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Vaikunth Lallubhai Mehta

Gen 5 - 1891-1964 (73 years)

Vaikunthbhai, referred to as VL Mehta or Vaikunthlal (home name was Batuk kaka), was the eldest son of Lallubhai and Satyavati. The first governor general of India, Shri C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) had once said, "If there is anyone who can replace Mahatma Gandhi, it is Vaikunthbhai."

Also, contrary to popular belief and mentioned in some websites / news sites, Vaikunthbhai was not a member of the Indian National Congress or any other political party.

  • An outstanding student at Bharda Murzban School as well as at Elphinstone College, Bombay in the subjects of English and Mathematics

  • Quietly transferred the scholarship he was awarded, to a poor student. That student was Shri Mahadev H. Desai, who later became the lifelong private secretary of Mahatma Gandhi

  • Awarded Kaiser-i-Hind medal (1916) for his service to the co-operative movement

  • Most trusted lieutenant of Gandhiji in the Khadi (homespun cotton) movement

  • Worked for 35 years as CEO of Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank

  • Founder and chairman for life of Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC)

  • A member of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution

  • Asked by Gandhiji, Sardar Patel and BG Kher to become the first minister of Finance and Co-operatives of Bombay State (1946)

  • Vice-chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI) with John Matthai as chair

  • Did not accept any remuneration as a Minister, as Chair of KVIC or in any other positions

  • Like his father, Vaikunthbhai is called "Doyen (bhishma-pitahmah) of the Co-operative Movement in India

  • The first Gujarati to be Awarded Padma Bhushan (1954)

  • Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Co-operative Management (VAMNICOM), Pune is dedicated to his memory 

  • The entire road right from Tulip Star Hotel (end of Juhu Tara Road) till SV Road (Vile Parle Station), a park in Andheri East (near Teli Gali) and a co-operative housing society in Andheri West where he lived, have been named after him

  • On the occasion of NDDB's 25th anniversary, Dr. Verghese Kurien (Chairman, NDDB) and Amul) produced and dedicated a documentary film on VL Mehta

  • In 1992, the Times of India covered a feature on VL Mehta as "the forgotten banker". Read it here

  • NCUI (National Co-operative Union of India) organizes an annual memorial lecture at Delhi in Vaikunthbhai's memory till date

A short film on Vaikunthbhai Mehta - produced by NDDB

film commissioned by Dr. Verghese Kurien (Chairman, NDDB and Amul)

A film on Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management, Pune

Courtesy: Vamnicom

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