Monthly Archives: September 2015

A gem of a community

Yesterday’s Forbes list of billionaires confirmed what we’d always known: the Parsis are by far the most brilliant community in India. Because despite being 0.005 per cent of India’s population, not one not two but three Parsis have made it to the top ten list of richest Indians.

Reclusive construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry comes in at fifth place with $14.7 billion, the Godrej family headed by Adi at seventh place with their $11.4 billion and up by a billion from last year the flamboyant Pune-based chairman of the Serum Institute of India Cyrus Poonawalla stands with his $7.9 billion.

Adi Godrej and Cyrus Poonawalla
Adi Godrej and Cyrus Poonawalla

A new entrant in the top ten list who has managed to pip Kumar Mangalam Birla and his three generations of wealth, and whose purchase of Lincoln House, the former US consulate at Breach Candy obviously hasn’t made a dent, and must have come from the loose change in his pocket.

Pallonji Mistry
Pallonji Mistry

But think about it, three men from a community of no more than two lakh worldwide. Think about the handwork, the commitment, the vision. And it’s not only in the wealth stakes that the Parsis have shone: doctors, legal luminaries, therapists, humorists architects, thespians rallyists … there are few fields, which they have not excelled in.

And they’ve done this peacefully, gently, not a small amount of their celebrated self-deprecating humor. Yes — it’s official: it’s ‘love a Parsi week’ this week.

By Malavika Sangghvi

– See more at:


co-founder and chief executive Zarine Kharas has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her contribution to business and charity in the United Kingdom.

She has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to business and charity.

She co-founded the online giving platform in 2001 with Anne-Marie Huby with the aim of making charitable giving easier and more effective through the power of digital technology.

Since 2001 the site has been used to raise and donate over £2 billion for good causes.

On hearing of the award, Zarine Kharas, said:

“In 2001, Anne-Marie and I set out to build a sustainable business that was mission led and had social values at its core. JustGiving has been investing and innovating on behalf of good causes ever since and we’re both enormously proud of its achievements in connecting people to the causes they care about. None of it would have been possible without the trust of our charity partners, the 24 million people who have given through JustGiving over the years and the hard work of our 170-strong team.”

Richard Taylor, executive director of fundraising and marketing at Cancer Research UK, thanked Kharas for all she had helped his and charity and others to achieve. He said:

“JustGiving was a pioneer of online fundraising that transformed the way people give to charitable causes in this country and has raised a huge amount of money for important causes, including ours. Thanks to Zarine and Anne-Marie’s vision and leadership and continued investment in world-class technology, charities of all sizes can simply use JustGiving and keep their focus on raising more money, and the entire sector is stronger for it.”

In 2009 Zarine Kharas was awarded the RSA’s Albert Medal for “democratising fundraising and technology for charities.” Previous recipients have included Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Stephen Hawking.

A Cambridge University graduate in law, she worked for City solicitors Lawrence Graham and Linklaters & Paines, where she specialised in corporate and financial law; and then Credit Suisse First Boston; MC Securities and Simmons & Simmons.