Stories Of

Institutions So Far...

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

The Vacancy Phenomenon

The phenomenon of institutional vacancy now is a resultant of the agricultural land which was acquired by wealthy industrialists in 1935 for educational purposes under the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act. This act granted permission to trustees of Ahmedabad Education Society who got registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act to acquire farmers' land under the condition that it would be used for educational purposes only.


In the Pre-Independence era, Britishers started setting up educational institutes to educate Indians to work in civil jobs to save the hefty costs that came with importing civilians from the UK. It was a cost saving tactic which led to awareness about the importance of education in India. As a reaction to the emergence of British institutions, visionary leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, etc. realized the importance of the need for establishing their own institutes that emphasized on Indian languages and culture. This gave rise to the Non Cooperation and Indian Independence Movement. They received enormous support from industrialists like Ranchhodlal Chhotalal, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, G.V. Mavalankar, etc. who pooled their money and land in order to set up various educational trusts or even provide donations to state-run institutions. Most of the institutions in Ahmedabad were set up based on philanthropic fund.


As the land was cheaper and abundant towards the west, establishment of educational institutions began which set the foundation for the formation of city towards the western side of Sabarmati. It was undeniably the main contributing factor for affluent classes to shift towards west due to more opportunities in the educational front.

The present day focus of institutions is to provide a wide array of learning opportunities and to expose students to education systems on the west. This marks a significant shift in operations that has been carried out since 1920s because of the emergence of private institutes that came about in 2000s. Changes in ownership patterns that are inextricably linked to the political systems are other reasons for the rise or fall in institutions. There are examples of institutions being dilapidated because they were acquired at the time of Pro-congress and now have been found to be in a terrible condition. The sources of funding and their alignment with respective political values becomes key to determine their aspirations for the potential use of vacant lands. 

The present day land acquisition for educational purposes has been easier as per provisions of  Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act. There are tax incentives that allow non-farming individuals and institutions to buy agricultural land without collector's permission.



British Government imported civil servants from the UK to India. As importing skilled labor became expensive, they started educating Indians to work for the Britishers. That lead to the beginning of educational institutes in Ahmedabad.

Ranchhodlal Chhotalal was a pioneer of the textile industry in Ahmedabad and was also a social activist. He founded one of earliest high school of Ahmedabad, the R.C. High School in 1846, which is also named after him. In 1879, he was responsible for funding and restarting of Gujarat College, which was put under management of the Gujarat College Committee, headed by him. He further donated money to Gujarat Vernacular Society to start a Girls High school now named RC Girls High School in 1892. Further, an endowment fund named Ranchhodlal Chhotalal C I E Research Award Endowment was also started by him to help bright but poor students complete their education.

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Forbes was appointed in 1842 to the Civil service of the East India Company. Later he was appointed as Assistant Judge in Ahmedabad in November 1846 where he noticed the absence of literary society. After moving to Ahmedabad, he began to learn Gujarati Language first from Rao Saheb Bhogilal Pranavallabh, and then from Dalpatram, a Gujarati poet. Dalpatram taught him Gujarati while Forbes encouraged him to write in Gujarati. They became close friends. On 26 December 1848 he started the Gujarat Vernacular Society in Ahmedabad, which contributed to a literary renaissance in Gujarati.

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Sir Theodore Cracraft Hope, was a British civil servant of the Government of India who became Inspector in the newly formed Education Department of Gujarat. He was instrumental in starting a small institution in Ahmedabad city called Gujarat College, one of the oldest institutions in India and the second oldest in Gujarat. He appealed to the people of Gujarat to give donations to construct a college to teach western-oriented subjects without compromising on Indian culture and languages. In response to his appeal, lots of people came forward and donated liberally for the construction of a college that started functioning in 1860. 

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He was a prominent Indian industrialist and philanthropist who

found several mills, including Arvind Mills in 1931. He actively participated in politics and the fight for independence. Apart from setting up numerous companies in various industries, he was also associated with establishing new institutions to promote education in the country.

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This might have led to the Indian Independence Movement. Moreover, the idea that started with providing service to the Britishers ended up building a nation.

Affluent people started shifting towards the west due to more opportunities in jobs and education. As land was available at cheaper price, huge parcels of land were acquired for educational purpose under the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act. 

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