Totem Pole, Ottawa — Also a Salute to Parsis
Totem Pole, ByWard Market, Ottawa ——ALSO A SALUTE TO ALL PARSIS
Click for more…Totem Pole at the Byward Market
A SALUTE TO ALL PARSIS –
(An extract from a leading Indian publication)
No Indian community internalized the civilizing mission of the
British as did the Parsis.
Only 50,000 remain in Bombay today, mainly in South Bombay, the most disciplined and cultured part of India
In South Bombay, the cutting of lanes by drivers is punished, jumping a red light is impossible, parking is possible only in allotted areas, roads are clean, service is efficient, the restaurants are unmatched – civilization seems within reach. South Bombay has some of the finest buildings in India
The Parsis came to Bombay after Surat ‘s port silted over in the 17th century. Gerald Aungier settled Bombay and gave Parsis land for their Tower of Silence on Malabar Hill in 1672.
The Parsis made millions through the early and mid-1800s and they spent much of it on public good.
The Parsis understood that philanthropy – love of mankind -recognizes that we cannot progress alone. That there is such a thing as the common good. They spent as no Indian community had ever before, on building institutions, making them stand out in a culture whose talent lies in renaming things other people built.The Parsis built libraries all over India , they built the National Gallery of Art.
The Wadias built hospitals, women’s colleges and the five great low-income Parsi colonies of Bombay .
JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College were founded by Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy.
They gave Bombay the Jehangir Art Gallery, Sir JJ School of Art, the Taraporevala Aquarium.
The National Center for Performing Arts, the only place in India where world-class classical concerts are held is a gift of the Tatas.
There are 161 Friends of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) – www.soimumbai.in. 92 of them are Parsi. For an annual fee of Rs 10,000, Friends of the SOI
The Parsi dominates high culture in Bombay are always full in halls and this means that a concert experience in the city is unlike that in any other part of India . Classical concerts seat as many as two thousand.
No other city in India has this appetite for classical music and in Bombay
The people who clap between movements, thinking that the ‘song’ is over, are non-Parsis. Symphony Orchestra of India concerts begin at 7 pm. Once the musicians start, latecomers must wait outside till the movement ends.
The Parsis were also pioneers of Bombay ‘s Gujarati theatre, which remains the most popular form of live entertainment in Bombay
The Parsis were the pioneers of this, writing and acting in the first plays of Bombay. They also built the institutions that supported this.. Bombay
The Parsi in Bollywood caricature is a comic figure, but always honest, and innocent as Indians believe Parsis generally to be, rightly or wrongly.
In the days before modern cars came to India the words ‘Parsi-owned’ were guaranteed to ensure that a second-hand car listed for sale would get picked up ahead of any others. This is because people are aware of how carefully the Parsi keeps his things. His understanding and enthusiasm of the mechanical separates him from the rest. Most of the automobile magazines in India
The Parsis are a dying community and this means that more Parsis die each year than are born (Symphony concert-goers can also discern the disappearing Parsi from the rising numbers of those who clap between movements).
As the Parsis leave, South Bombay will become like the rest of Bombay
Preserve this race…..You are privileged if you have a Parsi Bawa as your friend…He/She is indeed a “Heritage” to be treasured for ever.