MAHIPATRAM RUPRAM ASHRAM
The social reformers played a decisive and path-breaking role in changing the educational, social and cultural scenario in Gujarat in the 19th century and thereby laid the foundation stone for a better tomorrow. One of these social reformers was Mahipatram Rupram Nilkanth (1829-1891) who can be called the torch-bearer for the social reformers of the 19th century. Mahipatram had put his heart and soul and had worked till his last breath to establish and effectively run the social reform organizations in Ahmedabad. His efforts were none less than a soldier who happily embraces ‘martyrdom’ in the battlefield for the welfare of his country. Mahipatram was one such intellectual who practised what he preached. Generally the tradition is that the students offer gurudakshina to a guru in his lifetime; but the students of Mahiptaram-Lalshankar Umiyashankar, Hargovinddas Kantawala, Khushaldas Gokaldas, Gokaldas Kahandas and Vitthaldas Dhanjibhai decided to offer their gratitude and realize their guru’s dream by establishing an orphanage after his death. The result of the efforts of these dedicated students of Mahipatram was the establishment of ‘Mahipatram Rupram Ashram’ on 17th December 1892. The ashram was established in a small area voluntarily offered by Lallubhai Karsandas in his dharamshala located in the Panchkuva area of Ahmedabad.
The ashram authorities had to face several challenges as they were not the owners of that building and thus Lalshankar Umiyashankar began making efforts towards attaining land for the ashram. Due to his sincere efforts, the government offered land of 933 square yards and even the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation gave one acre land for the ashram. By the efforts of Rai Bahadur Lalshankar and the generous donation by the affluent people like Lallubhai Raichand the foundation stone of the ashram was laid by then district judge Shri Maccorrcle on March 12, 1897. The ashram activities began in this premise on August 18, 1899 after the completion of the construction of this building.
Thus, MAHIPATRAM RUPRAM ASHRAM has served the role of a Social Architect by giving social recognition to the abandoned and suffering children and women without any sort of bias of caste, creed, religion or race. This ashram has been performing the role of a social guardian for more than a century by not only sheltering but rehabilitating and also making self-reliant to the abandoned and the needy children and women. Several dedicated, sincere and committed people from society have contributed in the growth of this ashram.
In the last decade of the 19th century, when there was social unrest in Gujarat, this institution for social upliftment contributed towards making a healthy society by sheltering the destitute. Since past 125 years, the institution has made maximum possible efforts to rehabilitate a large number of people back in the mainstream of the society. It has performed its duties to heal the pain and suffering of the abandoned and the needy. It has sincerely performed the role of a true companion to each one who took shelter under its roof. It has helped thousands of helpless children to get rehabilitated in society and lead a respectable life. The negativity, generated in society as a result of a person’s or a family’s mistake, is transformed into positivity by the institution’s efforts. The sincere contribution of each and every trust member has helped to maintain and adhere to the basic objective of the institution and have served as a Social Engine till date.