The Vagad Visa Oswal Jains, a clan of Kutchi Jains from Gujarat, has created a national record by making the largest online family tree.
As many as 57,000 members of the community are now connected through the online forum CommuTree (http://vagadvisible.commutree.com), of which 45,000 are still alive, while the rest are ancestors.
The network, created by Mumbai-based cousins and software engineers Amit Chheda and Atul Nisar, was recognised as the largest online family tree in the Limca Book of Records 2013.
“When Atul was in the United States in 2008 and wanted to connect with some community members, social networking sites did not prove to be useful and there was no other forum, which is when we decided to start a community network,” said Chheda, 29, an alumnus of IIT Bombay.
“The objective of this platform is to create a global network for members to connect, as well as a matrimonial platform for finding suitable partners from within the community,” he added.
The duo advertised their initiative in a community newsletter, and published forms for individuals to fill in personal details and family information.
“This is almost like a digital census of the community, since census records are done only at a village-level and not for the entire community,” said Chheda. “Additionally, members can trace their ancestry through a feature called ‘Relationship Path’ and find out how they are connected to any member of the community.”
"This online platform is like a social networking site for the community, where we can instantly connect with each other,” said Hasmukh Shah, a 49-year-old chartered accountant from Mumbai. “It is also helpful for business purposes and to look for partners for our children."
The duo, have also shared their network platform with 20 other communities, including the Parsis and several sects of the Jain community, such as the Patan Jains and the Kutchi Gurjar Jains, to help build their networks. “In just two months, more than 2,000 members of the Parsi community and 51,000 members of the Kutchi Dasa Oswal community have already connected using the platform,” said Chheda.
Chheda and Nisar plan to approach the Guinness World Records to enroll www.vagadvisible.com as the largest online community network in the world.