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Jagannath Shankarseth

  • Context (IE): The Maharashtra cabinet decided to ask the Ministry of Railways to rename Mumbai Central Station after Nana Jagannath Shankarseth.
  • Jagannath Shankarsheth Murkute, known as Nana Shankarsheth, was an Indian philanthropist, social reformer and educationalist.

Jagannath Shankarseth - PMF IAS

Birth and Background

  • Jagannath Shankarsheth Murkute was born on February 10, 1803, into the wealthy Murkute family in Murbad, Thane.
  • His father, Shankar Murkute, was a successful dealer in jewellery and diamonds.
  • Shankarsheth was a member of the Bombay Presidency assembly in 1861 and later became an advisor to the governor of the Bombay Presidency in 1862.

Education and Philanthropy

  • In 1849, Jagannath Shankarsheth opened the first-ever school for girls in Mumbai.
  • He played a crucial role in establishing the Elphinstone Educational Institution (formerly known as the Bombay Native Institution) and founding the Bombay Native Education Society.
  • He also contributed to projects such as the English School, the Sanskrit Seminary, and the Sanskrit Library in South Mumbai.
  • He contributed generously to Hindu temples and played a role in social reforms, including efforts to suppress widow-burning (sati) and provide a cremation ground for the Hindu community.
  • His philanthropic contributions include support for the construction of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum and the Bhavani-Shankar Mandir and Ram Mandir temples in Mumbai.

Development works

  • He was one of the founding members of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, along with Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and David Sasson.
  • Shankarsheth was instrumental in the development of Mumbai, donating land for development and establishing numerous educational institutions.
  • Alongside Sir George Birdwood and Dr Bhau Daji, he contributed to major reconstruction efforts in Mumbai, transforming it into a spacious and airy city.
  • Shankarsheth was the first Indian nominated to the Bombay Legislative Council and the Bombay Board of Education.
  • He was also the first Indian member of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.
  • Shankarsheth’s involvement extended to the founding of the Bombay Association, the first political organization in Mumbai, in 1852.

Legacy

  • His contributions earned him the nickname “Maker of Modern Bombay.”

Asiatic Society of Mumbai

  • It originated from the Literary Society of Bombay, founded in 1804 by Sir James Mackintosh.
  • The society’s initial aim was to promote helpful knowledge, particularly concerning India.
  • Affiliated with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland since 1830, it was known as the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS).
  • Over time, it merged with the Bombay Geographical Society in 1873 and the Anthropological Society of Bombay in 1896.
  • In 1954, it gained independence from the Royal Asiatic Society and was renamed the Asiatic Society of Bombay.
  • The Central Government of India funds the society.
  • Its objectives include promoting research studies in various fields related to India and Asia, publishing journals, maintaining a library and museum, and establishing institutes and centres aligned with its objectives.

Bombay Association

  • Founded by Jagannath Shankarshet to voice public concerns against British rule.
  • Notable members included Naoroji Fursungi, Sir Jamshedji Jejibhai, Vinayak Shankarshet, and Dadabhai Naoroji.
  • Sir Jamshedji Jejibhai was the first president.
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