• Citizens of Ahmedabad collected a hefty donation over Rs.50,000 in response to appeal by Sir Theodore Hope in 1856 to set an institute of higher education.
• Ahmedabad Municipality agreed to bear part (Rs.3,000) the maintenance cost from 1878 till endowment funds were raised
• Sardar Sir Chinubhai Madhavalal Bert, ICE. donated 33 acres of land and generous donation for the creation of the institute of Higher Education. In the year 1897, the more donations for the construction of Arts College (Rs.2,00,000), Sydenham Library and King George V Hall (Rs.1,50,000) were made.
• M.R. Science Institute was came in to existence out of donation in the year 1913 of Rs.6,00,000 (Rs.1,00,000 deposited to the Govt. P.W.D. and 5,00,000 by means of Charitable Endowment Funds for maintenance) added to Govt. contribution of Rs.85,097.
• Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal Endowment Fund in Connection with the Gujarat College Administered by the Director, Education for maintenance (TCE G-7)
• Madhavlal Ranchhoddas Science Institute in Connection with the Gujarat College, Ahmedabad, Administered by the Director Education for maintenance (TCE G-17)
• Sardar Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal Ranchhodlal, the first Baronet of that time made a patronage in the tune of Rs.10,00,000 for the establishment and development of Gujarat College. City of Ahmedabad also owes an endless debt of gratitude to him for also giving R. C. Govt. High School, R. C. Jubilee Technical Institute and Madhav Baugh.
• Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister (Govt. India) Shri L. K. Advani donated Rs.12,00,000 (Collectorate, Ahmedabad No. J.N. AJN/ 998 to 1001, dated 22-JAN-2004) from the M.P. Development Grants for enacting special facilities at Cricket / Hockey stadia.
• Several prizes and awards are given away yearly from the provisions under various Charitable Endowment Funds.
Rao Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal (1823-1898)
Chhotalal is recognized as the father of the textile industry of Gujarat. He was born on April 29 1823. It was due to his pioneering efforts that Ahmedabad came to be known as the Manchester of India. Had the machinery that he had imported from England, not caught fire at sea, his would have been the first textile mill in the country. In all, he had started four textile mills that grew from strength to strength. He was one with his people, be it his textile mills, or the municipality of Ahmedabad. He belonged to the Sathodra Nagar Brahman community with whom government service was a tradition. He had vision, grit and perseverance. He initiated several welfare schemes for labour and saw to it that his staff was well cared for. He had energy and zeal to reform and recast society and brought new life to it. At a time when clean water supply and drainage were unknown to most parts of India, Ranchhodlal introduced piped water and the underground drainage system, which, in time, became a role model for most parts of India.
He fought against the evils of alcohol widely prevalent among the illiterate and the ignorant and agitated against child labour. When female education was unheard of, he started a girl’s school in Ahmedabad. He spoke English, Persian, Sanskrit and Gujarati fluently, He believed in his own traditional religion, but was not averse to other religions. He built dharamsalas and ghats in several places of pilgrimage. He helped students, poets and sadhus. He believed in a peaceful solution to every dispute.
Ranchhodlal had a dream for Ahmedabad, which unfortunately remained unfulfilled. He wanted Ahmedabad to be a seaport and in order to achieve that he wanted to build a canal that would bring ships through the Gulf of Cambay all the way to Ahmedabad. His idea was turned down as the sum of rupees 15 crores at that time was considered astronomical.
>Most of the achievements of Ranchhodlal have been chronicled by two British bureaucrats of the then Indian Civil Service, Mr. S. M Edwards, C.S.I., C.V.O. and Sir H. Evan M. James, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. The latter who was also a personal friend and colleague, sums up Ranchhodlal quoting Shakespeare thus: “His life was gentle; and the elements So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, ‘This was a man!’”
Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal Ranchhodlal, Baronet, C.I.E., (1864-1916)
Sir Chinubhai was the grandson of Rao Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal. He was raised in an environment of warmth and luxury and was fortunate to bask in the love and attention showered upon him by his father, grandfather and great grandfather. With all his ancestors being well versed in languages, it was only natural that Chinubhai too should be taught Gujarati, Persian, Sanskrit and English. He was fluent in them all. He also attended school and later college. Under the capable guidance of his father and grandfather, he was introduced to the family business of textiles, which he expanded and modernized to the satisfaction of his forbears. Sir Chinubhai followed in Ranchhodlal’s footsteps to become the President of the Ahmedabad Municipality, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Bombay and the president of the Mill Owner’s Association of Ahmedabad. Under his able stewardship the businesses grew and prospered.
Sir Chinubhai’s civic responsibilities guided him to set aside sufficient time to create educational infrastructure for Ahmedabad as it was not available in his time. He gave on a princely scale to philanthropic and educational objects such as: Madhavlal Ranchhodlal Chhotalal High School, Madhavlal Boarding, Ranchhodlal Chhotalal Technical Institute, Sanskrit School, Gujarat College: Madhavlal Ranchhodlal Science Institute, George V Hall, Sydenham Library, Sydenham College of Commerce, Bombay, The Royal Institute of Science, Bombay.
The Victoria Jubilee Hospital, the first maternity hospital in Ahmedabad that was started by his father was expanded and modernized under his supervision. He also built a beautiful public garden in his father’s memory for the people of Ahmedabad.
These handsome donations, together with his active participation in public affairs, brought their natural reward. In 1910 Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal received a knighthood, and three years later a baronetcy, being the first member of the Hindu community to receive the latter distinction. His death in March 1916 at a comparatively early age of fifty two came all too suddenly depriving his family and the people of Ahmedabad of a truly great man.
Sir Chinubhai’s statue near Bhadrakali temple in Ahmedabad, was unveiled by Mahatma Gandhi a gist of his speech given in Gujarati is translated in English as follows: “ I want to appeal to the affluent people of the city to follow the path of philanthropy charted by Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal and place Ahmedabad before the world as an ideal to be followed.”
Sir Udayan Chinubhai, Baronet (1929-2006)
Sir Udayan Chinubhai is the grandson of Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal and the third Baronet. Born in 1929 the responsibilities of the family business fell on his shoulders at a very young age. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950 from Bombay University. He followed in the footsteps of his ancestors by dividing his time between work and serving his fellowmen.
The State of Gujarat was formed in 1960 and Mr Morarji Desai, ex Prime Minister of India, who was then Chief Minister of Bombay State, invited Sir Udayan to take charge as Commandant General of the Home Guard’s, a voluntary organization. He served in this organization in a voluntary capacity for 28 years. With the strength of 6000 home guards at the time of inception in 1960 the organization was expanded to 42000 at the time of his retirement in 1987. During his tenure, he offered invaluable services, particularly at the time of the 1962 Chinese aggression, 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, the Morvi dam disaster and other manmade and natural disasters and calamities.
From his school days his favorite sport was cricket and played for the state of Gujarat in the Ranji trophy and also represented the combined universities of India against Pakistan in 1952. Later, as he could not devote more time to the game because of business, he took up precision target pistol shooting. In 1961 he won a gold medal in the National Championship in the pistol revolver section and retained this title for 14 years until he retired in 1974. During this period he represented the country four times in international competitions and won a silver medal. He was appointed a member of the Gujarat Sports Council from the time of its inception and was the founder President of the Gujarat State Rifle Association.
In recognition of his meritorious voluntary service in Home Guard’s and Civil Defense he was awarded the highest honor with the President of India Medal for bravery and distinguished service. In 1972 the highest recognition of a sportsman, the Arjun Award was presented to him for his excellence in the sport of precision target pistol shooting.
Sir Udayan passed away on September 1, 2006. In the latter part of his life, he devoted his time to the charitable hospital started by his ancestors, the place has grown from a maternity hospital to a general hospital. He was also very actively involved in the development of real estate.
Prashant Chinubhai and Radhika Chinubhai
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