Chunilal Gandhi Vidhyabhavan

Our History

Diwan Bahadur C. M. Gandhi, who was Chairman of the Managing and the Executive Committees of the Sarvajanik Education Society, Surat for an unbroken period of thirty one long years, retired from the active service of the Society in the year 1952. During his long tenure of office the Society had been able to achieve remarkable success in the field of Education and make its services in the field of Social Work and Co-operation in the city and the district of Surat.

In 1952 a committee of the citizens of Surat called The Diwan Bahadur Gandhi Smarak Fund Samiti was formed for raising a suitable memorial for the services of this man who had worked incessantly to give Surat its distinguishing character. The committee collected about Rs. 80,000 and in the first place installed a fill-size bronze statue of Diwan Bahadur Gandhi in the front garden of the Sir Kikabhai Premchand College of Commerce at a cost of Rs. 20,000/-.

The remaining amount of Rs. 60,000/-, the Committee handed over to the Sarvajanik Education Society for founding an Institute of Higher Learning and Research. The Society accordingly founded the Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhavan, the Institute of Learning and Research, in 1953. It was inaugurated by Dr. D. R. Gadgil, Director, Gokhle Institute of Economic and Politics, Poona, on August 15, 1953.

The aims and the objects of the Institute were to organize instruction in Post-graduate Courses and to plan, promote and conduct research in all subjects of higher learning in Arts, Science and Commerce, but particularly in Economics and Commerce with special reference to local or regional problems, Indology, Sanskrit and Gujarati language and literature. To begin with the Institute was housed in one of the rooms of the Lady Kikabhai Premchand Libraruy and a Committee of Management was formed to look after and supervise the working of the Institute. The first Committee, to work for not less than three years consisted of Prof. V. R. Trivedi, Prof. J. T. Parikh, Prof. M. S. Desai, Prof. R. K. Patil, Shri J. C. Clerk and Prof. V. K. Nimkar. Prof. V. R. Trivedi was appointed the first Honorary Director of the Vidyabhavan and Prof. J. T. Parikh was appointed the Honorary Secretary.

It was one of the aims of the Vidyabhavan to secure recognition as a Research Institute by the Gujarat University, but until that aim could be realized the Vidyabhavan tried to help the M.T.B. College and the Sir K. P. Commerce College of Commerce in providing better organized Post-graduate Instruction in Sanskrit, Gujarati, Economics and Commerce and at the same time it encouraged the teachers of the various subjects of the Colleges to undertake research and read for the Degree of Ph. D. in their own subjects of higher study.

As a first concrete step in this direction the Vidyabhavan planned the publication of research studies, Annual Lectures by eminent persons and the publication of a research journal called The Annual Bulletin of the Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhavan. Shri L. C. Gandhi, the son of Diwan Bahadur Gandhi and the Chairman of the Society, made a liberal donation of Rs. 10,000/- for publishing Research papers under the auspices of the Vidyabhavan.

Another important activity of the Vidyabhavan has been to collect old Sanskrit Manuscripts, arrange for their preservation and for the publication of rare works.

Encouraged by its initial success in attracting the attention of the scholars from different parts of the country, the Vidyabhavan applied for recognition by the State Government and the Government of Bombay recognized the Vidyabhavan in 1957 as Research Institute and sanction a maintenance grant of 25% of its approved expenditure.

The Vidyabhavan had earned a name by now but it had no habitation of its own. Its manuscripts and books were finding it difficult to be contained in the small room in the Lady Kikabhai Library and the research workers and students had practically no accommodation. To put the Vidyabhavan on a footing of having a building of its own was a badly felt need. In 1959 the Government of Bombay sanctioned a building grant of Rs. 53,200/- and an equipment grant of Rs. 8,037/-. In 1960, the Ministry of Scientific Research and cultural affairs of the Central Government sanctioned a building grant of Rs. 26,600/- to the Vidyabhavan. So the Sarvajanik Education Society constructed the Vidyabhavan Building in 1962, the Jubilee year of the Society, at a total cost of Rs. 1,12,525/-. The Vidyabhavan shifted to its new premises on March 1, 1962.

One of the main objects of the Vidyabhavan was to secure recognition by the University for Post-graduate Studies. It was applied in 1960 to the Gujarat University for recognizing it as an Institute of Research and Post-graduate instruction for preparing students for the M.A. and Ph. D. Degrees in Gujarati Language and Literature. The local inquiry committee, consisting of Shri Dolarray Mankad and Shri Umashankar Joshi, appointed by the University, visited the Vidyabhavan and being favourably impressed by the work that the Vidyabhavan had done during its existence of seven years, recommended recognition by the University. Accordingly the University recognized the Vidyabhavan as a Research Institute for Post-graduate instruction in M.A. and Ph.D. Gujarati from June, 1961.

Thereafter due to some technical reasons Post Graduate Teaching was transferred to M.T.B. College and Vidyabhavan continues as a basic research institution. The reputed scholars have given their services to the institution.

Vidyabhavan has a very rich library, which contains some very rare books. Vidyabhavan has very valuable collection of Sanskrit manuscripts on various subjects. These manuscripts were originally collected by Shivadatt Shukla alias Swami Prakashanandnath and were donated to the institution by a successor of one of his disciples. These manuscripts were classified and a Catalogue of the same was published in two parts in the Bulletin of the Vidyabhavan.

Another set of Sanskrit manuscripts collected by Pandit Dinmanishankar Shastri, a great Sanskrit scholar was donated by Prof. Mahanlal Dave. These manuscripts are being classified and its Catalogue was published. Vidyabhavan has some very valuable manuscripts in Prakrit and Apabhransh as well as medieval Gujarati literature.

In the Bulletin of Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhavan articles of humanities and social sciences were published. In early years Mathematics was bi-faculty subject. We find two articles, on that subject published in the bulletin, viz. The HinduTastha Method of Multiplication by Prof. R. Ramakrishnan (August, 1954 No. 1) and Angular Bisector Theorem and its converse by Prof. R. Ramakrishnan (August, 1957 No. 4).

Three publications have earned 1st prize of the Gujarat Sahitya Academy. 1. Gandhinagar. Gaudpadkarika by Dr. Arvind H. Joshi (1979) 2. Sahitya Sansparsh by Dr. Vishnuprasad R. Trivedi (1979) and 3. Nalkatha in Sanskrut Literature by Dr. V. C. Patel won award by Sanskrut Sahity academy (2010).

The Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhbavan has a rich heritage of learning and research.