Kantilal Chhotalal Mehta, popularly known as ‘Kanubhai’ was born in Calcutta on 4th July 1921. He completed his primary and secondary education in Palanpur. He performed brilliantly throughout his educational career.
Mr. Mehta showed a keen interest in social service and literature since his childhood and nurtured the ambition of becoming a doctor. But destiny took him towards diamonds and jewellery.
In 1941, at the age of 20, Mr. Mehta came to Mumbai to do trading in diamonds. He established the firm M/s Kantilal Chhotalal and began his business. His ability and skill brought him success within few years, and the business branched out and flourished in the country and abroad.
Mr. Mehta took the initiative to establish the Palanpur Samaj Kendra, a step that won him great appreciation among the members of the community as it was a major contribution towards bringing together all Palanpuri Jain and other communities in Mumbai. He introduced several social reforms among the community members, and helped develop pride in the feeling of being ‘Palanpuri.’
A multi-faceted personality, he had a thirst for knowledge and was fond of reading, building a large and valuable library at home. He was proud of being a Gujarati and treasured books in that language. He was very close to many poets and other literary personalities.
As a businessman and an alert citizen, Mr. Mehta had deep knowledge of laws and regulations regarding income tax, customs, banking, insurance etc. and was so well known for his knowledge of different subjects that senior officials of concerned departments often came to him for advice in their own fields. He was appointed as a member on the Dhahotre Committee appointed by Reserve Bank of India to study finance related issues for the diamond trade,
He had deep intricate knowledge of the diamond trade and as an expert wrote two books, ‘Diamond Export Business' and ‘Diamonds from India'. Mr. Mehta was always ready to extend a helping hand to all needy Palanpuris, without discrimination of caste or creed, whether it was for medical or educational purposes, or due to family circumstances. His outstanding area of philanthropy was education and he established the Shree Palanpur Shishushala Balmandir and Education Trust (now called Vidyamandir Trust) in Palanpur in 1948. This was a significant development, because Vidyamandir went on to play a very important role in the educational and cultural development of Banaskantha District.
His compassion can be seen in the establishment of Mamata Mandir, an institution for the education of differently abled children. The institution provides a range of facilities from education to rehabilitation, and strives to make these children self-sufficient.
Mr. Mehta passed away on January 24, 1993 in Mumbai. On his hundredth birth anniversary, we pay respects to our Founder, whose work has changed destinies.