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Untold stories of Surat Billionaires

Surat, famously known as the Diamond city has been the hometown of a lot of Billionaires. There are so many examples where people have proven the rags to riches kind of stories.

The things which have kept all these billionaires grounded are the struggles, sacrifices and at last the humble beginnings they have carved for themselves.

We have curated a list of top billionaires in Surat for you to read. All of the below stories have taught us one thing that money isn’t everything. If you want to become something, put in a lot of hard work, dedication, and talent and the success will follow. 

So let us have a look on a few of the stories of top Surat businessmen:

Savji Dhanji Dholakia

Savji Dholakia

 An Indian diamond merchant and founder chairman of Hare Krishna Exports, a diamond manufacturing and exporting company. Savji Bhai was born in a farmer family in Dundhala, Amreli, Gujarat. When Dholakia was 13, he fled to Surat and started working in a factory.

When he returned from Surat his father asked him to focus on studies but his mind was somewhere else. One day he decided to go to Swami Narayan Sampradaya as his family was an avid follower. He asked Swami to tell him a way that would help him to make his life filled with happiness.

Then the Swami asked him to chant 108 names of various Gods for 11 lakh times and said that after doing this anybody can do anything.

After doing this Dholakia had a realization that he is capable to do anything. Then with this motive, he returned back to Surat and continued his job. He used to earn Rs139 from which Rs140 was spent on eating.

A coworker of his used to earn Rs1200 at that time. Savji’s determination was so strong that he worked very hard for 4 months and reached a position where his fellow co-worker was. Savji was involved in rubbing diamonds. He learned a lot from his work. He used to call a few of his friends and started rubbing diamonds in his own house.

He had gained so much knowledge in the diamond rubbing business that he went to Mumbai to expand his little business. He named his newly formed company as Green Krishna Diamond’s company. The turnover of this company was Rs1 crore in 1991. In 2014 the turnover of the company is Rs 2100 Crore.

Green Krishna Company was renamed as Hare Krishna Diamond company and has outlets in seven countries of the world. Apart from this, their diamonds are available in 5,000 thousand showrooms around the world. Known for his very humble behaviour, Dholakia in 2016 gifted 491 cars and 200 flats as  Diwali bonus to employees.

Mr Dholakia’s beliefs are, always stay true to your soil, no matter the amount of money you earn in your lifetime, payback when you are capable of.

Lavji Daliya (Badshah)

Lavji Bhai is also known as Badshah for his whole-hearted social services. Born on 20 July 1972 in Senjaliya village of Bhavnagar, Gujarat. He had the courage to rise above the ordinary level without having basic education, he emerged as a Real Estate player of Gujarat. The economic condition of the family was not good. Lavji used to accompany his father to the fields. But this was not enough to run a family of six. Thus he came to Surat with sixty bucks in his pocket so that he could support his family with a decent livelihood.

For several months he worked 16 hours a day but couldn’t send a penny back home. It took four months for him to learn diamond polishing. Months after Mr Dhirubhai Narola, a diamond merchant offered him a job in his factory after seeing his work.

In 1993, he thought that he should start his own diamond business. So he asked Mr Dhirubhai whether he could loan him some amount. Seeing his sincerity and dedication towards work Mr Narola couldn’t refuse. In 1995, he entered the construction business and started a company called Shree Infra.

Initial profits were low in the business still he used to distribute the profits amongst his colleagues. Gradually, he started learning the intricacies and complications of the real estate sector and after enriching the experience. Under a new name Anjani Infra(2008) he achieved a lot.

Fast forward to 2017, his company has completed the construction of 15000 flats. By achieving the construction contract of Awadh, they became the pioneer amongst reputed construction sites in Surat, Ahmedabad, Navsari. 

Lalji Bhai Patel

Laljibhai Patel - A Journey to Heart of Millions - YouTube

Lalji Bhai Patel is an Indian Diamantaire and Philanthropic social service activist. He is the chairman of Dharmanandan Pvt. Ltd. Born on 28 November 1955 in Ugamedi, a village in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat his family used to earn from doing farming activities. To complete his secondary education he went to Rajkot where he met Tulsi Bhai (his business partner) and thought of building a diamond business empire. He knew that he had to start early in his career in order to make something big.

None of them knew about the nits and grits of the diamond business. He started his business in 1974 along with Tulsi Bhai and started a factory in the early 80s named their business entity as Shreeji Gems. 

Fast forward to 2007, the trust they Tulsi bhai and Lalji had for each other grew tenfold and they named their organization as Dharmanandan Diamond Pvt. Ltd.

Lalji Bhai came into limelight when he purchased Narendra Modi’s suit in an auction. His philanthropy includes working towards water conservation, education, and social work for females. He also ran a few campaigns, amongst that “Save the Girl Child” was the one he supported the most.

Jayesh Desai

Matching capacity demand and supply - The Hindu BusinessLine

Jayesh Desai is the Chairman of the Rajhans Desai-Jain Group. Coming from Parawadi village in Bhavnagar, his father owned a small grocery shop. 

As a young child, Mr Desai was crazy about cars but due to financial hardships his family couldn’t afford one. He went to Mumbai where he used to work in a ball bearing shop at a monthly salary of Rs300. He didn’t like the job so he came back to his village. He used to sell groceries for three years. Frustrated he became over these years selling groceries. 

One of his friends came to his village who used to broker a diamond business. He persuaded him and came to Surat. He slept in the diamond shop for months and used to run that in the day.

After saving a decent amount of money he started his own business of oil. His father used to send him oil from the village. The shop flourished in one month and did a profit of Rs10,000 which kept on multiplying later. He had meals at a lodge which was Rs400 per month and skipped his breakfast a lot of times. After many struggles initially, his business started making profits after two years.

Gaining experience in this sector, he started his brand called Rajhans with two oil tanks. He then expanded his business to other states. After success in the oil business, he ventured into textiles and made his mark in that business area as well.

He used to visit a lot of multiplexes in Mumbai, so he thought that Surat should also be exposed to modern seating cinema. Thus starting up Rajhans Cinema.

A chain of restaurants under the name Rajhans Enjoys is also doing well. Later in 2004, he thought of entering into a totally new playing field that was a construction business. Now 70% of his business is in construction. Rajhans Group is a 2500 crore group and Jayesh Bhai is the chairman of the company.

Mahesh Savani

Mahesh Savani | Outlook Business

Mahesh was born in a well-to-do family in Saurashtra Ranparada village. His father Vallabh Bhai started off as a laborer and slowly ventured into a diamond business which was expanded by him and his brothers.

In 1978 his father installed one machine and started the manufacturing unit and by 2004 their annual turnover was Rs150 crore.

He went to Bangalore to study civil engineering. He had learned all the business tactics from his father. In 1990 he became part of their family business. They manufactured 35,000 diamonds a month but after he joined, they manufactured 3 lakh diamonds a month.

He expanded his business in Hongkong and Mumbai. But after 2003 there were some legal cases against him which put him in a bad spot for some time and he shifted to Mumbai and then to Belgium for some time.

Then after he returned to Surat he shifted to the Realty business. The business started in 2008 which was an instant success. They do business under the name of P.P. Savani which builds schools, universities, hospitals. Now the turnover of their business is 1000 crore.

In 2010, he organized the first mass wedding for the people who couldn’t afford weddings for their children. He does this social work because it makes him happy. He asked around for the girls who don’t have parents and can’t afford the expense of a wedding. Each wedding costs around 4-5 lakhs and 250 couples every year get married in the P.P. Savani school ground in Surat, all in one day.

Did these stories inspire you to be the next billionaire from Surat? Talk about your ideas in the comments section below.

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