II Jai Shree Swaminarayan II
Dr. H. V. Kerai (Ph.D.)
“Hall Of Fame Awardee”
Dr. Harjibhai Valjibhai Kerai usually known as Dr. H.V.Kerai(Ph.D) has been a very popular writer in Kenya and India in both English and Gujerati readers. He is a long time writer as he started writing for newspapers and magazines in Kenya since 1954 while he was a primary student.
He started writing in Gujerati in Shobha, Daily Chronical and Natuan Africa, where his special weekly column on Hindi Film Review became very popular.
He became the mouth piece of Indian dominated Kenya Freedom Party in 1956 and started writing regularly in English on Freedom Struggle in the Sunday Edition of East African Standard, the very vastly read English Newspaper of Kenya.
After successful completion of G.C.E. “A” level from London University, Dr. Kerai completed the evening course in Civil Eng. In Kenya Polytechnic and achieved Dip in Civil Eng in 1962.
Apart from writing articles, Dr.Kerai earned enough to meet his expenses by giving tutition at home. He also gave news in Gujerati on Kenya Broad Casting Service and lately, he also served as a teacher in the school he studied in Sharda High School.
After taking keen part in the independence celebrations of Kenya in 1963, where he was given a special award of appreciation by the first President of the Nation for his outstanding renderance, Dr. Kerai left for India to meet his parents and wife who had left Kenya earlier.
He was very ably welcomed in Bombay by the Indian News Media in the Press Conference arranged by the then Editor of Femina Mrs… Memon who had earlier met Dr.Kerai during her Kenyan visit. Dr. Kerai also contributed articles for women regularly in Femina Magazine.
He stayed in the village of Rampur Vekra in Kutch for some time. His visit was nicely published in the daily Kutch Mitra. He visited Bhuj Swaminarayan Temple often and turned out to he a favourite follower among the prominent saints of the temple. He gave his voluntary services to the temple in account section and important correspondence.
In the meantime Dr.Kerai was selected by the Bhuj Swaminarayan Temple to perform the Holy Yagna sponsored by the very welknown Sankhyogi Bai Kanbai Fai of Rampur Vekra where Dr.Kerai outshined as a very successful organizer of the holy event where nearly a lac of Swaminarayan followers Participated.
Dr.Kerai’s outstanding performance was appreciated by the Saints and the followers of the faith. He was the first follower of the faith to be assigned such a religious responsibility.
Apart from being a writer Dr.Kerai very much wished to be a medical doctor. He had no enough funds and time for a degree course in Medicine so he went to Bombay to look for a short and economical medical course.
As he was unable to get the course of his choice, he joined Nagpur Ayurved college and completed a three year course of Ayurved Vaid Visharad (A.V.V)
He was not very happy with the course as Ayurved Vaid had no good status in the society at that time.
In the meantime he joined Akhand Anand Ayurved Centre in Ahemedabad. He also started his own readymade cloth business and later on his own Kerai Printing Press that all were destroyed completely during the communal riots in Ahemedabad.
Financially broken, he went to Kutch. He developed the farm of his father and carried out some very modern techniques of farming which amazed the farmers around.
He also managed to unite the farmers of five villages around and registered a very workable Farmer’s Union. He had a regular talk on farming in All India Radio every week that turned out to be very popular. He also managed to circulate special News letter among farmers of Kutch.
During India Pak war, Dr.Kerai joined as a first Aid Volunteer in Bhuj General Hospital. He was selected in a team to go to the Rajasthan boarder and help the Medical team. He rendered some outstanding services to the boarder army and was awarded with Honorary Doctor of Medicine (M.D.H) by the Rajasthan Medical Council of Ajmer. He was also awarded with R.M.P Certificate by Gujarat Government.
He gave some outstanding articles over his venture on the boarder in Times of India and Kutch Mitra. He attended a huge Press Conference in Ahmedabad and Dr.Kerai became a very popular figure of Gujerat at that time.
Dr.Kerai started giving free medical services to his village and surroundings.
His elder brother Shree Kanjibhai who had well settled in Kenya came to know about the worsened situation of his younger brother. He came to India and arranged for him to go back to Kenya.
In Kenya he joined a plumbing and sanitary firm Aqua Plumbers. Later on he joined his elder brother in Nakuru as the production and blasting manager in a huge ballast quarry.
He came in good contact with the first President of Kenya late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who passed nearby his place during his resting time in Lake Nakuru Guest House. Dr.Kerai arranged a special meeting of prominent Hindus with H.E the President at his Rongca Farm.
He rendered his special column on Indian Politics in Sunday Nation, Voice of the people column in Kenya Times and articles on Health in Sunday Standard. He had a special column on “Weekend special” in the weekly Magazine, very popular edition in Rift Valley Provoince.
Later on he started his own construction firm Marble Construction with his elder brother. Later on he became the managing Director of the well established and “A” Grade construction firm Buildtect Limited with well to do famous Shahs of Londra Limited. He carried out some gigantic construction jobs of Schools, Hospitals, Residential Schemes, Bank, Town-Hall in Rift Valley Province of Kenya. On the other side he registered “Havake Enterprise “B”Grade on his name for civil works. He carried out some huge projects of sewerage.. roads and site and service.
His both firms got enough projects in Rift Valley Province. He won good construction and civil work jobs in Barings District.
He helped the people around his work place with schooling, health care, water facilities and electricity by arranging very fruitful fund raising programs. He also came forward to contribute generously in most of the local projects.
He donated the twelve room timber structure school on Naivasa Road. He also managed to build primary school in Kerio Valley. He also donated to build a Health Centre in Isiolo where he had some construction and civil work job for about three years.
His huge timber mill on 80 acres of pine and cyprus trees forest donated a Health Centre in Kabazi area nearby. He introduced Ayurvedic Remedies in the centre.
By the year 1985 Dr. Kerai had already been a national figure as he was involved in several national organizations as a key figure.
He served as the National Treasurer of Child Welfare Society of Kenya that had 12 branches in Kenya. He very ably handled the project of Street Children sponsored by the International Organisation of Child Labour (ILO)and settled nearly 3800 Streets Children in schools and homes. He used to attend the Annual Meeting of the Organisation in Geneva every year.
He was also the Provincial Treasuser of Association of Physically Handicaps of Kenya (A.P.D.K) covering 24 centers. He managed the Mobile Clinic services of the Association.
He outshined as a National Chairman of Parents and Friends of Handicaps Society in Kenya. He managed to enroll thousand of members for the Society. He collected funds for the Society and contributed to some poor organistions working for handicaps.
He had also been a Provincial Chairman of Society of Mentally Handicap of Kenya for long and introduced Special Olympics for the first time in the Province. He managed to bring some medals for the country in the overseas participations.
He had some outstanding renderance in the Nakuru Hills Special School where he monitored as the Chairman of the Board of The Special School that turned out to be the first school of the type in Africa to introduce Wooden and Metal Workshops for the mentally handicaps. The Project was sponsored by World Vision(NGO) Several overseas visiters highly appreciated his unique renderance.
Family planning of Kenya introduced vasectomy for men for the first time with the help of Dr.H.V,Kerai who carried out some operations himself in the beginning.
National Aids committee utilized Dr.Kerai’s services as the mouth piece in public and in media. He had a regular weekly program on T.V over Aids with the Aid-affected persons.
He served as the dynamic Chairman of Publicity and Funfare Section of Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) in Nakuru. He also served as the co-ordiator in the tattoo events of Kenya Army. His publicity programs were presented live on Kenyan T.V. and were very popular.
He out-shined as the most sought after Honorary secretary and the Chairman of the Hindu Council of Kenya Nakuru Branch. He also served Hindu Council as a National Vice Chairman for two years and became the true representative and supporter or the smooth living of Indians in Kenya as a whole. He was one of the key figures in introducing Hindi Syllabus for Hindu Children in schools. He was also part and parcel in the approval of Diwali as a public holiday for Indians in Kenya.
He had very close relations with Kenyan President Moi who visited his complex a couple of times that became the talk of the time. Dr.Kerai moved with the President whole day on 25th December every year to visit his all organizations for needy where the President donated generously. Kenya Media highlighted the event in forefront. He selected 25th December as it was the Birth day of his beloved daughter Laxmi
He also carried out some huge Fund Raising Functions in the President’s area. He was perhaps the most popular and successful Fund Raising Chief Guest or Guest of Honour in Kenya. He out shined as the Master of Ceremony for several functions of the President.
Although being a Hindu Dr.Kerai rendered his services for the collection of funds for Churches and Christian schools. Christians in general respected him in abundance and approached him as and when needed. He gave some outstanding articles in the Christian Magazine “STEP” He also gave various lectures in Christian Schools.
There is a Dr.Kerai’s memorial Hall in CCM Church in Kiandu, Nyeri. The huge hostel managed by Seven Day Church in Njoro has a dormitory in his name. Molo Craft Center under catholic Church has a large block in Dr.Kerai’s name. He also donated to build a timber Church in Baring District.
He is a firm believer of Swaminarayan fellowship. He gave his notable services to the Saints from Kutch for long. He was once in good contact with H.H.Shree Pramukh Swami, the spiritual leader of welknown faith B.A.P.S. He was the key figure during his visit in Kenya as a Hindu Council leader.
He has been in good touch with the previous H.H.Shree Acharya of Swaminarayan Nar Narayan Diocese H.H.Shree Tejendra Prasadji Maharaj for long.
He was in long time good contact with once the Prime Minister of India Shree Morarji Desai and also Shree Gulzarilal Nanda. He met late Prime Minister Shreemati Indira Gandhi during his official visit to India with the Kenya President.
He winded up all his activities in Kenya at the end of 1995 and went to India to serve his aged mother and to give his voluntary services to his country of his orgin. He had some recommendation letters from NGOs in Kenya that were sponsoring particular projects in Delhi, Calcutta, and Bombay. He worked hard for handicaps in Bombay, Street Children in Calcutta and old aged persons in New Delhi for long, Anjar – Kutch being his Centre.
He brought some drastic changes in the celebration of religious functions in the Swaminarayan Temple and encouraged several new followers to join the fellowship.
He also tried hard for the development of Anjar Municipal Council during his not very long tenure as the NRI Chairman of the senior Citizen Council of the town. He represented the Chairman of the Council in one of the functions where several industries from the various sectors participated.
He served Bhuj Swaminarayan Temple as the visiting physician and also as one of the editors of the Monthly Magazine of the Diocese, “Shree Swaminarayan Sandesh” Dr.Kerai started his own free service giving Ayurvedic and Nature Cure clinic in Anjar and served hundreds of people to the satisfaction. He attended and rendered his voluntary services in the free camps in various centers of Gujerat and Calcutta.
He gave some outstanding services to the affected people during the disastrous Earth Quake in Kutch in 2001. He served the God sent Belgium Camp as the only local doctor.
After giving services as an Ayurved doctor, he started his sponsored lectures in various centers in Calcutta, Delhi and Bombay while serving the needy causes in abundance and donated his income to the needy sectors.
He was honored with the “Hall of Fame” Award in Calcutta for his long time Social activities by Hon.Minister of social Welfare of West Bengal.
He was also awarded with Dhanvantri Award by the Faculty of Ayurved for his out standing free services to needy in general.
Dr.Kerai earlier achieved the Award of Doctor of Literature on his thesis “LIFE AFTER DEATH” by Gujerati Vidhya Sabha.
He also achieved further Ph.D. in Spiritual Science from the New age International University through professor Dr. Agarval from Calcutta. He has given several lectures on the subject in several colleges and Universities of India.
Dr.Kerai is married to very social person Mrs.Pushpaben Kerai in Kenya in the year 1960 while still a student. Scout Association of Kenya celebrated his 25 years of Happy Marriage in 1985 during the huge Camp Fire Festival of Scouts in the presence of about 15000 people.
Dr.Kerai’s all three children stay in London for long. Eldest daughter Laxmi is well settled with her own Post Office. Recently she turned out to be a finalist in the service and turn over competition among nearly 1100 Post offices of England. Second born Naresh is in his own hardware business with a good religious back ground. He is regular visit of the Swaminarayan Temple. and the last born Rajesh works in Accountancy firm as C.A. He takes active part in local R.S.S Swaminarayan Temple and Hindu Welfare Group in woolwich- U.K. All are doing well in the foot steps of the beloved father.
Dr.Kerai visits his family members mostly every year. Otherwise he stays in Kutch and carries out his social and Religious work from there. He has some 1180 fans on his internet where he sends health tips regularly twice a month. He maintains the net work on Swaminarayan Fellowship where nearly 1200 overseas followers are attached. His website is full of hundreds of different types of articles that are allowed to read on request.
Dr.Kerai wishes to stay more in U.K to be with his family members and serve the needy community around. He also wants to open a new chapter as a writer and a lecturer in England.
He is a British Citizen and it is very comfortable for him to visit any European Country any time for his mission. He had previously been to Germany Swedon, Geneva, Netherland on the official visit while in Kenya.
Dr.Harjibhai Kerai was recently awarded with the prestigious Certificate of MERIT from the welknown “British Citizen Award” institute of Great Britain (BCA) for his outstanding voluntary and social services as a British Citizen in Kenya, India and Europe.
He also attended the huge function of less fortunates as a Chief Guest in Calcutta Delhi, and Bombay where handicap children from various countries participated.
Recently he sponsored some Swaminarayan Religious programs in Kutch with a huge gathering. He is a regular Guest in Mankuva Gurukul in Kutch where he represents his grand daughter Geeta.
He has given some outstanding lectures in various schools and Gurukuls in Kutch.
In general most of his programs and lectures are very successful and fruitful and people gather in crowd to see him talking.
May Almighty Lord bless him with a successful future to serve mankind in general and may he prosper with healthy lenthy and wealthy life line.
Compiled by : Shaifali Ratani.
(Personal Secretary to Dr.Kerai)
Edited by Jayesh Thackker. Thacker Printers, Gandhidham.