Laljibhai Patel (Gujarati: લાલજીભાઈ પટેલ | Hindi: लालजीभाई पटेल) (Born 28 November 1955) is an Indian diamantaire and philanthropic social activist, who is the chairman of Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt. Ltd.(DDPL) and one of the barons of the Indian diamond Industry. He has been guiding Dharmanandan Diamonds for over three & a half decades now & has grown the very company to emerge as one of the largest and globally renowned diamond manufacturers.
Laljibhai Patel ranked in the top 10 wealthiest jewellers in India with a personal fortune of $480 million, a Wealth-X list of India's wealthiest jewellers released on July 1, 2015.
In 2015, he was honoured with lifetime achievement award by Retail Jewellers India for his contribution & success in the industry of luxury goods and his contribution to the betterment of society in Surat and throughout the State of Gujarat.
After moving to the city of Surat from his hometown, Ugamedi Laljibhai patel initially began his career as a trader in diamonds & soon gathered thorough knowledge of industry. Later, in 1985, along with Tulsibhai Goti, his childhood friend, Laljibhai founded a small diamond manufacturing unit named Shreeji Gems. The company grew & in 1993, it was registered as a partnership firm and renamed to Dharmanandan Diamonds. Under Laljibhai’s leadership, the business continued to grow and later after 14 years, on August 31, 2007, it was formally incorporated as Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt. Ltd. The company is De Beers Sightholder and manufacture polished diamonds in all shapes & sizes.
Laljibhai was born at Ugamedi, a village in Bhavnagar district & in the state of Gujarat, India, to a farmer family. He moved to Rajkot to complete his secondary school. He studied at Gurukul, Rajkot where he befriended with his current business associate, Tulsibhai Goti. Laljibhai married to Nirmalaben and the couple has two sons, Hitesh Patel & Piyush Patel, both of whom are now looking after Dharmanandan Diamonds.
Laljibhai has also took the task of addressing various issues of female foeticide, water conservation, education, health, and social illiteracy in to his own hands for the betterment of the State of Gujarat.
Under the presidency of Laljibhai, Samast Patidar Samaj has planned Maha Laddu Beti Bachao Abhiyan. To encourage people to participate with empathy in this movement, handful of grains and a glass of water were collected from 2,35,000 households to create a gigantic bundi laddu of 300,000 kilogram with the diameter of 65 feet and 35 feet of height. Moreover, with an appeal to stop female foeticide and cultivate the attitude of equality towards girl child, 170,000 6-page informative booklets were distributed throughout the state. On 1 January 2006, Surat witnessed a massive gathering of 1.2 Million people from entire Gujarat who took oath that we will never do female foeticide and prevent others doing the same. Limca Book of Records has proudly acknowledged this program.
This vast movement helped improve gender ratio in Gujarat at 890 girls to 1000 boys in contrast to 761 girls in year 2006 and has created psychological change, people start believing that girls are in no way less than boys. The discrimination is reduced to the level that people started celebrating birth of girl child as same as they do for the birth of boy child.
Growing up as a farmer's son, Laljibhai has always been concerned about rainwater conservation. He knew how uncertain rain affect annual crop yield. To resolve this, water conservation at very large capacity was necessary. To start in that direction, in his native village Ugamedi in Botad district of Gujarat, he dug 3 ponds of 3.5 km in length, up to 45 feet of depth & 400 feet of width that can store nearly 2.5 crore litres of fresh water, making them largest artificial ponds in Gujarat. The village river Sonal supposed to fill these ponds, however during following weak monsoon it was seen that these huge ponds could not be filled with river Sonal alone. After pondering over the condition he analyzed that there is another river Keri 2.5 kilometre away from village. He diverted water from river Keri that was flowing away to the ocean to river Sonal by RCC pipeline of 3 feet diameter to fill 3 huge ponds.
In this way, first time in India, he paid tribute to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his vision of interlinking rivers. This project aims to provide resolution to the perennial problem of the water scarcity and 90 percent funded by Laljibhai on his own.