parikh, and grandchildren Esha, Ayush, Naman-Devika, and Umang.
Prabodh Mehta (21st August 1936) was born to Lilavati and Kirtilal Mehta, as one of seven, with three brothers and three sisters. At 17, he moved to Belgium and, together with his father, founded the diamond company Gembel in 1953. At the age of 18 he was left alone in Belgium, and became the backbone of the business, nurturing it to grow into one of the largest in the world, with offices in 10 cities.
He was a pioneer not only in the diamond business, but in venturing out of India. He was one of the first to set up shop in Belgium and paved the way for the 1,500-strong Indian business community there. Countless families and diamond businesses owe their beginnings in Belgium to Prabodhbhai Mehta.
In recognition of his contributions on the economic and social fronts to Belgium, Prabodhbhai has been bestowed the two highest civilian awards by his Majesty the King of Belgium, the “Orde Van Leopold II” in 1993 the “Albert II Koning Der Belgen” in 1994. He later moved to Dubai in 2008, where he founded Pace Gems, as well as continued his charitable endeavours.
In 1963, he married Usha Mehta, and raised their children, Chetan and Neena. In 1987, the family lost Usha, but he stood strong, acting as a rock for his children. Prabodhbhai was an active traveller, and sportsman who enjoyed swimming and exploring the world into his 80’s.
He was passionate about giving back to society throughout his life, and towards the later years focused solely on philanthropic work.
Prabodhbhai, his siblings and their father founded the Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre in Mumbai in honour of their beloved mother and wife. Today, Lilavati is one of the top 10 hospitals in India. The hospital remains a charity, providing healthcare at no cost to those who cannot afford treatment. The Lilavati diagnostic center in Palanpur was set up shortly after by Prabobhbhai and his family.
Additionally, he has donated to other organisations in the medical field, one example of which is the medical equipment he provided to Shrimad Rajchandra Mission in Dharampur, Gujarat. There remain many scholarships in Belgium and India that have been started by him such as the Ayush and Esha Chetan Mehta Scholarship at Menaben Manilal Mehta English School run by Vidyamandir trust, Palanpur. As a strict follower of the principles of Jainism, he was a strong backer of the many Jain institutions around the world such as the Gurudev Namramuni’s Parasdham Ashram.
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