We the founders and co-founders unitedly present the success story (History) of above organization and journey from “Akhil Betalish Dasha Hummad Digamber Jain Yuva Sangh” to “Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj Mahasangh” via “Shree Jain Yuva Sangh”.
We stand united with one voice after the lapse of 25 years and celebration in grand manner of the silver jubilee on 15/04/2007. Isn’t it a great achievement in itself to remain united with one voice and work for the Samaj for more than 25 years ?
We feel proud that we have offered platform and representative body by uniting several sub sections of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj which is the first ever for the Gujarati Samaj and having made it strong & disciplined body which itself caters the need of several welfare activities and will take care for all Samaj Bandhu like government takes for the people of the state.
Here is the History of such a successful organization….
On auspicious day of 25th December, 1981 it was firmly decided & concluded to form and launch the youth organization, after long negotiation with several elders of Samaj for at least more than six months - by two friends Mr. Vinod Gandhi, C.A. & Mr. Ashok Mehta, C.A. with main objects in mind of uniting & canvassing for peace & harmony among the youth of warring fractions of Betalish Dasha Hummad Digamber Jain Samaj (Belongs to Sabarkantha District-Gujarat) which was split in two fractions some where in May 1971 under the excuse of religious and orthodox social rules & regulations of the said samaj.
Both the friends had decided to involve youths at initial stage so that a sense of unity & harmony can be prevailed as it was impossible for them to bring the elders together keeping in mind the wounds (bitterness) amongst them.
Keeping the above objective in mind they decided to form the forum to share the views amongst the youths by bringing them on common platform of said both the fractions and therefore they named the organization " Akhil Betalish Dasha Hummad Digamber Jain Yuva Sangh ", Mumbai. Accordingly they also decided to take up several activities for youths which could boost the cause of unity & harmony.
On deciding the same they called the meeting of youths of Betalish Samaj on 6th March, 1982 and explained the purpose of the meeting as above and got approval of the above name and objects.
It is pertinent to note that both the friends had no past records of social work, particularly at Samaj level. Thus they had to start with the blank slat as there was no lobby who could support them.
With this background it was neither smooth nor easy to proceed and a lot of difficulties were experienced when day-by-day opposition & protest grew. Some elements of both the fractions were not in favour of forming the Joint organization and pressure was mounting which resulted in the resignation of acting president after the fiasco of the first general meeting, which was held to approve the first draft of the constitution.
The activities came to a halt for about 6 months and again youths gathered and elected new President and firmly pledged to carry on the activities without caring for opposition. The amended draft of the constitution was also passed after lapse of about 10/12 months under the leadership of new incumbent President. However struggle was knocking the doors but determination was firm so activities continued with certain compromises. Thus initial six-seven years passed with a lot of struggle and hardships and meanwhile it was also decided to shorten the name from Akhil Betalish Dasha Hummad Digamber Jain Yuva Sangh to Shree Jain Yuva Sangh. The friends & supporters who remained with chief founders in the days of struggle & hardship and worked for the upliftment of the organization constantly for 20 years were decided to be referred to & known as co-founders. The chief founders and co founders are named hereunder with the tenure of their President ship respectively or other offices for they served.
Chief Founders :
i) Mr. Vinod Chunilal Gandhi (President from 1991 to 1995)
ii) Mr. Ashok Somchand Mehta (President from 1995 to 2001)
iii) Mr. Popatlal K. Mehta (President from 1982 to 1986)
iv) Mr. Babulal P. Kothari (President from 1986 to 1991)
v) Mr. Vasant M. Kotadia (President from 2001 to 2007)
vi) Mr. Hasmukh N. Kotadia (Vice President 1995 to 2001)
vii) Mr. Manubhai C. Kotadia (Managing Trustee, K.T. Edu. Ch. Trust)
viii) Mr. Ashwin M. Gandhi (Hon. Secretary)
ix) Mr. Ramesh K. Saheri (Editor, Yuv Sandesh)
x) Mr. Ramniklal N. Shah (President, K. T. Edu. Ch. Trust)
xi) Mr. Arvind S. Gandhi (Managing Trustee K. T. Edu. Ch. Trust)
xii) Mr. Rasiklal M. Kotadia (Manging Trustee K.T. Edu. Ch. Trust)
xiii) Mr. Ramesh K. Mehta (Hon. Secretary)
The first president Mr. Popatlal K. Mehta had a period full of struggle and hardships as compared to the second president Mr. Babulal Kothari. Stability came into being when Mr. Vinod C. Gandhi became the president thereafter. However they all ignored the obstruction came on their way and continue to serve the Samaj introducing several activities. The activities gained further momentum when Mr. Ashok Mehta took over as the president and under his leadership the first ever-special train to Sammed Shikharji was organized in the history of Bharat Varshiya Digamber Jain Samaj in the year December 1995 with about 850 pilgrims. The popularity of the organization reached a new high when people from all together eight states participated in this pilgrim tour of ten days. As the goodwill of the organization scaled new peaks, Dr. P. T. Kotadia of Himmatnagar was so inspired that he offered all his properties & wealth to ‘SANGH’. However Mr. Mehta’s cabinet decided to accept rupees eight lakhs only. During the year 1996 Mr. Mehta formed divisions at Talod, Himmatnagar and Ahmedabad and started negotiation with the leaders of Baroda Samaj and Mr. Jasubhai M. Gandhi of Talod was made chief convener for Gujarat as he had supported in the days of struggle right since 1984 onwards. The first Yuvak - Yuvati Parichaya Mela was organized for whole Digamber Jain youths in December 1996. The success of special train & Yuvak Parichaya Mela project boosted the people of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj to come together and also encouraged us to call the convention of social workers & office bearers of several sub sections of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj in the year 1998. The said convention was convened under the chairmanship of Mr. Shah Ashok Sakarlal of Goregaon and Mr. Ashok Mehta, in his presidential speech before convention, presented the idea of having a big organization of all sub sections of Gujarati Digamber Samaj which was his dream since student life and the same was welcome by all representatives present in the meeting. Success of this convention resulted in a bigger organization emerging of all (15) sub sections of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj and the march towards rechristening of Shree Jain Yuva Sangh to “Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj Mahasangh”.
Mr. Vasant Kotadia became the president in January 2001 and the march of progress continued. Under his tenure external Zone at New Jersey, U.S.A. under the leadership of Mr. Harshad K. Shah and Mr. Nitin Ramanlal Shah and some more divisions at Baroda & Surat were formed in Gujarat. A very sizable donation of Rs. 25,00,000/- was offered by the donor of Indian origin, Mr. Vasant Chimanlal Mehta of MA, USA, in the year 2002 on recommendation of Mr. Kirit Sakarlal Shah, which generated further goodwill for the organization. A special train in the year 2006 was taken to Mahamastakabhishek of Lord Babubali at Gommateshwar with 650 pilgrims.
During 1998 to 2007 several Yuvak – Yuvati Parichaya Melas were organized at several places in Gujarat by various divisions. A journey of 25 years completed and it was celebrated as Silver jubilee and name of ‘Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj Mahasangh’ was inaugurated on 15th April 2007 at the hands of Mr. Hareshbhai and Mr. Vijaybhai, sons of Mr. Shah Chandulal Mohanlal and the hands of Mr. Shah Anilbhai Mithalal. Mr. Ajit R. Gandhi took over as the 6th president and Mr. Chetan R. Shah as Vice-President with effect from the same day.
It was a tough challenge to prepare federal constitution of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj Mahasangh, since as many as 15 sub sections of Gujarati and one more section of non Gujarati was to be included therein which was taken over by Mr. Ashok Mehta, C.A a chief founder as chairman of constitution committee comprising of Mr. Neetin M. Shah (C.A.), Mr. Vinod C. Gandhi (C.A & C.F), Mr. Ramesh G. Shah (Advocate – Surat), Mr. Hasmukhlal K. Shah (Vadodara), Mr. Dinesh Paronigar (Advocate), Principal Mr. D. C. Gandhi (Ahmedabad) and the said new constitution is approved in the meeting convened on 18th August 2007, at Pawagadh (Gujarat) where about 200 representatives were present, Mr. Shah Ashok Sakarlal chaired the meeting and Mr. Mahesh Maganlal Shah, Vadodara presided. The meeting was very well and successfully organized by Mr. Rajnikant D. Shah, president of Vadodara division (the host division). All the expenses were borne by Mr. Mahesh Maganlal Shah, governor of central Gujarat zone. Now after incorporation of several suggestions the constitution is almost ready.
It is unfortunate to note that still there are a few extremists and hard liners of religion in the fractions who do not join and support the organization and their activities still cause damage to the organization – who are not unearthed.
Please think are you one of them?
Extremist and hard liner either of Islam or Jain or any other religion always thinks negative and always causes nuisance for nation or samaj….
During the passage of all these years two specific fund raising programmes were organized. The first of the two successful attempts was made in 1990-91 to acquire office premises. Apart from the generous donation of Rs. 5 lakhs by Mr. Anil Mithalal Shah, additional sum of Rs. 30 lakhs was collected through active and collective efforts of the founders and the respective committee. Another successful attempt was made for raising fund recently during the special yatra train to Gommeteshwar – 2006. And through “Darshan Yatra Lucky Coupon” by founders, office bearers and other colleague under leadership of Mr. Ajit Gandhi, Chairman of Darshan Yatra Lucky Coupon.
Mr. Kamlesh A. Kotadia and Mr. Vinod C. Shah (Malad) worked hard for success of special train in the year 1995 and again Mr. Vinod C. Shah with Mr. Rasik M. Kotadia put his efforts for special train in the year 2006. Their services for more than 20 years should not go unnoticed.
Apart from their routine contributions, Mr. Navnit Shah, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Rajesh R. Doshi, Ex-Vice President and the other unnamed volunteers have put in selfless services for the success of Silver Jubilee function of the organization and achievements of the objectives of the organization.
Mr. Vinod A. Shah, Ahmedabad (Editor of Yuvsandesh) and Mr. Pankaj B. Shah (Editor of Lokadhar) contribution can not be forgotten in publishing and upgrading standard of our monthly magazine cum mouth piece.
SOUL BEHIND SUCCESS OF ORGANISATION
Success always knocks at the doors of those who work hard.
With the supports of all founders, co-founders, friends, donors, office bearers and committee members, one of the chief founders Mr. Ashok S. Mehta, C. A has become soul of the organization and poured his blood & sweat for organization he converted his vision in to mission at the cost of health, business and family, worked for upliftment and he has been available day and night for organization. He has turned away several offers of post of reputed organizations including political ones. He is both, the think tank and the work tank for the organization besides a good fund raiser. However, he is of the firm opinion this could not be achieved without active support of Mr. Vinod Gandhi as well as co-founders, past presidents, donors, friends and workers of the organization who have always stood by Mr. Ashok Mehta. They all deserve to be saluted… Every successful organization takes the life of one or two persons to reach the height.
Sub sections of Gujarati Digamber Jain Samaj
1) Betalish Dasha Hummad (Bigger fraction)
2) Betalish Dasha Hummad (Smaller fraction)
4) Visah Mewada
5) Raydesh Samaj
6) Sattar Jilla Sambhag
7) Vijaynagar Sambhag
8) Derol Sambhag
9) Dahod Sambhag
10) Santrampur Sambhag
11) Bhavnagar Sambhag
12) Idar Sambhag
13) Rayakwad Sambhag
14) Surat Hummad Samaj
15) Surat Visha Hummad Samaj
16) Non-Gujarati Samaj