Different Dialogues: Interview with Extended & Enlarged Interviews of Harshad R. Mehta – Chairman of 7Cs, Dubai, U.A.E.

With the substantial gap between our previous interviews – I decided to follow up with Harshad R. Mehta to continue the gist of his storyline for my readers. Hence, one afternoon, I was engaged in a conversation with him at his office in DAFZA – Dubai, UAE.

Speaking about Harshad Bhai (as he is fondly called by everyone) – there is a high chance that I will not be able to describe the nobility he possesses… I can only make practical use of the phrase: “Harshad Bhai is simply loaded with a kind heart”. I can say this because I do believe that he finds the ultimate joy and fulfillment, only, by giving his time and resources for many, many charitable causes! This seems to have become his main goal in life.

It is an open secret that Harshad Bhai keeps looking for outlets with no criterion for comparison of caste, creed, or, religion. That’s the best way – I know the man to be! He is always planning to give back to society.

As usual, our session was informal and we touched on topics of illiteracy, social conditions and charity.

Harshad Bhai is very clear on his intentions. He states with clarity, ‘For me anything which requires to be done in society – I want to do. I want to do more now through my own network. This is a big step. I know, I can do more work with this type of a model – where I can convince people who are connected with my own network’.

I look at him with a sense of happy surprise and enquire from him, ‘But, aren’t you already doing a lot?’

I get an instant reply. ‘God has given me much more than I wanted. Everybody should know how much they want. Greed is bad. You have to give up on greed. Greed must go 20 years before one’s death’.

I ponder on his statement for a few moments and realize how much good sense it makes. Greed must go 20 years before one’s death.

Harshad Bhai continues. ‘I believe, if you can do anything which is good for others, then it must be done. We must do it’.

I proceeded to ask Harshad Bhai more questions.

I asked him as to how he is able to find so much time for philanthropy. He replies in a simple manner. ‘As far as business is concerned, my son, Rihen, has taken over the major responsibility. However, I am always there attending to the business which requires my attention’.

I raise the query of his recent trip to Nepal. Harshad Bhai responds by explaining, ‘For me, Nepal is not a separate country. My heart says, it is one of the states of India. I want to spend more time in Nepal and use my network to do good work for the poor in Nepal’.

He elaborates on Nepal. ‘I was hearing about Nepal for quite some time. I have had a useful trip to Nepal and seen the charitable work being done in the poor, under-developed places. I got very good explanations from a gentleman, Ramesh Jain, who has done commendable work for EKAL over there. There are many Indians doing very fine work in Nepal’.

EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation-India is one such organization which Harshad Bhai supports with a lot of affection. The idea of educating the tribal children in India, or, for that matter – giving education to the down-trodden sections of society (regardless, of caste or religion) is a matter of priority for him. Education is vital for any nation – that’s the precious motto in Harshad Bhai’s life. But that’s not all… he has other arms of charitable causes reigning his kind heart!

I have known that the following organizations are also being supported by the generous stalwart.

1) Alpha Palliative Care.
2) Project Life, Rajkot.
3) Navjyoti India Foundation.
4) Sanali Ashram.
5) Action Care.

And there might be more!

As I was wrapping up the interview, Harshad Bhai sums up the essence of his thoughts. He tells me, ‘I have seen the atmosphere of charity ever since my childhood. My father and mother were more in religion, plus, charity. I will repeat, anything which requires to be done in society – I want to do’.

We both concluded the dialogue with our smiling nods. I finished the sweet coconut water which was being repeatedly served to me by the good old bearer, Mathre. In Harshad Bhai’s office, it is one big family… literally! The hospitality and warmth is special. That’s the feeling which the visitors cherish over there.

I walked back to my car in a mood that felt blessed!

Just on the last note, I must share something with my readers. Some years back, the first meeting that I had with Harshad R. Mehta became the stepping stone for me to help me identify my own soul’s call.

In the course of these years, I have realized that there are remarkable things being done for the poor, the needy, the helpless: by many noble individuals. This worthy work is being done universally! I feel strongly that only those people are able to perform charity who have been chosen by God Almighty… because not everyone can match up to God’s favoritism!

Well, Harshad R. Mehta is surely and continuously enjoying the grace of the Maker.

Recap of the conversation with Mr. Harshad R. Mehta – Chairman of Rosyblue (More than Diamonds) Dubai, U.A.E., which appeared in the month of October 2010.

Background: A visionary diamond entrepreneur, achieving true to life goals in philanthropy.

He has an instinctive skill of getting into the root cause of a problem and gallantly gives guidance to solve it. With a single-minded devotion, he will give a patient hearing to anyone who comes with a genuine cause. He listens with rapt attention to good view-points of others, but will not waste a moment on something that crops up as irrelevant. He implements his faith in individuals through his evolving intuition. Everything in his conversation shines in a simple manner. Born on 15th August 1947, Harshad R. Mehta’s success stories are what we see and read from the direct contributions he has made to various charitable organizations. To translate his own impression, Harshad Mehta naturally feels the absolute need to ‘share’ his wealth by his own acts and concepts that are reconstructing lives of so many. For a man committed to the sparkling business of diamonds, the theory of karma, is more than the weight of pure gold. Fully a voice for this doctrine, (proclaiming the total effect of a person’s action and conduct during the successive phases of existence), the philanthropist will not dismiss any deserving level to be given all such help that it may need. That is the background of Mr. Harshad R. Mehta who is also considered as the Diamond King with a huge network in over 15 countries employing around 15,000 people globally.

Since 1995, a cumulative figure of around US$ 4 million donated to The Rotary Foundation alone decides how Harshad Mehta is defining his actions.  With his characteristic nature and dexterity, he is attached to other charitable bodies, also.  He is the Chairman of the Governing Council of LIFE.  Amongst its additional activities, LIFE manages the Rajkot Voluntary Blood Bank in India, and is affiliated to the American Association of Blood Bank.  The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, focusing its primary education programs for the tribal and other underprivileged communities in rural India is another pet-project of Harshad Mehta.  The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation’s goal is to achieve the national standards of Minimum Level of Learning (MLL) for its pupils.  The Ekal Vidyalaya movement aims to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India by 2011.  To date, Ekal Vidyalaya is a movement of over 26,719 teachers, 5,000 (approximately) voluntary workers, 22 field organizations (scattered in 22 Indian states), and 8 support agencies as on January 2009.  With this tremendous human force, The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation strives to create a network of non-formal schools that will educate and empower children in rural and tribal India.

Based in Dubai now, Harshad Mehta spends substantial time traveling to India and elsewhere. He considers his spouse, Naina Mehta as an enormous support who equally pursues his causes for charity.

Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. I have always been of a philosophical bent of mind. I believe that one’s needs should be minimal. Once I became successful and I had more than I needed – I started devoting my resources for the betterment of people around me. So I would say that the turning point of my life was financial success.

Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?
 A. I have a lot of enthusiasm and wish to do many things personally, including going to places where my NGO activities are ongoing. However, I am unable to do so at times, due to my health. If I could, I would like to have led a healthier lifestyle taking care of my health better. So I could enjoy participating in all these activities today.

Q 3. What are your future dreams?
A. I have more or less retired from active business life and spend most of my time on social activities. I would love to be able to increase my activities in these areas, whether within The Rotary, LIFE (a NGO out of Rajkot) EKAL or others, and also wish that I am able to influence like-minded people to join in.

Extended & Enlarged Version of Mr. Harshad R. Mehta – Chairman of Rosyblue (More than Diamonds), Dubai, U.A.E.

Background: A visionary diamond entrepreneur, achieving true to life goals in philanthropy. President of Young Comrades Cricket Club affiliated to the Mumbai Cricket Association. Serving Member on the Managing Committee of Garware Club House. Past Chairman of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council. Past Vice President of FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations). Vice Chairman in the Dubai Diamond Exchange Committee (DDE). Chairman of the Governing Council of LIFE. Past President of the Rotary Club of Bombay Metropolitan. He made the single largest contribution of US$ 1 Million for Rotary Foundation in the year 2006. Receiver of Philanthropy Award 2013 in UAE.

Q 1.   In your view, what is most important in life?  Accordingly, name three aspects, important in life.
A.   (a) Family values, Family bonding and respect for each other.
(b) People should be happy dealing with you.
(c) Anyone who is asking for ‘help’ – do not say ‘no’ and see ‘what part you can play to assist’.

Q 2.   If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
A.      I am lucky that I am doing what I am doing.  However, I love sports, especially being a coach and to train.

Q 3.   What motivates you to achieve your goal?
A.      The lessons I learnt from ‘my past’.

Q 4.   How do you handle stress and pressure?
A.      Through: reading and music.

Q 5.   Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your child/children?
A.      (a) Being very honest.
(b) At all times, do your homework thoroughly.
(c) Be sure of facts and figures in a business model.

Q 6.   Who is your favourite author?  Which book of your favourite author have you enjoyed the best?
A.      Girish Ganatra, Gujarati author.  All his books are great as his writings are based on real life situations with lessons to be learnt.

Q 7.   What are you pursuing currently, by the way of a light hobby, or by the way of a serious goal?
A.      Swimming is my light hobby.

Q 8.   In the last 1 year, is your particular goal advancing?  Which is that goal/dream?
A.      Yes, my particular goal is advancing.  The goal is ‘fund raising for good causes in various NGOs’.  We are getting good results supporting EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India and more people are coming forward to assist in furthering the cause.  Also, now we are getting associated with The British Asian Trust to identify, sustain and strengthen good ‘NGOs’.  British Asian Trust (BAT) was founded in 2007 by a group of British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.


For further information, check website:
www.ekalindia.org &www.999life.org



Geeta Chhabra

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