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25 Oct 2023
Community Pays Tributes to Pravinbhai (Esso) Zaveri, A Legendary Life Devoted to Selfless Service

In mid-October, the Palanpuri samaj mourned the passing of a true legend, Shri Pravinbhai (Esso) Manilal Zaveri, who dedicated over six decades of his life to providing a unique and selfless service to the community by offering every type of assistance to families mourning the loss of a loved one.

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Pravinbhai, then working at Esso company after graduation from Wilson College, had begun to voluntarily offer this unique service to the Palanpuri community and others – he would visit the house where a death had occurred and selflessly take charge of all arrangements for the Antimyatra. It was a time when no professional services could be called upon to carry out the multiple tasks needed at such moments – from washing and dressing the body to arranging for materials for rituals and even ice for preserving the body until relatives from afar could arrive, as well as making all preparations at the crematorium.

Within a few years, Pravinbhai Esso, as he came to be known, was recognised for his support to distressed families at the time of their loss and he would be immediately informed by someone or the other about news of any deaths within the community. True to his nature, Pravinbhai would visit the family immediately, irrespective of whether it was day or night, and even take leave from work to provide them all types of support in their moment of grief.

Ever since then, for nearly 60 years, with a brief break enforced during the pandemic, 24x7x 365 Pravinbhai helped with the cremation of more than 3,000 dead bodies of the community members and others when the families of the departed were in deep sorrow. He continued this as the process of cremation moved from wood pyres to electric furnaces, and long after professional companies began offering these services while charging for it. Moreover, he would personally ensure that every one of the mourners, who were often distressed and tired, was offered a cup of tea soon after the formalities were completed.

Around 1980, Pravinbhai left his job with Esso after completing 24 years of service, though he continued to be recognised by the name of that company during his entire lifetime. He began working as a broker in the Mumbai diamond market. While this, gave him greater flexibility to continue with his passionate support for mourning families, it is also noteworthy that he brought the same spirit and work ethic to his business. Most of the industry followed the rupee-dollar exchange price that he finalised each morning for internal trade. Pravinbhai also played a key role as an informal intermediary, bringing together different parties whose needs matched, to complete a transaction. 

Over the years, Pravinbhai was also known for his large-hearted nature. It was common to see him every evening in the Opera House area offering all known acquaintances a cup of tea; and he felt personally offended if the recipient of his generosity ever offered to pay! And of course, if he came to know that any family was facing problems – financial or of any other nature, Pravinbhai would try and use his network of contacts to assist them during such a difficult time.

Pravinbhai also was reluctant to appear in the limelight. Over the years, there were quite a few times when committee members of Palanpur Samaj Kendra decided to recognise the work he was doing by presenting him with an award. However, on every such occasion, he politely declined the invitation to be felicitated, insisting that he helped people not for awards or publicity, but only with a spirit of service.

The entire community mourned his passing this month and it was a clear sign of how much respect and admiration he had earned during his lifetime that a hugely attended condolence meeting was held at Bharat Diamond Bourse on Friday October 20, 2023. Among those who paid their tributes to him at the meeting were Anoop Mehta of BDB, Kiritbhai Bhansali of GJEPC, Bharat Shah of MDMA and PSK, Arvind Parikh of DEAL, Anup Zaveri and Vipul Shah on behalf of Pravinbhai’s family and many senior and well-known diamantaires including Ramnikbhai Shah, Sanjay A. Kothari, Mehul Shah, Nitin R. Shah, Kaushik Mehta, Rohit P Shah and others. Kumar Mehta of PSK conducted the meeting. At the end a resolution acknowledging the exceptional contributions of Pravinbhai was passed by all those in attendance.

Click here to view more photos of Condolence Meeting


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