Born in 1936, Dhanji Parmar was best known in Nakuru as a philanthropist who went out of his way to help those in genuine need.
Over the years, he touched hundreds of lives especially in Nakuru where he lived all his life. Some of the greatest acts of humanity he engaged in was helping the Indians expelled by Ugandan president Idi Amin and hundreds of 2007/2008 post-election violence victims who sought refuge in Nakuru. For his charitable works, he was awarded by Kenya’s second president Daniel arap Moi with a Head of State Commendation (HSC) in 1995.
Dhanji Lilandahar Parmar was a patriot who not loved the people he lived with, but also his country. For fifty years since 1968, Dhanji never missed a single National celebration. He was so always a welcome state guest since the time of Kenya’s founding president, Mzee Kenyatta.
Dhanji’s relationship with the leadership of Kenya began in 1968. One day in that year, Mzee Kenyatta who was at Nakuru Statehouse sent for Dhanji. Dhanji aged 32, was then working as a tailor at his father’s shop along Nakuru’s Kenyatta Avenue. He had joined his father in the trade thirteen years earlier in 1955 aged 19.
At the Nakuru Statehouse, Kenyatta had a little request to the young tailor. He wanted a leather jacket specifically from the kudu skin. In a weeks time, Dhanji was able to deliver the jacket.
Kenyatta liked the jacket that Dhanji made for him. Every weekend he would wear one of those “made by Dhanji” jackets and be always spoke highly of him. The Rift valley PC Isaiah Mathenge and Mbiyu Koinange among others in Kenyatta circle also placed their orders with Dhanji. And that was the beginning of his journey to stardom although be remained humble all his life. Later, one of President Moi’s daughters would also become his client.
Dhanji lost his life from a heart attack in August 2018 aged 82. His remains were cremated at the Nakuru Hindu Crematorium on Thursday, 26th August 2018.
Before his death, Dhanji had requested that his corneas should be harvested upon his death and donated to needy people. Doctors from the Lions Sight First Hospital harvested the pair of corneas which were given to patients at the hospital.
In his honour, one of the streets off Oginga Odinga street in Nakuru is named after him.