Two dominant forces were at work in India around the turn of the millennium-globalisation and varied sets of fundamentalism. They were unleashing cataclysmic changes in society and culture in Gujarat and beyond. Gujarat is one of the most developed states in India. The character of its development needed scrutiny. Only robust social research could capture it. Globalisation is generally defined as the network of connections of organisations and peoples across national and cultural borders. The rise of different fundamentalist positions needed to be examined and comprehended.

The Jesuits had long desired to set up a social science research institute in Gujarat. The task of setting it up fell on Lancy Lobo who had worked for 15 years at the Centre for Social Studies (CSS), Surat. On his return to Gujarat from an international fellowship at the Georgetown University, meetings were held with Jesuits of different districts at which the issue of setting up an institute was discussed and later approved. In  2001, Lancy resigned as the Director of CSS and founded this new institute.

After much thought Vadodara was chosen because of several favourable factors: location in central Gujarat, easy accessibility from all sub-regions; well connected by air, road and rail; the seat of the renowned Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda; and the city lacking in social research institutes, unlike Ahmedabad and Surat.

The then Provincial of the Jesuits, Jerry Sequeira, identified a site for CCD in the periphery of Vadodara city, at the Xavier Technical Institute, Sevasi, whose staff quarters were vacant. The campus, lined by huge trees, is somewhat cooler than the city, and its building was designed by the well-known architect Hasmukh Patel, known for exposed brick walls. Though it was not entirely suitable, a decision was taken to customise and renovate it to use it for a few years.


Biswaroop Das and Lancy Lobo deliberated and finalised the name of the institute as Centre for Culture and Development. CCD was inaugurated on Monday, the 7th of May, 2001, at 10.30 a.m. by the Bishop of Baroda, Godfrey de Rosario. An inaugural workshop was held on “Globalisation and its Impacts on Gujarat.” Following the inauguration, campus development activities were undertaken, such as restructuring of space, renovation, landscaping and creating space for parking. The library was set up in four rooms. Space for a small conference room was made by breaking down a wall between two rooms.

After five years, the need was felt for a single space to house all the books and for a full-fledged conference room. The Board members were informed about this and they approved of an extension building to accommodate the library and the conference hall. The new building was inaugurated by His Lordship Bishop of Baroda on August 27, 2009. On this occasion, Lancy delivered a lecture on “The Character of Development in Gujarat with Reference to Land Acquisition, Displacement and Resettlement.”

CCD today is well equipped with ten computers, a multimedia projector, a copier, a scanner, printers, fax, digital cameras, a generator, and vehicles. However, it still lacks residential facilities for participants in on-campus programmes. A ten-year report on CCD’s activities was published for distribution to seminar participants, visitors and donors.

 2011- 2016

CCD held national seminars on key issues between the years 2011 to 2016. These covered the topics of Forests and Tribals; Scenario of Employment in Gujarat; Caste and Census; Changes in a Globalising Gujarat; Land Acquisition, Displacement and Resettlement in Gujarat; Indian Federalism; Democracy in India; Tracking the Growth of the Middle Classes in India; Religion, Secularism and the Shifting Goalposts of Democracy in India; Corporate Social Responsibility; Legacy of Nehru; Marriage and Divorce; and Religious Demography in India: Myths and Realities. These seminars brought to CCD numerous scholars and intellectuals from India and abroad and raised its visibility. The media, both electronic and print, carried extensive reports of these seminars and interviews with participants.

The books published during these years are Malaria in the Social Context; Globalisation, Growth and Employment; Economy and Society in Globalising Gujarat; Federalism in India; and Trajectory of India’s Middle Classes. The year 2016 is exceptional. It will witness the publication of three new books  Forests and Tribals’ Livelihood; Democracy in India; and Essays on Suicide and Self-immolation. CCD also did evaluations of important institutions in the country, such as St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and Indian Social Institute in Bangalore as well as in Delhi.

Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh made an endowment to CCD to hold seminars and lectures and to bring out publications. Coming from one of world’s eminent political philosophers, this was a shot in the arm for the institution.

CCD has made concerted efforts to find financial assistance from CSR funds, but the priorities of the corporate sector do not appear to match those of CCD. The Gujarat Jesuit province has been the major provider of funds.


It was decided that, after 15 years of its existence, an evaluation of CCD was due. The Board of Trustees had it done on April 20, 2016 through a committee consisting of Professors Ghanshyam Shah and Ambrose Pinto. The report was discussed in an extra-ordinary meeting of the Board on July 9, 2016. The Board welcomed the appreciation in the report, of the strengths of CCD, especially the quality and quantity of its output, including books and the national seminars held at regular intervals, despite the paucity of financial and personnel resources. The Board asked the Director to try and implement the following basic recommendations of the report:

  1. Explore possibilities of enhancing the financial support to CCD.
  2. Explore measures to strengthen CCD’s relations with Jesuit and Church organisations.
  3. Reformulate suitably document of vision and mission of CCD, based on its experience of the last fifteen years.
  4. Reformulate role of the Research Advisory Committee and increase its membership.
  5. Expand the Board of Trustees by inducting another Jesuit and a well-known female social scientist.
  6. Add competent academic staff with appropriate remuneration.