Farewell Chander Mohan Kohli [Moni]

Moni Kohli
It is with profound sorrow and acceptance of God’s will that we announce the death of
Moni Kohli; son of the late Lila Vati and Sardarilal Kohli; Chairman of Elephant Soap
Industries; beloved husband to Sarojini Kohli and loving father to Ravi and Jennifer, Arjun and Stacey and doting grandfather to Avani, Devan and Yara. Moni was a much loved and caring brother to Chander Bhasin, the late Subash Kohli and Sneh Sethi. Moni will be fondly remembered by family and friends around the world, who were ever close to his heart.
Prayers will be held at home at 11:30am on Monday, 13t December 2021, followed by a private cremation ceremony at the Hindu Shamshan Bhumi.
(Current health-related protocols must be observed)

[Link to Zoom prayer meeting at the end of this page]

ZOOM: Moni Kohli Prayers

Dear All,

Chander Mohan Kohli, CM to most in School and then by the name we all subsequently knew him by, Moni Kohli, passed away a few days ago. He was 76.

My earliest memories of Moni are of a wispy, thin little boy. You could almost blow him away ! Along with that puny size came a defiant and determined individual who was never to be taken for granted. Push him even an inch he would quickly take two steps forward. However, what emerged and the most distinctive part of Moni was his affable, warm and helpful character. He was always there to assist and was very supportive. He was a charming man with great empathy and that endearing quality was what attracted his friends to him.

One of my most memorable memories of Moni is when he was displayed along with RLV Nath as the undernourished, half-starved boys at the boarding school. The play put up by Rivaz House was a spoof and somewhat of a satire on the quality of the food dished out by Mr Massey, the catering man. Any successor to Mrs Murphy or the tall, big Maj Davison, would never be able to retain any but an adverse reputation against these specialists. They stood tall when it came to food, quality or quantity.

Well, Moni and RLV arrive on stage naked with just but their shorts. Their upper bodies were painted in a stark white to mark the ribs and other bony body parts. They were the prosecution lawyer’s exhibits, being specimens of starved boys deprived of adequate nourishment. The judge, Dina Nath (Ashok’s older brother) moved his weight from foot to foot imitating Rev Dustan, the Headmaster. The man in the dock was, obviously, Mr Massey’s double with KC Kohli being the lead prosecutor. The moment Moni and RLV appear on stage, the Irwin Hall was in splits of laughter. Post the performance I never saw that bright purple red blush on the face of Rev Dustan ever again. He was livid !!  Truthfully, neither Moni nor RLV were ever deprived after that in the dining hall. They were always adequately served and assisted.

Smoking among boys was happening and well known. Some of the ones who indulged in this habit with a great deal of flair were Ruby Kohli, Gurinder Parkash and Moni Kohli. However no one could beat Moni. He would place the cigarette to his lips, take a deep suck, exhale like the villain did in the movies those days and then send his arm and hand right behind his shoulder until it was the moment to bring it back for the next puff !! What a flourish while he smoked and created those almost perfect smoke rings!! He was, during those moments, the perfect advertisement to foster and encourage teenage smoking !!

A few years ago, my family and I on a holiday in London discovered a rather pleasant and attractive tea restaurant in Leicester Square. We were there almost every evening and then one day the owner, a man of Indian origin, beckoned us inside. “ I see you here every day and today the tea and refreshments are on the house,” was his generous offer. Introductions followed and then I discovered he was from Nairobi. “ Have you heard of Elephant Soap? Do you know Mr Moni Kohli?” were careless questions to a stranger but the response surprised me. He laughed loudly and to my utter surprise said, “Of course, I know Moni Kohli. We studied together in the UK” Truly a small world and then he, Dadu Bhai,  narrated an incident.

Moni was during his years in the UK dating an English nurse. All was well until this young lady’s boy friend of long standing arrived on the scene with iron chains to attack Moni. Imagine the trouble with a small terrified man facing up to an English ruffian. However this nurse and her friends formed a protective ring around Moni. “If you want to get to him, then you must first go past us,” she challenged her lover. Moni had a close shave that day. I am sure that loyalty and protection was earned for all the goodness Moni had possibly bestowed on the lady, entitling him to such high quality protection. It certainly was an amusing anecdote from Dadu Bhai. Moni confirmed the incident when we next met.

Moni’s sensitive caring side emerged when he talked about Subhash, his older brother, who had passed away that year. Moni was deeply upset because this was a special bond. His concern for his siblings was evident when he rang me for some inputs for assistance for his sister in Chandigarh. A most caring man adored by all whom his life touched.

He was also the patriarch of the family and a mantle he handled with great sense of foresight and accomplishment. Elephant Soap Industries is much bigger and has wider interests due to his initiatives.

Some of us watched the Prayer Meeting yesterday to pay our last respects to Moni in his passage from this world. Never have I witnessed such a dignified, filled with grace, and conducted with so much respect that this was certainly the ideal and perfect farewell for a husband and father.

Moni’s father identified and chose for him the perfect spouse in Sarojini. This was the ideal partnership and the perfect marriage. Sarojini has made so many warm and close friends among Moni’s class mates and their spouses. The loss is huge but Sarojini and her family will always find Moni’s friends here in India happy to give of themselves. We offer our sympathies and condolences to Sarojini, Ravi, Arjun and their respective families.

Our warm regards


Vijay [Khurana]

🔽 Updated messages December/10/2023

Dear All Dad’s Friends and Classmates,

I know that some of you will be thinking of him today and have reached out.  In the days following his passing two years ago it meant so much to us to receive your memories of him.  The support that you extend to our family at that time as you always have. Is something that means a great deal to us.  In fact, though in shock, when writing the speech preceding the rituals for his last rites, Bishop Cotton and the community of friendships that came from that was top of mind, and that is why I have shared whatever I thought to pen down then. 

It’s two years today but on behalf of mum and Ravi, I just wanted to write to thank you all for your kindness and thoughtfulness and to remind you that we are there for you when you are in Kenya and you must keep us in mind and save our contacts and whenever we are in India we too will think of you and try to see you and keep the memory of the Dad I loved, and the friend you cherished alive in the continuity of the bond. 

Dad leaves behind two grandchildren from Ravi (Devan and Yara) and two from me (Avani and Kaden Ahaan, born in June this year) and ofcourse, our special mum with whom I share the letters you’ve so thoughtfully written and called us.  Thank you for being such a great  Old Cottonian community..

Sarojini Kohli 
Ravi Kohli 
Arjun Kohli 

Yours sincerely,


Vijay Khurana’s message:

Dear Arjun,

Thank you for your mail.

Your Dad was special for not only his idiosyncrasies, which we often teased him about, but his excellent qualities as a warm and affectionate friend. That relationship was close, very close, and sincere.

Moni is hard to forget and just this morning some of us rang each other to exchange our memories of a friend now gone. One of them, Yogesh Uberoi, asked if we had any news from Sarojini or you boys. That’s when I rang Ravi to discover he is currently in India and on his way to Dehradun. Ravi comes back to Delhi on Dec 18, 2023 for just a day but since I am travelling I have passed on this information to a few of his friends who may be able to contact Ravi.

Thank you for extending the invitation for your hospitality and that threatened visit to Kenya never materialised while Moni was alive. We will certainly take advantage if only to bring back, in whatever form, memories of a man we recognised and appreciated in a special way. Yes, please do likewise take advantage. Moni’s family is very much ours in every way.

The grand children need to know who and what their grand parents were. We will assist in that bit of education as best we can!! Please forward family photographs and that would be appreciated

God bless and our warm and sincere wishes for the Coming Year.


Moni’s classmates and
other Cottonian who continue to miss the man with a personality that was loveable and certainly unique!!


Sudhir Kashyap:

Remember him fondly.

May he rest in peace

NK Akers:
Remember him. Was in Rivaz house and senior.
May his soul rest in peace.
OM Shanti

BM Singh:
It is with fondness that we both remember him and his warmth and hospitality was outstanding.
Warmly remembered
by Ravi & BM