Born on 25th February, 1890, Sjt. Ambalal Sarabhai was educated at Gujarat College, Ahmedabad. He joined his family business in 1908, at the early age of 18 years. He was a Director of Karamchand Premchand Private Ltd., Managing Agents of the Calico Mills, and who then owned the Sarabhai Chemicals, Baroda which manufacture fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with Squibb. He was also actively associated with Suhrid Geigy Ltd., Sarabhai Merck Ltd., Synbiotics Ltd., which manufacture Tetracycline and Streptomycin, and Standard Pharmaceuticals Ltd. which manufacture penicillin and pharmaceuticals in bulk.
Sjt. Ambalal Sarabhai was President of the Ahmedabad Millowners’ Association in the year 1918—19. He was also a member of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. He was awarded by the then British Government the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal. He renounced this medal to the Government when Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in 1930. He had extensively travelled and was not only a successful businessman, but also a keen student of international affairs.
A doyen of the business community of Ahmedabad, Sjt. Ambalal Sarabhai had taken an active interest in the social life of the city of Ahmedabad and had played an important role in the industrial development of the country. Number of progressive institutions, such as AURA, B M. Institute and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Calico Textile Museum, Shreyas Foundation, the National Institute of Design, Darpana, Jyoti Sangh, C.N. Vidyalaya, Labour Union, etc. had enjoyed his co-operation and help in promotion.
He and members of his family have given unstinted support, personal and financial, to the Indian National Congress during the height of country’s struggle for freedom.
A man of high principles and sound business judgement, he had inculcated fine traditions in his young and gifted sons, daughters and grand children who took over a major portion of the responsibilities of the family business.
Sjt. Ambalal Sarabhai married Smt. Sarladevi—daughter of Sir Harilal N. Gosalia of Rajkot—in 1910. They had eight children.
After a period of illness, Sjt. Ambalal Sarabhai expired on 13th July, 1967 at the age of 78.