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HARKUNVAR SHETHANI (CIRCA 19TH CENTURY)
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Titled by the British as Nek Namdar sakhavati Bahadur and by the Gaekwad as chobdar. Harkunvar shethani has contributed significantly to the religious, social, and women Issues. After the sudden death of her husband Sheth Hathee- Sing, she completed the construction of one of the finest Jain temples of the. city. She also generously donated fifty thousand rupees for the First civil hospital in Ahmedabad. In 1855, she established the Harkunvarba and Jyotiba Kanyashala as well as launched a teacher’s training college for women.
INDULAL YAGNIK (1892-1972)
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Popularly known as Induchacha, Shri Indulal Yagnik commenced his political career here in Gujarat with his activities about rural development after completing B.A. and L.L.B. Studies from Bombay. He was also connected to Gandhiji especially with the publication of ‘Navjivan, Young India’. Dharmyug, Hindustan Dainik’ etc. He emerged as an active leader in the Mahagujarat movement and was elected to parliament consequently for five terms since 1957. He lived a very simple life and also wrote some books including his autobiography ‘Stree Ratno’ and ‘Rashtrageet’. (Prominent Individuals of Gujarat)
Having begun his career as early as the age of seventeen, as mill agent and banker, Kasturbhai went on to establish a number of textile mills namely Ashok, Saraspur, Nutan Arun, Ashok, Arvind, and New Cotton mills along with Anil Starch and Atul also Products. He represented city and country as president of several national and international associations of textiles and industry. Apart from industry city Owes him for the range of premier institutions, he established. He was the chairman of the governing council of Ahmedabad Education Society. He was also the custodian of religious and cultural heritage. He served as the president of Sheth Kalyanji Anandji Jain Tirthraksha Pedhi. Kasturbhai’s contribution to the field of industry, education, and culture are unparalleled. He was the founder President of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1949.
MAGANLAL VAKHATCHAND (1830-1868)
Man of literature Maganlal taught at the first English School and also became the first Assistant Secretary of the Gujarat Vernacular Society. “Amdavad no Itihas” is pioneering to compile the history of Ahmedabad which was awarded fifty rupees in 1850 AD. He even served as Municipal Secretary and Revenue Officer in Ahmedabad.
MOHANDAS KARAMCHAND GANDHI (1869-1948)
It was in Ahmedabad that Gandhiji sowed the seeds for satyagraha and social reformation during his stay in 1915. After returning to Ahmedabad from South Africa in 1917, Gandhiji founded the Satyagraha Ashram, which was housed in Jeevanlal Desai’s bungalow. After his, in 1924 Gandhiji called a meeting of the Congress. On 12 March 1930, Gandhiji took out the historical Dandi Kooch, a 329km long rally from Ahmedabad to Dandi to abolish the tax on salt. is said when Gandhiji left Ahmedabad in 1930, he had vowed to return the seeds release only after obtaining total independence.
MRUDULA SARABHAI (1911-1974)
Daughter of Sariadevi and Ambalal Sarabhai, Mrudula Sarabhai studied at the Gujarat Vidyapith after primary schooling. Im-pressed with Gandhiji’s Ms. Mrudula Sarabhai became the head of the female workers at the Congress convention in 1938. She formed a children group called Vanarsena’ to encourage them to participate in the fight for freedom. A staunch supporter of Swadeshi, she founded ‘Jyotisangh’ to work for the upliftment of women and social reform. She was responsible in releasing the Indian women’s Daughter line of thinking, kidnapped in Pakistan. (Prominent Individuals of Gujarat)
RANCHHODLAL CHHOTALAL (1823-1898)
Born at Bhan sadavrat ni pol, Ranchhodlal Chhotalal was the pioneer of the textile industry in Ahmedabad. In 1861, he founded the first textile mill of the city and the second of the country. Titled as ‘Rao Bahadur, he was the visionary and indulged in development affairs as well as local governance. On becoming the first Indian president Ahmedabad Municipality in 1944, he carried out the underground drainage and water supply work for which the city would be ever grateful to him.
RATNAMANIRAO BHIMRAO JOTE (1895-1955)
A resident of Ahmedabad Ratnamanirao was a Sanskrit scholar. Although he was into textile and industry he pursued research in history as a hobby. His books on the historic maritime trade, Cambay, Somnath, and Ahmedabad are the most researched of Gujarat’s documents and authentic references on the subject.
REUBEN DAVID (1912-1989)
The gentle animal keeper of Ahmedabad’ as he was known, Reuben David created one of the most remarkable zoos in India and Asia. In 1951, when the zoo was set up at Kankaria lake, he created a near-natural habitat for animals by developing distinct brands of zoo architecture along with planting innumerable trees not only in the zoo but also around it. He was best known for the breeding of crocodiles flamingo and white animals. For years he was a much-respected contributor to the International Zoo Yearbook and co-authored a book on the Asiatic Lion. Sundervan now houses the Reuben David Nature library. (Prominent Individuals of Gujarat)
SHANTI DAS ZAVERI (1885-1959)
Believed to be the first Nagar Sheth of Ahmedabad. Shanidas Zaveri was a wealthy tradesman of Ahmedabad. Essentially a jeweler he was very influential in the Mughal royal courts. He had constructed a magnificent Jain temple of Chintamani Parshvanath at Saraspur which was later desecrated by prince Aurangzeb. Upon Shantidas’ brave representation a royal decree was issued to restore the same with due respect. This demonstrates command and respect in Mughal Shantidas also donated generously to set up school and Jain Granth bhandar his court.
A leading worker of the women organizations of Ahmedabad, Sharda Mehta was one of the first Gujarati lady graduates of the Mumbai Union. She founded the Mahila Vidyapith in Ahmedabad and also took upon herself to lead the Akhil Hind Mahila Parishad. She served the Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti besides writing essays and translating9 some books and publishing them. She actively participated in the Bardoli Satyagraha.
VIDYAGAURI NILKANTH (1876-1958)
Vidyagauri Nilkanth was one of the first women Gujarati graduating from Mumbai University in 1902. with the Working women’s organization of the city, she took active participation in the issues of social reform and She remained a member of the Gujarat Vidya Sabha from 1928 to 1958, and from 1947 she also served as the head of the Gujarat Sahitya Sabha. Her contribution to literature came in the form of women’s rights of lectures and essays aimed at the betterment of masses and for women. She was conferred the Kaiser-e-Hind by the British Government.
DR. VIKRAM A SARABHAI (1919-1971)
Born in Ahmedabad on August 12, 1919, to Ambalal and Sarladevi, Vikram Sarabhai is known as India’s one of the greatest scientists. He studied in a Montessori inspired school started by his parents at home. He St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1937 to study BA in physics and mathematics. He did his postgraduate research in nuclear physics at Cambridge and then under Noble Laureate Sir CV Raman, at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. After the Second World War, he went to relumed to Cambridge where he was awarded a doctorate for his thesis on “Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes”. After his return to the U.K., he started his prolific career as a scientist, as an industrialist, and as an institution builder. (Prominent Individuals of Gujarat)
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai published 87 scientific research papers and was also a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The U.S.A. His vision was to modernize India with the help of science and technology. He is considered the father of the Indian Space Programme. In a short span of 52 years, he devoted his life to the task of national development and human welfare. He was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and of the Indian Space Research Organisation, Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy: Director of Space Science and Technology Centre in Trivandrum, and Director of Physical Research Laboratory. Ahmedabad.
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