|Biographies of Great
Indians & Hindus
Ahmedabad is the capital of Gujarat. It has a large number of textile mills. The Sarabhais
are famous industrialists
and social workers of that city. They are also very rich. In this family was born Vikram
on 12th August 1919. It was the Garuda Panchami Day, auspicious for sisters and brothers.
His father was Ambalal and his mother, Sarala Devi. They had eight children.
When their first daughter, Mridulaben, was just three years old, they considered how and
where she should be educated. No existing school was found suitable. Just at that time,
the Montessori System of Education was gaining fame. But there was still no school, which
had adopted this system. So the Sarabhais started- such a school in their own house. As
the children grew up, the needs of the school also increased. In this school, -there were
separate teachers to teach languages, the sciences, the arts, gardening, technology etc.
There were laboratories and work shops also. At one time, there were thirteen teachers in
the school for the
eight children of the Sarabhai family. Of these, three were Ph.Ds, trained in Europe and
three ordinary graduates two teachers from Andhra and Bengal were teaching the arts.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore him- self selected an artiste to teach dancing. The children
studied in this school up to matriculation and went to government schools for their
Vikram was influenced not only by the school but also by many great men of the land who
were well-known to the Sarabhai family. Gurudev Rabindranath, J. Krishna Murthi, Motilal
Nehru, V. S. Shrinivasa Shastri, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Maulana Azad, C. F.
Andrews, C. V. Raman and such great men used to stay
with the Sarabhai family when they visited Ahmedabad. The greatest of them all, Mahatma
Gandhi him, stayed in their house while recovering from an illness. There is no doubt that
this close contact with such great men deeply influenced young Vikram. His intelligence
developed, and he gained interest in spiritual matters. His teacher, Shri Badami, has
said, I never saw Vikram lose his temper and shout at people."
When Vikram was five or six years old, the entire family went to Simla for the summer.
There, the little boy noticed that his father was getting many letters every day. He
wished he, too, could get letters. So he took some envelopes from his father's office,
affixed stamps wrote his own address and posted them in the box. When his father found
that Vikram was receiving letters every day, he asked the boy about the letters. Vikram
laughingly replied, I am writing letters to myself!"
From his childhood, Vikram loved adventure. When he was eight, he learnt to ride a
bicycle. He would astonish his people with many tricks with the bicycle. As the bicycle
shot forward, he would raise his hands, stretch his legs forward, close his eyes and
pedal. He would not listen to anyone who pleaded him not to perform such dangerous
There was a pool in their compound; there was also a boat. Vikram would take a servant and
one or two children for boating. On one occasion, the boat capsized and every one fell
into the water and began to shout for help. The gardeners working
nearby heard their cries for help, jumped into the water and saved them.
Vikram showed greater earnestness and interest in his studies than the others. He was very
enthusiastic about mathematics and science. His teachers have said he would work hard
without leisure in the holidays and, when the school reopened, he would be far ahead of
When Vikram was two years old, the poet Rabindranath Tagore visited the family. It appears
that when he saw this little child, he predicted that he would become a famous man.
After completing his college education Vikram Sarabhai went to England to continue his
studies at Cambridge
For centuries two universities in England have been very famous -Oxford University and
Cambridge University. To get a degree from one of these universities is considered an
honor. In 1939, when Vikram was only twenty, he passed the Tripos Examination in Physical
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|About Vikrama Sarabhai