Mansukhlal Ruparelia was born on 1st March, 1934 in Karachi, now in Pakistan. Karachi, at that time was a very well-planned, nice, neat and tidy city, where people from all communities were living peacefully and happily. There were sufficient number of gardens, grounds and open spaces for children to play freely. His childhood passed very happily- playing and studying. He had large number of friends, ten of whom are in Mumbai and remain in contact through phone on every Sunday and meet on various family functions even after more than 61 years of leaving Karachi and cherish happy childhood memories.
His primary education up to Standard IV was in a nearby school about a mile away. A teacher used to come to take him and bring back. There was no heavy load of books, there were hardly one or two small books with slate & pen (like chalk). There were no note books, pencil, and pen for Primary classes. No uniform! These things were not even available freely in those days! Every thing was scare. People were not able to afford.
Mansukhlal was admitted to a very renowned Gandhian School called Shri Sharda Mandir. This was the foundation of his life. The medium of teaching was Gujarati his mother tongue. This school was like Ashram with bright airy classes covered with green creepers. Principal & Teachers were real Gurus and very much devoted with deep love towards children & Nation. In addition to education, their main aim was to develop good human beings with national spirit. It was always a pleasure to go & remain in school for as much more time, as possible.
He was bright at studies and was coaching weak students in free time, there were no tuition’s or Classes in those time. Education was of very high standard. Games & extra-curricular activities were many. While he was in Std V at age of 13, India got Independence in 1947 and unfortunately faced the partition of the Country. They had leave Karachi in Oct, 47, incurring heavy losses and came to Morvi in Gujarat. There were difficulties in settling & ripe years of child-adult were spoiled. But further study was not affected.
At Morvi, in Gujarat, his family established a shop, but it was not enough for the family expense. As he was loved by his teachers, one of them suggested to his father that he should be sent to Mumbai for further studies and they shall take care of all his expenses. But his father did not agree and insisted on joining service, though he was only 16. Then same teacher got him a job in Railways immediately after his results. On formation of Western Railway by amalgamating of all railways in particular areas, he came to Mumbai in 1951. Passing departmental examinations in first attempts and getting promotions, he reached the psot of Joint Director in Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS-one of the IAS Central Services).
During his employment he passed B.A. and B.Com. by attending morning & evening colleges. He also passed `Rashtra Bhasa Ratna` in Hindi and also appeared in IAS in 1960 and passed the written in the first attempt, though could not come in final panel. Throughout the career, he was liked by superiors and his colleagues’ for being very prompt, sincere & straight forward.
After retirement, he took second career and joined a well-known Private Limited Company and worked their for 8 years and completed total employment of 50 years. One remarkable achievement he has to his credit that in the span of 50 years, he has not taken a single paisa or given any as bribe!!
His father had a big joint family and he was very much interested in reading. He inherited reading habit from him. His mother was very mild & straight forward and these two virtues came from her. He also developed liking for Music, traveling to different places and social service perhaps from the school.
As of now, he has collected almost 1000 books, 200 audio cassettes and many CD/VCD and enjoys reading and listening music. He has traveled the entire country and many places more than once. He is fond of photographs and has a big collection.
Mansukhlal day starts at 4’o clock in the morning and ends at 10’o clock in the night. He does Yoga-Pranayam, goes for Walking, goes to nearby Laughter club, Relaxes in afternoon, views Television for 1 ½ hours ,listening Music for about 3 hours, surfs computer, goes to Local Senior Citizen Association regularly for 1 hour daily, sees movies occasionally. Sunday he prefers to be with family.
When asked about the secret to his fitness he says ‘’Eat less, walking, remain active, sleep early, get up early’’
He is enjoying his Silver Years as Grand Parenting and loves his younger grand daughter calling him `Hai Dadu` `Dadu` or `Morning Dadu` in different lovely tones with smiling & sparkling face. This he says increases his joy, spirit & of course life span too. He is happy and lucky to see his grand childrens are matured at tender age and care for the feelings of others! He wonder many a times as to from where they have picked up such good sanskars- from previous birth, genes or her surroundings!!
He also keeps himself busy by guiding in his grand children in studies and get important lesson from them on Computer problems. Dada-Dadi are happily living with constantly flowing love of all their six grandchildren and going ahead day by day at 75 and 72 with 50 years of happy married life!
After retiring from his Job Mansukhlal has taken Mission for life ‘’Service To Senior Citizens’’. Earlier also during his employment he used to in some way or other would take up some social cause. In 1999, when National Policy of Older Persons was announced he approached organisation and media to take up the cause of Senior Citizens.
He contributes his knowledge and skill by addressing large number of issues pertaining to Senior Citizens like Health Problems, Insurance, Relief in Fees of Doctors and Cost of Medicines, More facilities & Concessions from Central, State & Municipal & other authorities, Financial Management, Will, Managing their spare time and creating awareness about their status and rights etc.
He utlises his time in being actively involve in (RTI) Right to Information movement and seeks information for welfare of citizens from Municipal corporation, Transport Authorities, and various Government departments. In this way he not only creates awareness but also helps the authority in addressing the issue.
He attends and contributes to various forums, meetings and workshops. He is also actively involved and is member of Associations of Senior Citizens and organisations like Retired Railway Employees Welfare Association (RREWA), Silver Innings, and Society for Serving Seniors Global to name few. Writing articles in various magazine and website on various issues keeps him busy and activates his mind for productive ageing. He is a true inspiration to all the elders and younger generation to be aged some day.
His friend and family say at 75 yrs. he is “Retired” But “NOT TIRED”.
Mansukhlal. V. Ruparelia
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.