Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi

Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi (1857-1947)

by B. A. Inamdar, Bombay
dated: 1925

Oil on canvas
59 x 36.2 in. (150 x 92 cm.)

During the late nineteenth century, philanthropy began to emerge as a particularly important means of establishing an identity as a person of authority among the Britishers and the general public. Influential local sheths started donating to public causes like education, health care, infrastructure services etc. giving rise to the need of portraits.

This portrait is of the educationalist, Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi, an illustrious and visionary from Surat. Modi’s father started the first Hot Metal Type Foundry (Gujarati Type) at Mumbai. This enabled Modi to envision the need for bringing and indigenizing printing and for a proper research into Indian languages and scripts. His research inspired his son to study Indian languages and he also found that every letter in the Devnagari alphabet was assigned to a Swaroop of Maha Saraswati. He then compiled these to form the modern day Devnagari Type Forms.

Chhaganlal Thakordas Modi got his picture clicked at one of the local champaneria photo stores in Surat and sent it to the artist in Mumbai to paint.

Gelatine Silver print