Lost Worlds’: Parsi ‘Çultures’ And Strongmen In Twentieth Century Bombay

The Board of Trustees and Members of the Governing Body



invite you to a lecture along with a power-point presentation


“‘Lost Worlds’: Parsi ‘Çultures’ And

Strongmen In Twentieth Century Bombay


          Dr Namrata Ganneri

       Research Fellow

Avabai Wadia Research Fellowship in memory of Phiroz Mehta


6 pm on Wednesday, 14th March 2018

in the Dr Sir J J Modi Memorial Hall of the Institute

136 Bombay Samachar Marg, Opposite Lion Gate, Fort,

Mumbai – 400 023

Dr Louiza Rodrigues

Professor, Department Of History,

Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Mumbai

will preside

Do join us for tea at 5.30 pm


RSVP 22843893 / 08879253893                     E-mail: krcamaoi123@gmail.com

Right of Admission Reserved


‘Lost Worlds’: Parsi ‘Cultures’ and strongmen in twentieth century Bombay

Parsi patronage as well as participation in most modern ‘organised’ sports is well- documented and discussed, but their participation in ‘physical culture movement’ remains obscure and under-investigated.  The ‘Physical Culture Movement’ emanating from the North-Atlantic world consisted of various combinations of gymnastics, calisthenics, weight-lifting and dieting to develop  muscular, healthy bodies and  had adherents all over the world by the first few decades of the twentieth century. Consequently, ‘Physical Culture Homes’ or ‘Çultures’ were founded and physical culture became a craze amongst many Parsi men (and some women) in the city of Bombay.

This lecture traces the history of ‘Physical Culture Homes’ and some iconic strongmen and physical culturists who emerged from these institutes. Many of these men were ‘local heroes’ and are still alive in ‘community memory’ though their histories have not been recorded in any conventional historical archive. The lecture also retrieves traditions of Parsi involvement in ‘índigenous’ wrestling and allied sports and comments on continuities with older traditions of body-building.  Finally, the lecture will also be an opportunity to   showcase the wealth of material collected during interviews with elderly physical -culture enthusiasts and strongmen of the community.


  • Many thanks to Dr.Namrata Ganneri for attempting the out of the box , but, very important & interesting subject.
    She revives the proud memories of Parsees in this field.
    People usually talk of Parsi industrialist, doctors, lawyers, etc.; but, no one touches upon reputed & world renowned Parsi strongmen and body-builders and physical-culturiests.
    It won’t be out of place here to mention one Parsi name in the field of judo — first Indian & a Parsi, to have won the coveted title/trophy of Most Scientific Judo Player of India — Shri Roossi Kaikobad Talati of Mumbai, in 1970.

  • Percy Buhariwalla

    Dear Dr. Namrata
    I know parsee bodybuilder from Navsari who hv come to Mumbai & won Mr. Bombay title, one is Mr Malcom Kasad & this brother Kersi Kasad they hv won Mr. Bombay title
    Malcom Kasad was also weight lifter
    The above attached pic is of Late Pesi Patrawalla who had also won Mr. Bombay title, He expired 6 months back

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