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A force to reckon with and a crusader in her own right, it was Indumatibahen who nurtured and developed the present C. N. campus. Indumatibahen was the Deputy Education Minister in the undivided state of Mumbai and when Gujarat separated in 1960, she became the first education minister of Gujarat. Sensing the need for trained teachers, she had the foresight to establish four teacher training colleges on campus.
After her husband’s unfortunate demise at a young age of 40, it was Manekba who wowed to take his dream forward. She established the first institution – Kumar Chhatralaya – in the memory of Sheth Chimanlal thereby paving the way for other institutions. About her, it is said that she spent the larger part of her day sitting and knitting at the Kumar Chhatralaya, keeping a watchful eye on the boys’ needs. A firm believer in the value of trusteeship, she refused to eat or drink at the hostel kitchen. On one occasion, when she had to dine with the guests, she paid the entire food bill for the day.
For Sheth Chimanlal, a philanthropist and visionary, charity began, quite literally, at home. Indigent students from rural areas were given shelter in his own house with sound education to improve their future life prospects. He bequeathed his entire property and wealth to the Trust (named after his brother Sarabhai Maganbhai) solely for educational purposes.
Son of Sarabhai Maganbhai and nephew of Chimanlal Nagindas, the responsibility of managing the family business and wealth fell on Ambalalbhai at a very young age. With great patience and vision, he helped Manek-kaki in the key affairs of the C. N. institutions. His famous words to Manekba were: ‘When a person bequeaths his wealth to a Trust, he does so to cater to the present-day needs of the society. Therefore, a major share must be spent to alleviate the present condition rather than saving it for future needs.’
Jheenabhai Desai, popularly known as Snehrashmi, became Principal in 1938 and thereafter Director of Vidyavihar. For almost half a century, he devoted his time and energy nourishing the institutions with unusual zeal and passion. A poet of national repute, he introduced the Japanese poetic form ‘haiku’ into Gujarati literature. Music, dance, drama, elocution were the staple of his educational philosophy. He also served as a senate and syndicate member in different universities of the state of Gujarat. He also served as a member of the Sahitya Academy and Historical Records Commission. He won the President’s Best Teacher Award, Ranjitram Gold medal and Chandrakant Memorial Award.