Tribute to an Indian Educationalist

31 Jul 2019  Wed

Born as Jagannath Shankarseth Murkute, Nana Shankerseth was an Indian philanthropist and educationalist who spent his life for the improvements in education.

He became one of the founders of the School Society and the Native School of Bombay, the first of its kind in Western India. Despite of the lack of motivation from the contemporary orthodox Hindu Society, Jagannath Shankarsheth contributed much of the necessary funds to girls' schools opened by the Students' Literary and Scientific Society. Other educational projects he began include the English School, the Sanskrit Seminary, and the Sanskrit Library.

Apart from being an educationalist, Nana Shankarsheth contributed in various ways to the betterment of Indian Society. It was his idea and efforts to start Railways in India. Eventually, the association was incorporated into the Great Indian Peninsula Railway along with Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. They were not only the only two Indians among the ten directors of the GIP railways but also were one of the first travelers of the first train journey in India between Bombay and Thane.

He became the first Indian to be nominated to the Legislative Council of Bombay under the Act of 1861. He also was the first Indian member of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai. The Bombay Association was the first political organization in Bombay Presidency founded by Jagannath Shankarshet on 26 August 1852. Jagannath Shankarseth was also instrumental in the role of developing infrastructure of the city of Bombay.

Jagannath Shankarseth died in Mumbai on 31 July 1865. A year after his death a marble statue was erected at the Asiatic Society of Bombay. Former Girgaum Road and chowk (Nana Chowk) at Grant Road are named after him in South Mumbai. India Post also issued an Rs. 2.00 stamp in the year 1991 which features his portrait along with the CST Station.

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