Translation of the letters (context: Three Memoms visited Narbheram Gopalji’s pedhi in Jetpur):
How are you, Sheth?
Narbheram Gopalji welcomed them with a smile and requested three Memons to have a seat in the shop.
One of the Memon said: “Sir, we came to you, knowing your reputation and we need a hundi for Ahmedabad.”
Narbheram Gopalji asked: “how much?”
The Memon man said: “1 lakh 50 thousand rupees.”
The Memons were from Dhoraji and wanted to buy clothes from Ahmedabad. Carrying such a considerable amount was dangerous while traveling, so they thought of a hundi. The Memons came to Narbheram Gopalji with the hopes he could write them a hundi to a similar Sheth in Ahmedabad.
Narbheram Gopalji had no branch or financial connection in Ahmedabad, and nobody knew him in Ahmedabad to process such an amount. This situation made Narbheram Gopalji very uncomfortable. At the same time, he felt the faith and trust of these Memons in him. He felt determined to help without saying no; he questioned himself, how can I help these people?
Narbheram Gopalji said yes to Memon “sure you will get hundi from us, but you will pay a fee of 4 anna per 100 rupees.
“That’s fine!” the three Memons uttered with joy and thought that the money will be safe. The Memon said that if you are walking down the road, no one can loot you.
The Memons counted the money and gave it to Narbheram Gopalji, who promptly started writing the hundi, but on whose name hundi is it to be written!? Since he had no branch or personal connections in Ahmedabad, then who would accept such a massive financial risk without personally knowing him. However, Narbheram Gopalji was born into a prominent Stanikvasi Jain family and he’d heard about Himabhai Sheth in Ahmedabad, a big Jain businessman (his great-grandson is Kasturbhai of Lalbhai Group and Atul Industries)
Narbheram Gopalji also heard that three or four years back, Himabhai and his family visited Palitana (the Vatican or Mecca for Jains). Knowing this Jain brotherhood (Swamibhai) gave Narbheram Gopalji the confidence to write this challenging hundi in the name of Himabhai Sheth.
The Memons felt very happy knowing their journey to Ahmedabad would be safe, as they had no fear of getting robbed and as soon as they reached Ahmedabad, the Memons found Himabhai’s shop and presented the hundi.
Since it was early in the morning, Himabhai hadn’t arrived at the shop yet. A Munim took the hundi. He saw the name, but he didn’t know any Narbheram Gopalji. Since it was an unknown name to him, he raised his hands with suspicion.
Right at that moment, Himabhai Sheth entered. The Munim showed the hundi to Himabhai in a sarcastic tone in front of the Memons. Himabhai said to the Munim: “it’s okay, enter the date.” He then looked at the Memons and said: “have a seat, Sethias, we will get the money to you.”
Munim did not say anything. He requested Himabhai to come into another room for a quick chat. The Munim said: “how can we accept this hundi? We do not have any known contact in Jetpur, nor do we know Narbheram Gopalji in Jetpur, nor do we have his money credited to us.”
Himabhai laughed and said to Munim: “don’t worry, you must understand that the person who brought this hundi are Memon businessmen. Moreover, the person who gave them a hundi of 1,50,000 is aware of his respect in the market. Despite being a Jain Vaniya, you didn’t understand the greatest virtue of Jain Vaniya traits in this situation. Narbheram Gopalji must have counted 1,50,000 rupees in Jetpur and trusted the Memons with a 1,50,000 hundi. We musn’t be arrogant in this situation, so kindly accept the hundi.” Himabhai continued to say: “if these Memon’s trusted Narbheram Gopalji by giving him 1,50,000 that must mean Narbheram Gopalji is very reputable and with integrity. Given we are all Jain, we must trust each other (Swamibhai).”
The Munim gave them their money and the Memon said “we need a hundi issuer like this in our [town]!”
The Memons were satisfied and left with appreciation so they could start their shopping.