Monthly Archives: March 2014

A forgotten Parsi Genius

Notable Parsi Genius BURJORJI JAMASPJI PADSHAH (1864 – 1941)
MAN BEHIND THE FORMATION OF THE TATA GROUP OF COMPANIES

Burjorji Jamaspji Padshah was born in Bombay on May 7, 1864 in a high talented family, hailing from Navsari. He was the fourth son of Jamaspji Padshah who died prematurely in 1880, leaving him at the age of 16 in charge of his business which included a horse-stable at Byculla, Bombay. Burjorji’s father was Jamsetji Tata’s best friend. Young Burjorji therefore found himself the ward of a wise and considerate guardian when his own father died. Jamsetji’s daughter, Dhunbai was engaged to Burjorji Padshah. Sadly she passed away in 1871 at the age of ten.unnamed (5)

Being a versatile genius, Burjorji soon adapted himself to his new environment, ran his father’s business most successfully. His connection with horses generated in him a deep love for animals which manifested itself in his later life.

Burjorji’s life is a chronicle of brilliant successes. He passed his matriculation from the Proprietary High School at Bombay in 1881 and went to the Elphinstone College. He then passed his first year in Arts carrying away the Gibbs Prize in Physics.

A year later he passed the first B.A. of the Bombay University winning the Ellis Scholarship in English – and the James Taylor Prize in History and Economics. He graduated in 1884, standing First in First Class, and carried away the Cobden Medal in Political Economy. It is also said that he got cent per cent marks in his English papers for that year.
With such an academic record, it was natural that his mother wanted him to enter the I.C.S. as his elder brothers had done but Burjorji departed from the beaten track and studied Theosophy—a desire which left a great impression on him and which probably influenced various phases of his later life.

With the money he inherited from his father, he went to England with Madame Blavatsky, but soon left the Theosophists as their beliefs did not appeal to him. He then went to Cambridge for the study of higher mathematics. One amazing characteristic of Burjorji was that even though he passed all tests brilliantly he never went to take a degree, either at Bombay or at Cambridge. His name therefore does not appear on the registers of either University.

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