Archive for the ‘Icons’ Category

A detailed profile of Geet Sethi: the dominant player of English Billiards and notable Snookers player of India

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Name: Geet Siriram Sethi
Birth: 17th April 1961 at Delhi
Family Status: Married to wife Kiran, has two children: daughter Jazz and son Raag
Education: Studied at St. Xavier’s School, Ahmedabad

  • BA from St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad
  • MBA from BK School of Management

Works for: Tata Oil Mills as the Manager

INTO THE CUE WORLD:

Start: At the members’ table – Managing Committee of the Gujarat Sports Club, Ahmedabad
Inspiration: Satish Menon, a very successful Billiards player of the time

NATIONAL CIRCUIT:

1979: Won both the Junior National Billiards Championship and Junior National Snooker Championship
1982: Created a double in the National Billiards, when he won the Junior National Doubles Billiards Championship and defeated Michael Ferreira to win the Senior National Billiards title
1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988: Won both the Indian National Billiards Championship and Indian National Snooker Championship
1997 and 2007: Won the Indian National Billiards Championship again
2008: Runner Up in the Indian National Billiards Championship and entered the Top-16 Round in the Indian National Snooker Championship

 

INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT:

1984: Won the International Snooker Professional-cum-Amateur Championship in England & the International Billiards Amateur Championship in Windsor
1985, 1987 and 2001: Won the IBSF World Billiards Championship 
1986: Won the Asian Billiards Championship
1989: World Amateur Snooker semi-finalist‚ Asian Snooker Championship number 3
1992, 1993, 1995, 1998 and 2006: Grabbed the World Professional Billiards Championship
1996, 2003, 2005 and 2008: Runner Up in the World Professional Billiards Championship
1998: Double Gold Medal at the Bangkok Asian Games collaborated with Ashok Shandilya
2002: Busan Asian Games – won a Silver Medal in the Doubles event and a Bronze Medal in the Singles event
2006: Bronze Medal in the Doubles event at the Doha Asian Games in partnership with Ashok Shandilya. Also, won the USA Senior Team Snooker Championship in partnership with Devendra Joshi and BVS Moorthy
2007: Won the Irish Open Billiards Championship and a Silver Medal at Indoor Asian Games English Billiards tournament
2008: Won the English Billiards Open Series held at Prestatyn, Wales and finished as a Runner Up in the World Pro Billiards Championship held at Leeds

ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Winner of eight World titles including five World Professional and three IBSF World Billiards Championships
  • Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first amateur in the world to compile the maximum 147 break in Snooker in 1989 at National Snooker Championships held at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
  • Made a break of 1276 in the 1992 World Professional Billiards Championship, a World Record. This is the highest world championship break of the last 50 years
  • Padma Shri (1986)
  • Arjuna Award (1986)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (1992-93)
  • KK Birla Sports Foundation Award 1993

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

  • Co-founder of Olympic Gold Quest, a program of Foundation for Promotion of Sports and Games
  • Authored a book ‘Success v/s Joy

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Take%20A%20Cue%20From%20Him_675

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From being a University dropout, to having his own University, Gautam Adani is the first billionaire from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. We have heard of success stories of people with the highest degrees, hierarchy of business, monetary power or a healthy circle of friends and family. But if we observe keenly, the supreme success stories are tagged ‘rags to riches’. Similar is the story of Gautam Adani, the 6th richest person in India, with a personal wealth of US $10 billion.

THE WHIZ KID

Gautam Adani was born to a Gujarati Jain family of Shantaben and Shantilal Adani on 24 June 1962, in Ahmedabad. The family had migrated to the city from the smaller place called Tharad in northern Gujarat, in search of means to earn a decent living for their eight children. Needless to say, the monetary situation was very tight. Gautam had a few hundred rupees on hand at the age of 18, when he set out to the land of dreams, Mumbai in search of a living.

Gautam was a student of Seth CN Vidyalaya and later dropped out of the Gujarat University, where he was pursuing second year for his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. He started his career as a diamond sorter at Mahindra Brothers in Mumbai. After working for two years, Gautam set up his own diamond brokerage unit at Zaveri Bazaar, the biggest jeweler market of the city. It was here that he earned his first lakh.

THE BIZ KID

In 1981, one year later, his elder brother Mansukhbhai, bought a plastics unit in Ahmedabad and asked Gautam to run it. This marked his advent in the field of global trading as he started importing polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a key raw material for manufacturing plastics.

After the economic liberalization in India, the import duty on various goods was slit. This had a positive impact on the profits of Adani Exports, then the flagship company of Gautam Adani. Today, the Adani Group has transformed into a multibillion-dollar business empire. Under the leadership of Gautam Adani, the Group has emerged as a diversified Energy and Logistics conglomerate with interests in Power Generation & Transmission, Coal Trading & Mining, Gas Distribution, Oil & Gas Exploration, along with Ports, Special Economic Zones et al. The Group also runs the Adani Foundation, started in 1996 as a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The foundation is involved in various activities such as rural development, education and health.

Today, the flagship of his Rs 27,000-crore empire, Adani Enterprises Ltd., has been rated among the 50 top performing Asian companies by Forbes magazine. His three listed companies – Adani Enterprises, Adani Power and Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone have a combined market capitalization that places the group among India’s top 10 business houses.
Listed by the Forbes in March 2011, Gautam Adani is also the proud owner of two private jets – a Beech craft jet purchased in 2005 and a Hawker purchased in 2007.

PERSONAL PROXIMITY

Gautam is happily married to Mrs. Priti Adani, a dentist by profession. She heads the Adani Foundation as the managing trustee. The couple has two sons, the elder one, Karan Adani, is 20 years of age and the younger one, Jeet Adani, is 10 years of age. The elder son is presently pursuing his Business Studies in Management at the Purdue University, USA.
Adani Group has been a generous contributor to Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). Also, Gautam has proximity to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. It was speculated that Adani bid for the Ahmedabad franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament at Modi’s urging, though the bid failed.

LESSONS OF SURVIVAL AND SUCCESS

Gautam Adani is an icon of unwavering focus and continuous learning. He has set up milestones in his journey towards a strong and energy-sufficient India. Gautam has proved that the best learning comes from the most unconventional real-life situations, where everyone has to learn to first survive before achieving success.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Self%20Made%20Billionaire%20:%20Gautam%20Adani_660

THE STORY OF THE SIMPLE YEARNING, SELFLESS CHURNING AND SUBLIME LEARNING OF DR. JIVRAJ MEHTA

First Chief Minister of Gujarat, pioneer of Medical Education in India, pioneer of Hospital Organization in India, personal doctor to Gandhiji – Dr. Jivraj Mehta. He was the architect of not only his own life, but he lent a new direction to the medical science of India.

EARLY LIFE, ACADEMICS

Jivraj Narayan Mehta was born on 29th August 1887 in Amreli, a small town in Saurashtra in Gujarat. His family struggled to make two ends meet. But this could not obstruct the goals and the spirit of Dr. Mehta. This spirit was further shored up, thanks to the strong influence of his grandmother, a woman of drive and determination, and to the encouragement of his schoolteacher Apte Sahib. He often studies under the streetlights. He also gave tuitions to supplement the family income.
Dr. Mehta took up medicine with the inspiration from Dr. Eduljee Rustomji Dadachandjee, a civil surgeon in Amreli. He secured admission into the Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Hospital, Bombay. His medical education was sponsored by the Seth VM Kapol Boarding Trust. He was also endowed with the Jamkhande scholarship -a scholarship that was reserved for the poorest of the freshly admitted students.
Dr. Mehta topped his class in medicine. In his final year, he won seven of the eight prizes open to his batch and shared the eighth prize with his hostel roommate Kashinath Dikshit. He further, acquired a prestigious fellowship from the Tata Education Foundation and pursued masters from London Hospital Medical College. Mehta lived from 1909 to 1915 in London. He was the president of the Indian Students Association in London where he studied medicine and did his FRCS there. He was a junior doctor in the Out-Patients Department of The London Hospital before working in The London Hospital Pathological Institute as Pathological Assistant. He won University gold medal in his MD examinations in 1914. Later, in 1915 he had been made a member of the prestigious Royal College of Physicians of London.

FROM A DOCTOR TO A NATIONALIST

Following his British education, he returned to India and entered into private practice that was quite rewarding. After leaving London, Dr Mehta returned to India, where he married Hansa, kin to the Diwan of Baroda. Meanwhile, he came in touch with Gandhiji and served as his personal doctor. He served many positions like:

  • The first ‘Dewan’ (Prime Minister) of the erstwhile Baroda state in free India, sworn-in on September 4, 1948
  • Director General of health services
  • Secretary to the Ministry of health
  • Minister of public works, finance, industry and prohibition for the then province of Bombay
  • First Chief Minister of the newly formed Gujarat state from April 1960 to September 1963
  • Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom (1963–66)

MEDICAL SERVICES

Dr. Jivraj Mehta was the founder-architect of Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College and King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. He devotedly served the cause of these institutions in the unenviable post of their first Dean over an eventful period of 18 years (1925-42). He was thrice elected president of the All India Medical Congress and president of the Indian Medical Association.
Dr Mehta’s suggestions, based on his London Hospital experiences, for the organization of the new hospital were radically different from the traditional design of teaching hospitals in India, where each department tended to be located in isolated blocks. He suggested that the whole medical college be housed in one building, encouraging co-operation between different departments. Also at Dr Mehta’s suggestion, the KEM Hospital was the first in India to have the Out-patients Department housed within the main hospital building. Here the first heart transplant and the birth of the first test-tube baby in India were to take place and the medical school became one of the most successful in India.

When Dr. Jivraj Mehta died in 1977, aged 91, a hospital in Ahmedabad was named after him.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Saga%20Of%20Perputal%20Struggle_620

Karsanbhai Patel – the man who shattered all the business theories, to rewrite new ones. He is the legendary behind the hugely successful brand, Nirma. He is the driving force behind a large number of companies and institutions in India under this banner.

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE

Dr. Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel was born in 1945, into a farmer family from Ruppur, Mehsana, North Gujarat. At the age of 21, he completed his B.Sc in Chemistry. Karsanbhai started his career with the New Cotton Mills of the Lalbhai Group, in Ahmedabad, as a lab technician. He later joined the Geology and Mining Department of the State Government.

SABKI PASAND NIRMA

Karsanbhai started Nirma as an after-office business in the backyard of his house in 1969. The name came from his daughter Nirupama’s name. Nirma was a benchmark.

• The detergent was phosphate free.

• The packs were handmade.

• They were delivered at the doorstep by Karsanbhai, on his bicycle while going to his work place, which was 17 km from his home.

• They were sold for Rs. 3 per kg, which was one-third of the then least priced popular detergents.

• Even at this price, he managed to give a money back guarantee with every pack that was sold!

• The detergent was environment friendly too.

• The process of detergent production was labor intensive and this gave employment to a large number of people.

Also, the story of Nirma has become a classic marketing case study. Karsanbhai identified a massive market segment that was starving for a good-quality detergent at an affordable price. Nirma became a huge success. During that time, the domestic detergent market was limited only to the premium segment and there were very few companies, mainly the MNCs, which were into this business. And so, Karsanbhai could successfully target the lower and middle income groups.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

It was after three long years that Karsanbhai felt confident enough to quit his job for the further development of Nirma. He set up a shop at a small workshop in an Ahmedabad suburb. Later he said: “The lack of any such precedent in my family made the venture fraught with fear of failure. But farmers from North Gujarat are known for their spirit of enterprise.”
And within a decade, Nirma was the largest selling detergent in India. It gave the bigger established brands like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, a run for their money and soon occupied the top market share. In the 1980s, Nirma moved ahead of Surf, a detergent by HLL, a giant in the field.

After establishing its footprints in the economy-priced detergents, Nirma entered the premium segment, launching toilet soaps: Nirma bath & beauty soaps and a premium detergent, Super Nirma. The company also ventured into shampoo and toothpaste, but were not as successful. On the other hand, the edible salt Shudh is doing well.

Nirma beauty soap is one of the leading toilet soaps, behind Lifebuoy and Lux. Overall Nirma has a 20% market share in soap cakes and about 35% in detergents. The company got listed on the stock exchanges in the year 1994.

Today, Nirma has entered the neighboring countries’ markets as well. In the national market, Nirma’s soaps and detergents sell through two million retail outlets. In 2004, it expanded into pharma by acquiring an IV fluid factory in Ahmedabad. The company also acquired US based Searles Valley Minerals to become one of the top producers of soda ash in the world.
Karsanbhai’s two sons and his son-in-law are now at leading positions in the Nirma organization.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Along with being a noted businessman, Karsanbhai is a philanthropist as well. He has established one of the premier institutions of higher learning in Gujarat, the Nirma University of Science & Technology in 2003. Apart from this, Nirma Education & Research Foundation (NERF) that came up in 1994, runs these various educational institutes. Nirma has also set up Nirma labs in 2004, which prepares aspiring entrepreneurs to face different business challenges effectively. Nirma also runs Nirma Memorial Trust, Nirma Foundation and Chanasma Ruppur Gram Vikas Trust as a part of their efforts of a socially responsible corporate citizen.

ACCOLADES

On this path to success, Karsanbhai has won himself many accolades, along with people’s acceptance and love.

• Padma Shri Award for the year 2010.
• In 2001, Karsanbhai was awarded an honorary doctorate by Florida Atlantic University.
• In 1990, the Federation of Association of Small Scale Industries of India (FASII), New Delhi, awarded him the ‘Udyog Ratna’.
• The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce has felicitated him as an ‘Outstanding Industrialist of the Eighties’.
• He has served twice as Chairman of the Development Council for Oils, Soaps and Detergents.

The company that started as a one-man-army, today employs more than 15000 people, has a turnover of more than $ 500 million, sales as high as 800000 tonnes and the man’s net worth as per Forbes in 2005 was $ 640 million.

Challenging established multinationals needs extreme courage and to win in the long run needs foresight and skills. Karsanbhai has fulfilled this challenge and he made the multinationals to follow Nirma and introduce substitutes such as Wheel. He is a man to be followed. He teaches us a lesson that entrepreneurs can build their empire on gut feeling too, rather than just following the classical patterns taught in business schools.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Spirit%20Of%20Enterprise:%20Dr.%20KarsanBhai%20Patel_604

KALAPI NO KEKARAV

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Icons, The NamoLeague Times
Tags: , , ,
THE BEAUTIFUL SOUNDS OF THE LIFE AND WORK OF KAVI KALAPI THAT EVEN TODAY TOUCH THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE

137 years down the memory lane, his life and work are still alive in people’s hearts. Sursinhji Takthasinhji Gohel – A renowned Gujarati poet known by the pen-name of Kalapi, meaning a peacock, needs no introduction.

EARLY DAYS AS A KING
Kalapi was born to a royal family in Lathi – Gohilwad of Amreli district in Saurashtra. He lived a very short but inspirational life of 26 years. He was born on 26th January, 1874 and expired on 9th June, 1900. He had his primary and secondary education with English medium at Raj Kumar College. He was sent to England but returned back within a year. Kalapi was handed over the kingdom when he turned 21.

Kalapi was a follower of The Swaminarayan Sampraday founded by Lord Swaminarayan.

PERSONAL LIFE AND THE INSPIRATION FOR POETRY
Kavi Kalapi’s personal life reflects his intense love story that was the ultimate reason behind his poetry and romanticism.

At the age of 15 years, he was married to two princesses – Rajba-Ramaba, the princess of Kach-Roha and the second was Kesharba-Anandiba, the princess of Saurashtra-Kotada. Ramaba was elder to him by 8 years, while Anandiba by 2 years. The twist came at the age of 20 years, when Kalapi realized his love for Monghi called as Shobhna. She was a maid who had come along with Ramaba when she got married and then stayed back in Lathi to serve her. She was smart, beautiful and innocent. She would keenly listen to Kalapi’s poems and showed deep interest in literature. All these caught Kavi Kalapi’s attraction. He gave his heart to Shobhna when she was just 12-13 years old.

Kalapi could never love his wives. But at the same time, he never stepped back from his duties of a husband. His love for Shobhna led to many differences and he constantly had to face the conflicts with his heart, mind, love, laws and responsibilities and to add to that, Ramaba’s deceptions. Ramaba tried her best to separate the lovers. Kalapi was even sent away to Bombay on the pretext of state business.

However, Shobhna remained the inspiration and topic of his love and inspired him to write innumerable stanza in praise of her beauty and their marital separation.

TIME CANNOT BE A BARRIER
Kalapi’s life is the greatest example that nothing can be a barrier. He lived for a short span of 26 years, but it was enough for him to earn the admiration of the people for his poetry. He has penned down 259 soul stirring poems including 15,000 verses.

Apart from poems and verses, he has also given a number of prose writing. His 900 letters to his friends and wives help the readers peep into his personal life. He not only used Gujarati language as a medium to elaborate his own creation but also translated English novels to Gujarati. Kalapi was also an avid reader. He had read more than 500 books in Gujarati, English, Farsi and Sanskrit.

Kavi Kalapi has also written poems in various Chhands of Gujarati language. Mandakranta, Shardulvikridit, Shikharini etc. were the foremost. He is the only Gujarati poet to write the maximum number of poems in these Chhands. Even today, his work is smooth, lovely to sing and unmatched.

Kavi Kalapi was an inspiration to many budding poets of his time. They were the ones who carried forward his style of writing. The most prominent example was Kavi Lalitji, who was about the same age as Kalapi, and already an established poet. He was deeply influenced by Kalapi when he was invited as a tutor for the royal children of the Lathi Darbar. Kavi Lalitji later became the Rajya Kavi of Lathi.

The most striking point is that all these creations, reading, study and achievements were packed by him during the period of his age from 16 years to 26 years i.e. in a span of just 10 years.

RUMORED DEATH
After Kavi Kalapi confessed his love for Shobhna, things were torn between his relations. When he was forcefully sent to Bombay, Shobhna went missing. He could never find out the whereabouts of the love of his life. For many years, he wrote letters and poems in her memory. It was rumored that Kalapi’s death was scammed by his own wife, Ramaba. It was not an accidental death but due to poisoning.

Kalapi was an excellent poet in Saurashtra’s history, and will always remain the glory of Gujarat.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Kalapi%20No%20Kekarav_586

A SHORT ACCOUNT ON THE LIFE OF MORARI BAPU – THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER ‘KATHAKAR’ AND ONE OF THE BEST ORATORS OF GUJARAT

Gujarat has been adorned from time to time by various leaders, saints and preachers. One such blessing is the preacher without a cult – Morari Bapu. An orator par excellence, Bapu has a multitude of followers, not only from India but also from all over the world.

What makes Morari Bapu different from other preachers is that he consciously avoids any cult culture. He is neither a conventional Hindu leader nor does he believe he has followers. Quite unlike the other religious leaders who are out to create empires of Godmen, Bapu remains a welcomed exception. This is evident from the fact that his secretary is Dilavar Khan, a Muslim. Also, his Ram Kathas have a notable number of Muslims in the audience. And his preaching has a fair share of qawwalis and Urdu couplets as well.

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

Morari Bapu (Moraridas Hariyani) was born on 25th September, 1946 in Talgajarda, a small village near the port of Mahuva, Gujarat, to Prabhudas Bapu and Savitri Ma. Born on the auspicious day of Shivratri, Bapu showed signs of excellence since childhood. He spent most of his time with his grand-parents. His paternal grandmother, Amrit Ma, often narrated folk tales of traditional India to Bapu.

Tribhovandas Bapu, affectionately called Dadaji, was Bapu’s grandfather and his only Guru. Dadaji was a learned scholar of the Ram Charit Manas. He would teach Bapu five couplets (chaupais) with its meaning each day. While walking to and from school, Bapu would recite and memorize these couplets and often sing them to the plants and trees on the path! Even today, Bapu cites this journey in many of his Kathas.

The study of the Ram Charit Manas would take place on the site that is today known as Chitrakut Dham. It has become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people. Bapu’s grandparents were the guiding force behind his upbringing and the most influential persons of his life in his formative years.

THE JOURNEY WITH THE RAM CHARIT MANAS

Morari Bapu has high regards for cultural and religious values that he received from his family. At the age of 12, Bapu began to recite the Ram Charit Manas by heart. The first recital was for a few herdsmen who had come to quench their thirst in the evening. Bapu had made a small platform out of mud and placed a portrait of Lord Ram. That shrine, today, is home to a temple of Hanumanji named Ram Vaadi.

With the passage of time, more and more people were stunned by the bountiful knowledge that Morari Bapu possessed. They used to gather to listen to young Bapu’s Kathas.

THE TRAINING COURSE

On completing secondary school, Bapu started a teachers’ training course at Shahpur College in Junagadh. Upon completion, he returned to Mahuva where he became a teacher at the J. Parekh High School and taught various subjects including English.

Today, in his Kathas, Bapu mentions how he would sit with his mala (rosary) for hours at a stretch and his roommate being concerned would complete the work on his behalf. He spent his free time to attend discourses by well-known speakers and reading scriptures or singing chaupais of the Ram Charit Manas with music.

During his ten years as a teacher in Mahuva, Bapu often took time off to listen to prominent speakers and meeting some of India’s most respected spiritual leaders, among them were Vinobha Bhave, Dongreji Maharaj, Punit Maharaj and Krishna Murti. At the same time, Bapu’s interest in Indian Literature and Poetry grew fonder and he regularly attended sessions on various literary subjects by high ranking orators.

The teachers’ training course actually became his period of training as a preacher!

THE PREACHING

Morari Bapu’s thirst for knowledge of the Ram Charit Manas kept on increasing. And so did the number of his followers. His first Ram Katha was held at the Ram Mandir in Talgajarda in 1960. The first Navaan Parayan (nine day discourse) was held in Gaandilaa in Gujarat in the presence of Pujya Ramfardasji Maharaj (a respected and revered saint from Gujarat) in May 1966. Bapu’s name, command on the Ram Charit Manas and his heart rending narrations brought people from all over India in thousands to listen to his Ram Katha, often overwhelming listeners and organizers alike.

Today, Bapu has preached people in India, US, UK, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. His first Ram Katha outside India was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976 when he was merely 30 years old. Also, he has held a Katha on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, and on an airplane travelling the world. Be they the pilgrims at the heights of Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri in the Himalayas or the prisoners and prison authorities of Bhavnagar, Morari Bapu resides in the hearts of all.

Overall, Bapu is credited to have conducted more than 600 Kathas. On Full Moon in July every year comes ‘Guru Purnima’, the most important day for all shishyas (disciples) to pay homage to their respective Guru (teacher). And, every year on this day, thousands gather to listen to and pay their respects to Morari Bapu in Talgajarda.

A CONGLOMERATE OF IDEALS

Bapu has some strong beliefs that bring the people from different strata of the society to a ground of undivided understanding. He shows a way of uniting not just one nation, but the whole of human race, while, at the same time preserving their individual fragrances. He expressly calls out to the humanity to love and respect each other, because that is the only way to save the whole world from disaster and complete ruin.

His is not just a Katha, but actual, applicable and livable solutions. Love and unity is his medium of teaching and preaching. Even without indulging in a conversation with him, one can feel peace and calmness of an inner joy.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Kathakar%20Ki%20Katha_570

KUMAR SHRI RANJITSINHJI, THE FIRST INDIAN TO PLAY TEST CRICKET, HAILED FROM OUR VERY OWN GUJARAT’S THEN PROVINCE OF ‘KATHIAWAR’

Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, popularly known as KS Ranjitsinhji or Ranji was regarded as one of the finest batsmen of all times. He was the Jamsaheb of Nawanagar and represented India on the League of Nations after the First World War in 1920. In 1932, he became the Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes. He was knighted in 1917, 1919 and 1923. One of the greatest tributes to Ranjitsinhji is the National championship in India, Ranji Trophy that is named after him, though he never played for India. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala initiated the tournament in the year 1935.

THE OPENING

Ranji was born on 10th September, 1872 at Sarodar in Gujarat. He belonged to a royal family and his clan, the Jadejas, was that of the Kshatriya rulers and warriors. Jadejas are said to be descendents of Lord Krishna.

He was educated at the Rajkumar College in Rajkot and then at the Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1891. Though Ranji could not gain the degree, he acquired a reputation in the field of cricket, wherein he had no experience of playing an organized game.

NET PRACTICE SESSIONS

He was named ‘Black Prince of the Cricketers’. Ranji started playing first-class cricket for the Cambridge University and gained a cricket ‘blue’ in 1893. Later, he moved on to play county cricket for Sussex, after he completed his academics. His first county match was at the Lord’s in May 1895. Then he scored 77 and 150 runs.

MAIN INNINGS

Ranji never looked back and set a benchmark for all the cricketers of India. Ranji made his debut in Test Cricket with a match played between England and Australia on 16th July, 1896 at Manchester. He was the first Indian to play for England.

• He scored 62 and 154 (not out) becoming the second batsman after WG Grace to score a century on debut for England and the first batsman to score 100 before lunch (on the third day, moving from 41 not out to 154 not out in just over 2 hours).

• Ranji scored 175 in the first innings of his first overseas Test, also against Australia in 1897 (then the highest score that had ever been made for England in Test cricket).
• The feat of scoring hundreds in debut home and away Tests was not imitated by an England player for 107 years, until Andrew Strauss in 2004.

• During a trip to Australia in the year 1897-98, he scored 1157 runs with an average of 60.89 runs.

• Ranji captained Sussex for a period of 5 years during 1899-1903, returned to India in 1904 and resumed his game from 1908 to 1912.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ranjitsinhji made some remarkable contributions to the world of cricket. In the meantime, he also broke records to create his own.

• He brought a new style to batting: Previously, batsmen played forwards; Ranji played elegant strokes off the back foot, and his invention of the leg glance is perhaps the most famous.

• In scoring 3159 first-class runs, average 63.18, from 58 innings for Sussex in 1899 he became the first man to score over 3,000 runs in an English first-class season.

• Throughout his Test Cricket career, Ranji played 15 Test matches and scored 989 runs including 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries, with an average of 44.95 runs and a high score of 175 runs.

• He played 307 First Class Cricket matches during his career and scored 24692 runs including 72 centuries and 109 half-centuries, with an average of 56.37 runs and a high score of 285 runs (Not Out).

• Ranji was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1897, Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year; and in the same year, he published ‘The Jubilee Book of Cricket’.

AWARD CEREMONY

Ranji was declared the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar on 10th March, 1907. He was a progressive ruler and statesman and set an example by the simplicity of his personal life. He modernized the capital of Jamnagar, developed the seaport of Nawanagar, and built roads, railways, and irrigation facilities.

Neville Cardus described him as ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream of Cricket’. Ranji’s sporting success is even more remarkable given the fact that he suffered from bronchial problems, which affected his ability to play. He died in his Jamnagar Palace, aged 60, on 2nd April, 1933.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Proud%20%20Catch%20%20Of%20Gujarat:%20Jam%20Ranjitsinhji_552