Sardar Patel's dream of a modern and prosperous Independent India was marked by regeneration of villages through the establishment of institutions of modern education, advanced agriculture and cooperative ventures. Vallabh Vidyanagar is the realization of one of his dreams; others being the establishment of the Institute of Agriculture at Anand, now one of the four campuses of the Gujarat Agriculture University, and Amul Dairy, the cradle of cooperative dairying.

The genesis and phenomenal growth and development of Vallabh Vidyanagar, the well-planned and unique educational township situated in the heart of the Gujarat State, is stranger than fiction. Based on local talent and local resources it is a peerless example of self-reliance and dedication. While working in Sindh (now in Pakistan) as Superintending Engineer in Sukkur Barrage, Yevala in Maharashtra and Ahmedabad Municipality, as a distinguished Chief Engineer, Shri Bhailalbhai Dyabhai Patel, later warmly taken to their heart by the people of Gujarat as 'Bhaikaka', had earned reputation for his sense of values, discipline, dedication to duty and absolute integrity. Having been born and brought up in a family of strained financial resources in Sojitra village in Kheda district, the had known what it meant to be poor. So, while in the government service he would pine to dedicate himself to the cause of rural India which was sunk in inertia, squalor and abject poverty. Once during a meeting between him and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who knew Bhaikaka as a man of practical bent of mind, unusual ability and character, Sardar advised him to go to the villages and work for their regeneration. Sardar's wish was tantamount to a command to him. Bhaikaka's irresistible desire to improve the lot of the poor villagers coupled with Sardar's advice or command impelled him to take retirement from the service. He saw that the most potent instrument to improve the subhuman life of villagers was to bring higher learning to their very doorstep and thus the concept of establishing institutions of higher education started taking shape. He got in touch with Shri Bhikhabhai Kuberbhai Patel, a dedicated and farsighted educationist, fired by the same ideal.

They held several meetings in different parts of Kheda (then Kaira) district. On March 28,1945 it was decided to draw and implement the plan of planting an educational township in a wilderness infested with dacoits which later came to be known as Vallabh Vidyanagar. Bhaikaka worked out an ingenious scheme based on enlightened self-interest. He persuaded the farmers to donate their land free of cost, saying, “Donate your land to us now; we'll develop and use two-thirds and return you the remaining one-third in course of time”.

It was explained to them that while having the pleasure of assisting in the establishment of an educational township at no cost to themselves the building plots they would each obtain would appreciate sufficiently not only to cover the value of the land donated, but also leave a handsome margin of profit. It was a win-win situation and the response to it was overwhelming. At a meeting in Bakrol, a village at a hailing distance from today's Vallabh Vidyanagar, spontaneous offer of land was made to Bhaikaka and Bhikhabhai. A map of the village was spread before the duo and they were asked to mark with a pencil the area needed. Residents of Anand and Karamsad (Sardar Patel's village) followed suit. Thus a total of 555 acres of land at the intersection of Bakrol, Karamsad and Anand was received in donation. It was a torrential rain of land !

The founders decided to establish two institutions - Charutar Vidya Mandal and Charotar Gramoddhar Sahakari Mandal. The former was to be devoted to the cause of education, that is, establishing colleges and schools and the latter meant to produce the building materials for educational institutions and residential quarters. They were registered on August 10, 1945 and September 7, 1945, respectively.

Bhaikaka and Bhikhabhai came to reside in the wilderness in an improvised residence - a hut measuring 8 ft and 10 ft on March 3, 1946. They chose a mango tree and installed themselves under it, dreaming, planning, breaking new grounds, organizing, getting things done and resolving snarls to plant a city of education far from the maddening hustle and bustle of cities. It merits a special mention here that Bhaikaka, the Patriarch of Mango Tree, as he was then called, despised the idea of borrowing know-how and do- how from anywhere. His indomitable faith in the local human material, though inexperienced, propelled him to bake bricks for the buildings locally. He established building material units --workshop and foundry, cement pipe factory, tiles factory, rubber factory and prestressed concrete factory to produce, in addition to bricks, lime, timber doors and windows, flooring tiles, hume pipes and various concrete products. The materials thus produceded out cheaper than in the market and in addition, provided employment to the local people. It is difficult to resist the temptation of recalling here that Bhaikaka invited a Harijan to inaugurate the brick-kiln, a Muslim mechanic to lay the foundation of the workshop and foundry and a Brahmin to lay the first brick of the V. P. Science College ! A printing press named as Gramoddhar Printing Press for printing handbills, booklets, books, research journals and question papers was also set up.

Bhaikaka planted a thousand trees. It is to him that we owe the lush-green, stately, shady trees all along the roads in Vallabh Vidyanagar.

While many pessimists seriously doubted the success of the ambitious project of establishing an educational town with a view to bringing about regeneration of villages through modern education and employment and thereby arresting the exodus of promising youth from villages to cities, Sardar Patel, the unerring judge of men and women, not only whole-heartedly blessed the great adventure but also expressed his tremendous faith in its success. Inspiration, encouragement and unbounded support of the mighty Sardar, blessings of Mahatma Gandhi and extraordinary hard work of the founders ushered into existence vitthalbhai Patel Mahavidyalaya in June 1947. The birth of the first college, like the birth of the first child, was hailed with a fanfare of trumpets ! B.A. and B.Sc. classes commenced between towering walls sans any roof. It is something to write home about that teachers and students carried with cheer bricks and mortar after the conclusion of their classes and sweated along with the skilled and semi-skilled construction workers !

Justice M.C. Chagla, Vice -Chancellor,University of Bombay, during his visit to Vallabh Vidyanagar in 1947, was all praise for it when he said, “I came here... and found a new magic. Dreams have come to reality. As the Vice- Chancellor, I am proud that such an ideal college is affiliated to the University of Bombay. I see the seeds of real educational

While performing the opening ceremony of the College, Sardar Patel complimented Bhaikaka, the great public servant, for his tireless efforts and appealed to the public to give him their unflinching support and pray for the realization of his dream of an ideal seat of learning.

Jawaharlal Nehru, who laid the foundation stone of Vallabh Vidyanagar observed“...The first thing I have liked is that the activities here have the object of serving village people. The other thing I have liked is that you do not care whether your house is ready or not. You know how to start putting it to use and start your activities. Here we find harmony of principle and practice. This institution by itself prepares its requirements. I earnestly hope that the example of this institution will not only be followed in this province but throughout the country...”

It is noteworthy that many reputed men of letters from all over the country joined the Vitthalbhai Patel Mahavidyalaya as teachers in response to the appeal of the founders who ensured that the quality of education imparted was first- rate. In order that new teachers too equip their students with the latest advances in their respective disciplines they sent nearly a dozen teachers to U.K., U.S.A. and Germany for receiving advanced training in research.

Many citizens of Anand and nearby places volunteered generous help in running the college and in the development of the matchless educational township. In the face of a swarm of problems, mostly financial, they stood by the great visionaries and helped them surmount these boldly and imaginatively. Sir C.V. Raman and Lady Raman graced the first Annual Day celebration of the college. Within a short span of five years there came into existence two colleges, one of engineering and the other of commerce. Birla Education Trust made a munificent donation of twenty-five lakhs of rupees (in those days!) for the engineering college which was named Birla Vishwakarma Mahavidyalaya (Engineering College, 1948). Lord Mounbatten declared it open. The engineering college was the first one started by a private trust in the entire Bombay State, which extended from Karachi to Dharvad, and the first one in Gujarat State. The commerce college, foundation stone of which was laid by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, was named Bhikhabhai Jivabhai Vanijya Mahavidyalaya (1950). Visits of several very important persons one after another and their appreciation of the boundless courage, selflessness and practical idealism of the founders and their team of dedicated colleagues shot Vallabh Vidyanagar to national fame. So impressed were the Gujaratis staying in British East Africa by the vision and mission of the founders that they donated ten lakhs of rupees in the year 1951 for the development of the Oxbridge of India. And the growth and development continued to take place by leaps and bounds. A hostel for women students, a number of hostels for men students, buildings for housing primary and secondary schools, residential quarters for teachers and other functionaries of educational institutions, tenements for labourers working in building material factories were constructed from the donations that flowed in. Establishment of Gram Panchayat (1954) and start of National Cadet Corps station command (1954) and Vallabh Vidyanagar railway station (1956) added new dimension to the prolific development of Vallabh Vidyanagar. And all this within a short span of only eight years !

It was Vallabh Vidyanagar's crowning glory when within ten years of its foundation it became a university township in October 1955. The university was named Sardar Vallabhbhai Vidyapeeth and Bhaikaka was appropriately appointed its first Vice- Chancellor on December 15, 1955. The academic community of Gujarat hailed the appointment. Most of the college teachers,who were sent abroad to receive research degrees had been teaching post-graduate classes since 1948. They were appointed to the university's post-graduate departments and several others were appointed through advertisement in all-India newspapers. Bhaikaka created facilities for research and encouraged participation in academic conferences, seminars and workshops in spite of the fact that in the initial years the Government did not give any financial help whatsoever to the university !

So keen was his interest in research that the Charutar Vidya Mandal published in 1957 Vallabh Vidyanagar Research Bulletin-a biannual. A great tragedy befell Vallabh Vidyanagar when Shri Bhikhabhai Kuberbhai Patel, who had drafted the constitution of the university and helped its birth, passed away in 1956. It was a tremendous loss to Bhaikaka and to the numerous pupils of Shri Bhikhabhai.

On the conclusion of his three-year term as the Vice - Chancellor in December, 1958 Bhaikaka entered active politics, for he felt that educated, honest and good people must take part in politics if the

He severed his direct responsibility for the Charutar Vidya Mandal and invited Shri H. M. Patel, an I. C. S. officer of great repute, to nurture it as the Chairman. But he continued to evince keen interest in the progress of Vallabh Vidyanagar and to make himself available for advice and guidance till his sad demise on March 31, 1970. Vallabh Vidyanagar felt orphaned. He was cremated at the spot where he and Bhikhabhai had lived in a hut, now a place of pilgrimage.

It was a memorable event when Sardar Vallabhbhai Vidyapith held a special convocation on November 12, 1959 to confer upon Bhaikaka honorary degree of Doctor of Science as an expression of gratitude for its creator. Dr.S. Radhakrishnan delivered the convocation address.

Shri H.M.Patel had served the country as Cabinet Secretary, Partition Secretary, Defence Secretary, Food and Agriculture Secretary and Principal Finance Secretary. The thirty-five years between 1958 and 1993, during which he served the Charutar Vidya Mandal as Bhaikaka's successor, were the years when Vallabh Vidyanagar grew and developed at an incredibly fast pace under his visionary stewardship. He established a polytechnic for awarding diploma in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical engineering and named it Bhailalbhai Bhikhabhai Polytechnic (1958), Nalini Arvind Arts College (1959), Kala Kendra College of Fine Arts (1964) now named Rama Manubhai Desai College of Music & Dance, Rajratna P.T. Patel Science College (1962), New Arts College (later named as T.V.Patel Arts College (1964), H. M Patel Institute of English Training & Research (1965), S.M. Patel College of Home Science (1971), College of Architecture (1980), A.R. Pharmacy College (1981), I.B. Patel English Teaching School (1970), CVM Higher Secondary Complex : Arts and Commerce Streams (1977), Home Science Higher Secondary Stream (1978) and H.M. Patel Career Development Centre (1992) etc.

It is heartening to note that Nalini and Arvind Arts College, Vitthalbhai Patel Mahavidyalaya (Science College), Bhikhabhai Jivabhai Vanijya Mahavidyalaya and H.M Patel Institute of English were recipients of Best College award of Gujarat.

The award, instituted by the Government of Gujarat, carried fifty thousand rupees in cash. Vitthalbhai Patel Mahavidyalaya bagged the award thrice in succession !

Shri H.M.Patel was deeply concerned about the declining standards of English teaching in Gujarat. He held that English is the language of wider communication in today's world. He donated the purse presented to him by his admirers on his 60th birthday and the H.M. Patel Institute of English Training & Research came into existence in 1965. The Institute has planned new and uncommon programmes and added different dimensions to the educational scene. It is heartening that the institute is now upgraded to function as an Institution of Advanced Studies in Education (English).

Spacious buildings for housing the new colleges and schools were constructed and administrative buildings, library halls, new wings, workshops, computer laboratories and floors were added to the nstitutions in order to meet the requirements of the growing number of students. Not only this, a number of hostels -New Hostel Block A, B and C, Bhaikaka Hostel and Ranak Hostel for girls etc.were constructed to accommodate them. Numerous houses for teaching and non-teaching staff were also built.

Shri H.M. Patel always accorded importance to cocurricular and extracurricular activities like seminars, discussion groups, games and sports and cultural activities as means of development of personality. With a view to honouring the memory of those who contributed to the birth and growth of Vallabh Vidyanagar and providing opportunity to the students and teachers to broaden their mental horizon, he initiated Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture Series in the Sardar Patel University and Bhaikaka Memorial Lecture Series and Ishwar Petlikar Lecture Series in the Charutar Vidya Mandal. He created infrastructural facilities like the badminton hall, basketball courts and cricket ground etc. in and near Shastri Maidan. With a view to promoting rural development he persuaded the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Government of India, to establish Agro-Economic Research Centre for Gujarat and Rajasthan here at Vallabh Vidyanagar. Ever since the inception of the centre in 1961 he nurtured it with great care and foresight. The Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute (earlier Jyoti Solar Energy Institute) owes its existence to Shri H.M Patel. The Institute is doing laudable work in evolving a local rural based integrated system of energy in which solar energy, biogasand wind energy could be used in the rural areas in an environmentally clean way.

Shri H.M. Patel, like Bhaikaka, maintained that one of the aims of founding Vallabh Vidyanagar being making the local youth more employable it was desirable to provide suitable employment to those who received education here so that their cityward drift could be arrested.

Therefore, he conceived the project of establishing an industrial town in the vicinity of Vallabh Vidyanagar and named it after another illustrious son of Charotar area, Vitthalbhai Patel, elder brother of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Thus was born Vitthal Udyognagar, spread over five hundred and fifty acres of land with a total of four hundred and fifty units, twelve big and the rest medium and small.

Shri H.M. Patel worked relentlessly for providing the latest healthcare facilities to the rural masses and took up, when he was close to seventy-five years of age, the ambitious project of establishing a well-equipped Hospital and Medical College in the rural surroundings near Karamsad (Sardar Patel's village). The unique Hospital and Medical College Complex, managed by the Charutar Arogya Mandal, of which too he was the Chairman, consists of Shree Krishna Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Pramukh Swami Medical College, H.M Patel Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology, Khushalbhai M. Patel Institute of Physiotherapy, Shri A.D. Gorwala Blood Bank and Manibhai Shivabhai Cancer Centre.

In recognition of his great service to Charutar Vidya Mandal and through it the Sardar Patel University, in the development of which he had played a prominent role, the university conferred upon him honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. He also received Albert Schweitzer Award of Animal Welfare Institute of USA for championing the cause of afforestation and conservation of wild life and Nargis Dutt Award (posthumously), for his production of the feature film 'Sardar'. The film has been hailed as a lively depiction of some aspects of Sardar's stellar contribution to India after Independence.

Like Bhaikaka, he too entered politics with a view to rooting out corruption and lawlessness and strengthening democracy. Even as Cabinet Minister in the Central Government he kept constant touch with his institutions in Vallabh Vidyanagar. Despite the heavy responsibilities with which he was saddled he would come down here at least once a month and arrange meetings with the Principals of colleges and schools and preside over functions.

Shri H.M. Patel passed away on November 30,1993, creating a deep void in the academic life of Vallabh Vidyanagar. A pall of gloom descended on Vallabh Vidyanagar where he had devoted himself to the building and nurturing of institutions to serve the common man. Dr.Chhotubhai L.Patel, former Executive Engineer in Gujarat Electricity Board, succeeded Shri H.M.Patel as the Chairman of the Charutar Vidya Mandal in 1994. Endowed with rich practical sense, sound realism and solid and unshakable endurance he is the true and worthy successor of Shri Bhaikaka, Shri Bhikhabhai Patel and Shri H.M.Patel: Shri Bhaikaka and Shri Bhikhabhai created Vallabh Vidyanagar, Shri H.M.Patel created Vitthal Udyognagar and Arogyanagar near Karamsad and Dr.C.L.Patel is the creator of New Vallabh Vidyanagar, a mushrooming satellite township, now spreading over one hundred acre of land near Karamsad, Mogri and Gana. It is going to have in near future besides educational institutions, Industrial Training Centre, staff quarters, shopping centre, playgrounds and auditorium. Steps are afoot to extend the area to four hundred acres.

Dr.C.L.Patel, the man with Midas touch, has set up several self - finance colleges: Natubhai V.Patel College of Pure and Applied Sciences (1996), G.H. Patel College of Engineering and Technology (GCET) 1996, Sardar Gunj Mercantile Cooperative Bank Ltd. -English Medium College of Commerce and Management (SEMCOM, 1997), A.D.Patel Institute of Technology (2000), S.S.Patel College of Physical Education (2002), Institute of Science & Technology for Advanced Studies & Research (ISTAR) 1999, an Industrial Training Centre named Chimanbhai M.U. Patel Industrial Training Centre. He has also established Sophisticated Instrumentation Centre for Applied Research & Testing (SICART) in 1999, a national - level centre with unique testing facility with ultra sophisticated instruments. ISTAR is a post-graduate learning centre with eight programmes in science, eight in engineering, two in pharmacy and three multidisciplinary progammes. C. Z. Patel College of Business & Management (2003), Indukaka Ipcowala College of Pharmacy (2003), Govindbhai Jorabhai Ayurved College (2005), Ashok & Rita Patel Institute of Integrated Study in Biotechnology (2005) are the latest additions at New Vallabh Vidyanagar. In 2005 four more institutes joined the CVM family. Surajben Govendbhai Patel Ayurved Hospital, Govendbhai Jorabhai Patel Ayurved college , Waymade College of Education and Bhika Bhai Saheb PTC College. Work on setting up therel, an integrated law college and a college for language studies and applied social sciences is progressing at a supersonic speed.

The question that has been asked time and again ever since the birth of Vallabh Vidyanagar is “Where does so such money come from?”

The answer is that Dr.C.L.Patel, like his predecessors, receives massive donations from his numerous well- wishers and philanthropists in India and abroad, who have tremendous faith in him. He, in turn, has immense faith in the public sense and generosity of our people and believes that right public cause sincerely undertaken can never suffer from want of funds.

Is not the genesis, growth and development of Vallabh Vidyanagar stranger than fiction !!

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