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Jamsetji Tata’s residence wins Unesco honour for restoration

Heritage Fort Building Restored Over 13 Years

Built in 1885, Esplanade House, the grand private residence of industrialist Jamsetji Tata, gradually fell to seed over the decades. However, its fortunes turned after a period of neglect. As funds streamed in over a period of 13 years, the crumbling three-storey edifice located in the Fort area was restored to its former grandeur.

It was reward enough for its owners, but the icing on the cake came on Tuesday . The restoration of Esplanade House won an Honourable Mention at the 2014 Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Located opposite Bombay Gymkhana, this listed heritage building now houses the headquarters of the RD Sethna Scholarship Fund which owns the building. The upper storeys have been leased out to private companies as office space.

Bella Jaisinghani

Read the full story at

Yet another Bawa video……… !!!!

Yet another Bawa video……… !!!!


Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

PM Modi inaugurates TCS Japan Technology and Culture Academy

Prime Minister Modi today inaugurated the (TCS) Technology and Culture Academy and flagged off the first batch of students who will be going to for training with TCS.

The Academy is a Joint Venture of Tata Consultancy Services and Mitsubishi Corporation.

In his remarks to the students, PM Modi said that the would be a ‘knowledge century’.

Blessing the students, PM Modi said, “My wishes are with you, I truly believe you all will become great Ambassadors”.

During the event, he was also seen playing drums with the ceremonial Japanese drummers.

Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet the emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace today. Later in the day, he will also be inaugurating the Vivekananda cultural centre at the Indian embassy before concluding his bilateral tour.

He had also met the Governor of Aichi Prefecture of Japan, Hideaki Ohmura and the Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa earlier today.

Click Here for  the full report

International Day of Peace…

Upcoming event 21 September – International Day of Peace…

Choosing Goodness

By Meghan Mulvenna, 9/11 Unity Walk Director

Greetings of Peace,

In just a few weeks, the annual 9/11 Unity Walk will fill the sidewalks of Embassy Row in Washington, DC. This planning stage is full of details and as I keep reminding the organizing team, full of energy.

Regardless of our faith, beliefs, culture, or current work in the world, we are all in the valuable position to observe how we use our energy. Are we giving in a way that is creating more opportunity, acceptance and goodness or are we resisting and feeding the many conflicts around us? Everything we do, and everywhere we go, this is always our choice.

Join us for this special event, not just for the amazing experiences and activities which are previewed in this issue, but for the exchange of energy. To receive what we are busy creating for you, and share that goodness in return with another.

We truly look forward to your presence and participation on September 21st.

Click Here for more

Contribution of Parsis to Chennai

A seamless part of the fabric that is Madras

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan, The Hindu, August 21, 2014

Trade with the East India Company, government service and Partition brought people from various communities to the city of Madras.

This city received everybody with open arms, so much so that it is called vandharai vaazha vaikkum ooru (a city that helps visitors too to thrive).
“The first man to come to Madras was Beri Thimmappa, who was from Telugu-speaking country. He was the one who helped the British strike the deal with the Nayaks. The Telugu community has grown since then and presently, we have about 25 lakh Telugus in the city,” says historian Sriram V.

The many Sindhis and Punjabis who came here during Partition in 1947 (there were small numbers of both communities living in the city even before that), Parsis who came to Madras in the early 1800s, the Gujaratis who came here in the early 1700s along with the Marathas from Tanjore, Bengalis who came here to be part of government service, the Jains who came in the 1840s and lent money to the East India Company — all of them made Madras their home.

They learnt Tamil, built places of worship, schools and colleges, established businesses and gave gainful employment to locals.

The tiny Parsi community too contributed in building the Madras that is Chennai now.

Zarin Mistry, secretary, Madras Parsi Association, and daughter of M.M. Cooper, who was professor of anatomy at Madras Medical College, says, everybody — from J.H. Taraporewala, who was in the construction business, and D.B. Madan, a shipping magnate, to Clubwala Jadav, who founded the Guild of Service — has contributed to the city.

Those who came to the city also fell in love with this place as it grew and became cosmopolitan.

Just as the visitor in ‘The Madras Song’ — presented by Murugappa Group in association with The Hindu — Amandeep Singh Kandhari, a Punjabi who runs a tyre business, says that he too has his own favourite spots and loves the city.

“From a kulfi seller in Triplicane to a place that sells fantastic chaat in Sowcarpet, to theatres that I prefer to watch movies in, I have my favourites,” he says.

Ramesh Lamba, general secretary of Punjab Association, says that when refugees started coming to the city, the Punjabi families in Madras took care of them.

“The local people and the State government were very kind to us. About 30,000 people from Punjab and Sindh provinces had to be clothed and fed. But within a matter of 6-7 years, all of them set up businesses here and became a part of the State,” he says.

Amarlal G. Rohira, a Sindhi who has been in the city since the 60s, says that the very first thing the community did was to construct a temple.

“Our temple has images of all Hindu gods and goddesses. This is our way of mingling with the society that welcomed us,” he says.

The Malayalees, who have a strong 10 lakh population in the city, have been here for a long time too.

“The Malayalee Club in Chetpet is 117 years old, and one of the oldest Malayalee associations in the world. We try to organise programmes where Tamil culture is also included. The government of Kerala recently launched a programme where non-Malayalees are taught Malayalam,” M. Nanda Govind, president of the club.

Mr. Porus Wadia writes further………
Dear Editor,
The Hindu.
As Chennai celebrates its 375th anniversary, I wish to draw your attention to the connection Porbandar ( birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi ) and the Parsi community has with the city of Chennai.
The M&SM Railway building – now known as the Southern Railway Headquarters building was built of Porbandar stone by the Wadia family of Porbandar. It was my grandfather Rajaratna Mr. Manchershaw Wadia who bid for the contract to build this edifice and together with his brothers executed the project. I have a photo of the Porbandar building stone being tested in Madras for its tensile strength.
Following are the details 
H. H. Wadia & Bros, founded by Hormusji Hirjibhoy Wadia, were the pioneers in quarrying Porbandar stone and later played an important role in popularising its use in many parts of the country. When this small, unknown firm bid for the contract to construct the M&SM Railway building in faraway Madras (presently the Southern Railway Headquarters, Chennai) they must have surely faced ridicule. How they bagged the contract and successfully completed it, as also just escaped bankruptcy due to the innate fairplay of the British are tales by themselves.
Hormusji, the natural leader, and younger brother Manchershaw, a competent builder and meticulous organiser, camped in Madras for almost a decade from 1913 to 1922. They took along their team of skilled masons from Porbandar under the leadership of master mason Pitambar Hira.
The foundation stone was laid by Lord Pentland, Governor of Madras on 8th February, 1915, and the offices were formally inaugurated on 11th December,1922 by Lady Willingdon, wife of the  Viceroy. The majestic edifice is constructed with Porbandar stone which was transported for 8 years via sea to Kerala and then by rail to Madras. The building stands as a living tribute to the entreprenaurial traits of our family.
                            enlarge photo
Hormusji Wadia     Manchershaw Wadia     Southern Railway Headquarters
Mr. Porus Wadia,
Parvandah, Wadia Road, Porbandar 360575


Britain institutes award commemorating Dadabhai Naoroji

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Tuesday announced an award in memory of the legendary Indian businessman and freedom-fighter, Dadabhai Naoroji.

Today, I am announcing the Dadabhai Naoroji Awards which will be given annually to individuals promoting partnership between India and UK in domains like commerce, education and culture,” Clegg said on the sidelines of an event in St Xaviers College where he interacted with the students.

Known as the Grand Old Man of India, the Mumbai-born (then Bombay) Parsi, Dadabhai Naoroji was the first Asian MP in the British House of Commons (1892-1895) and was also one of the co-founders of the Indian National Congress, which led the country’s struggle for Independence from British rule.

Nick Clegg during an event in Mumbai. AP Nick Clegg during an event in Mumbai. AP

The award will be run by the British Foreign Office and willrecognize exceptional individuals who promote and celebrate the partnership between the two countries in different spheres, he said. Clegg also said that there would be no limit on the number of Indian students going for higher education in Britain.

There is a great potential for the two countries to collabor ate more on education and hence there would not be a cap on the numbers of Indian students who will be allowed to study in that country, he said.

Parsi natak, jivto reh

Parsi natak, jivto reh

 By Reema Gehi, Mumbai Mirror | Aug 31, 2014, 12.28 AM IST
After a long lull, Parsi-Gujarati theatre gets a shot in the arm with young talent from the community dishing out fresh stories, Bawa-flavoured.
That evening, five more Parsi-Gujarati plays – Sam Kerawalla’s Hasa Has, Dinyar Contractor’s Bhaag Bawa Bhaag, Dinyar Tirandaz’s Darling Humna Nai, Vistasp Gotla’s Savaksa Ni Sex Badlai and Cyrus Dastur’s Havey Mane Joi Lav – were performed across venues.

This was a first in many years, says Contractor, a veteran who has made generations of Parsis leave the auditorium smiling in time for their salli boti dinner on Pateti. “It is like a revival of some sort,” he smiles, glad that the myth of Parsi theatre losing its grip is being challenged – this time, by young stage talent.


The 74-year-old, whose Dinyar Contractor Productions, collaborated with Jim Vimadalal to stage Bhaag Bawa Bhaag on Navroze and the Parsi-Gujarati-Hinglish adaptation of Derek Benfield’s Touch and Go in June, says the young lot bring with them sleek production values and the ability to market theatre. “The onus to take Parsi theatre forward is now on them,” he says, highlighting a movement that theatre stalwarts believe has well begun.

It’s a serious responsibility Contractor refers to, considering the Parsis are credited with launching the modern theatre movement in India in the 1850s, influenced largely by European drama.

Click Here for the full story

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