Sunday, 7 July 2013


Ramjibhai was the oldest of the three brothers in his family. Narbheram was younger than him and Girdharlal was the youngest. Narbheram was four years younger than Ramjibhai and Girdharlal was seven years younger.
Narbheram was born in Dhari on 25-11-1892. He was always in delicate health right from the beginning. Further he suffered from asthma, so he could not indulge in much physical activity. Since his health was not very good, he was not able to study much and was only limited to studies in Gujarati. Due to his delicate health it was decided that he should wed late. Many medicines were tried but as his health did not improve the well known vaidraj (ayurvedic doctor), Nrusinghprasad Girjashankar Bhatt was consulted. He examined Narbheram thoroughly and pronounced that if he took the medicines properly and followed the strict restrictions he advised meticulously, then he should not have any problems in his married life. Narbheram followed Nrusinghprasad’s instructions to the letter and also took the medicines regularly. As a result his asthma improved beyond expectations and his overall health also improved to some extent. After this he was sent to Jamshedpur, in 1915 when he was 23 years old, for a change of climate. The vaidraj felt that the dry climate there would suit him and help to overcome his illness. As his health further improved there, Ramjibhai decided that he should do some business in Jamshedpur. He started a small provision store for him with an initial investment of Rs.1,000. It was called ‘Oil Man Store,’ and stocked everyday items such as powder, soap, needles and thread. The lawyer Chatrabhuj’s cousin, Harilal was also made a partner in this shop. Over and above this a shop was also set up near the vegetable market in Amrely for him, in partnership with Manilal  Gulabchand.
Since Narbheram’s health showed remarkable improvement and the vaidraj also gave an assurance, he was engaged to Dalichand Karsanji Kamraj’s sister Hemkuvar in 1917-18. He was married the next year. Altogether he had five children, two sons Dharmachandra and Praful and three daughters Kanta, Mangala and Pushpa.
Narbheram was extremely good at accounts and he also had good business acumen, a sweet tongue and sociable nature. Due to all these attributes, Narbheram made good progress in his business. After ten years – in 1925 – Harilal separated from the partnership. In June 1926, he purchased the large store of ‘The Cooperative Society.’ He named it ‘Bombay Store.’ Along with this store, Narbheram also started to work in the field of automobiles. He took an agency for kerosene and petrol from Burma Shell. The owners of this store were registered as Narbheram and Co. Both the stores were then merged under this name, which is still in use.  His work in the automobile field increased from 1928. He got a permanent place and also opened a showroom. Thus Narbheram’s business increased and developed. From the small seed of a little shop a large number of shops arose. In 1930, when Narbheram’s company was converted into a Private Ltd. company it consisted of Oil Man Store, Motor Department Store, Kerosene and Petrol Store and a registered office in Calcutta.
Just like his elder brother, Narbheram was very religious and oriented towards social service and so he gave a lot of donations to religious causes.
In addition to this philanthropic orientation, Narbheram also possessed another commendable trait. Like Ramjibhai, he would also give advice and encouragement to others on how to start a business and stand on their own two feet. Narbheram helped many people in Jamshedpur to get jobs or start their own business and made them self reliant. When Narbheram went to Jamshedpur in 1915, there were hardly any Gujaratis there. Due to his business the number grew to over 2,000. The ways in which Narbheram and Ramjibhai carried out their philanthropic activities were very different. Narbheram focussed on making people financially independent. Priority was given to family members, then to people from his own caste followed by people from the place where he was born. Keeping this in mind he settled many Gujaratis.

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