Boman Irani: I have never seen a photograph of my father

Boman Irani, 55, is emotional, loyal and cuddly, who can cry possibly watching even Tom and Jerry. He started his life as a waiter, went on to becoming a photographer, did theatre and finally made his debut in Bollywood at the age of 44 with Raju Hirani’s Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. Ahead of his upcoming dance heist film Happy New Year, he talks about the extremely driven Shah Rukh Khan, his soulmate and wife Zenobia and how he has landed up doing in his life professionally what his father did as a hobby.

Click Here for excerpts of the interview

Parsis of the RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is nearly eight decades old and was one of the first central banks in the developing world. While a lot has been written about this institution, little is known outside the RBI about the meritorious service by Parsis to India’s central bank. Over the years, a number of illustrious Parsis have served on the central board of the RBI. These include F. E. Dinshaw, Sir Homi Mody, N. A. Palkhivala, Jehangir P. Patel, Ratan N. Tata, J. J. Irani and Y. H. Malegam. The last three served simultaneously on the RBI board. Malegam, a current director, has completed 20 years on the board and is one of the longest serving directors in the annals of the RBI. The RBI has drawn on Malegam’s services for numerous boards, committees and groups and he is virtually a resident external adviser.

Savak Tarapore was executive director of the RBI at the time of India’s economic crisis in 1991-92 and was deputy governor between 1992-96. He assisted RBI Governor Dr. C Rangarajan through the balance of payments crisis and the financial reforms thereafter. The Rangarajan-Tarapore combine is considered to be the prime architects of initiatives in financial sector reforms.


P. N. Damry was the first Parsi deputy governor (1967-73). B. B. Paymaster, chief secretary, government of Maharashtra, served as chairman of the RBI Services Board. A. D. Shroff headed vital committees of the RBI and in fact was RBI governor Sir Osborne Smith’s first choice for the post of deputy governor. However, the British India establishment in New Delhi rejected his name as it was felt that Shroff was too close to the Indian nationalists and was a “Congress economist.”

One of the most highly regarded officers was P. J. Jeejeebhoy, head of the exchange control department, who set exacting standards of transparency in handling the rationing of scarce foreign exchange during World War II. He was an important, indeed indispensable, member of the Indian delegation on the sterling balances, a delegation which included the finance minister and the RBI governor. He was instrumental in negotiating the intricate arrangements on the drawdown of the large sterling balances built up during World War II as also the exchange rate arrangements for the rupee.

K. M. Mehta served the RBI from the 1940s to the 1970s and was eventually appointed executive director. There could not have been a more humane and soft spoken person than K.M.Mehta. True to his nature he would seek out RBI staff and endeavor to alleviate their problems. Similarly, persons from the public who came to him with a problem found a powerful ally. An oft quoted case was of a person trying to retrieve his late father’s equity shares in the then privately owned RBI; Mehta offered his personal surety to enable the person to retrieve his father’s shareholding. A. Thanawalla headed the department of banking operations and his prompt disposal of cases was legendary.

Another leading light is Chandi J. Batliwalla, who for long was the public face of the Parsis in the RBI. Her career straddled the RBI and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Her outstanding work received encomiums from a number of RBI governors as well as managing directors of the IMF. She had not one, but two five-year stints with the IMF, and also wrote the history of the RBI’s role in managing India’s external sector for the the RBI’s official history. But all the achievements of her career in the RBI and IMF pale into insignificance when one considers her outstanding work with the Red Cross over the last three decades. Even now this octogenarian (she is in her late eighties) thinks nothing of venturing into remote areas to help the disadvantaged segments of society.

Pilloo Mirza (the aunt of KekiMistry, vice chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Housing Development Finance Corporation), was the first Parsi to work in the IMF (on deputation from the RB I). She was one of the most painstaking and reliable workers in the RBI and her seniors would often say that once Mirza had processed a case no further examination was necessary. Kara Patel who was a junior officer in the RBI was famous as a reputed homeopath and had his clinic on Princess Street. Top officials of the RBI were his patients.


Courtesy : Bakhtiar Dadabhoy – Parsiana


Tribute to Adi F Doctor

Sad News : Mr Adi F Doctor passes away

Dear Zarathushti humdins,

We regret to inform that Mr. Adi F. Doctor, veteran Zoroastrian scholar and lecturer, and a true defender of traditionality and orthodoxy, passed away today Khorshed roz, Ardibehest mah, YZ 1384 (Sat, 27 Sept 2014) at 5:05 pm in the evening.

May Ahura Mazda grant him Garothman behest and may He give solace and comfort to the aggrieved family members.

The Paidust is scheduled for tomorrow Sunday morning.

Our heartfelt condolences to the family members of Mr. Doctor.


TZML Admins.


It is with a deep sense of loss and grief that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Adi F. Doctor, one of the stalwarts of our community. Mr. Doctor had not been keeping good health since the past few months.

Many of us on this group knew him on a personal basis, and also as a religious scholar, lecturer, and the Editor of the Dini Avaz and The Parsee Voice for many years. His knowledge of our religion and ability to explain things in simple terms made him a speaker par excellence, and attracted many of our humdins at religious lectures organised in Mumbai. 

May his Ruvan be under the panah of Sarosh Yazad and may its journey towards the higher realms be safe and quick and may it cross over to Dadar-e-Gehan and may it achieve Tan-e-Pasin. The Paidust is tomorrow morning 28th. Sept. 2014 at the Upper Bhabha Bungli, Doongerwadi.

Behram P. Dhabhar


A light that shone so brightly has been extinguished today… after reading this news, I am so disturbed…..I never had the privilege of meeting Adi Uncle in person, but I’m sure he was and is precious to all who have known him.   Me and my entire family offer our sincere condolences on his untimely death.   He was an inspiration to all of us and his death is a great loss to everyone.   He left us quietly, but He left us with a memory of which we are proud to own.
 In our heart Adi Uncle you hold a place no one could ever fill.  We were blessed to have you in our lives and you shall and will be remembered in our hearts forever; and as the time goes by we will miss you more for no one can ever fill your vacant place.
Daisy has expressed it best.
Adi Doctor was one of my best religious teachers. I met him whenever we came to Mumbai. Most unpretentious, simple, humorous and to the point, when answering religious questions. We could have done better with more like him. He was always like an old friend every time I met him
His life and talks have been an inspiration to me. The world is almost barren today, with few oeople left, like him, we and I can really talk with, who are on the same wave length as us in religious matters. With the Grace of AhuraMazda, this person was placed in Dadar Parsi colony or in Bandra when on his visits to Mumbai from California and could drink from the wine of KSHNOOM from his lips. wITH GRACE, I STILL HAVE 2 OR THREE PEOPLE OF OUR MOLD TO CONFIDE WITH IN  CALIFORNIA.
HIS SOUL IS ON IT’s WAY TO FARSSOHOGAR AND we should be happy for him.
With condolences to his family and near ones
Huge loss to ILK .One of the most noblest souls that I and everyone else would agree knew.
May his soul rest in eternal peace and continue to guide us.
Suggest a memorial meeting. for ILK community .
Huge loss to ILK .One of the most noblest souls that I and everyone else would agree knew.
May his soul rest in eternal peace and continue to guide us.
Sam Billimoria

A deep loss to ilme khshnoom anjuman very difficult to find his calibre. A very humble and softspoken person and always ready to answer any of our queries any time of day or night.Extremely knowledgeable and he lived by the priciples of khshnoom in day to day life. Sarosh yazad Panah baad dear Adi uncle.

In grief

Firdosh Sukhia


It is with a great sense of loss and sorrow that I announce the passing away of Mr Adi Furrokh Doctor, the Editor of the religious newsletter, The Parsee Voice. He was 76 years old. He is survived by his sister, Miss Rita Doctor.
He had been ailing for the last few months and was in and out of hospital. The end came ​on last Saturday evening (Sat, 27 Sept 2014). His mortal remains were consigned to the Dakhma ​the next morning.
A noted exponent of Ilm-e-Khshnoom, Adi Doctor enthralled audiences for many years with his lucid explanations on various hard core religious topics covering the entire spectrum of the Zarathoshti religion.
​His writings on religion and community politics showed his prowess over the subjectand he could inject wit and humour even in the most difficult issues. ​
He was  deeply concerned for the protection and preservation of Zarathoshti religious institutions, traditions and practices and always led from the front when it came to the matter of their protection. He never hesitated to take up cudgels
​on behalf of Atashbehrams, Agiaries and Dakhmas ​when they ​were under attack and always sought to place facts in public domain to enable the common Parsees to learn about the truth. This gave rise to ‘The Parsee Voice​’, which, in its second avatar, has completed 10 years in the service of the community.
His many enlightened articles and write-ups ​will serve as a beacon of light to future generations in matters concerning the Zarathoshti Daena.
Some of us who ​had the good fortune of knowing him intimately and interacting with him closely, will always ​experience
a sense of loss due to his untimely departure ​ because not only was he a loving Ustad to us but also a very dear friend.​
We pray that his holy Ravan ​may get the protection of Sarosh Yazad  and may ​progress from Tanasakh to Tanpasin at the earliest.
​In grief
​H. M. Mistry

M&SM Railway building by the Wadia Family of Porbandar.

The PALATIAL M&SM Railway building – now known as the Southern Railway Headquarters building was built of Porbandar stone by the Wadia  Family of Porbandar. 


As Madras celebrates its 375th anniversary, I wish to draw your attention to the connection Porbandar  and the Parsi community has with the city of  Madras.


The M&SM Railway building – now known as the Southern Railway Headquarters building was built of Porbandar stone by the Wadia family of Porbandar.  


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 


  1. 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,  at Madras) they must have surely faced an uphill task. 


How they bagged the contract and successfully completed it, as also just escaped bankruptcy due to the innate fair-play 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 entrepreneurial traits of  the INDUSTRIOUS PARSIS OF THE PAST WHO WERE DEVOUT PARSIS AND PRACTICED OUR RELIGION AS PER THE LAWS OF OUR RELIGION .


[Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai]
Southern Railway HQ.jpg
Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai
alt           alt                 enlarge photo
Hormusji Wadia     Manchershaw Wadia     Southern Railway Headquarters





Courtesy : Hushang Vakil

The 1st Indian Cricket team to tour England in 1886

 The 1st Indian Cricket team to tour England in 1886 – Sahibji Bawaji

1st Indian Cricket team to tour England in 1886 had only Parsi players
Out of 15, 12 were from Bombay & 3 from Karachi 

The Parsees team that toured England in 1886
This picture is taken on the second Test between innings at Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1886.

The first team from India to visit England

Fifteen Parsees toured England in 1886, and though the results weren’t great, they were well received
India are currently preparing to take on England, 79 years since the first Test series between the two on the subcontinent. That 1933-34 visit by Douglas Jardine’s side followed on from India’s first foray into Test cricket, which had taken place in England the previous year. 
But the first trip by a side from India to England had taken place much earlier, in 1886, when a team made up entirely of players from one small community – the Parsees – had toured.
The Parsees enthusiastically embraced all things English and were the first of the indigenous population to take up cricket. In 1848 the Parsees founded the first cricket club – Oriental CC – and two years later the Young Zoroastrian Club, which still exists, was formed.
The first plans for a Parsee side to tour abroad were floated in 1877 by AB Patel but were scuppered when Patel became involved in a legal case in Bombay. Undeterred, he persevered and in 1886 the scheme came to fruition. A far from representative group of players was picked for the trip; the team was formed exclusively from those who could afford to fund their own passage. Patel managed to get the influential Charles Alcock to act as the team’s agent in England, thus ensuring some strong fixtures. Alcock was secretary of Surrey and the man credited with organising the first Test in England, six years earlier.
To help prepare the Parsees, a Surrey professional, Robert Henderson, was recruited to coach them, but he was only given three weeks before they departed for England. It was soon apparent there was too little time available to bring them up to speed.
A squad of 15 Parsees – 12 from Bombay, three from Karrache (as it was spelt then) – left on April 17. At a dinner on the eve of their departure from Bombay, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, a noted political leader, said: “As artists go to Italy to do homage to the great masters, as pilgrims go to Jerusalem to worship at a shrine, so now the Parsees are going to England to do homage to the English cricketers, to learn something of that noble and manly pastime in the very country which is its chosen home.”
The Parsees arrived in England in mid May, and their opening match was at Sheffield Park, followed by a prestigious game against the MCC at Lord’s.
The tour started with a first-day washout against Lord Sheffield’s XI, but that proved fortuitous as, in unfamiliar and damp conditions, the Parsees batsmen were bowled out for 46 and, following on, closed at 54 for 4. It could have been worse but Alfred Shaw declined to bowl “out of politeness”. This set the tone for the rest of the trip, although the Times did note the visitors’ “fielding was excellent and bowling fair”.

Parsees who have played for India

Farokh Engineer plays a cut shot, England v India, 3rd Test, The Oval, 3rd day, August 21, 1971
Farokh Engineer, the last Parsee to play for India, back in 1975
© Getty Images
*                               Soli Colah
*                               Piloo Palia
*                               Rustomji Jamshedji
*                               Karshed Meherhomji
*                               Jahangir Khan
*                               Rusi Modi
*                               Keki Tarapore
*                               Nari Contractor
*                               Polly Umrigar
*                               Rusi Surti
*                               Farokh Engineer
*                               There were two Parsees in India’s first Test in 1932 (Colah and Palia) and the peak came in the first two Tests in the Caribbean in 1961-62, when there were four (Contractor, Umrigar, Surti and Engineer).
At Lord’s, WG Grace led a strong MCC side of amateurs and showed little compassion, scoring 65 and taking 7 for 18 and 4 for 26 as the Parsees were bowled out for 23 and 66, losing by an innings and 224 runs. There was some solace for them as the MCC hosted a dinner in their honour at the end of the first day’s play.  
The tour continued in the same one-sided way. At Portsmouth, United Services amassed 577 and then forced the Parsees to follow on more than 350 in arrears, Another defeat seemed inevitable when MP Banaji was given out leg-before, much to the anger of the small crowd, who disrupted the game. It began to rain soon after and the visitors escaped with a draw.
There were high points as well. Their final game was against Prince Christian Victor’s XI at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. The match was arranged at the request of Queen Victoria and on arrival the tourists were greeted by HRH Prince Christian, the Queen’s grandson. The Prince made 24 and his brother, Prince Albert, an unbeaten 11 in a score of 90, and then the Parsees were dismissed for 33. A garden party hosted by the Prince concluded the day.
The consensus was that while they had been outplayed throughout, the side had proved extremely popular, and that the captain, Dr Dhunjishaw Patel, had led them well. Some players returned home with reputations enhanced. Muncherjee Framjee, who bowled overarm, took 79 wickets at 26.71, and Shapurjee Bhedwar 59 at 19.57. The best bowling came against MCC, when Ardeshir Major took 9 for 119, and that game also provided a rare batting highlight when Jal Morenas, the only tourist to pass 500 runs, hit Grace for three fours. Only four fifties were scored all trip.
The team departed for home on August 24 with a record of one win and 19 defeats in their 28 matches. Dr Patel sent an open letter to the London newspapers thanking people for “the many kindnesses and friendly encouragement” the players had received. “We have never aspired to pass as good cricketers here. All our defeats were expected. We have had many difficulties, mainly owning to our ignorance and inexperience of the country… [but] we are leaving with strong feelings of affection for the country and its people.
“The visit of the team of native Indian cricketers to England is an event of no small significance, not only from the standpoint of cricket but also from the political point of view,” said an imperialist-flavoured review in Cricket Chat. “The Parsee fraternity is the most intelligent as well as the most loyal of the races scattered over our possessions.
“For some years past the Parsees have given substantial proof of their affection for our national game and striven hard, in spite of climactic disadvantages, to acquit themselves with great credit on the cricket field. It is no exaggeration to say the visit of a Parsee team will stand out conspicuously as one of the most pleasant memories of English cricketers of the present generation.”
What happened next?
 A second tour to England by a Parsees team took place in 1888, but it only included two members of the 1886 squad, Morenas and Sorabjee Harwar. Captained by Pestonji Kanga, they won eight of the 31 matches played, drawing ten and losing 11, with two abandoned.
In 2010, Dinshaw Mehta, head of the Bombay Parsi Panchayet (BPP), the community’s legal body, blamed the internet for the lack of Parsee cricketers, saying today’s youngsters spend more time on Facebook than they do on sports grounds.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa


Courtesy : Sam M.Billimoria



Sarosh Zaiwalla: the first non-white lawyer to start a practice in London


Sarosh Zaiwalla has represented some of the most powerful people in the world, from members of the Gandhi family to the Tchenguiz brothers. He famously hired – and then let go – Tony Blair when the former Prime Minister was a jobbing barrister.

As the first non-white lawyer to start a practice in the City, his business story is one of tenacity, courage and a keen eye for a business opportunity.

Zaiwalla & Co has maintained its position over the years by sticking to its founder’s original business model: to focus on tough cases and undercut the larger companies. “Magic Circle firms put on a great show and they have high overheads, which they have to pass on to the client. So where they charge the client £1,000 an hour, I charge £500 an hour,” he said.

Zaiwalla has serious clout in the legal industry. His company made the headlines late last year when it represented the Bank of Mellat. The Iranian bank had been caught up in the sanctions battle between the West and Iran. Its assets had been frozen and the organisation was haemorrhaging cash.

Click Here for the full story


Power of Three

By Reema Gehi,

Click to read the ePaper, Mumbai Mirror, Sun, Aug 10, 2014, Page 10: 


Passionate collector Jehangir Nicholson (right) found perfect partners in astute businessman Kali Pundole (left) and dreamer gallerist Kekoo Gandhy

An upcoming exhibition thrives on nostalgia, exploring the relationship between two gallerists and a collector who shaped the destiny of modern Indian greats.

It’s the triumvirate — Parsi-only, as their community loves to say — that could very well be held responsible for shaping the future of modern Indian art. Jehangir Nicholson was a premier collector of his time, and they – Kekoo Gandhy of Gallery Chemould, the dreamer; and Kali Pundole of Pundole, the astute businessman – Mumbai’s pioneering gallerists. Together, they shaped the futures of master artists, including, MF Husain, SH Raza, VS Gaitonde, Ram Kumar and Akbar Padamsee.

Opening next month at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangharalaya’s Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, is an exhibition that explores their relationship marked by friendship, competition and respect. Conceived by Kali’s son – gallerist and auctioneer Dadiba Pundole – Kali, Kekoo and Jehangir seeks to present an association of trust and friendship that often existed between collectors and gallerists and the great art collections that grew as a consequence, whether intended or unintended, says the gallery’s curator, Kamini Sawhney.

 Read with more images at Power of three


Courtesy : Tehemton B Adenwalla


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