The surname ‘Melwani’ owes its ‘birth’ to Mr. Meloomal.
The ‘tree’ from which my information has been gathered is by Late Mr. Khemchand
with the help of Late Balkishindas Aasoodaram’s sons. It was last updated in 1976.
I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Kishu Melwani who spent valuable time
with me explaining the birth of various ‘Business Firms, Establishments’ which
originated because of the Melwanis business acumen and hard work.
Meloomal had 3 sons:
Tulsidas Jessaram and Daryanomal.
Jessaram had 2 sons:
Prithumal and Hariram.
Prithumal had a son called Rochiram.
Ghanomal was the son of Vasumal,
Vasumal was the son of Tilumal who was the son of Rochiram Prithumal
Bherumal had 7 children
Daughter: Morbai married Naraindas Budhrani and sired Chandru, Dasi and
Hiranand and Sobhraj Bherumal established business in Indonesia in the year1921.
The business prospered.
Sobhraj Bherumal had 8 children:
Mulchand married Savitri
Janki (Laj) married Siroomal Daryanani
Kishu married Mohini Chandiramani
Sundri married Gobind Aasoomal
Gobind married Kanchan
Nimu (Duru) married Daulat Daryanani
Roopa (Kavita) married Shankar Wadhwani
Maya (Rachna) married Mohan Chataram
Kishu and Mohini Melwani’s children:
Ashok married Bimla Sani
Raj married Subeeta Aasoomal
Meenu married Prakash Thadani
Hiranand Bherumal and sons called their firm:
Jhamandas married Kala Vaswani
Hashu married Sundri Aasoomal
Arjan married Meenu (Kamla) Khiani
Vashi married Gopi (Nanda) Khiani
Lakhi married Kavita
Ram married Polly
Kamla married Lachhu Chandanmal Khiani
Naraindas Gangaram Melwani
Mr Udharam and his brothers established N. G. Melwani in Indonesia
Mr. Udharam’s brothers:
Khanchand, Udharam, Bulchand
Mr Udharam’s cousin Gomomal was also a partner in the establishment.
Let us take a look at the Family Tree
Udharam had 2 sons:
Gobind married Kamla Dodani
Kishore married Renu (Shanta) Mahtani
G. Doulatram owes its name to:
Let us take a look at the family tree
Gobindram had 3 sons:
It all began in 1883 when a young man named Jhamatmall Gurbamall (J.G) Melwani left Penang, Malaysia, in search of a better life. With only a case of leather slippers, he set sail for Medan, Sumatra. Not cash, but a slipper, for his plan was to start immediately.
Ambition & youth served him well. The money made from the slippers was quickly invested was quickly invested on a bicycle and acquiring more goods. Just after two years of peddling the streets, he saved enough for his own shop in Medan – Jhamatmall Gurbamall & Co. Not bad considering Jhamatmall had only just turned 27.
By 1890, offices were established in Singapore, Yokohama, Calcutta and Padang.
The helm was passed over to Chandiram Melwani in 1938 who took the business one step further to include trade in European textiles. However turbulent times from the ‘30’s to the early ‘50’s, which included the Great Depression, affected several businesses and J.G’s business was no exception. Almost all of his offices were forced to close.
Well-tempered by the hard times, the company met with yet another turning point as leadership was handed to a young Moti Melwani in 1956, who embarked on a new strategy – obtain new agency contracts and franchises. In 1964, the landmark distribution deal with Levi Strauss & Co, for Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia was signed. Given the rights to market and distribute Levi’s jeans in the region, the company, through aggressive marketing and positioning, successfully translated the jean’s iconic image over to the Asian market.
Back on the retail front, B.H Melwani, Moti’s cousin, started an exclusive men’s wear store in 1971. Situated at Singapore’s High Street, Melwani’s Men’s Shop was an instant hit. Then in 1975, Moti and B.H consolidated their businesses and efforts together to create M.B Melwani Pte Ltd an associate company of Jay Gee Enterprises, which went on to acquire coveted exclusive franchises for high fashion brands, many of which are still held today.
In 1989, Moti’s eldest daughter, Tara Melwani (nee Mona), joined Jay Gee Group as an advertising and promotions executive. Slowly working up the ranks, she was eventually appointed as Managing Director in April 1999.
It has been over a century since J.G Melwani braved Medan alone, his business assets on a bicycle. Today the Jay Gee group has well over a hundred retail outlets including distribution contracts with all major department stores and wholesalers.
In 2001, Moti’s daughter stepped down from the business’s day to day operations to sit on the family board of directors and pursue her interest in running humanitarian projects. The family appointed group director, Mr. Dhinakaran as managing director of the Jay Group chaired by Mr. BH Melwani.
A note from Shakun Narain Kimatrai
I have known Moti Melwani and his wife Shobha since 1965 when I went to Singapore as a young bride.
I have fond memories of Moti, Shobha and his charming 3 daughters Tara, Shabnam and Resham .
Shabnam married Justin Reis and sired a son named Zachary.
The warm friendship continues…
The late Co-chairman.
Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, India in 1939, it was Moti’s diligence and self-professed pragmatism, “lots of luck and lots of hard work” that turned the then textile business into today’s multi million dollar empire.
Moti’s business acumen and foresight are renowned in the retail circles but it was his affable personality – prompting even director competitors to lavish him with praises and respect for his sense of integrity and humility – that had the Singapore’s national newspaper, The Straits Times, dub him as “Retailing’s Mr. Nice Guy”. He was nominated as Singapore’s Entrepreneur of the year in 1996.
Though semi retired when eldest daughter Tara took over the helm in 1999, Moti still served as an advisor to the Jay gee Group until his demise in Feb 2003 at age 64.
He had served as a council member of Singapore’s Retailer’s Association for more than 10 years and was also a member of the Rotary Club.
He was also a member of the Singapore Indian chamber of Commerce and Industry where he served 6 years as Vice-Chairman.
Tributes to him can be viewed at www.melwani.com
B.H. Melwani married Laj
They sired 3 children:
Nalini Melwani married Eddie Datwani
They have 3 children: Amit, Rajiv and Anjali
Ashok Melwani married Manju
They have 3 children: Manish, Manav and Naomi
Ashadevi Melwani married Rameche Nathirmal(deceased 1997)
They have one son: Samit
Nukh: – Hinduja.
Khilnani are Arorvanshi and lived in Karachi. Aror is situated two and a half miles away from Rohiri. During the Arab invasion (711 AD) most of the inhabitants left to escape the Arab onslaught.
Khilnanis fled to the mountains. They are Sarai (people living in the border area between Pakistan, Baluchistan and Afghanistan). Their ancestors came to Karachi from Bharya Dist. Navsheri Firoz.
Bhai Khilanmal (Khilandas) Menghraj moved from Bhareen to Karachi. He had two sons: M/s. Devandas and Mulchand.
Bhai Devandas had three sons: M/s. Sukhramdas, Jethanand and Fatehchand.
Bhai Fatehchand was a prosperous trader of Karachi and generously donated money for construction of Fatehchand Khilnani Hall in the Karachi Engineering College and Dayaram Khilnani Hall & Library for the city.
Seth Vishindas Fatehchand, Seth Motamal Narumal (landlord) came from the same roots.
Rai Bahadur Diwan Koromal Chandanmal Khilnani of Bhareen was a renowned and an intelligent man. All his descendents were well to do in the year 1947.
Bhai Menghraj son of Bhai Khialdas had four sons. The two eldest sons, Bhai Hassomal and Bhai Alimchand expired prior to 1946. The remaining two sons, Bhai Nanikram and Bhai Tolaram were alive at the time of Partition of India and migrated to Bombay.
Bhai Nanikram Menghraj was born at Hyderabad and at a young age he joined Sindwork. Bhai Nanikram along with his two brothers, Bhai Alimchand and Bhai Tolaram were partners in the firm of M/s. J. Kimatrai & Co., headed by Bhai Sobhraj Jhamatmal Kimatrai (Gianchandani). In the year 1947, only Bhai Nanikram, though seventy years old, continued as the partner of the firm.
During 1945-1946, Government of Sind sold vacant plots of land inside the Hyderabad Qillo (Qilo – Fort). Many Bhaibunds bought these plots and built beautiful houses to stay in. For the convenience of Bhaibund brothers, Bhai Nanikram constructed a Hall named after him and a Girls School named after his late son Bhai Tikamdas Nanikram. He also established an Aryovedic Hospital in the Qilla named after his son.
Gandhi’s are Bhatias and lived at Shikarpur. They are originally from Jaisalmer.
The word Gandhi means incense or perfumers. Gan means aroma and durgand meaning smell. In Gujarat, the Kirana or provision shopkeepers are called Gandhi.
It is claimed by the Gandhis that their ancestors who lived in Jaisalmer were very influential and that whenever a dispute or misunderstanding arose between the rulers of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, the Gandhis were asked to mediate and reconcile them. Therefore the word Gandhi also would mean to tie a knot i.e. Ganddh. In Sanskrit word Ghar-nathi also means to knot. See Bhatia.
Around four hundred years ago, their elder Seth Balikram came to Sind from Jaisalmer and settled at village Lakhi. Shikarpur was then non existent. Latter Seth Gurbux and Seth Naraindas joined him.
City of Shikarpur came into being in the year 1617. Seth Gurbux was the first to move out from Lakhi and shift to Shikarpur. His descendents in addition to being called Gandhi were also called Lakhiani or Lakhani and also Gurbaxani. Most of the Gandhis were zamindars and some were Graduates as well.
Lahori: Their ancestors migrated from Lahore and settled at Larkana.
Nawab Haji Amber Ali Khan’s ancestors were also from Lahore and were called Lahori.
Amongst the Hindu Lahoris in Larkana was Diwan Kishinchand whose two sons Diwan Hassaram and Diwan Kundansingh were Deputy Collectors.
Diwan Hassaram’s grandson Mr. Assudomal Radhomal BA, LL.B., was an Advocate.
Diwan Kundansingh’s son Mr. Rijhumal had passed MA, LL.B. He expired on 12th August 1929 while caring for the sick during a Cholera epidemic. His marble sculpture stands as a tribute to his memory on Baker Road, Larkana and a garden Rijhu Baug that was named after him.
A note from:
‘The Source of Sindhi Surnames’ is a translation into English, by Mr. Narain Sobhraj Kimatrai from the original in Sindhi by Mr. Diwan Bherumal Mahirchand Advani