Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth
A towering rock solid personality, full of confidence and decision making ability, who found ingenious ways to implement these, resulting in the birth of a unique educational institution. With unflinching perseverance, she groomed it to stand on its own strength and stand apart, taller than others. Gradually, this sapling as nurtured by her grew to become a huge Banyan tree spreading out innumerable branches and always humming with activities while providing shade and sustenance to those who seek it. We are talking about the ‘gardener’ who sowed the seedlings of this gigantically spread out tree as we see today : A freedom fighter, shining with a luminous aura, ‘Padma Bhushan’ Smt. Poornimaben Pakvasa and her creation ‘Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth’.
The roots of Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth run very deep. With the blessings of the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhiji and Smt. Kasturba Gandhi, whom she deeply idolized and who were her guiding forces, she got the mission of her life- empowerment of women, making them physically and mentally strong to face the struggles of life.
She started ‘Shakti Dal’ in 1953 in Mumbai. She enrolled school girls to middle aged women in ‘Shakti Dal’ and trained them in using ‘Laathis’, ‘Rifle shooting’ and self-defense. Over a period of years, Shakti Dal became quite popular and famous in Mumbai and she included many other activities in it like mountaineering, cultural activities, and arranging camps in Nashik’s Bhonsala Military School etc.
These activities went a long way in increasing the self-confidence and self-respect of women.
But to ‘Didi’ (as Poornimaben was fondly known by all), this was not enough and she was not fully satisfied. She wished to educate and train young girls from the very downtrodden class, and from their very formative years. This sparked an idea in her heart, which enveloped her mind completely.
In 1960 Shri Mangaldas Pakvasa, Former Governor of Mumbai, Mysore & Maharashtra purchased a salty marshy land at a Juhu. It was initially opposed by the survey committee, but he realized that it would be a catalyst to Poornimaben’s vision and he acquired the land. This is today proudly and aptly known as Shri Jitendra Mafatlal Mehta Educational Complex. In these formative years, Shri Haribhai Dresswala supported and joined in her cause.
Gradually, noted philanthropists with a charitable dispensation like late Shri Dipchandbhai Gardi, with whose support the land was developed and then Shri Mafatlal Mehta also joined and cooperated in her efforts.
As it has been said by the poet Majrooh Sultanpuri:
“mai akelaa hi chalaa thaa jaanib-e-manzil, magar
Log saath aate gaye aur, kaarvaan bantaa gaya”
You walked all alone for long, but the sweet mellow fragrance of good deeds is sure to spread and those mesmerized by it would join in your noble cause. With years of hard work and perseverance, she continued her work. Her husband Shri Arvindbhai Pakwasa also supported her whole heartedly in all her endeavors and she also got support from retired Municipal Commissioner Shri P.C Pandya.
To widen the spread and the reach of education globally, Shakti Dal was transformed into Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth in 1967.
IIt was a manifestation of her solid desire to uplift and empower young adivasi girls of Saputara,(a remote, hilly and tribal district of Dang in Gujarat). Once the idea sprouted and with some inquiries and research, she made an unflinching decision to spread education among girl children of the Dang district, from which they were deprived. The idea fructified in the setting up the Saputara School in 1974. Today, Saputara campus houses around 800 tribal girls, who are provided free lodging and boarding facilities and education from 6th std. up to 12th std. The annual results are also very inspiring. These girls are also given the opportunity to acquired and vocational field.
The popularity of Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth spread day by day.
Many dignitaries who heard the noble work done by Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth in nation building; like Prime Ministers late Shri Morarji Desai, late Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Shri George Fernandes, President of India late Shri A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Religious Guru Shri Moraribapu, social workers like Shri Haribhai Kothari, Freedom fighter Smt. Ushaben Mehta etc. have graced us by visiting Saputara. They have commended and greatly appreciated the good work done by Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth.
Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth started R.N. Shah High school in 1990. This was with the support and co-operation of Donor Shri Pravinbhai Shah and in the memory of his late father Shri Ramanlal N. Shah. This school is well managed and running smoothly since last 28 years with a current student strength around 600. Its results are usually 100%.
Subsequently in 1994, Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth took another step in its march in Higher Education. With the support of a noted businessmen and philanthropist Shri Kishorbhai B. Sanghvi, Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth started the Malini Kishor Sanghvi Junior & Degree College.
With an initial enrollment of 37 students, today this institution has grown horizontally and vertically, having an enrolled strength of around 5000 students. This institution offers all commerce faculty graduate programs like; B.Com, BMS, BAF, BBI, BMM, BFM, BIM, B.Sc (IT) & M.Com (Management group). The results are excellent and students scramble for admission here. It is also very vibrant place involved in innumerable cultural, sports and other extra-curricular activities all year round.
The year 2018 – 2019 is 25th – Silver Jubilee year of Malini Kishor Sanghvi College.
Not stopping at it, with the support of Shri Mukeshbhai Doshi, Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth also planned out a Management Institute (MMS) in the name of his wife Smt. Harshaben Mukeshbhai Doshi. Though the work for this course has slowed down due to some technical difficulties, but efforts are on to overcome the same.
Looking at the trend and demand of modern times, Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth took another bold step forward in the field of education. It started the R.N.Shah International High School in 2017. In just about a year, today it has an enrollment of about 350 students where teaching-learning takes place in small batches, with modern gadgets, facilities and other activities to cater to the holistic development of children.
As we celebrate the 51 glorious years of Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth and Silver jubilee year of Malini Kishor Sanghvi College, I appeal to you to join in and contribute towards the celebrations under the flag of Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth, which is a well managed, cultured and open hearted institution.
For the yearlong celebration institution has planned the various programmes like – Hindi Hasya Kavi Sammelan, program on sweet melodies of Gujarati songs, ‘Campus to Corporate’ Business Meet with panel discussion, ‘My Mumbai’ – International short-film festival, ‘Marathi Bhasha gaurav divas’, Crescendo Youth festival, International Women’s day celebration, Shri B.K Sanghvi Memorial Lecture, Teachers’ Day celebration, Sports, NSS and NCC programs, programs for social awareness and finally a Grand Cultural Programme as a grand finale – a cultural program to top up the year round celebrations. I invite all to join the festivities to celebrate the success story of Ritambhara Vishva Vidyapeeth and Malini Kishor Sanghvi College.
(Shri Ashwinbhai Mehta)
RITAMBHARA VISHVA VIDYAPEETH