Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was born on
12 August 1919 in the city of Ahmadabad, in Gujarat state in western India. The
Sarabhai Family was an important and rich Jain business family. His father
Ambalal Sarabhai was an affluent industrialist, owned many textiles mills in
Gujarat, and devoted his life to poor people.
Vikram Sarabhai went toSheth
Chimanlal Nagindas Vidhyalay for his high school studies. Vikram Sarabhai
matriculated from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad after passing the
Intermediate Science examination.
After that, he moved to England and
joined the St. John's College, University of
Cambridge. He received the Tripos in Natural Sciences from Cambridge
In September, 1942, Vikram Sarabhai
married Mrinalini Sarabhai,
a celebrated classical dancer. The wedding was held in Madras ( later known as Chennai) without anyone from Vikram's side of the
family attending the wedding ceremony because of the ongoing Quit India movement
led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Vikram and Mrinalini had two children - [[Kartikeya Sarabhai] and Mallika. Vikram Sarabhai had a troubled marriage
as a result of his long affair with Kamala Choudhary.
His daughter Mallika Sarabhai was
awarded the Padma Bhushan,
India's third highest civilian honour for the year 2010 and his son Kartikeya Sarabhai
was awarded the Padma Shri in 2012.
Sarabhai returned to an independent
India in 1947. Looking at the needs of the country, he persuaded charitable
trusts controlled by his family and friends to endow a research institution
near his home in Ahmedabad. This led to the creation of the Physical Research
Laboratory in Ahmedabad on November 11, 1947.
Sarabhai died on 30 December 1971 at
Halcyon Castle, Kovalam, Kerala because of heart attack due to excessive
stress. He was visiting Thiruvananthapuram to attend the foundation stone
laying ceremony of the Thumba railway station being
built to service the newly created Thumba
Equatorial Rocket Launching Station.