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PIJ

Location:
Pij is located at 22°40' North latitude and 72°48' East longitude in the Kheda district, Gujarat, India. It is located along the Western Railway’s Nadiad-Bhadran rail-line and close to National Highway  No.8.

History:
History of village settlements in Gujarat is difficult to assess due to lack of any records being kept. Still, whatever sketchy information we can lay our hands on comes from Vahi Vanchas (Geneologists).

Leva Patels migrated from North India and settled in Adalaj in Sanvat108. This was followed by another settlement in Lavad, in Sanvat 252. Some of these people migrated to places surrounding Pij. According to the Vahi Vanchas records, Kanji Patel, in Sanvat 1532, built the front part of Kapileshver Mahadev. Around that period, he built Mahadev in Bamroli and Indreshvar Mahadev in Pij.

The King of Dholka, in Sanvat 305, built Kapileshver Mahadev. It is said Kapil Muni had his hermitage at this place, from which the name Kapileshver seems to have been derived. Dhandhumal was suffering from Leukoderma (kodh). He used to take a bath in the pond and to his surprise he found that he was cured. Even today, people suffering from such skin diseases take a plunge in the pond to heal their ailments. (Sanvat is 58 years ahead of AD.)

Pij is blessed with two outstanding architectural buildings. Vav and Kapileshver Mahadev. Mahadev has been renovated and given modern glory. Many thanks to Gordhanbhai Trikambhai Patel who paid for the renovations of the entire complex.

Population:
The village has a population of 12000 within 6.6 square mile area. The local population consists of Patidars, Harijans, Brahmins, Banias,  Kshatriyas and Christians. Between 1920 and 1940 many young people ventured to go abroad to East Africa for better opportunities. Many of them became successful businessmen and their children later migrated to the West, in the United Kingdom,  United States of America, and Canada. These people never forgot the village and have contributed significantly to enhance the educational institutes and welfare of the village.

Education:
Pij, being part of the Old Baroda State had the advantage of a compulsory primary education. In 1875, the late Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad decreed compulsory primary education in the whole state of Baroda. On 6 June 1876, the first of these schools was started in Pij. Later in 1890, a primary school for girls was started. The girl's school got it's own independent building in 1944. This building is adjacent to Gam Panchayat. Later on with the increase in the number of pupils another school was built. The new building for Kumar Shala was built through the donations received from Zaverbhai Shankerbhai Patel of Sojitra. There was a separate school for Harijans. This has been merged with Kumar Shala after Indian Independence.

In 1906-7 an English school was started with Std. 1 to 3. In 1913,the Baroda state government started the Anglo Vernacular school, known as the A.V. School. The number of students was dwindling, but through the efforts of the village people it was kept going. In 1933, it was merged with the primary school and was known as Middle School, Pij. In 1949, Middle school was undertaken by Pij Kelavni Mandal, which was formed in 1945. In the beginning the school was named as New English School Pij, but after Mahatma Gandhi’s death, the school was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi Vinay Mandir, Pij. It should be noted here that the complex of Kelavni Mandal, which is comprised of Bal Mandir, Mahatma Gandhi Vinay Mandir, C.L. Patel Technical School, Kalidas Jesangbhai Assembly Hall and Dhayabhai Govindbhai - Office and Board Meeting Room - are all due to great sacrifices of the land owners who willingly donated their land' to the institutions. Financial help came through the enthusiastic efforts of Pij Pragati Mandal in East Africa and some other local donors. Money was no longer a problem, but the question was of proper management arose. Fortunately for Pij, that question was also solved under the wise management of a person who was devoted to duty and service. He was Chaturkaka - WORK IS WORSHIP was personified in him. For years he managed Kelavni Mandal efficiently and honestly.

Pij was again bestowed with another person who made Mahatma Gandhi Vinay Mandir an ideal school. He was Shelat Saheb.

C.L. Patel Technical School caters for two main branches of engineering:

  • I.T.I. (Industrial Training Institute)
  • T.E.B. (Technical Examination Board)
  • I.T.I. Caters for (I) Instrument Mechanic (II) Mechanic Radio & TV (Ill) Wireman
  • T.E.B. Caters for (I) Electrical Installations- wiring and joining (II) Fitter
  • T.E.B. (Advance) (I) Electronic Fabrication and Assembly Mechanic
  • (Il) Consumer Electronics
  • (III) Civil and Architectural Drafting and Estimating

There is an amusing history about the beginning of the library. Motibhai Narshibhai Amin who had been promoting libraries in state of Baroda once came to visit the library. It was a one-room one-cupboard library, operated by the Headmaster of the Gujarati School. One of the Goswami Temple rooms was used. When Mr. Amin came to visit the library, the cupboard in which the books were kept was covered with Paddy (dangar). The room was cleared and when they opened the cupboard they found rats inside. Mr. Amin commented "the books are read by rats". On a subsequent visit the Head of Baroda State accompanied him. He promised to give money for independent library building, provided people from the village raised some money. This was in 1908. From 1911 the Library was operated from the Ground Floor Hall of Nathabhai Jesangbhai's building (adjacent to Tower House), which was provided at no charge.

It should be noted that Library marked the early awakening of women. A few women, mainly widows, 14 in all, donated more than Rs. 35. Manchhaben, wife of Muljibhai Karunashanker Jain, led the awakening of women. The library operated home delivery of books for women. This was about 80 years back when even highly developed countries like U.K. could not have dreamt of having a mobile library service.

On 25th May 1913 the new library building was opened. The library was fortunate to get the services of Baberkaka who was devoted to duty. He instilled and inspired people of all ages to take an interest in reading. He used to check on all those that borrowed books. After a little lull, Mr. Gordhanbhai Kalidas Patel gave the library a new lease of life. He managed to get the building renovated through donations from people. There is a separate Mahila Pustakaluya (Ladies Library) operated by Sarvajanik Pustakaluya.

The pioneer of all institutions is Vyayam-Shala. The Purani brothers inspired youngsters to take part in physical education in Gujarat. Mr. Shivashanker Joshi was the pioneer organizer of Vyayam-Shala in Pij. In the beginning the activity was carried on in an open square opposite the Goswami Temple, adjacent to Gam Panchayat building. Later, Mr. Tulsibhai Narshibhai Patel donated money in memory of his father Narshibhai Umedbhai to build the present building of Vyayam-Shala. The land for Vyayam-Shala was acquired through donation. Truly speaking, Vyayam-Shala had remained the hub of most of the social activities in Pij for a considerable time. Pij is renowned in Gujarat for it's volleyball team. Some volleyball tournaments are held even today. Mr. Gordhanbhai Tulsibhai Patel served with Vyayam-Shala for about 30 years until he retired.

Health and Human Services:
Since 1936, a makeshift type of dispensary was run in the library by the librarian, Mr. Baberkaka. He used to give a Kadu-Kariatu mixture to cure malaria. He also gave basic first aid treatment. Later, a building was provided adjacent to the library. Another dispensary was built adjacent to Vyayam-Shala, which was run by the government. Both the dispensaries are supported through public donations. People from the village, as well as from surrounding areas, take advantage of the facility.

Mr. Chunibhai Lallubhai Patel built a maternity home in memory of his wife, Mrs. Shantaben. It is old and could use some help with modern equipment. Another maternity home is in operation at Arogya Mandal Dispensary through donations from family member of the late Shri Maganbhai Ambalal.

Business and Industries:
Pij is predominantly a farming community. As a result, several cottage industries have emerged. Pij is well known for its ironmongers, in particular for its knives and agricultural instruments. People from far off places buy these instruments because of the quality and durability. Since the advent of electricity this industry has been modernized with increased productivity.

Pij Peoples Co-op Bank Ltd.was established on 18th October 1963. It started functioning from Gam Panchayat Building. It has it's own building with over 5000 shareholders. It holds deposits of over Rs. 6 crores. The bank also has a safe deposit vault. After setting aside 42% of net profit for several reserve funds, the remaining 20%profit is reserved for a village development fund from which many social and educational projects are funded.

Pij Co-op Society was established on 30th June 1959 with a view to help farmers with cheap agricultural equipment, cement, manure etc. It has a membership of over 500 farmers.

Religious and Cultural Institutions
A majority of the people are Hindus following either the Vaishnava or Swaminarayan religion. A small section of people are Jains, a few Muslims and Christians. Vaishnavs have their Vaishnava Temple, likewise Swaminarayns have a Swaminarayan Temple. Between the two Temples lies a Mosque. The Jains have their Upashrya. The epitome of all religious activity is centered in one place, Kapileshver Mahadev. Mahadev bonds the entire population of Pij in a single place of worship. Many people from surrounding areas come to worship during Shravan Mas and Shivratri, making Pij a place of pilgrimage.

The Ultimate resting-place for a Hindu is crematorium. Generally it is always in the shadow of a Shivalaya. Shivalaya should be to the North of the town. Hindus believe Lord Shiv resides in Kailas. Kailas is to the north of India. In India when a Hindu dies his head is placed in a northern direction. As such the crematorium should also be to the north of the village. In Pij, it is in the south. There is nothing wrong with this as the original village settlement was to the south of the Mahadev. Later, people moved to the other side of Mahadev. The place has been named Kailas Dham. In the words of a lady who visited the Kailas Dham: "what a beautiful place, one would like to die in such a place". It is believed that Kailas Dham is the best in the whole of Kheda district.