One of the senior-most veterans of the Indian gems and jewellery industry, Kirtilal K Doshi was felicitated on the occasion of the commencement of his centenary year by two trade bodies -- the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association (MDMA) and the Gemmological Institute of India (GII). Kirtibhai has been actively involved with both these institutions over many decades of his life.
Both organisations honoured him for his multi-faceted contributions to the gem and jewellery trade in India and also in recognition of his involvement in philanthropic activity. Senior office bearers of these organisations and trade veterans felicitated Kirtibhai with mementoes, sanman patra and shawl.
In his reply to the felicitations, Kirtibhai said, “I cannot predict the future of the economy or the trade but from my experience, I can surely say that longevity in the business is not a function of hard work alone. It is the passion, resilience and flexibility- these three virtues that help you.”
He continued, “In the 100th year of my life, I am content with what I have achieved. I am delighted by the friends that I have gained in the industry… Perhaps it is this larger family of diamantaires that is my biggest gain in the industry. I cherish your trust, love and support, to me and my family. I sincerely urge you to continue spreading this love and support to everyone in the industry, so that the Indian diamond family remains strong and agile. If each tree of the forest is green, the entire forest remains green. Same is true for our industry as well.”
A Brief Biographical Sketch
Born on October 12, 1922, in Palanpur, Kirtibhai graduated with Honors in Economics from the Elphinstone College, but chose to discontinue his studies in economics and law in 1942 to participate in India’s freedom struggle. He remained an avid reader and scholar from childhood and built up an impressive library of over 5,000 books which have by now been donated to various libraries across the country.
In 1942, Kirtibhai also joined the family business of gems and later after stepping into his father’s shoes, began importing polished diamonds under the company Kirtilal K. Doshi & Co, the first of the many pioneering steps he took. In 1956, he pioneered the import of rough diamonds and began cutting and polishing them in India.
Shortly thereafter, Kirtibhai also entered the gemstone trade, and helped establish the “Precious Stone Importers & Exporters Association” and the Gem & Jewellery Exporters Association (GJEA) in the 1950s to promote the export trade. In the 1960s, Kirtibhai was also actively involved, along with other trade stalwarts, in the formation of The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of which he became Chairman in 1971, and in setting up the Gemmological Institute of India (GII).
Kirtibhai was also appointed by Central and State Governments as a member on various committees for nearly 2 decades.
In 1982, he also founded Shrenuj & Co and steered it to take many pioneering steps for the trade.
Kirtibhai has also been an active and visionary philanthropist. He is associated with number of public charity trusts and educational institutions and other CSR activities.
He was the Chairman of Mahavir Jain Vidhyalaya, a 97-year old educational institution. He contributed to the cause of education in Jainism by setting up the Kalidas Sankalchand Jain academy at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara. He even donated generously to National Centre for Performing Arts (or NCPA) in Mumbai and the Shankar Nethrayala in Chennai. Due to advancing age, he has resigned from all institutions, except for his own charitable trusts. He also contributed generously to GIA and is on the list of their “League of Honour”.
Kirtibhai was the Trustee of the Palanpur Jain Kelvani Fund, Shri Jain Bhojanshala, Shri Vadil Vishranti Grah and Diwalibai & Kalidas Sankalchand Doshi Public Charitable Trust. He actively assisted in many fund-raising projects for flood and famine relief and other humanitarian causes.
He has also published 11 volumes in English and Gujarati containing quotes and wisdom of words collected by him over 6 decades.
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