(1900 A. D. – 1979 A. D.)

Gagabha was one of the most popular respected and loved personality of our community. A man of prudence and soft spoken. He was calm, simple and pragmatic. He was extremely punctual, disciplined and self confidant. Everyone believed in his honesty and sincerity.

Shri Muljimal was born at Thatha in the year 1900 A.D. His education was not much as he studied up to middle school but he obtained rich experience through hard work and high values. When he was a child, his father Thawerdas lovingly called him “GAGAN” and in course of time, as he grew up, this pet name transformed into Gagabha or Seth Gagabha and this sobriquet carried the love and respect of his large family as well as the community up to the last days of his life on 2-7-1979.

When Gagabha was just 15 years of age, his elder brother Dharamdas expired and his father could not carry on the joint business. The business was well spread in Thatha, Karachi, Bombay, Dubai and Bahrain. Gagabha accepted the challenge, worked with dour determination and in course of time, he matured into a shrewd merchant and his business flourished. It was an import export business specializing on foodstuffs and commodity items. Gagabha was kind and compassionate and he started SAHITA FUND (help-aid) at Karachi in order to extend necessary help to the needy Bhatia families residing anywhere. He took active pat in Shewa Fund movement and became the member of the managing committee in the year 1923 and its president in 1932/33 at Thatha. He was managing committee member of Thathai Bhatia Panchayat at Karachi.

The partition of India in 1947 displaced Hindus from Sind and Gagabha migrated to Deolali. Soon he re-established his Bombay office in the commercial centre at Kalbadevi road. He also shifted his family to Malad (West), Bombay.

Gagabha was true sevak of the community. He advocated the re-establishment of our traditional organisations i.e. Thathai Bhatia Panchayat and Shewa Fund, and helped them to take concrete shape. A Shewa Fund’s flame flickered dimly after partition, he took up the charge in 1955 from ailing Shri Parmanand Haridas and continued the modest activity with the help of veterans like Shri. Ram Lilwa, Vishnu Saad, Ishwardas Haridas and some others. He was also the pioneer of Kewal Baugh Trust and Thathai Bhatia Parchayat at Kandivli. Gagabha had an uncanny quality of grouping diverse people together for an ideal and silently inspire them to contribute in kind or deed for the welfare of the community. With a sizeable donation for the plot from three philanthropist, Shri Khushalds Dagara, Shri Tulsidas Fatehchand and Shri Haridas Kewalram and construction expertise of Shri Ishwardas Bhatia and substantial financial help from Shri Hiranand Gajria and many others, he helped to raise the Shewa Find’s monument at Kandivli. He was the president of TBSF from 1958 to 1961 and from 1962 to 1978. He also helped to raise Kewal Baugh Trust with generous donation of plot by Shri Kumbhandas Kewalram and services from Shri Hemandas Pitambardas and others and also Thathai Bhatia Panchayat where he held the post of President for many years. Gagabha floated a private trust, Thawerdas Janimal Thathai Bhatia Trust, and donated a sizeable amount to Bhatia General Hospital and a free bed has been reserved for needy patients as also extend monetary help to deserving persons. He was Mg. Committee member of Nasik Panjrapore, Marwar Dharamshala, patron Malad Kandivli Education Society (N.L. High School), trustee of Kuwanbai Trust and was connected with many other organisations. Thus his humanitarian services were quite expansive.

In spite of his illness in later years of his life, he continued to serve the society up to the end of his life. Gagabha’s sobriety, wisdom and foresight are of great contribution to the betterment of our three institutions in Bombay. He is fondly remembered by one and all.

Compiled by Late Shri MULJI GANDHI

Courtesy Sampark – November 1994 to March 1995 Issue