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31 Oct 2022
“Fragrant Folios: The Palanpur Story”: A Compelling and Comprehensive Compilation

It may have taken a little over a decade involving much travel, hard work and consistent research to give final shape to “Fragrant Folios: The Palanpur Story”. But the book, authored by the late Jitendra C. Mehta with active support from Kavinbhai Parikh, Dr Vikram Mehta, translator and co-author Amrit Gangar and many others, is a true gem that will be valued and treasured by all those who hold the City of Palanpur and everything it represents close to their hearts.

Released recently, this impressive 350+ page coffee table book, has been published by Parikh Foundation and Mahendra Brothers, and has an interesting blend of what the publishers describe as “rich in fragrance of the nostalgia as well as in futuristic flavor”. 

In a brief background to the publication, Kavin C. Parikh writes that “the seed for this book was sown long back when one fine moment the ‘idea’ flashed across my mind and I shared it with Dr. Vikram Mehta…  fellow traveller and humsafar, on whose shoulders I could rest my hands and walk miles along into Palanpur’s glorious past that beckons much brighter future…. We approached our old scholarly friend Shri Jitubhai Mehta… and the triumvirate walked very well, realising the size, depth and magnitude of this project.”

The book that emerged from the stupendous exercise they undertook is itself divided into four sections: History; a Socio-Cultural Kaleidoscope; Eminent Personalities and Charitable Institutions, and takes the reader on a momentous journey over the widest possible canvas. It is a rich mosaic of facts, stories, descriptive narratives, reportage and memories woven together into a compelling experience. 

History, geography and religion seamlessly blend together as the script moves from the founding of the city by King Prahladan Dev in the 13th century through the centuries to modern times, when Palanpuri diamantaires have not only led India to the pinnacle of the diamond and jewellery trade, but established mini communities in multiple centres across the globe. 

A vast number of small and large sketches covering the cultural diversity, the traditions, the festivals, the visionary nobility, the myriad occupations, the integration of communities, the political movements, the entrepreneurial families, achievers in business, literature and art and various other fields give one a remarkable overview of the richness of the tapestry that has made Palanpur a symbol of something larger today. 

Yet, the book is not just routine history-telling: the unique style embedded in factual information interspersed with personal memories and anecdotes, takes it far beyond being just a well-researched and meticulously documented encyclopaedia of information (which it undoubtedly is).

Kavinbhai notes in his introduction that “Palanpur is not only a piece of land defined by its geographical boundaries; it is much more than that… Palanpur, the tiny town of yore, is now a significant sprawling city of all modern amenities at its command… Palanpur stands apart for its noble, humanitarian services… Palanpur hasn’t grown in isolation. It has its own historicity… it is this meta-history that this book humbly attempts to inform us all.” The material in this volume has captured all this and more.

Enriching the book are photographs, sketches and other visual aids that complement the text and add value for the readers, helping them to visualise even more vividly what has already been exquisitely described in words. 

The Late Jitubhai Mehta, in his Author’s statement penned before he passed away in October 2019, wrote, “During one of our meetings, Shri Kavinbhai told me ‘Jitubhai, our love for dear Palanpur would re-kindle itself if we could bring out an interesting book with reliable information for our younger generation’.”

“Fragrant Folios: The Palanpur Story” has more than achieved this aim. 



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