The founder of the world’s biggest Gujarati language resource portal — GujaratiLexicon — and a renowned personality behind many Gujarati language initiatives, Ratilal Chandaria, died of old age at his Mumbai residence on Sunday.
Chandaria was 91 and is survived by a daughter, three sons and eight grandchildren.
Apart from GujaratiLexicon, Chandaria, a renowned industrialist and philanthropist, was founder of several other initiatives on Gujarati language like digital Bhagwadgomandal. The Gujaratilexicon was the first major presence of the Gujarati language on the internet.
Chandaria’s most-remembered contribution to the Gujarati language was on the GujaratiLexicon resource portal, the project he started 25 years ago. The launch of the portal in January 2006 was followed by other language initiatives like Saras Spellchecker, Lok-Kosh, Digital Sarth Kosh, Crossword, Quiz, GL Gems, Kids Games, and GL Mobile Apps.
GujaratiLexicon has digitized and created an online version of Gujarati’s Mega Encyclopedic Work, Bhagwadgomandal.
It is archived in the US Congress Library and British Library Catalogue as a landmark work of Gujarati.
The cumulative visits to the GujaratiLexicon sites have crossed 25 million, apart from it being installed on lakhs of computers and and mobile devices.
Born in 1922, Chandaria had his primary and secondary education at Nairobi and Mombasa in Africa. At the beginning of the Second World War, he migrated to India along with his family and instead of continuing his education, Chandaria joined the family business of export-import and subsequently expanded the business to various other ventures. He returned to Nairobi in 1946 and carried forward the business in places like Europe and Singapore.
Apart from his business, Chandaria was associated with many social activities and contributed to many social organisations across the world.