The South Asian Times

19 October 2018 14:00 PM

Barrister Virchand Raghavji Gandhi (VRG) Timeline biography

(Note: Some years could be approximate indications for better understanding)

1863-64: Goddess Padmavati appeared in dream of Mahuva NagarSheth Shree Raghavji Tejpalji Gandhi and conveyed that his wife Manbai will give birth to narkesari son (Virchand) whose fame will spread worldwide and as an auspicious sign an ancient Lord Parswanathji idol will be discovered from his house. It happened accordingly.

August 25, 1864: Virchand Raghavji Gandhi is born.

1879: Gets married to Jiviben

1880: Passed Matriculation examination from Alfred High School, Bhavnagar. Stood first in Gohilwad district and obtained Sir Jashvant Sinhji Scholarship. Same year family shifted to Mumbai, erstwhile Bombay for higher education of VRG.

1884: Passed B.A. with hons. from Elphinstone College. He mastered 14 languages and had become scholar in all world religions, Indian economics, trade and commerce.

1885-86: Joined as an article clerk in the firm of Govt. solicitors Ms. Little, Smith, Friar and Nicholson. He and Mahatma Gandhi were together for their experiment on dietetics. And then Virchand Gandhi used to help Mahatma Gandhi understand Indian Law by telling different stories of lawyers and stalwarts like Sir Pherozeshah and Badruddin Tyabji. That time Virchand Gandhi was studying for solicitor’s examination (Reference: Mahatma Gandhi’s Autobiography ‘Story of My Experiments with Truth, part 2, chapter III, First Case)

April1886: He succeeded in getting the tax per head for pilgrims to Shatrunjaya Tirth abolished by convincing Col. Watson and the governor of Bombay, Lord Reay.

1891: Went to Calcutta, learnt Bengali and with documentary evidences successfully helped Jains to win legal battle against an English man’s tallow factory at Sammet Shikhar Tirth. The factory was closed.

1893: Originally Muni Atmaramji alias Acharya Vijayanandsuriji, the learned high priest of the Jains in India was invited to represent Jainism at the 1893 Parliament of Religions. But as he couldn’t visit, he for six months trained and deputed Virchand Gandhi.

1893: Could be officially first Gujarati youth to land on USA soil accompanied with a personal Gujarati cook for vegetarian diet. Defends Hinduism, Indian culture and represents Jainism at world parliament of religions, Chicago. At the parliament he also praises King Akbar for his religious tolerance. Virchand Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand and Dharamapala drew equal attention and captivated everyone (Reference: Henry .S.Olcott –old diary leaves). Same year also acknowledged as interesting speaker from India at the world’s first Real Estate Congress. (Reference: The New York Times)

1894: From Chicago, Swami Vivekanandji wrote a letter to the diwan of Junagadh, Shree Haridas Desai and praised Virchand Gandhi as following “Now here is Virchand Gandhi, the Jain whom you knew well in Bombay. This man never takes anything but mere vegetables even in this terribly cold climate and tooth and nail tries to defend his countrymen and the religion.” Same year VRG translated a rare book ‘Unknown life of Jesus Christ’ from French to English.

1893-95: (1) Lectures in various American cities on Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism under the aegis of 'School of Oriental Philosophy'. (2) Publication of the book 'An unknown Life of Jesus Christ' in Chicago. (3) Came to London - Lecture on Indian Philosophy in a meeting chaired by Lord Reay. In between attained Bar at Llaw at Britain but date and year is not known.

1895: Returned to motherland, lectured under the aegis of Arya Samaj, Buddhiwardhak Sabha and other organizations. Founded the Hemchandracharya Class.

1896: 1) Represented Mumbai province in Indian National Congress’s Poona gathering. 2) On January 25thaccompanied Mark Twain on his visit to Mumbai and visited Byculla Jain temples. 3) Established Society for the Education of Women in India (SEWI) under whose banner several Indian women went to the USA for higher studies 4) Second trip to America along with his wife upon an invitation. Later on hearing in America about the drought in India organized a Drought Relief Society and collected Rs. 40,000 and arranged for a shipment of food-grain to India.

1898: Returned to India for short time, was felicitated at a meeting where Justice Mahadev Govind Rande was the president.

Till 1901 delivered 535 captivating speeches in USA and Europe on a plethora of subjects like Indian international trade system, Indian economic and industrial outlook, real estate, ancient history of Indian civilization, science of eating, yoga, concentration, hypnotism, astral vision and astral body, occultism ,vegetarianism, world religions and won many medals.

1901: Mysteriously health deteriorated, resulting lung hemorrhage. In July returned to Mumbai. On August 17 passed away at the age of 37.

Update: 01 Sep, 2012

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