HISTORICAL BACKGROUND :
Gujarati community holds a pride of place in the development of the nation. From the beginning, it has been an enterprising, venturesome and peace-loving community. Gujarati people were successful in establishing trade links with far away countries like South Africa and the U.S. some five centuries ago. Many Gujarati families permanently settled in Africa, the U.S. and other European countries and became a part and parcel of the local population. They were deeply involved in the economic and industrial development of
these countries. The community is well known for fair business practices and has brought immense repute to the Indian trading world.
A small fraction of Gujarati community, especially Gujarati Jains, settled in and around Balapur and Burhanpur during the Mughal-Nizam regime. In 1890, a few Gujarati families settled in Akola which, then, hardly had a population of about 10,000. During the British rule, Akola was connected with other parts of the nation via rail and road and due to its rich, fertile black soil, business flourished immensely. With the growth of business, the Gujarati community also spread at other places like Amravati, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Raipur, upto Calcutta.
AKOLA GUJARATI SAMAJ & EDUCATION
The Samaj undertakes various cultural and educational activities to preserve and protect Indian culture and heritage. In the field of education, the Samaj has made a remarkable contribution. A glimpse of the progress is given below.
A) PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION:
In the early period, the Akola Municipal Council had started primary schools in different vernaculars, Gujarati being one of them. But education for girls was not popular; rather some people were opposed to educating girls. Under such adverse circumstances, in the year 1937, an enterprising Gujarati lady, Smt. Zawerbai Bhatia, ventured to start a girls’ school in the memory of her daughter. She made an initial contribution of Rs. 5,000 and the rest was contributed by the Gujarati speaking people of Akola. The land was provided by the government and the school building was constructed. It was handed over to the municipal council to run. The school was named “Smt. Hirabai Gujarati Kanya Shala”.
Way back in the year 1967, some prominent visionary members from the Akola gujarati community came together and decided to do something concrete for the educational development and progress of the society. Thus, “Shri Akola Gujarati Samaj” came into existence to preserve and foster Gujarati culture and heritage. It was duly registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act and the Societies Registration Act to make it a statutory body. Any Gujarati speaking person, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, could become a member of the Samaj. This was the first step towards fulfilling the mission of the Samaj, which was “to maintain and develop the culture and heritage of Gujarati speaking people irrespective of caste, creed and religion, in harmony with other communities of different vernaculars”. The unique and distinctive feature of this body is that it is secular in nature and gujarati speaking people from various sects and religion have been enrolled as its members. Thus gujarati speaking jains, muslim bohras, patels, kutchhis, vaishnavs and others are its members.
Taking cognizance of the sincere intentions and efforts of the Samaj, the Government of Maharashtra, in March 1970, allotted a piece
of land admeasuring 12,600 sq. ft. for starting an educational institution. The Samaj raised necessary funds through voluntary donations and constructed a building for a school. On 15th August 1972, a Bal Mandir was started with the help of a kind donation given by Shri Mansurbhai in the memory of his father. A primary school was also started under the name and style “G. S. Convent” imparting education through English medium. One of the members, Shri Dahyabhai Patel donated a sum of Rs. 2.50 lakh in the memory of his wife and the secondary school was named after her as
“Smt. Lalitaben D. Patel High School”. At present, about 1,200 students are taking education in this school.
B) JUNIOR COLLEGE OF SCIENCE :
In the year 2002, the Samaj received permission from the authorities to start a junior science college. Shri Mansurbhai made a generous donation to start the college. The college is named as “Smt. Maherbanu Junior College of Science”. The college was started in the old school building which was getting over crowded. In the year 2004-’05, the Samaj adopted Hirabai Gujarati Kanya Shala from the Akola Municipal Corporation with the condition to develop the college building. The Samaj also agreed to construct a new building for Hirabai Gujarati Kanya Shala to be run by the Akola Municipal Corporation. Accordingly, the Samaj constructed a new state-of-the-art building with the help of a donation of Rs. 2.75 crore from Shri Mansurali Kamruddin. The benevolence of Mansurbhai has been instrumental in furthering the cause of education in Akola city. The new building has a constructed area of about 30,000 sq. ft. and is centrally located at Mahatma Gandhi Road, Akola. The junior college is now functioning in the new building. The college is considered to be one of the best in the region having well equipped laboratories, well staked library with spacious reading room, computer laboratory with latest computers having TFT monitors and internet connectivity, LCD projector facility etc. The management is proud to state that the junior college is returning cent per cent results from the last many years consistently and its students are holding meritorious positions in the merit list. On the basis of their academic performance, they have been successful in procuring admissions in other prestigious institutions and prosecuting their higher studies. These students will certainly prove to be a national asset and fulfil the dream of the nation to be a super power in the coming decades.
C) DEGREE COLLEGE :
In the year 2009-2010, the management decided to expand its area of educational activities by entering the field of higher university education. As such “Smt. Maherbanu College of Science & Commerce” was started in the same year. The college is recognized by the govt. of Maharashtra and affiliated to Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati. The focus of the management is to make available the best educational facilities to the students of the region so that they may not be required to go to far away places like Pune and Mumbai. Therefore, instead of emphasizing on starting traditional courses like B.A. and B.Com., the management has started professional courses of B.B.A., B.C.A. and B. Tech. (Cosmetics). The fee structure of the courses has been kept moderate as per govt. and university directives so that all sections of the society can derive benefit of professional education at a lesser cost. The college employs innovative methods of teaching-learning to groom the overall personality of students. In the year 2010-2011, a two-day seminar “MEHAR VARSHA” was organized for this purpose.
AKOLA GUJARATI SAMAJ & CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Akola Gujarati Samaj is conscious of preserving the superb and rich heritage of gujarati culture and gujarati language. Of late, it has been observed that the young gujarati generation is losing charm about their gujarati culture and gujarati mother tongue, which is a cause of worry. One reason for this trend may be assigned to education through English medium. Akola Gujarati Samaj is aware of its obligation to foster gujarati culture and gujarati language.
As a meaningful gesture in this direction, the Samaj has taken a concrete step in the form of establishing a separate organization- “SUR-SAMVAD”. This is intended to be an autonomous arm of the Samaj, though created by it, so that it can function independently in a democratic manner. It is registered as an A.O.P. with the Income Tax authorities. It is proposed that “SUR-SAMVAD” will organize a minimum of four gujarati cultural programmes every year like drama, talent show, kavi sammelan, entertainment programme etc. for nurturing gujarati culture and gujarati language.
AKOLA GUJARATI SAMAJ & SOCIAL
RECREATION AND COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
…A sweet spot in life
The management of Akola Gujarati Samaj also strives to promote social activities. The senior citizens of the samaj cannot be neglected. The senior citizens, specially the retired persons from trade or service, or persons otherwise living in isolation, need tender care and attention. It is felt that they need a place where they may assemble regularly and share their pleasures and sorrows. In furtherance of this objective, the management has constructed a well equipped Recreation and Community Centre for Senior Citizens with facilities and amenities like attached W.C. and bathroom, necessary furniture like tables and chairs, and a library section staking gujarati books and magazines. Facilities for in-door games like carom, chess etc. will also be provided. Senior citizens above the age of 65 years will be enrolled as members. The Recreation and Community Centre for Senior Citizens will be kept open in the evening hours from 5 to 8.30pm. The management intends to create a special permanent fund for the proper maintenance and running of the centre. The centre may be named after a person who wishes to donate an amount of ` 11 lakh or more in this respect. The management has launched a drive to collect the necessary fund from the gujarati samaj members for this project.
SMT. MAHERBANU COLLEGE OF SCIENCE & COMMERCE, AKOLA
COLLEGE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
As per Sec. 97 (1) of the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 1916
1. Shri Dipenbhai Shah — — Chairperson
President, Shri Akola Gujarati Samaj, Akola
2. Shri Narendrabhai Patel — — Member
Secretary, Shri Akola Gujarati Samaj, Akola
3. Prof. Avani Kulkarni — — Member
HoD, Department of Computer Application
4. Prof. Dr. Mayur Malviya — — Member
5. Prof. Pravin Dhande — — Member
6. Prof. Rakhi Malhi — — Member
7. Shri Vaibhav Joshi — — Member
Non-teaching staff representative
8. Shri Kanubhai Sayani — — Member
Local Member (Education)
9. Shri Ravibhai Patel — — Member
Local Member (Industry)
10. Dr. S. C. Bhandari — — Member
Local Member (Research)
11. Shri Sureshbhai Shah — — Member
12. Prof. Dr. Smita Shingrup — — Member
Co-ordinator, Internal Quality Assurance Cell
13. Shri Tushar Dhanokar — — Member
Secretary, College Students’ Council
14. Dr. S. P. Rothe — — Ex-officio Secretary
15. Shri Sureshbhai Vora — — Permanent Special Invitee
SHRI AKOLA GUJARATI SAMAJ, AKOLA
Reg. No. F/446/AKL
Shri Dipenbhai P. Shah — — President
Shri Kanubhai Sayani — — Vice President
Shri Narendrabhai Patel — — Hon. Secretary
Shri Govindbhai Sodha — — Joint Secretary
Shri Kanakbhai Shah — — Treasurer
Shri Sureshbhai B. Vora — — Member
Shri Sureshbhai D. Shah — — Member
Shri Pravinbhai P. Patel — — Member
Shri Batukbhai Soni — — Member
Shri Sanjeevbhai N. Parekh — — Member
Shri Kasamali Nanjibhai — — Member
Shri Mahendrabhai K. Dedhiya — — Member
Shri Vijaybhai B. Shah — — Member
Shri Girishbhai Dhabalia — — Member
Shri Diveshbhai Shah — — Member
Shri Hemantbhai N. Shah — — Member
Shri Valjibhai Patel — — Member
Shri Hardikbhai Patel — — Member
Shri Rajubhai Bagtharia — — Member
Shri Manojbhai Shah — — Member
Shri Sudhirbhai Vora — — Member
Shri Hiteshbhai Bhatt — — Member
Shri Prakashbhai Patel — — Member
Smt. Mamtaben D. Shah — — Member
Smt. Meenaben N. Patel — — Member
Smt. Monaliben A. Vora — — Member
Shri Jayeshbhai Vora — — Member
Shri Dattatraya D. Patel — — Member