Return to Main Site


14th January 1918
(Paush Sud Bij(2), 1974)

Dhutarpur, India


10th October 1998
(Aso Vad Pancham(5), 2055)

Leicester, U.K.


Govindji Madhavji was born on 14th January 1918 in the village of Dhutarpur in Gujrat India. His parents were Soni Shree Madhavjibhai Lakhubhai and Januma Madhavjibhai.


His birth was on a very auspicious day Makar Sankrant. One of the reasons perhaps that he was named Govindji. In those days parents and especially paternal aunts named children after names of Krishna so that when they called their children they would be reciting the name of Krishna and may also be so that good characteristics of Krishna would develop in the child.


Govindjibhai was the youngest of 7 children. He had 2 brothers Jadavjibhai and Devjibhai, and 4 sisters Ladhiben, Kasturben, Maniben and Diwaliben.


His childhood was spent in Dhutarpur with his mother and father. A very happy childhood was spent in Dhutarpur.


Little did he know that his destiny would take him to a land very far from his native Dhutarpur. Upon reaching his teenage years his brother Devjibhai called him to Kampala to work with him in his goldsmith business. The young Govindjibhai made the voyage to Africa. Many advised Devjibhai to educate this young man. So he went to school in Kampala and showed great aptitude and appetite for education. He lived with his brother in Kampala. Here he learned the goldsmith trade with his brother during his spare time. Education did not last long as his brother Devjibhai required Govindjibhai to join him in the business full time. Govindjibhai was most disappointed to leave education however in 2 years of education he learned English sufficient to write addresses and maths sufficient to run the administration in a business. Later when Devjibhai’s business folded Govindjibhai went to work in Vadilal’s goldsmith shop. The young man showed promise and was keen to learn. Vadilal soon realized that this young man was a craftsman of quality, honest and reliable. Govindjibhai was soon promoted to being the equivalent of foreman and manager in the shop with other men working under his supervision.


In the mid 1930’s Devjibhai began receiving marriage proposals with regard to Govindjibhai who was a most eligible bachelor at the time and the local Pattni community perceived that Govindjibhai was a young man who showed great promise and would be a great son in law for any family. Govindjibhai however had no intention of depriving his mother of the pleasure of attending to his marriage. Hence a trip back home was arranged for Govindjibhai’s marriage. Diwaliben had seen the prospective bride who was from a prominent and well respected Ghaghda family in Bhanvad. Govindjibhai then married Ottamben daughter of Soni Shree Pragjibhai Nathubhai of Bhanvad.


Govindjibhai soon realized that in order to be successful in life he would have to go into business for himself. The opportunity arose when Soni Shree Vallabhdas Gordhandas wished to sell his shop in Masaka and move to South Africa. Negotiations were afoot and with good references from the wife of Soni Shree Ratanshibhai Hirjibhai and help in negotiations for the business purchase from Soni Shree Popatlal Hirjibhai the young Govindjibhai became the proud owner of the shop in Masaka which he aptly named Govindji Madhavji Goldsmiths and Jewellers.


Govindjibhai and Ottamben were blessed with 5 sons and 3 daughters. In order of age Amratlal, Jayendrabhai, Navinbhai, Navnitbhai, Jyotsnaben, Ranjanben, Neetaben and the youngest Ashwinbhai. The family lived happily in Masaka, Uganda for many years. Govindjibhai also arranged for his mother to join him in Masaka and she lived with him and the family for 13 years. It was from his mother that Govindjibhai gained religious knowledge and wisdom.


Masaka was Ram Rajya for Govindjibhai. It was a close knit community and everybody whether Hindu, Sikh or Muslim always came to the aid of each other in good and bad times. Many visited Govindjibhai in Masaka, notably Lalu Ada, Damjibhai Devjibhai, and many of the other Pattni brothers in Kampala, Nairobi and Mombasa and other faraway lands. The good times in Masaka were cherished so much so that many Pattni’s who did not manage to be Govindjibhai’s guest in Masaka remarked accordingly.


The most fitting tribute came from Soni Shree Gordhanbhai Ratanshibhai who said to Govindjibhai when he and his wife visited in Leicester that “I sincerely regret not having had the time to visit you and be your guest in Masaka”.


Govindjibhai applied himself in business and was very successful. He knew the value of education and ensured all his children went to school and received every opportunity that he had sadly missed out on.


The years passed and Govindjibhai gained greater religious wisdom, business success gave him financial independence and he joined in many local functions and helped in many local developments in Masaka notably the Mandir building. He won the hearts of all who came into contact with him. All who knew him loved and cherished his friendship.


Govindjibhai was a loving husband, devoted father, obedient son, loving brother, a good friend and upright citizen of the world. Soni Shree Damji Devji called him “Bhagat” and sometimes “Padre”. His life long association with Soni Shree Mohanbhai Nathoobhai is a testament to the word friendship. This friendship lives on in the children and grandchildren of Govindjibhai and Mohanbhai. To his sister Diwaliben Govindjibhai was her favorite brother and often referred to him as her Kanudo.


Govindjibhai’s children grew up and one by one married. God blessed Govindjibhai with his first grandson in 1971 with the birth of Sundeep (son of Navinbhai). He experienced great joy at this time.


In 1972 with the advent of Idi Amin’s dictatorship sadly the family had to in a hurry leave Uganda. It was a very difficult time for the family. The family was split up in refugee camps in Belgium, Malta and Austria. Some were in the UK. Within a year the family was re-united in Leicester England.


In England Govindjibhai lived happily with his family for many years. He was instrumental in the setting up of the Parajiya Pattni Association in England and the meeting was held at his home at 56 Upperton Road in Leicester. The first President was Soni Shree Mohanbhai Nathoobhai his life long friend. They then held many functions together and worked tirelessly for the first census book.


Govindjibhai’s religious knowledge enabled him to conduct many ceremonies and advise and guide on religious matters to the Parajiya Community and the Asian community in general. He was always accommodating and never refused to help those who came to him for advice and guidance. He also helped the community along with Soni Shree Chhaganlal Raniga to set up procedures for conducting funeral ceremonies within the community. He selflessly provided time for the community whenever called on to provide a service.


Govindjibhai lived in England from March 1973 until his demise in October 1998. In this time he sincerely enjoyed his time with his children, grandchildren and great grand children. Whenever his grandchildren and great grandchildren visited he would take out his bag of £1 coins and give one to each.


Govindjibhai also recited the Sunderkand every week at the Jalaram Temple in Leicester. He was revered by all the bhagat community and the Asian community in general. Even the Priests acknowledged his wisdom and extensive knowledge of the religious texts. He could recite various sections of Gita, Ramayan and Mahabharat without reference to books. His knowledge in terms of interpreting and understanding the texts was phenomenal. Today this knowledge and understanding can be seen in part in his children and grandchildren.


Soni Shree Govindji Madhavji will be sincerely remembered. Those who came into contact with him considered it a privilege to have known and loved him, and have him as a friend. Govindjibhai’s family believes it to be a great blessing to have had such a soul as an elder (Vadil). His words, deeds and actions will live on in the hearts of his family for life.


Jai Shri Krishna