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Prominent Profiles

Prominent Pattni Profile

Prabhudas D Pattni
- An inspirer

Prabhudasbhai’s Objective
To make the world a better place to live in

Family & Education


Prabhudas Damji Pattni was born in April 1946 in the family of Damji Devji Pattni.  He is the third son of Shree Damjibhai and Smt. Dudhiben.  Damjibhai started his life in a humble was and rose up in life to become one of the most respected and revered person in the Pattni community and outside.


 Parents -Late Smt Dudhiben and Late Shree Damjibhai                                  Brothers and Sisters                         

Prabhudas finished his primary and secondary education in Nairobi and then went on to University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology where he studied engineering in Cardiff.  


He then came back to Kenya in 1970 and got married to Shobha; daughter of Mohanlal Kalidas Patani of Dar-es-Salaam.  Prabhudas has two children, Bharat and Minal.  Bharat is an actuary and Minal holds a diploma in computer science.  Bharat married Kalpana Soni in 1996 and have two children Mehek and Rohan.  Minal married Rahul Kesarkar in 2003.
His hobbies are reading, Indian classical arts - especially music, Gujarati folk music and of course social service.


  Wife - Sobhaben          Son - Bharat and his wife Kalpana    Grand Children - Mehek and Rohan          Son in law Rahul Kesarkar and

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Daughter Minal  

Brief History


Prabhudas went to UK after his marriage in 1970 where he started Ayr Machines Ltd; a company manufacturing vending machines and doing a specialized fabric type of finish on walls and articles called Velvetex.  Ayr Machines also worked briefly on a DoD project on electrostatic management of talcum powder used on roofing felts.  He worked as the technical director for next five years and due to ill health, left UK and came back to Kenya.  For next six years, he worked in the family firm of Damji Devji Jewellers, at that time, the biggest jewellers in East Africa having five shops.  

He went back to his engineering profession in the year 1982 when he was appointed managing director of Venus Industries Limited.  This was a pioneering company manufacturing forged metal items.  Here Prabhudas had the chance to expand on his creativity and the firm manufactured many items that were manufactured in Kenya for the first time.  In 1987, the firm was contracted to manufacture ballot boxes for national elections.  At this time, he invented his fast bending machine for thin - up to 1.2 mm thickness - steel sheets to finish the job in time.  Another first, probably in the world, was the prototype mobile sisal decorticator machine that worked off a normal 80 h.p. tractor.  Venus Industries was one of the most respected firms in engineering.  Prabhudas retired in 2003.

After retirement, he decided to dedicate his life to social work and has been working ever since in social field.


Social Work


From very young age, Prabhudas has been involved in social work.  He has worked for many different organisations, but his longest service has been for the Pattni community and Hindu Council of Kenya.  He is the longest serving committee member of Pattni Brotherhood where he started as the chair in 1976 and now is a trustee.  This is almost 30 years of unbroken service to the community.  His work with Hindu Council of Kenya started in 1980 when he was co-opted as a managing committee member.  He has since worked with the Council becoming the national secretary, and eventually the national chair in 2000 and now serves the Council as a trustee.


The Second All Africa Hindu Conference was held in Nairobi in August 1998.  During this conference, the delegates decided to form Hindu Council of Africa.  Prabhudas was appointed as the Joint Secretary General and in 2003, he became the Secretary General.  The elections of Hindu Council of Africa are held every 3 years.  This year, during the elections, he was again elected for a further 3 years.


In recent years, he is working for the mentally handicapped people in Kenya.  He is the advisor and consultant to Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped.  He is also working in the same capacity for the National School Feeding Council of Kenya.




  1. President of Overseas Students Union, Cardiff
  2. Chairman of Shri Pattni Brotherhood; now a trustee.
  3. Treasurer, Parents Association of Highridge Primary School, Nairobi
  4. Member of the Board of Gandhi Memorial Academy
  5. Member of committee on metal products standards with Kenya Bureau of Standards
  6. Life member of Desai Memorial Foundation
  7. Chairman, Lions Club Nairobi (Host) 1993
  8. Vice-Chairman of Cutchi Gujarati Hindu Union
  9. Secretary of Education Board of Cutchi Gujarati Hindu Union
  10. British Asian Correspondent - Honorary Counsellor - with British High Commission
  11. National Secretary, Kenya Domestic Observation Programme (Observing national elections of 2002 in Kenya)
  12. National Chair - Hindu Council of Kenya, now a Trustee
  13. Secretary General - Hindu Council of Africa
  14. Consultant and Advisor, Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped
  15. Board Member - National School Feeding Council of Kenya
  16. Vice Chair - Character Counts Initiative, NGO working to re-establish values in society 
  17. Executive Committee Member of Inter Faith Action for Peace in Africa - A pan-African movement
  18. Member of Advisory Committee of African Council of Religious Leaders - a pan- African movement working for peace in Africa.



1.                  The youngest chair of Pattni Brotherhood in 1976.  Had very difficult task of healing the community after a major social problem in the community.  Did this through involving the children in variety cultural shows and children’s programmes.  Directed 3-4 Gujarati plays that won high critical acclaim.

2.                  As the secretary of Kenya Domestic Observation Programme that deployed 20,000 observers, one in each polling station throughout the country, briefed important foreign observation groups such as Carter Centre, European Union, British Parliamentarians, Commonwealth Secretariat etc.  One of the most successful domestic observation programmes on the continent of Africa.

3.                  Pioneering work in awareness creation in HIV/AIDS in Hindus in Kenya. 

4.                  Two historic pioneering political meetings held under Prabhudas’ national chairmanship of Hindu Council of Kenya.  Both were public meetings, one with the then government leaders and the other with opposition leaders.

5.                  As member of IFAPA and ACRL, attended many meetings and conferences for building peace in Africa.

6.                  Member of the pressure group for “Make Poverty History” global campaign in Edinburgh.  Continuing with the global campaign.

7.                  Has given important lectures on Hindus and Kenya and Hinduism and Peace at the University of Nairobi, United States International University, Nordic Countries Staff, international conferences and meetings.

8.                  Completely restructured Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped.  Managed to get the First Lady HE Lucy Kibaki as the patron of the society.  The restructuring has brought funding from international agencies such as Commonwealth Education Fund, USAID, Finland Government and Ford Foundation; for programmes for the betterment of the lives of the mentally handicapped in Kenya.

9.                  Restructured National School Feeding Council especially the Angel Girls Rehabilitation Centre - a school for very poor girls in the slums of Nairobi.




The following are some of the thoughts of Prabhudasbhai:


On Pattni Community


Pattni community needs to do a serious SWOT analysis to be able to identify the areas where there are shortfalls and at the same time identify our strengths and opportunities.  This sort of exercise ideally should be done in a group and the group will come out with the right recommendations.  However, I would like to make some observations. 


If one reads the history of our community as written by Sagarbhai Barot, few qualities of the Pattni community really stand out.  The first one is their courage.  Normally in any other community when 5 prominent people sit together, they are addressed as Mahajan; but a single Parajiya Pattni is addressed as Mahajan - Soni Mahajan.  This is because the Parajiyas have been protectors of people and many have lost their lives protecting people of different towns and villages.  We have the commemorative stones (Khambhi or Paadia) outside many such villages and town where our ancestors have given their lives.


The second quality that stands out is our philanthropy.  We always have given generously to community projects and even now there are some major philanthropists in our midst.

The third quality is our craftsmanship.  Mataji herself has given us this craft.  We should always value this gift of craft. 

 Looking at the above, we need to ask ourselves how we can improve ourselves in these three areas. 


I will start with the third quality - our craftsmanship.  In India we have managed to establish craft schools (Hunnar Shala).  These, to my mind, are not enough.  We should be establishing some form of learning process in terms of a guild where the very best of our craftsmen pass on their knowledge to the next generation.  This same guild will be able to certify the artisan’s skills and undertake research and development in our traditional craft to give it modern touch.  Such a guild will be of immense value to the community as a means of preserving the gift of our Mother.

 Coming to the first quality of courage, we can still make a huge difference to life if we engage ourselves in issues that affect our community.  I would say that the best of us should learn the craft of goldsmithing and others should have courage to explore the many different opportunities available.  If there is a commitment to the well-being of the community, they will direct their generosity towards the community.

I would very much like to see a Pattni National Youth Organization and a similar Women's Organization if possible independently registered but with strong affiliation to the PPS.  This should eventually lead to a Global Pattni organization bringing all Pattni organizations under one umbrella.  

 Immediately one thing becomes very clear that we need to re-establish our roots, re-discover our identity and then re-commit ourselves to our community to take it to greater heights.  We need to remember that we are the community.


 Importance of  Pattni Connection website  for our community


The Pattni Connection website seems to be of great need to the community.  What should a community website achieve?  It should inform, educate and interact.  Pattni Connection website seems to be doing all the three.  The website should also encourage people to exchange ideas.  One must remember that a website is a very useful tool but is not the substitute for personal contact.  This site will bring out the aspirations of our people.


The website has already all the ingredients of a successful website.
I want to congratulate you on the excellent website and the innovations.  It is truly a great site to visit. You have really created a good meeting place for the community.


Pattni Connection brings all of them together.  It is a great idea and must be kept alive and running, no matter how much effort is needed.  I wish you all the best and will keep on supporting you with whatever little that I can.


On visit to Edinburgh


I informed you sometime ago that I would be going to Edinburgh at the G8 meeting as part of the pressure group from around the world.  Our group of people from religious organisations and civil society numbered 65.  There were people from all over the world, mainly from poor countries, that were asking for greater amounts of aid for our regions.  I guess all the people are now fully informed about the meeting but a few comments would be quite in order.  The countries represented countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Equador, Columbia, El Salvador, Benin, Kenya, Mali, Bolivia and others.


The African countries mainly were asking that the G8 give 0.7% of their GDP yearly for Africa.  This amounted to about $50 billion which seemed a lot of money until we saw the "killer statistics".  For example, Americans ate $17 billion  worth of ice-cream every year; the Europeans spent $6 billion on pet food; and in Europe, the perfume industry alone does a turnover of $23 billion.  These are great amounts of money. A tube of mascara can help an African family for a month!!  We issued many statements and were given a wide coverage in the press.


I do not know how much we achieved but one thing I am sure of and that is that Africa is being taken for a ride.  For every dollar of aid that comes in Africa, Africa pays back $2.30. All those big words about justice and equality coming from the west are just that - words.  I did learn a lot and now I have a new perspective and am better informed to carry the crusade forward.


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