Awarded the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the OBE, Dr Tehemton Erach Udwadia is widely regarded as the father of laparoscopy in India. From 1951 as a medical student to the present day, he has not only witnessed first-hand the avalanche of surgical progress, but has also seen lives saved as a result of these advances, be it a disposable plastic syringe or a liver transplant.
In this, his memoirs, he painstakingly maps his journey from his student years through residency, research, surgical practice and surgical teaching with a view to sharing the lessons he has learnt. And what they can teach you.
More Than Just Surgery is a warm personal account of people, incidents, mentors, failures and absurdities against the backdrop of surgery. It is also an engrossing historical account through the eyes and hands of someone who has lived through the journey.
નવસારીની આ પારસી લાઇબ્રેરી આશરે 500થી 700 વર્ષ જૂના પુસ્તકોનો અમૂલ્ય ખજાનો ધરાવે છે. લાઇબ્રેરીયનનું કહેવું છે કે અહીં અમૂક એવાં પુસ્તકો છે જે દુનિયામાં અન્ય કોઈ પણ જગ્યાએ જોવા નહીં મળે. આ લાઇબ્રેરીનું નામ મહેરજી રાણાના નામ પરથી રાખવામાં આવ્યું છે, જેઓ પારસી સમુદાયના પ્રથમ દસ્તૂર એટલે કે મુખ્ય પૂજારી હતા.
In this memoir, Zaiwalla looks back on his passage to England at a time when diversity had barely begun to take root in England’s legal circles, to now leading a groundbreaking law firm. His is a story of a solicitor who made his way on his own terms, with creativity but without ever compromising on his values.While he still has many chapters ahead (a lawyer never retires after all), the ones that have concluded have created a storm in India, and feature a diverse cast including Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao, V.P. Singh, the Hinduja brothers, the Dalai Lama, Benazir Bhutto, and Amitabh Bachchan. In this bold yet measured tale of trial and triumph, Zaiwalla tells all — as much as lawyer-client privilege permits of course.
About the Author
SAROSH ZAIWALLA is the founder of Zaiwalla & Co. Solicitors, based in London. With a succession of high-profile victories in the English courts for individuals and corporations from across the world, he has been regularly consulted by political, business and religious leaders. In 2002, he was honoured by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Indias National Law Day for his contribution to the field of international arbitration law.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, a quietly spoken Indian lawyer living in West Sussex, claims that he could have facilitated a deal between Hussein’s government and the West through former UK prime minister Tony Blair, avoiding a huge loss of human life.
At the time, Zaiwalla was in a unique position to act as mediator between the two sides. He had represented Hussein’s government in a legal case in 2001 and is also a personal friend of Blair. Zaiwalla was the future prime minister’s boss for a short time in the 1980s.
Iraqi government representatives told Zaiwalla that they were prepared to do a deal with the US government, and that “everything was on the table” — including the resignation of Hussein.
Zaiwalla sent letters (below) to Blair explaining the potential for a peaceful solution, but the offers in them were declined.
With the long-awaited Chilcot report on British involvement in the conflict due to be released on July 6, we caught up with Zaiwalla.
Zaiwalla was one of five boys raised in a Parsi family in Mumbai, India. His father, Ratanshaw Zaiwalla, was the first Asian to qualify in the UK as a solicitor. After qualifying, Zaiwalla senior returned to start his own small firm in India. From a young age, his son believed in the importance of change.
“My ambition was to become prime minister of India,” Zaiwalla said. “I’ve always believed in evolving the change, not in revolution.”
Coming from a middle class family, Zaiwalla was shocked by the wealth disparity in India. As a child, he insisted that he would eat with the servants.
After graduating from Bombay University, Zaiwalla moved to London to complete his legal training at Fleet Street law firm Stocken & Co. He arrived in the UK from India in 1980, with just £60 in his back-pocket.
Zaiwalla enjoyed his time at the firm, but, at the end of his training his mentor, Cedric Barclay, offered some advice: “You’re smart and good. In a big firm, a senior partner will take you for lunch at the end of your first year and say, ‘Good job, old boy.’ Every year, he’ll take you for lunch again and say the same thing. You will still be there while others are going forwards.”
Barclay told Zaiwalla that the colour of his skin would hold him back in the mainstream firms.
So, within seven days of qualifying, using a £10,000 overdraft from Natwest bank, Zaiwalla started his own firm: Zaiwalla and Co.
“It was a brave move, but I believed in changing things,” Zaiwalla said. “I had a silent courage and a clean heart.”
Zaiwalla’s first clients were the Hinduja brothers, who are now ranked second in The Sunday Times rich list, thanks to a staggering £13 billion fortune.
After meeting at a drinks party, one of the brothers asked Zaiwalla to join their business. Zaiwalla declined, saying that he wanted to focus on creating his own law firm. Nevertheless, when the brothers decided to set up a bank in Geneva, Zaiwalla was employed as the legal advisor and negotiator.
From there, Zaiwalla’s business grew. His firm employed 23 lawyers at its peak. Zaiwalla & Co.’s tactic was to undercut the rates of more established law firms, while producing work of equally high quality.
In the mid-nineties, Zaiwalla’s firm collapsed. His managing partner, a “nasty chap” who Zaiwalla did not want to name, embezzled around £1.6 million, hid the money, and then declared bankruptcy.
“I just trusted him blindly and carried on with the legal work,” Zaiwalla said. “I had given him the signing power, so I accept responsibility.” He added: “I had to downsize my firm. I had about 19 or 20 lawyers at that time. I had to get rid of all of them.”
After paying off all of his employees, Zaiwalla was on his own and in debt. He was forced to start again. “There’s one thing you learn starting a business from scratch: you know where the bottom is,” Zaiwalla said. Zaiwalla rebuilt his firm and now employs 11 lawyers, with an annual turnover of around £4 million.
One of Zaiwalla’s earliest employees was a young Tony Blair, whom he instructed as a barrister. However, Zaiwalla fired Blair after his first case.
“I don’t want to go into that,” Zaiwalla said. “We were all young. When I write my book, I’ll tell the whole story. Tony and I are still good friends.” (In fact, Zaiwalla told London Loves Business in 2014, it was because Blair failed to prepare a shipping case properly.)
Zaiwalla believes it was his relationship with Blair, as well as his reputation for representing international underdogs, which led Hussein’s government to reach out to him for legal advice.
“I believe that the Iraqi government knew that the war was coming and that they had no chance and they wanted to find a solution,” Zaiwalla said. He added: “I believe even Saddam would have gone and that would have saved the Iraq war.”
“They wanted to send a message that everything was open for discussion with the US through Britain,” he said. “Saddam would have stepped down. Everything was on the table. They knew there was no hope. They were putting on a brave face.”
Zaiwalla met with Blair in spring 2002, when the prime minister was working with US president George W. Bush to decide on the best course of action in Iraq.
This is Zaiwalla’s letter to Blair, written several months before Bush called for military action in September 2002:
In the letter, Zaiwalla explained his belief that the Iraqi side were looking to find an “amicable settlement.”
Downing Street sent this letter to Zaiwalla in response:
Zaiwalla was told that the Foreign office would respond to his letter. In turn, he was sent a long document justifying British involvement in the war in Iraq.
Nevertheless, Zaiwalla persisted, and sent another letter directly to Tony Blair:
On this occasion, Zaiwalla send a more detailed letter. In the letter, he said that “Iraq would be willing to compromise and agree to resumption of weapon inspections.”
The London lawyer added that he had gained experience in “off the record” communication with foreign governments, during two trips with former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine to China.
Zaiwalla added: “All of us have a duty to achieve just objectives without shedding of lives wherever possible. I would be happy to facilitate a dialogue between Iraq and the West…”
Tony Blair’s office responded, declining the offer:
So why didn’t Tony Blair listen?
“I think by that time Tony had already made a commitment to president Bush,” Zaiwalla said. “Really it was a personal war between Saddam and president Bush.”
So, was the war illegal?
He said that there is “no doubt” that Iraq was an “unlawful war.”
I asked Zaiwalla if this made his friend Tony Blair a “war criminal.”
Zaiwalla denied this. He said: “It’s a matter of opinion. I don’t want to make any allegations.”
Zaiwalla is currently representing Bank Mellat in a case against the UK government, after Britain imposed sanctions on the bank in 2010 for alleged connections with Iran’s nuclear programme. In 2013, Britain’s Supreme Court said that the sanctions were wrongly imposed.
Now Zaiwalla is attempting to prove that the damages from the wrongful sanctions are worth $4 billion.
“We are going to get something out of it,” Zaiwalla explained, but the amount depends on the proven loss.
Zaiwalla praised this as example of the brilliant independence of the British justice system. He said that “no other court in the entire world” would make such a ruling against its own government.
Zaiwalla’s reputation went on to attract other international clients. In 2004, the Dalai Lama got in touch, hoping he could act as a mediator in the conflict between China and Tibet.
The Chinese decided against the process.
Zaiwalla has abandoned his childhood dream of becoming the prime minister of India.
“I will continue as I am,” Zaiwalla said. “I believe in life that one has to have a clean heart in order to one’s best in an honest manner.”
Raham Asha of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan has offered a free copy of his book on “Avesta, A Grammatical Precis” to anyone interested in writing a review or a note on the contents of the book for its publication.
Attached are a few scanned pages for your reference.
I am writing to introduce you to my Audio Book – The Story of the Zoroastrians: An Historical Perspective – that is now available on my website www.rashnawriter.com
The story of the Zoroastrians is such an integral part of Iranian civilization that one cannot understand one without the other. The Audio Book is an historical overview. It takes as its starting point the Zoroastrian dynasties of the Achaemenids, Parthians and the Sasanians when Iran was a superpower. It then progresses to the Arab invasion of the Iranian Empire and the Islamization of Iran and the diminishing Zoroastrian population. This leads onto the subject of the survival of Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism in Iran governed by Muslim dynasties; and the experiences of Zoroastrians into the 20th century. The final sections include the Parsi migration and settlement in India and the community’s interactions with the British and its’ place on the sub-continent post-independence.
The duration of the Audio Book is 8 hours and 10 minutes. When you visit the website, and to ensure the best listening experience, please follow the instructions to make sure you have the correct audio book reader.
In addition to the Audio Book, the .zip file contains:
Table of Contents
For your convenience, you may download them directly from here itself:
I would recommend you print these pdfs and the maps; keep them handy and refer to them while listening. For ease of listening, the Table of Contents lists the start time of each section. As you would expect, you can pause and start at any point in the recording.
Please feel free to introduce the website and the Audio Book to friends, family and anyone you feel may be interested in the subject.
It is my hope that you may find the re-telling helpful, and in its audio format, you can keep and return to the Story of the Zoroastrians.
You may download the audio file here and hear it with iTunes or VLC player:
Rashna Writer is a political scientist. She commenced her career as a Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; went on to become a Contributing Editor of the Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook; Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. Subsequently, she was Head of Global Risks for a strategic risk consultancy in the UK, where she specialized in advising Lloyds of London syndicates specialty insurance underwriters on war, political and terrorism risks. She was a senior advisor to some European companies. She occasionally contributed on CNBC, Bloomberg and Reuters television on strategic risk issues.
Rashna pursued a parallel career in academia. She is the author of Contemporary Zoroastrians: An Unstructured Nation (1994); co-author, with Shahrokh Shahrokh of The Memoirs of Keikhosrow Shahrokh (1994), and author of The Reshaping of Iran from Zoroastrian to Muslim (2013), and the audio book The Story of the Zoroastrians: An Historical Perspective (2021). She has lectured on ancient Iranian history at Birbeck College (London) and Richmond College (London); was a Research Assistant at Manchester University where she undertook work on the Zoroastrian community in the United Kingdom. Between 2008 and 2019, she was Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University, where she lectured on Zoroastrianism in Ancient and Modern Worlds. She has participated at international conferences and lectured in the UK, USA and the Indian sub-continent on Iranian history.
Among her awards were a Commonwealth Scholarship (1973), and a Fellowship of the British Institute of Persian Studies (1988/89). She was a member of the National Employment Panel: 2006-2007, commissioned by Britain’s then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, before his elevation to the office of Prime Minister.
Rashna Writer holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics in International Relations.
They never asked to be plucked from their homes. But destiny was something they could not avoid. Somehow, they found each other. After that, it was all about building the team that would be competent enough to stand up to sorcery, deceit, pure brutality and worse.
From the small houses of the teenagers’ families, to the wild and untamed forests of Lasgalan, this team faced the worst obstacles they could ever imagine: despair, betrayal, physical pain, psychological breakdown, animalistic experiences, to name a few. Being kept together for a short while, only to be taken apart and put back together. This group learns the meaning of what they truly are, and whether they like it or not, they have to forget what they knew about themselves, to better Lasgalan. They must get to working together quickly, or else they face fates worse than death.
Brace yourselves. This is a journey you would not want to take. So begins the journey of these teenagers.
The author, Darius C. Modi, is (at the time of writing) a St. Xavier’s college student from Kolkata, India, who loves fiction and is an avid reader. The main inspiration for the series was The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. He grew up fascinated by European mythologies, particularly Greek, Roman, Norse and also liked Egyptian mythology.
He likes movies and is not afraid to push his writing to extreme measures, to see what it can develop into. He thinks of how the book has to start, where in the plot he wants it to end, and then fills in the middle. Plot twists and unexpected turns are what he enjoys and leaves things open to his readers to think about for themselves, rather than be too specific on descriptions. His motto for writing is: “DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM BEING OPEN ABOUT SOMETHING. WRITE WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO HAPPEN, NOT WHAT SOMEONE ELSE WANTS. YOU ARE WRITING THE BOOK, NOT SOMEONE ELSE.”
Darius writes while listening to a mixed bag of music, from Mozart and Beethoven, to Queen and Led Zeppelin, letting the ideas flow with ease. His imagination is all over the place, and he prefers to be at his books for a long time. His ideas are sometimes bounced around among friends, just to get a different perspective, and see how much of that can be incorporated into the story.
FOREWORD BY DR. SIR CHIMANLAL H. SETALVAD, K.C.I.E., LL.D.
I have much pleasure in writing this Foreword to the life of Sir Hormusjee Cowasjee Dinshaw, an excellent volume so ably written by Mr. A. N. Joshi, BA., LLB., an Advocate of the Bombay High Court.
Sir Hormusjee, who is a well known figure in his community, is the head of the Adenwalia family which has for some generations made a great name as merchants and financiers at Aden and Bombay. The history of their rise from poverty to affluence makes very instructive reading. The kindness and courtesy of the Adenwallas are pro-verbial and Indians travelling between India and Europe can never forget the great hospitality that has always been extended to them by Sir Hormusjee and his family whenever they pass through Aden.
Sir Hormusjee is a very unassuming, kind and liberal gentleman and he has always extended his helping hand to all objects of public usefulness. His silent charity to people of his own community as well as of other communities is well-known in Bombay. For his philanthropy and other acts of public utility he has made himself very popular not only in Aden and Bombay but in other parts of the Presidency as well. A detailed biography therefore of such a personality will be welcomed by the public-