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Bob Narandas at ISKCON dinner hosted at UKZN

March 2013

Bob Narandas honoured for his Outstanding Service to the Community in S. Africa

Devendra (Bob) Narandas


Devendra (Bob) Narandas was awarded the 2012 Recognition Award for his contribution to The Gujarati Hindu Sanskruti Kendra in Durban, S. Africa.


The Kendra recognises people from the community for their outstanding service to the Kendra & and the community.


Past Awardees:

2010 Jaisookbhai M. Valjee

2011 Elaben Gandhi, Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

and this year
2012 Devandra Narandas (Bob)

To date 25 people have received Recognition Awards from 2007 to 2012


Bob Narandas Profile:


Devendra’s early life followed the norms prevalent among his contemporaries. Born and raised in Victoria Street 66 years ago, he attended the Kathiawad Hindu Primary School and completed his secondary education at Sastri College. His vernacular education, running concurrently allowed a Standard 6 in Gujarati at the NN Desai’s Gujarati School in Bond Street and 2 years Hindi at the M L Sultan Tech.


Very often one’s commitment to serving on Religious and Cultural organizations is often determined by ones interests and experiences in early life. Whilst still at secondary school, at about the age of 15, Devendra out of curiosity laid his hands on “The Life and Works of Swami Vivekanand”. Like many who have the numerous volumes, interest in Hinduism and its multifarious aspects, once kindled, remains a life long passion. In those days, with trade and travel embargo’s it was difficult to find books on Hinduism at bookshops and public libraries.


To satisfy the desire of philosophy and practice, Devendra attended service at the Ramakrishna Centre, started at Umgeni Road Temple by Swami Nischehalananda in the early 60’s. The Divine Life Society opened in First Avenue and later in Reservoir Hills provided excellent reading material from Swami Sivananda. With a better grip of his identity as a Hindu, like many of his high school contemporaries, he often found himself engaged in lively interfaith discussions. This encouraged reading on Christianity, Islam and Comparative Religion. All this started a lifelong passion for reading. With his regular trips to India over the years Devendra had a personal library of some 400 books.


Devendra’s interest in community based organizations was kindled when, as a youngster, he accompanied his father to the AGM’s of the Kathiawad Hindu Seva Samaj. With increased involvement he was elected to the Management Committee.


In 1984 he represented the Samaj at the World Hindu Conference in New York. He served as patron and life member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness since 1972 and as Executive member and Treasurer of the First World Hindu Conference in Southern Africa in 1995. He is also life member of Vishwa Gujarati Parishad and the World Hindu Federation.


A Family Man

Married to Neelambara in 1965 with 5 children and 4 grandchildren Devendra is very much a family man. At an early age of 21 he assumed full responsibility for his family business. He was joined later by his younger brother Krishna who spent 5 years at the Goldsmith School in Pharzeim, Germany.


Contribution to the Jewellery Sector

Today Narandas Jewellers have become a household name. He played a meaningful role during the apartheid days to get the voice of Indian Jewellers heard. In 1970 at a conference in Swaziland held under the auspices of the various jewllery organizations recognition was given for the need of an organization for Indian Jewellers albeit a separate body. The SA Indian Goldsmith and Jewellers Association was formed and affiliated to the Jewellery Council of SA. It merely reported on its activities. It was only in the 80’s that Devendra was responsible for the merger with the whites only S.A Jewellers Association.


Quest for the Parajiya Soni history

He has often expressed concern that young people today need to be encouraged to remember their roots in terms of their religion, language and ancestry. He often uses this example of how, in his quest to understand the history of his people he had to rely on the help of his mother to complete the 7 volumes of Paraj Vansh Prakash (the history of Parajaya Pattani and Girnara Soni’s) written in Gujarati. One of his constant regrets is not having matriculated in Gujarati and Hindi.


Attending the Parajiya Pattni Soni World Conference at Dwarka


Jaisookhbhai M Valjee Dhanak (Kendra Awardee for 2010), Hareshbhai Maganlal Dhanak (Trustee, Jamjodhpur Samaj, Ex-President UAE Samaj),

Pranlal Chhaganbhai Arjan Dhanak (Webmaster, Pattni Connection),  Devendra (Bob) Narandas (Kendra Awardee 2012)


Bob, like many other Pattnis have a dream of uniting the Pattni Soni and form The World Federation of Parajiya Pattni Sonis. He attended the world conference held at Dwarka in December 2011 where he and Jaisookhbhai Valjee represented South African Pattni community.


Founder Member of Kendra

All these lifelong experiences prepared the way for Devendra’s involvement with the Kendra since inception. As a founder member and secretary (2002 -2004) he has been actively involved in every project undertaken by the Kendra. His adverts feature prominently on our Bridal Fair Brochure and the samachar, together with his R10 000-00 cash prize each year in our lucky draw at the Bridal Fair. His contacts overseas, especially in India, insures a regular flow of information, articles and funds (cash contribution for Navaratri from ICICI Bank) for many functions and projects.


This tribute is our way of saying thank you to Devendra - Bob Narandas