A commemorative postage stamp on Virachand Gandhi, a Jain scholar, represented Jainism at 1st World Parliament of Religions, Chicago in 1893 :
Issued by India
Issued on Nov 8, 2009
Issued for : The Department of Posts is happy to honour Virchand Raghavji Gandhi by issuing a commemorative stamp.
Stamp & FDC : Sankha Samanta
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Information Brochure
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : Wet–offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Virachand Raghavji Gandhi
Born on Aug 25, 1864 at Mahuva, near Bhavnagar, British India [now in Gujarat, India]
Died on Aug 7, 1901 at Mahuwar, near Mumbai, British India
- Shri Virchand Raghavji Gandhi was born on 25 August 1864 at Mahua in Gujarat. He received primary education at the local school and higher education at Bhavnagar. He graduated with honours from the Elphinstone College, Bombay (now Mumbai). He qualified to become a Barrister from London.
- Besides mastering as many as fourteen languages, his religious knowledge was not restricted to Jainism alone. He was a student also of Buddhism, Vedanta Philosophy, Christianity and Western Philosophy. Therefore, he was equipped to make comparative studies of various philosophies and speak on these subjects with erudition.
- He was appointed the honorary Secretary of the Jain Association of India at the very young age of 21. He was instrumental in getting the slaughter house at the sacred Hills of Sammetshikar closed down and in getting the poll tax that was levied on Jain pilgrims at Shatrunjaya Tirth by the Thakore Saheb of Palitana abolished.
- Virchand Raghavji Gandhi was a true patriot. When India was facing a devastating famine in 1897 he was responsible for sending Rs. 40,000/- towards famine relief and a shipload of grains to India from U.S.A. for famine relief.
- He represented the Jain religion in the first ever held parliament of World Religions at Chicago in 1893. He spoke on various Indian Philosophical systems. He defended Indian culture setting right several areas of misinformation.
- He delivered about 535 speeches on Jainism, other religions and cultural and social life in India. He spoke of economic and political freedom five decades before India’s Independence. His speeches echoed the true spirit, culture and perspective of India correcting false impressions about India. Literary and spiritual institutions, churches and societies honoured him and accorded him a warm welcome.
- He founded several Institutions and Societies in the West. The “Society for the Education of Women in India” founded in Chicago in particular attracted several women to the U.S.A. for studies. He visited England, France and Germany. In 1895, he attended The Indian National Congress held in Pune as the representative from Mumbai. In 1899 he attended the International Conference of Commerce in London as the Representative of all Asia. Dignitaries like Chief Justice Shri Mahadeo Govind Ranade felicitated him for his dedicated service to the community and country. He wrote books on Jain philosophy, yoga philosophy, the concept of Karma and the six systems of Indian Philosophy. He also translated a French book, “An Unknown Life of Jesus Christ”.
- His lifetime ambition was to serve the country, mankind and the Jain Community and spread Lord Mahavir’s message of universal love and non-violence across the world. This promising young man died at the young age of 37 on 7 August 1901. His short life was dedicated to the cause of Jainism and service to mankind.
- Text : Based on material provided by the Proponents.