Chhaganlal Karamshi Parekh

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Chhaganlal Karamshi Parekh popularly known as Chhagan Bapa (27 June 1894 – 14 December 1968) was a notedphilanthropist, social worker, who worked for up-liftment of poor, education and social reform of women.[1]

He was born in 1894 at Rajkot in Gujarat in a Gujarati Vaishnava family of Lohana caste.[1] In his young age he started his career as a clerk at R. A. Mucadam & Sons’ Chanda colliery in Jharia.[1] Later in 1914 he joined Lower & Upper Jharia Collieries located at Tisra, which were owned by Kutchi owners Gangji Dossa Jethwa & Khimji Dossa Jethwa.[1][2] The owners were very much impressed with his work and promoted him.[1][2] From here he progressed to start his own coal supply firm.[1]

He was among the committee members of historic All India Trade Union Congress meeting hosted at Jharia in year 1928 and shared dais with D. D. Thacker, Karamshi Khora and other dignitories.[3][4]

But in the year 1949, there was change in his life. He took retirement from his work and dedicated his life towards social service. He got inspiration for social work from Thakkar Bapa and became a member of Servants of India Society and served in relief works in Himachal Pradesh, Assam and earthquake relief works in Kutch.[5]

After, leaving Jharia in 1949, he spent almost a decade in Calcutta where he already had a house and offices for coal supply business.[2] Here, he helped founding Laxminarayan Temple & Dharamshala and Laxminarayan Trust Hospital atBhowanipore, both the establishments were funded by Gujarati diaspora of Calcutta, which included a handsome donation by him.[2] However, he later dedicated his whole life in social works and later shifted to Bombay, where he died in 1968.[2]

During the earthquake of 1956 in Kutch, he worked relentlessly for the relief work, collecting funds and doing other humanitarian services. In course of his works he was also responsible for laying foundation of Anjar General Hospital and the first only girls school of Anjar known as K.K.M.S. Girls High School for which he was able to generate a munificent donation from Khatau family and Smt. Maniben Khatau Sethia.[1]

At Bombay, he was inspiration behind starting of Lijjat Papad in 1959, which is a noted women’s cooperative[1] based atMumbai. He was also one of the founding member of Gujarati Dharamshala at Haridwar.[6]

The Government of India issued a postage stamp in his honor in 1999.[7]

The Laxminarayan Temple at Kolkata, have named the Hall in name of Chhagan Bapa as a memrorial to him.

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Chhaganlal Karamshi Parekh
Chhaganlal Karamshi Parekh popularly known as Chhagan Bapa was a noted philanthropist, social worker, who worked for up-liftment of poor, education and social reform of women. Wikipedia
Born: June 27, 1894
Died: December 14, 1968
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