A visionary par excellence: CMS founder Jagdish Gandhi passes away at 88 - Hindustan Times
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A visionary par excellence: CMS founder Jagdish Gandhi passes away at 88

By, Lucknow
Jan 22, 2024 07:48 PM IST

The last rites will be performed on Tuesday which will be attended by family and close friends. A memorial prayer service will be held on CMS Gomti Nagar extention campus

Founder manager of City Montessori School, Jagdish Gandhi, 88, passed away in the early hours on Monday in a private hospital where he was on life support system for over three weeks. He is survived by his wife, Bharti Gandhi, four children – Sunita Gandhi, Vinay Gandhi, Geeta Gandhi Kingdon and Nita Gandhi Forouhi – their spouses and six grandchildren.

CMS founder Jagdish Gandhi with students. (File photo)
CMS founder Jagdish Gandhi with students. (File photo)

“It is with broken hearts we announce the passing away of Dr Jagdish Gandhi in the early hours on January 22. For those who wish to pay their final respects, can reach the auditorium of the CMS Gomti Nagar Extension campus (near Shaheed Path) from 1 pm to 5 pm on Tuesday (January 23),” read a press release.

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The last rites will be performed on Tuesday which will be attended by family and close friends. A memorial prayer service will be held at CMS Gomti Nagar extention campus on February 4 at 3 pm, where Gandhi’s life will be celebrated and his legacy honoured by family, friends and admirers from around the world.

CMS has more than 61,000 students, studying in its chain of schools (21 branches) in Lucknow. This found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest school in terms of pupils in a single city.

Jagdish Gandhi held a number of positions. He contested Lucknow University student union elections and got elected as its president in 1958-59. He contested Vidhan Sabha election in 1969 as an independent candidate from Sikandara Rao district Aligarh and won and remained MLA for five years.

How CMS came into being

After he got married to Bharati Gandhi in 1959, he decided to set up a school. They founded CMS with just five students. The duo approached a number of families to send their children, so that they could start a school. Most people refused. Later their neighbour, Sohanlal Agarwal and his wife agreed to enrol five of their children and grandchildren. That’s how the journey began. Earlier, CMS was affiliated to UP Board and gradually the school got affiliation of ICSE Board.

Story behind adopting ‘Gandhi’ surname

Jagdish Gandhi was born in an Agarwal family and hails from Aligarh. His father, Phool Chand Agarwal was a lekhpal and mother Bansmati Devi, a homemaker. During his growing years, he was fascinated by stories of Mahatma Gandhi. As a child, he was attracted towards his personality. The day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, he decided to shed his surname and adopt Gandhi instead. Young Jagdish gave up formal trousers and shirt and adopted khadi out of respect for Gandhi.

How he arrived in Lucknow

After completing Class 12 in Aligarh, he wanted to pursue higher studies. He first went to Varanasi to take admission at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). But he dropped the idea of studying at BHU as it was far away from the main city.

Gandhi took a train and came to Lucknow. He got admission to Lucknow University in BA in 1955. After a year, he dropped the idea of pursuing BA and pursued B Com and then M Com. For his Gandhi-like attire and zeal to help others, he became popular in the university.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, he went to Delhi and invited the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to inaugurate his students’ union. Nehru came to Lucknow University on his invitation to do the honours on March 2, 1959.

Quest for international peace

The school adopted the motto of ‘Jai Jagat’ — ‘Victory to the World’, which was in sync with the ancient Indian ethos of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ (the world is one family). Gandhi vowed to create world citizens with a global mindset through inclusive education who would stand against conflict and war, and who, in addition, would become proactive agents of profound social transformation.

Several pvt schools to remain closed today

Lucknow: Many of the private schools, six catholic schools, Anglo Indian schools and few missionary educational institutions in Lucknow will remain closed on Tuesday (January 23) to mourn the death of City Montessori School founder, Jagdish Gandhi.

The six Catholic schools to remain closed, include Francis College, Lucknow and Gomti Nagar, Cathedral School, St. Dominic School, Indiranagar, St. Paul School, Dilkusha, St. Thomas School, Amausi.

The decision was taken unanimously by member institutions of Unaided Private Schools Association (UPSA), said Anil Agarwal and Mala Mehra, president and secretary respectively of UPSA in a statement. Six Catholic schools in the city will remain closed, said Bishop Fr Gerald John Mathias. La Martiniere Girls’ College will also remain closed, said principal Aashrita Dass.

Tributes pour in to mourn the passing away of Jagdish Gandhi. Politicians, educationists, school principals all condoled his death. Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav mourned Gandhi’s death in a social media post.

Principal of La Martiniere Girls College, Aashrita Dass in her facebook post reads: “Jagdish Gandhi profoundly shaped education, fostering holistic learning environments and leaving an indelible mark on countless students and communities. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the entire CMS family. May his soul rest in peace and his legacy continue to inspire future generations.”

Mala Mehra said, “As a friend of Gandhi family, I grieve with them and to me it’s an irreparable loss. To us in Lucknow he was the Father of Education. An icon and a visionary par excellence. To me he was a father figure. May his departed soul rest in peace.”

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