Narain Kataria was born on February 15th, 1930 in Sukkur, Sind in an undivided India. At a very early age he lost both his parents and the responsibility of looking after and supporting his family, consisting of three younger brothers and a sister, fell on his young shoulders. He rose up to the challenge and through a lot of hard work and sacrifice he made sure that his family survived this very difficult phase in their lives. This strength of character became a hallmark of his life’s journey.
The Partition of India in 1947 was a traumatic period in Narainji’s life when the entire family was uprooted, like millions of other Hindus, and the horrors perpetrated upon them remained deeply etched in his mind for the rest of his life. Narainji moved with his family to Ulhasnagar, near Bombay and the task of rebuilding his life and that of his family began once again. He realized early on that getting a good education was very important and applied himself diligently and worked his way to a Master’s degree (in History) from Bombay University, while simultaneously working. He had a deep love for music and learned to play the banjo.
He spent many years fulfilling this passion playing with several musical orchestras. He was a tough teacher when training his daughters to sing. He did not accept mediocrity from anyone. For him, music was the sound of the soul. He last played the banjo on October 18th, 2015 and his control over the strings was a sight to behold. In May of 1956 he married Bhagwanti with whom he had two daughters, Meena and Rajni.
Sadly, his wife passed away last September. Narainji joined BARC in Trombay and worked as the Personal Assistant to one of the Directors. During his tenure at BARC, he was disturbed and concerned at what he perceived to be a lack of a serious focus within the organization, on matters of national security. Narainji moved to the U.S.A. in the early 1970s where, after an initial period of struggle, he joined the law firm of Cahill Gordon in Manhattan as a Legal Assistant. He worked at this firm for over 25 years, and the quality of his work was recognized by all his colleagues at the firm. He retired from there in 1998.
During his years in India, Narainji had begun to sense that even after the Partition of India, there were vested interests within India and outside its borders that believed in destabilizing the country. At the same time he realized that the news media, which at the time was controlled by the Government, distorted and misrepresented facts that were detrimental to Hindus.
With this in mind, he took it upon himself to lift the curtain of lies and draw attention to the truth. He became an outspoken and passionate crusader highlighting stories which the media wanted to suppress. Early in this endeavor, he began writing letters to various newspapers presenting his point of view. His was a lone voice but he never gave up on reporting the true and hidden reality that there was a concerted effort by the elite to keep the masses in the dark. His continued efforts gradually began to make people sit up and take notice that there was finally someone who did not shy away from taking a stand.
Slowly, his message began to resonate with the Indians living in the US and after the advent of the Internet, spread all over the world. People from all walks of life reached out to him and offered their support and encouragement and from there on there was no stopping.
He made it a point to attend every event in the Tri-State area, be it cultural, religious or political, to demonstrate his support and encouragement. And as an organizer of rallies, supporting or opposing any cause, he was unmatched. He spoke to student and youth groups because he believed they were the future of the Hindu Renaissance. To foment a sense of unity among Hindus, in the mid-eighties Narainji came up with the idea of organizing the Hindu Unity Day in New York. He saw this as a venture with which to awaken and empower Hindus.
This year marked the 20th annual celebration, which saw prominent speakers from India and the US speaking on important issues pertaining to Hindus. His dream of a Government in India, one which would treat all Indians alike, irrespective of their religion, was finally realized in May 2014. As a family man, Narainji was a man of principles who instilled the values of hard work and integrity in his children and loved ones. He used to work more than 12 hours a day, even in retirement and never seemed to tire. He despised weakness in any form and set an example by his own moral and physical strength.
He also had a very funny side and enjoyed spending time with three different generations of his now grown family. He could converse as easily with a 50-year old as he could with a teenager. He believed that the younger generation needed to be well informed about their proud heritage that went back thousands of years. Every family gathering had him emphasizing the perils and dangers that faced Hindu society. Narainji used to joke that he would live up to at least 100 years. He might have lived only 85 years in body but he will live more than 100 years in our thoughts and prayers. His legacy will live on. May God bless him with eternal peace.