(Clockwise): Shyamal and Bhumika Shodhan, fashion designers; Bhavina Patel, athlete; Geet Sethi, billiards player; Abhay Mangaldas, entrepreneur; Dashrath Patel, designer and sculptor; Jasprit Bumrah, cricketer (centre)
Forbes India takes a close look at some of the visionaries and renowned people who, over the years, have shaped the city of Ahmedabad and are preserving and sustaining its heritage: Read people who shaped Ahmedabad - Part 1 here
Minakshi Jain & Kulbhushan Jain
Architects and conservationists
Prominent conservation architect Minakshi Jain has co-authored several books, including Mud Architecture of the Indian Desert, Fort of Nagaur and Indian City in the Arid West. A student of Louis Kahn during her post-graduation, Minakshi was the chief architect overlooking the restoration of Nagaur Fort which won the Unesco Award of Excellence and later was nominated for the Aga Khan Award in 2013. She was also recipient of the Kitply Award for Conservation and was actively involved in low-cost housing—being awarded the Hari Om Award for Low-Cost Housing for Rural and Urban Areas. Also an academician, Minakshi was a visiting faculty and mentor for several decades at CEPT University. Along with her husband architect Kulbhushan, Minakshi was involved in running AADI Centre, an NGO for research in conservation studies. Kulbhushan is chairperson (theory and design), faculty of Architecture, CEPT University. He has been awarded Unesco awards for his conservation work at Jaisalmer, Nagaur and Mehrangarh forts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sawai Man Singh II Charitable Trust, Jaipur and Hudco awards for low-income housing at Rajkot, Saij and Anjar. He has also made documentary films on the housing of coastal areas of Gujarat and housing of the arid regions in India and on the forts of Nagaur and Amber.
Bimal Hasmukh Patel
A Padma Shri awardee, Bimal Hasmukh Patel has over 35 years of professional, research and teaching experience in architecture, urban design and urban planning. He is president of CEPT University in Ahmedabad and leads HCP Design Planning and Management Private Limited, an architecture, planning and project management firm founded by his father Hasmukh C. Patel in 1960. He also founded Environmental Planning Collaborative, a not-for-profit, planning research and advocacy organisation. His significant and award-winning projects include the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, Ahmedabad Management Association, Bhuj Development Plan and Town Planning Schemes (post-earthquake), CG Road Redevelopment, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Gujarat High Court, IIMA (new campus), Kankaria Lake and Sabarmati Riverfront. His other significant projects in the field of architecture and urban design include the Parliament House and Central Vista Transformation and the Vishwanath Dham and Sri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir in Varanasi.Also read: Bimal Patel: We Have to Free Our Cities from the State's Clutches
Kamal Mangaldas (Architect) & Devendra Shah (Structural engineer)
As partners in architecture firm Design Associates, Kamal Mangaldas and Devendra Shah built hundreds of buildings in the 40-odd years they worked together (1964–2006) that are hallmarks of the city today. They introduced the ubiquitous Jaishefali Row Houses in 1974, based on Ahmedabad’s Pol culture. They built the Rajpath Club and were also pioneers in designing farmhouses for the city’s elite. In the public space, they built the Gujarat University Convention Centre, the refurbished Law Garden and Parimal Garden.Dashrath Patel, designer and sculptor
Designer and sculptor
India’s first multi-media artist, design educator and sculptor Dashrath Patel was one of the first faculty of industrial design at NID, Ahmedabad, from 1961 to 1981. He also established the ceramics department at the institute. His contribution to design and design education over four decades earned him a Padma Shri in 1981, and a Padma Bhushan, posthumously, in 2011.
Haku Vajubhai Shah was an artist, Gandhian, cultural anthropologist and author on folk and tribal art and culture. His art belonged to the Baroda Group and his works are considered in the line of artists who brought themes of folk or tribal art to Indian art. He established the tribal museum at Gujarat Vidyapith in Ahmedabad, which was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Haku curated the museum for several years. He is the recipient of many awards including John D Rockefeller 3rd Fellow, New York, USA in 1968 and 1975; in 1971 the Nehru Fellowship Award, New Delhi; as well as the Padma Shri in 1989, Regents Professor, California, USA in 1991, the Kala Ratna, All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi in 1997 and in 2006 the Gagan Avani Puraskar, Shantiniketan.Shyamal and Bhumika Shodhan, fashion designers
Shyamal and Bhumika Shodhan
The designer duo work towards reviving India’s precious crafts and artisan techniques to create couture collections relevant to modern-day sensibilities through their eponymous label Shyamal & Bhumika. The brand remains faithful to their vision of taking ‘India to The World’ using fashion as a medium to connect their global audience to intricately crafted Indian couture.
Archana Shah is the founder of Bandhej, a women’s clothing company, and has spent over 40 years collaborating with artisans, offering a range of handcrafted contemporary clothing created for Indian women. It was started with a vision to uphold, preserve and sustain the skills and inherent knowledge of indigenous artisans through collaborative design interventions. Shah has also designed costumes for a few feature films such as Bhavni Bhavai and Mirch Masala and for theatre, worked on the Festival of India inaugurations at Paris in 1985 and Moscow, Leningrad and Tashkent 1987, to design architectural textile installations.
Padma Bhushan Kumudini Lakhia is a Kathak dancer and choreographer based in Ahmedabad, where she founded the Kadamb School of Dance and Music, an institute of Indian dance and music, in 1967. She received the Legends of India Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. She is particularly known for her multi-person choreographies. She was also a choreographer in Hindi film Umrao Jaan (1981), along with Gopi Krishna.Abhay Mangaldas, entrepreneur
Abhay Mangaldas is the founder and director of The House of MG, an Urban Heritage Hotel in Ahmedabad City. He represents one of the two most respected and affluent industrial families from Ahmedabad—Sarabhais and Mangaldas. He took possession of the ancestral house his great-grandfather Mangaldas Girdhardas , and the other of his great grandfather’s brother, Chimanlal Girdhardas had built in 1924 and supervised the restoration of this house from a dilapidated old family residence dotted with tenants’ rooms into a quirky but practical hotel with striking terracotta and ivory exteriors, for business travellers.
Hailing from a family of merchants who built the famous Jain Temple in Ahmedabad in 1848, Umang Hutheesing is a designer, textile revivalist and costume historian whose designs have featured in several museums including the National Museum of Bahrain and the YSL Foundation in Paris, France. Hutheesing also runs the Hutheesing Haveli art museum in Ahmedabad. An art connoisseur, Hutheesing has kept alive the family legacy with his trademark style of clothing worn by Indian royalty. Founder and president of the Hutheesing heritage foundation, he is also helping restore the fine craft of Patola, an ikat woven sari traditionally from the Patan region of Gujarat.Also read: From Wagh Bakri to Vadilal: How Gujarat's next-gen is reshaping family businesses
Educationist and corporate advisor
Prafull Anubhai, who grew up in Ahmedabad and did his BSc Economics at the London School of Economics, spent most of his career in Ahmedabad’s textile industry, running a firm and serving on the boards of numerous companies. He had a unique association with IIMA for over 45 years, beginning with his participation in IIMA’s management development programme, then as visiting faculty, and then as a member of IIMA’s Society and Board of Governors for several decades before writing the book The IIMA Story: The DNA of an Institution in 2011. He was also the founder-chairman of the Ahmedabad University’s Board of Management and co-founder of Saptak Archives for music.
Kiran Bir Sethi
Kiran Bir Sethi is the founder of the award-winning Riverside School in Ahmedabad. Riverside is viewed as a laboratory to prototype design processes that use a systems approach to build a culture of empowerment, graduating young citizen leaders with an ‘I can mindset’—using their agency for the greater good. She is also the founder of ‘aProCh’—an initiative to make our cities more child-friendly, for which she was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008. Bir Sethi launched ‘Design for Change’ (DFC), which uses a simple 4-step design framework: FIDS (feel, imagine, do, share) to cultivate the ‘I can’ mindset in children, in 2009. Today, DFC is the world’s largest movement of change—of and by children—and is in 60-plus countries impacting over 2.2 million children and 98,000 teachers. She is the wife of Geet Sethi.Geet Sethi, billiards player
Professional player of English billiards Geet Sethi dominated the sport throughout much of the 1990s. He is also a notable amateur (ex-pro) snooker player. He is a five-time winner of the world professional level and a three-time winner of the amateur world championships, and holder of two world records in English billiards. Along with Prakash Padukone, Sethi has co-founded Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for the promotion of sports in India. He is a recipient of India’s highest sporting honour, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, for 1992–1993; both the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award in 1986; and the KK Birla Award in 1993.Bhavina Patel, athlete
Bhavina Hasmukhbhai Patel
A parathlete and table tennis player, Bhavina Patel won a silver medal in Class 4 Table Tennis at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. Recipient of the Arjuna Award for Para Table Tennis in 2021, in 2022 she won a gold medal in the women’s single class at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.Also read: Bhavina Patel: Making smashing historyJasprit Bumrah, cricketer
Jasprit Jasbirsingh Bumrah is a right-arm fast bowler who uses a distinctive bowling motion and is regarded as one of the greatest in the world. The 29-year-old was born in a Sikh Punjabi family which settled in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. His total follower count across platforms on social media is close to 25 million.Also read: How Jasprit Bumrah is bowling the brands over
Parthiv Patel is a former Indian professional cricketer, wicketkeeper-batsman, and was a member of the Indian national cricket team. He is a left-handed batsman and played for Gujarat in domestic cricket. At age 17, he made his international debut, becoming India’s youngest wicketkeeper to play Test cricket for India. Over the years, Patel has represented several teams in domestic cricket such as Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Chennai Super Kings. He has also had successful stints as captain for teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore. In December 2020, Patel announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.