Naran+Pur is a “pur” (gaam) situated on the banks of River Narayani, the river flowing along the gaam; the river is also known as River Rudhrani. Therefore the pur situated on banks of Narayani River is called Naranpur; also spelt “Naranpar” by the English oriented people.
This gaam was previously established on the west bank of the river. Due to some mishap the village was destroyed about 600 years ago. We do not have records of this mishap. Relics of a temple of Shiva have been found on the west bank of the river together with relics of old houses, utensils etc around this temple. About 20 years ago, the ruined Shiva temple was dug up and a new temple was re-erected on its original place by people of present day Naranpar. Beside faith in Shiva the people of the old village used to have faith in other deities. Some used to believe in “Peer” some used to believe in “Yax” and various others and there are temples of Peer and Yax nearby. The area around the temple has been converted to farmland.
The present day Naranpar is made up of two villages. They were established about 375 years ago. Their names are mentioned as having been visited by Lord Shree Swaminarayan during His visits to Kutch in the nineteenth century. The two villages have historically been separate entities from the very beginning – Naranpar Nichlovas and Naranpar uplovas. Even before independence of India these were separate villages; Uplovas also known as Ravri was under the domain of Bhuj and Nichlovas also known as Pasayti was under domain of Kera. In fact these villages were given as gifts to the Thakrai princes by the ruler of Pundadi. Both Naranpar Gaams are on the junction of roads – one joining Bhuj (the state capital) in the South and Kera (the area capital) in the North and another joining Surajpar in the East and Meghpur in the West. The East-West road going through Naranpar divides it into 2 villages. The junction of this crossroads is known as “Chokki”.
On the south west side of this cross roads there was a large pond. On the west shore of this pond there was a temple for Hanumanji. Naranpar Ravri was established here and expanded westwards. Ravri had its own fortress situated to the west of the village and its ruler used to live there. Ravri has its own Shiva temple and Thakar Mandir on the west side of the village. Nearby these temples there are separate temples for ladies and gents for the followers of Shree Swaminarayan faith. There is a mosque and a place for Peer.
Naranpur Pasayti was established further to the north of the cross roads where there is present day Shiva temple and Hanumanji Temple. It also had its own Thakar Mandir to its east side besides the separate temples for ladies and gents for the followers of Shree Swaminarayan faith in the centre of the village. This village also expanded westwards. Due to this greater extension of the village new temples for Hanumanji were erected to the northern and western edges of the village. Post independence administrators of Pasayti had allocated land for the shelter of cows to the west of the village where cows from both villages could be accommodated when needed. Satellite societies have arisen to the east and west of the main village with their own Hanumanji temples.
Both villages had accommodations for the scheduled castes to the south sides of each village. The villages have their own craftsmen, traders and separate Panchayats. According to the census conducted in 2011 the population of Ravri was 4163 and that of Pasayti was 5707. In addition almost an equal number are resident that live overseas. Majority of people of both villagers were and still are farmers and as such are providers of jobs for surrounding villages of Surajpur, Meghpur, Baladia and Kera-Kundunpar and providers of fresh fruits and vegetables and other farm produce to the surrounding villages. There are other industries such as machine manufacturing, pre cast concrete products, carpentry and joinery, builders and others trades. The villages have ample banking, medical, commercial, shopping, dairy products, satellite for radio, television, telephone, sports, gardens, leisure, post and telephone and other facilities. The villages are well served by well maintained roads and bus services.
Pre-independent farmers of Naranpur were illiterate. There were no formal schools in the village. People had to go to nearby town of Kera for their educational need. Sometimes partly educated Brahmins used to come to the village from nearby towns, hired homes and imparted basic education in Gujarati and Maths. In 1967 elders of both villages decided to establish a formal school building. This is the present day Naranpar Saraswati school providing primary education. Initially the building was hired out to the government for the provision of education. As Kera already had a high school the education authority in Bhuj would not sanction a high school in Naranpar considering the number of students available. However with the passage of time the number of girls requiring high school education increased and a wing within the school building was allocated for the establishment of a girl’s high school. Considering that the education provided by the teachers supplied by the government was not satisfactory in 2002 the board of school governors decided to take over the school and run it privately under their direct supervision. Recently it has also started nursery education facilities. A special building for Bal-Mandir- nursery education was erected in Pasayti in 1977 and has continued to provide such education ever since.
With a view to enhance and provide better education Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj already had plans to establish “Gurukuls” in various parts of Kutch; at Mandvi, Rapar, Gandhidham, Rampar, Mankuva and Naranpar with headquarters at Bhuj. The Gurukul at Naranpar was established in 2004 to provide for nursery, primary and secondary education with an English medium and provision for accommodation and food facilities for older resident students. A few Santos from Bhuj Swaminarayan temple reside here to ensure proper education is duly imparted to the students.
WATER AND SANITATION :
Till about 1960 there were no in-house toilets in Naranpar. People had to go to the outskirts of the village for their daily routines. There was no piped water supply in the village. People had to fetch water from wells in the various parts of the village. Thereafter a Naranpar water supply committee was established to supply water to individual houses through water pipes. It began in Pasayti and later on in Ravri. With the passage of time and higher consumption of water both in the farms and at homes the soil water level had lowered. The lower strata of water resources has come across some salinity, so purification plants have been added to the domestic water supply. People had already started digging up small pot holes around their homes to collect bath and sewer water therein. Most farmers used to bring their milking cattle home for milking. This left homes unhygienic. With progress of time and with improved financial status as a result of earnings from overseas people were able to afford mechanical forms of transport and with the increased consciousness of health issues they began leaving all domestic animals at their farms. They would instead milk the animals at their farm in the mornings and in the evenings and bring the milk home. Direct water supply to homes meant more use of water which necessitated bigger pot holes. This increased the chances of sewage water contaminating underground water resources. A young overseas resident thought of laying sewage system and discharge the sewage into the nearby Narayani River such that during the rainy season the sewage collected in the river would be dragged to the sea. The sewage system started in the Pasayti and some years later it started in the Ravri as well. With increased affluence there was resultant higher refuse. The villages also have twice-a-week refuse collection services.
OTHER FACILITIES :
Both gaams have Gau Rakshan/Panrapor facilities wherein large number of cows both owned and not owned or discarded are looked after and provided with fodder and basic medication propagation. The cost for the running of these facilities is shared between the villages. Better medical facilities and shelter for these animals could be a welcomed and an appreciated improvement.
Recently a centre has been established which provide ready cooked food to elderly and disabled families at a substantially subsidised rate. Even higher subsidy is allowed for poorer families. The food is freshly cooked each morning and evening by specially trained people and delivered to the houses of the recipient families. Overseas residents visiting the gaam on holidays may make use of these facilities if required; however a special rate is applied for overseas residents.
Both gaams have social and communal Wadis with full cooking and catering facilities and halls where marriages, social gatherings, and festivals can be celebrated in comfort. The wadis in both gaam could do with modern halls with ample stage, sitting, hygiene and sanitation facilities.
The residents of both gaams who have had the opportunity to go abroad or are abroad and have been able to acquire better standards of living for themselves and have seen different ways of life and customs have longed to improve their motherland. They have played a major role in bringing about the gaams to their present day status. To bring the gaams to the western standards they may need further improvements.
Some such improvements could be to have better recycling facilities for the refuse and sewer treatment plant instead of them being collected and discharged into the Narayani River. This would reduce the risk of diseases. The gardens, leisure and sports facilities need to be modernised with better sheds and stands. The market place needs a suitable permanent building. General cleaning and lighting of the streets would be a welcome improvement. With advancement of technologies and shorter working hours people generally, and younger people in particular have more time on their hands so they need other recreational facilities such as libraries, cinemas, sports grounds and so on. These could be easily achieved with the co-operation and co-ordination of people from both villages. Overseas residents have always been ready for improvements. However we should guard against such facilities leading to the ill results that the western civilisations are fighting against today.