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The Sarabhai family has been a major business family of India belonging to the Shrimal Jain community. Sheth Ambalal Sarabhai, the doyen, an industrialist, who had five daughters and three sons. The family was involved the independence movement for India and later with the developmental tasks undertaken by the government of India.
Seth Shri Ambalal Sarabhai was a mill-owner and also interested in philanthropic activities. His wife Sarladevi Sarabhai got inspired by the Maria Montessori philosophy and in the year 1922, Ms. Montessori sent Mr. E. M. Standing to India for the homeschooling of Sarabhai children.
Sarabhai Enterprises branched out after India's independence and many pioneer ventures were made in fields dominated by foreign companies. The manufacture of drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemicals and intermediates, dyes and pigments, industrial and house hold detergents, soaps and cosmetics, industrial packaging and containers, and later engineering and electronic products.
Institutions built by Sarabhai family
1. Calico Mills - Ambalal Sarabhai 2. Jubilee Mills - Ambalal Sarabhai 3. Jyoti Sangh - Mridulaben Sarabhai 4. Vikas Gruh - Mridulaben Sarabhai 5. Majoor Mahajan - Anasuyaben Sarabhai 6. Kasturba Gandhi Rhastriya Smarak Trust - Sarladevi Sarabhai 7. Shreyas Foundation & School - Leenaben Sarabhai 8. B.M. Institute of Mental Health - Gautam Sarabhai 9. National Institute of Design - Gautam Sarabhai & Giraben 10. Darpana Academy of Performing Arts - Mrinalini & Vikram Sarabhai 11. Calico Museum - Giraben Sarabhai 12. Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises, Baroda - Gautam Sarabhai 13. Centre for Environment Education - Kartikeya Sarabhai 14. Viksat - Kartikeya Sarabhai 15. Chetna - Kartikeya Sarabhai 16. Sangeet Kendra - Geeta Mayor 17. Darpana for Development - Mallika Sarabhai 18. Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd. - Mallika Sarabhai & Bipin Shah
Major Institution Building Efforts of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai (1947-1971)
1. Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA), Ahmedabad 2. Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad 3. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad 4. Community Science Centre (CSC), Ahmedabad 5. Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD), Ahmedabad 6. Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), Ahmedabad 7. Sarabhai Chemicals, Baroda 8. Sarabhai Glass, Baroda 9. Suhrid Geigy Limited, Baroda 10. Synbiotics Limited, Baroda 11. Sarabhai Merck Limited, Baroda 12. Sarabhai Engineering Group, Baroda 13. Operations Research Group (ORG), Baroda 14. Sarabhai Research Centre (SRC), Baroda 15. Systronics, Ahmedabad 16. Swastik Oil Mills Limited, Bombay 17. Standard Pharmaceuticals Limited, Calcutta 18. Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), Trivandrum 19. Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC), Trivandrum 20. Shriharikota Rocket Range (SHAR), Sriharikota 21. Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station (ESCES), Ahmedabad 22. Satellite Communication System Division (SCSD), Ahmedabad 23. Electronics System Division (ESD), Ahmedabad 24. Microwave Antenna Systems Engineering Group (MASEG), Ahmedabad 25. Audio Visual Instructional Division (AVID), Ahmedabad 26. Remote Sensing and Meteorological Division (RSMD), Ahmedabad 27. Indian Scientific Satellite Project (ISSP), Bangalore 28. Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), Ahmedabad 29. Indian National Satellite (INSAT) Satellite Launching Vehicle (SLV) Trivandrum 30. Satellite Communication Earth Station, 31. Arvi Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR), Kalpakkam 32. Nuclear Centre for Agriculture, New Delhi 33. Variable Energy Cyclotron Project (VECP), Calcutta 34. Electronic Prototype Engineering Laboratory (EPEL), Bombay 35. Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad 36. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Jaduguda, Bihar
No.4 was renamed as the Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre after Dr. Sarabhai’s death in 1971. No.18 & 19 were merged under the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre after Dr. Sarabhai’s death in 1971. Nos.21,22,23,24,25 and 26 were merged under the Space Applications Centre after Dr. Sarabhai’s death in 1971. No. 31 was renamed as Vikram Earth Station after Dr. Sarabhai’s death in 1971.
- Ambalal Sarabhai was in the 1940s and 1950s, the owner of the Sarabhai Textile Mills in Ahmedabad - at the time one of India's largest textile companies.
- Anasuya Sarabhai (his sister), Gandhian freedom fighter
- Mridula Sarabhai (his daughter), freedom fighter and Indian politician
- Vikram Sarabhai (his son) co-founder of the Indian Space Research Organization and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
- Mrinalini Sarabhai (his daughter-in-law), noted danseuse
- Kartikeya Sarabhai (his grandson), noted educationist and environmentalist
- Mallika Sarabhai (his granddaughter), noted danseuse and activist
- Leena Sarabhai (his daughter, founder of Shreyas Foundation)