Gujarat Vidhya Sabha

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Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, originally called Gujarat Vernacular Society is a literary institution for the promotion of vernacular Gujarati literature and education, and for the collection of manuscripts and printed books; located in the city of Ahmedabad, India. It was founded by a British administrator, Alexander Kinloch Forbes in 1848 with Dalpatram.[1][2] The name was changed on the occasion of the centenary of the institution.

It published Gujarat's first newspaper, established the first Gujarati school for girls, the first library and the first Gujarati periodical.[1]


Buddhiprakash, Gujarati periodical, 1850
Vartaman, Gujarati newspaper, 1849

Gujarat Vernacular Society was founded by British East India Company administrator, Alexander Kinloch Forbes on 26 December 1848 along with Dalpatram.[1] The fund of Rs 9601 was raised from locals, Baroda State and British officers.[3][4] The society had in 1877 a fund of £2791 (Rs. 27,910), of which £1000 (Rs. 10,000) were contributed by Premchand Raichand of Bombay. The first newspaper in Gujarat was started in Ahmedabad by this society. It was a weekly paper issued on Wednesday, Budhvar, and hence in Ahmedabad all newspapers were called Budhvariya during those times. The library, now included in the Hemabhai Institute, and the first girls' school in Ahmedabad, were established by the help of this society. Useful books were printed by it, and the publication of others was helped by money grants. It brought out a monthly magazine, the Buddhiprakash, which in 1876 had a monthly sale of 1250 copies. The magazine is still published. The society helps libraries in all parts of Gujarat and Kathiawar, and gives prizes to schools. It undertakes to sell and distribute books, and offers annual prizes for essays on various useful subjects. A yearly prize of £15 (Rs. 150) is given for the best Gujarati essay on a given subject, the funds coming from an endowment of £250 (Rs. 2500) given in 1864 by a Bombay merchant, Sorabji Jamsedji Jijibai. Its library contained (1877) 1590 volumes in various languages. At the close of 1876 there were forty-eight life members, two yearly members, and two honorary members. Its yearly receipts amount to about £180 (Rs. 1800) and its expenditure to £129 (Rs. 1290).[5]

Textile pioneer of Gujarat, Rao Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal donated money to the Gujarat Vernacular Society to start girls high school, which was started in 1892 and was named as RB Ranchhodlal Chhotalal Girls High School, after the donor.[1]

The society changed its name to Gujarat Vidya Sabha in 1946.[3]

The Vidya Sabha is currently presided by Balkrishna Doshi.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Census of India, 1961 - Volume 5, Issue 1 - Page 187
  2. ^ Amaresh Datta (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 1729. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0. 
  3. ^ a b c Shastri, Paul John & Parth (31 August 2015). "Forbes, Gujarati's renaissance man". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Shastri, Parth (26 December 2013). "Gujarat Vernacular Society instrumental in revival of language". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Ahmedabad. Google Books. 7 January 2015. pp. 310–311. Retrieved 1 February 2015.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.