Sheth Chimanlal Nagindas(1867 – 1908 )
For Sheth Chimanlal, charity began, quite literally, at home. Poor students from rural areas were given shelter in his own house and a good education to improve their future life prospects. His entire property and wealth were bequeathed to the Trust (named after his brother Sarabhai Maganbhai) solely for educational purposes.
Smt. Manekba Chimanlal (1887 – 1953)
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 the 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 for the entire food bill for the day.
Indumatiben Chimanlal(1906 – 1985)
A force to reckon with and a crusader in her own right, it was Indumatiben who nurtured and developed the present C. N. campus. Indumatiben was the Deputy Education Minister in the undivided state of Maharashtra and when Gujarat separated from Maharashtra 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.
Ambalal Sarabhai(1890 – 1967)
Son of Sarabhai Maganbhai and nephew of Chimanlal Nagindas, the responsibility of taking care of the family business and wealth fell on the young Ambalalbhai’s shoulder. 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 : Snehrashmi(1903 – 1991)
Jheenabhai Desai, popularly known as Snehrashmi, became Principal and Director in 1938. 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’ in to 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, Ranjtram Gold medal and Chandrakant Memorial Award.