We bought stake in Dinshaw’s as we didn’t want a Parsi company to shut down: Jamashp Bapuna


Jamashp Bapuna (Photo by: Kartik Thakur)


One of the oldest and the largest manufacturers of alcohol, the Bapuna Group, apart from producing their own alcohol beverages, handles the bottling for some of world’s largest liquor conglomerates such as Pernod Ricard, United Spirits, Radico Khaitan and Allied Blenders & Distillers. Bapunas in 2002 diversified by acquiring a stake in popular dairy giant company Dinshaw’s owned by the Ranas. Today, Jamashp Bapuna is the Director of the Bapuna Group and Joint Managing Director of Dinshaw’s. Apart from his business, Jamashp takes active participation in the management and activities at Gondwana Club, where he was elected as the President in 2015. In a relaxed chat, Jamashp Bapuna speaks to Nation Next at his office ‘Banaz’ in Byramji Town, which was once the Bapunas’ residence before they shifted to their three-acre palatial mansion adjacent Poonam Chambers. Jamashp in the interview speaks how his family business of alcohol trading and manufacturing started and also shares the reason behind acquiring stake in Dinshaw’s.



The Bapuna family has a history that spans decades in the alcohol industry beginning with trading and gradually moving to manufacturing of alcohol. How did trading and manufacturing begin?

My grandfather hailed from a small village in Gujarat. When he moved to Nagpur around 50 years back, he use to work for a couple of people and he gradually began his own business. Thereafter, we secured a few tenders which made my father venture into the alcohol business. Our business just grew from there.


The Bapuna Group acquired 50% stake in Dinshaw’s in 2002. Despite having a strong foothold in liquor industry, why did Bapuna group opt for dairy business?

Mr Rana, who’s the Managing Director for Dinshaw’s approached us as he needed our help for his business. Co-incidentally, my grandfather’s name was also Dinshaw! When the Ranas approached us, my father immediately offered help because he never wanted a Parsi company to shut down. This is how even I started taking care of the business and eventually we diversified into dairy business.


Ranas have 50% stake in Dinshaw’s and you too are an equal stakeholder in Dinshaw’s. So, who calls the shots? 

For us, it’s like a family so everything is done and decided together. That’s how things work in the long run. If one person decides everything, things don’t work out. It’s like a marriage, where both have to work.


Dinshaw’s ice cream as a brand didn’t get a beating by either national or international brands like Baskin Robbins, Amul, etc. But Naturals seems to be giving a tough competition in the local market. Does it worry you?

It’s not that we never got a competition. We keep facing competition; it’s just about how we deal with it.  I have a simple philosophy – ‘Don’t let somebody grow so much that they sit on your head.’ I guess this has worked for us. What Naturals sells in Nagpur is not even 0.001% of what we sell in Nagpur. I wouldn’t say that we have a competition with them in Nagpur. Yes, it is a niche product but it doesn’t worry me, though competition in metro cities is much tougher. But then healthy competition keeps you on your toes and makes you improve.


You say that you would rather see your son pursuing a career in sports, as business is too tough. Why? When a Bapuna says so, doesn’t it give a gloomy picture of business environment? 

I have played club cricket in England and in South Africa too in the past. In fact in South Africa, I had a contract to play cricket for a period of time. But being the eldest of the siblings, and considering our parents’ mindset and generation, I had to set my priorities. But today, I feel that if my son is interested in sports and excels in it, I don’t mind him pursuing it. Right now he’s too much into tennis. One year down the line, if he’s still interested in tennis, I might send him to Florida. I’ll be happier if my son makes a career in sports. Our generation has accepted this kind of thinking and mindset, wherein a son doesn’t necessarily need to join his father’s business the moment he’s ‘business-ready.’ I want my son to be happy and do what he wants first.


Of late, you have lost a lot of weight. What drove you all of a sudden towards fitness? 

Once you have children, you want to be there for them. I would always take it as a joke whenever I visited a doctor for routine checkups and he would tell me that my weight is a problem. But when you see your kids growing, and you want to be with them for long, you have to take a drastic step like this. This has also worked for me in relieving all health complications in life. I feel good about myself. Today, I realize that doctors are not all that stupid; what they say does make sense! (Smiles)


For years you have had an active participation in Gondwana club’s management. You are now the President of the club. What motivates you to be a part of the activities at Gondwana Club? Doesn’t your business take a beating because of your involvement in the club’s management? 

I don’t take Gondwana club’s work as my duty. I do it out of passion and fondness for the club. Nagpur doesn’t have many options in terms of recreation. Over the years, members of Gondwana Club have become a family to me. At the club, we end up meeting so many friends; we see similar faces so it’s like a second home. Doing anything for your home is not work. Also, if you can do something about a place that has given you so much, why not?


Dinshaw’s brand is doing well in Maharashtra…

Today we have our presence in 13 states. Dinshaw’s business is growing at the rate of 15-18% per year. In today’s business scenario, if you have such statistics, I feel we are progressing.  We don’t spend extravagantly on advertisement. People love our ice cream because of the quality we offer.

Radhika Dhawad | Feb 14, 2017


Pakistan Post Issues Dinshaw Byramji Avari Commemorative Stamp

On December 18th 2016 Pakistan Post issued a special commemorative stamp to honour the life and work of Dinshaw Byramji Avari, the pioneering hotelier and philanthropist.





December 18, 2016



Size of Stamp: 50.5 x 35 mm

Size of Print: 47.5 x 32 mm

Number of Stamps in a sheet: 5 x 3 = 15 stamp

Perforation: 13 c

Denomination: Rs. 8/-

Colours: Multi Colour

Printing Technology: Litho Offset

Paper: 100 GSM Crescent and Star Water Mark Paper

Gum: PVA

Quantity: 0.2 Million

Designer: Adil Salahuddin, Sitara-e–lmtiaz I Pride of Performance

Printer: Pakistan Security Printing Corporation Karachi.


Born on 22nd August 1902, in a humble family, Mr. Dinshaw Byramji Avari studied in an orphanage as his mother had passed away and his father had to work during the day. He passed his Matriculation exam studing on the light of a candle and passed his B. Com studing on the light of a hurricane lantern and became the first person of his village to have become a B.com graduate. He paid for his college education by giving tutions. He then joined the Sunlife Insurance Company of Canada working as a clerk while at the same time working as an Insurance Agent.

His determination to succeed was exemplified by becoming the highest selling insurance agent of his territory, while simultaneously holding a day job with the same company. This showed his perseverance which resulted in his being appointed as Manager of Sunlife for Karachi and with record business having been achieved, he became General Manager for Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, Punjab and Afghanistan.

An additional accomplishment was his becoming the first Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) in Asia.

When he could no longer progress, being Asian, he switched careers to become a hotelier, investing his savings and borrowing the rest to purchase Bristol Hotel Karachi, on the condition that he and his wife Khorshed be trained in the business.

This remarkable ability of changing course at age 42 to learn a new trade is a lesson in adapting to changing times and multifarious circumstances. Proving there is no substitute for hard work, he was at the Empress market in Karachi daily at 4:00am, virtually forcing the hotel venture successful! through sheer force of will, sweat and industry.

Within a few years, realizing the scope for first class hotels he built Beach Luxury Hotel Karachi, in barren, marshy grounds. The first Governor of Sindh Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, told Khorshed that Dinshawji needed his head examined for building a hotel in such a locality. However the move was a huge success and from 35 rooms the hotel grew to 150 rooms, with banquet halls, swimming pool and other luxuries unknown in Pakistan. He proved wrong his friend the Governor and all who laughed at him for investing in this venture, while being responsible to turn around this marshy land into an elite locality known as New Queens Road (now M.T. Khan Road), which is today the prime area of Karachi.

The highly dynamic Dinshawji, brought many firsts to Pakistan. He introduced buffets which we take for granted today, but at the time was criticized for treating guest like dogs, making them stand and eat. He introduced Chinese food, Lebanese Shawarma, the subcontinent’s first Japanese restaurant, and hotel swimming pools. This innovativeness manifested itself many times in business, social community work.

While still building a business Dinshawji was deeply involved with social causes, like the war effort, he was decorated by the British Government, a founding member of Rotary and trustee of many Parsi trusts including Karachi Parsi Anjuman. Apart from numerous other social activities, he was also:-

  1. Trustee BVS Boys & Mama Parsi Girrs schools, and BMH Parsi Hospital
  2. Deaf & Dumb Center- founder and president
  3. Pakistan Sea Scouts- founder member
  4. Member Society for prevantion of Cruetly to Animals
  5. Hotels Association of Pakistan – founder president
  6. Member Sind Red Cross I Red Crescent Society

Having gained experience of hotels. and even operated Pines Hotel Nathiagali for a few years, he purchased Nedous Hotel Lahore, renaming it Park Luxury. Subsequently, he built the 5 Star international standard hotel on this site and opened the Lahore Hilton in January 1978, dedicated to his late wife Khorshed, who passed away the previous year. It was renamed Avari Lahore in 1988.

Anecdotally, the president of Hilton reffered to Dinshawji as “not a very young man who is most dynamic and young in spirit, thoughts and ideas”. This attribute to his dynamic, young thinking spirit spoke volumes for his attitude to life, ability to clinch new ideas, and openness to listen to all as he believed everyone has something to contribute. Believing in the Zoroastrian motto ”content with what I have but discontented with what I am”, he planned the tallest, grandest Karachi hotel. During construction, problems of Rupee devaluation, cement & steel shortages contractual problems and floods were overcome with his determination and wisdom and Avari Towers opened in April 1985. As hotel accommodation was declining at this time, he wisely developed plazas at the hotels to provide quality office space, providing steady income.

Being a self made man he never forgot the down-trodden and poor. His doors were open to all 24 hours a day. His motto was to trust everyone at face value unless they proved him otherwise. With these principles his strength gave strength to others and his love and kindness have been felt by all and sundry.

He passed away on December 18, 1988. However his legacy continues to this day his principles and philosphy institutionalized forming the foundations of the Avari family and Group.

On Death Anniversary Dinshaw Byramji Avari (Philanthropist), a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs.8/- denomination is being issued by Pakistan Post on December 18, 2016.


The Commemorative Postage Stamp will be available for sale from December 18, 2016 at all important Post Offices in the country.

Overseas orders for Stamps, First Day of Issue Covers and Leaflets should be addressed to the Manager, Philatelic Bureau, Karachi GPO or Manager, National Philatelic Bureau, Islamabad GPO, accompanied by a Bank Draft or Crossed Cheque encashable in Pakistan.

Issued by


Courtesy : Parsi Khabar

Parsis at The Kala Ghoda Fest!


The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is a landmark in Mumbai’s cultural scene that brings you eclectic forms of artistic expressions including crafts, performing arts, food, culture and history. When it comes to Mumbai’s culture and history, the massive contributions made by our Parsi community is greatly acknowledged. No wonder then, that Parsis also form an integral part of the KGAF, involved in all aspects of this cultural bastion of Mumbai!


Nicole Mody, Food Curator, KGAF


US Parsis love our food and what better way to express this than organize events that cater (pun unintended) to gastronomic delights! At KGAF we meet Nicole Mody, Festival Coordinator and Food Curator, who shoulders the responsibility of organizing the entire food vertical of the Festival including workshops and contests. Nicole and her team work to precision ensuring seamless transition from one event to the next. The packed houses at the workshops bear testament to the fact that Nicole knows what the public wants. Nicole says, “I have been a part of the KGAF since the year 2009 but it was only in 2012 that I moved to curating the food festival. I am a big foodie and I guess this was an evolution of sorts for me because even in my professional career I have moved from planning art and public events to marketing brands and curating food related events.”

Chef Darius Madan

Another Parsi we bump into is Chef Darius Madan, executive chef at Kaboom, a restaurant based at Ballard Estate and Kamala Mills – it’s USP is that the menu changes every day! Chef Darius was conducting a workshop at Kala Ghoda with many avid listeners enthusiastically noting down his recipes and cooking tips.



The art installations at KGAF are one of the biggest draws of the festival. This year, in keeping with the theme of the KGAF, ‘If Wishes Were Horses’, there was an interesting installation put by the students of St. Marys School (ICSE). Titled ‘Dreamatorium – A Magical Octohorse’, the children imagined a golden horse that has tentacles which do the work while the horse can rest. Amongst the group of 45 boys who envisioned and executed this work of art, were three young Parsi lads Ayaan Dalal, Darian Dalal and Pezan Hiramanek who excitedly contributed through the entire creative process.


Sanaeya Vandrewala (yellow top) conducting Heritage Walks

Heritage walks:

Ever wondered why the area near Churchgate Station is called Fort? Well, Sanaeya Vandrewala explains all this and much more about the history of Mumbai when you join her on one of the heritage walks she conducts during the course of the KGAF. A Conservation Architect with ‘Abha and Lambah and Associates’ by profession, she has been part of the KGAF for the past six years. “Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I find it very interesting to learn the history and facts about the city. Also, being a conservation architect, I love explaining the different detailing of the architecture and carvings in our heritage buildings. Often while doing research, I come across unknown facts, drawing linkages to other facets of history.” Sanaeya takes her responsibility very seriously, “I do thorough research as I do not wish to ever pass on any erroneous information. These walks are about educating the people and making them understand the rich history of the city.”



The ‘Rare Thoughts’ Stall with Rustom Gowadia

You would be forgiven for thinking that Rustom Dara Gowadia’s stall at the KGAF, Rare Thoughts, was part of the art installations. His creations are indeed visual bursts of creativity. What’s most amazing is despite his pieces being highly creative works of art, they provide practical / functional usage as well! Amalgamated from scrap metal and wood, Rustom and his rare works are now almost a fixture at KGAF. Going by the number of pieces that have already been sold, Rustom is one artist whose popularity will never wane! Rustom says, “We have been a part of KGAF since its inception. I find the customers here very nice and they are quite interested in how the pieces are made as well. I am a part of designing and execution of every piece in Rare Thoughts.”

The WFA stall with Taronish Bulsara

Another stall that draws good footfall is Taronish Bulsara’s NGO that works for the welfare of street dogs – WFA or ‘World For All’. The stall offers animal-based merchandise that promotes the cause and helps raise funds for various animal welfare programmes. “At the Kala Ghoda Fest, we wish to create greater awareness about various causes and programmes related to street dogs”, said Taronish.




How we View – Practice our Religion & Spirituality

A global survey on “How we View – Practice our Religion & Spirituality”.

Survey participant can be of any age, belong to any religion / belief system.

Please take this anonymous survey at –


Hopefully the results can help bring Inter-Faith awareness and tolerance. Do share this message with your family and friends across the globe, on social media of your choice.

I appreciate your assistance in encouraging this survey participation.

Rustom Bhopti



By Nilika de Silva


In the mid-twentieth century there were more than 300 of them. Today the local Parsi comunity has dwindled to about 45. The sad reality is that nothing can really be done to ensure that Lanka’s small but eminent Parsi community will continue to enrich Sri Lanka’s development in the future as they have done in the past four centuries. Conversion is not allowed by the Parsi community in Sri Lanka. And a woman if she marries out of the community cannot expect her children to be accepted into the Parsi community. These are the main reasons for the diminishing numbers of Parsis in Sri Lanka. 

A unique community, the Parsis of Sri Lanka have retained a pure strain of those very first people who migrated from Pars (ancient Persia) when threatened by the religious empire building Arab world. Having first settled down in Gujarat, they went on to set sail and venture forth for the sake of commercial enterprise. 

Pestonjee, Choksy, Captain, Jilla, Billimoria, Rustomjee, Jevunjee, Dadabhoy, Barucha….. these Parsi names ring many bells. The Pestonjees and Captains in the field of commerce, the Choksys in the legal world, Jilla, in the field of Guiding, Billimoria in Scouting, each in his or her chosen field has carved out a niche, making those rare Parsi names household ones in this country.

It was Soli Captain, for instance, who met the costs for Sri Lanka’s first Cancer Hospice, Dr. Jamshed Dadabhoy who was renowned as the Chief Eye Surgeon of the Colombo Eye Hospital, his niece Roshan, (later Peiris) now of The Sunday Times who was the first woman Editor of the Observer, well known architect Jamshed Nilagriya and Jimmy Barucha, renowned broadcaster. These are but a handful of the Parsis who made it to the top. 

Parsi traditions and culture in Sri Lanka are not widely known. The naming of a Parsi baby, for instance, is according to the date and time of birth. A letter is chosen and depending on this letter a Parsi name is selected. 

A Parsi child’s initiation into Zoroastrianism (the Parsi religion) or confirmation takes place between the ages of seven and fifteen years. It is at this point that the children will receive the sacred white garment ‘Sudreh’ and the sacred girdle ‘Kusti’.

Holy water or bull urine which has been blessed through prayer, is a very important aspect of ceremony among the Parsi people. At confirmation, at marriage and even in the funeral rituals the holy water is used in a purification rite. Although today marriage ceremonies take place even in five star hotels, orthodox Zoroastrians prefer marriage ceremonies to take place in the temple, explained Reverend Sohrab Panthaky.

Reverend Panthaky also explained that today more than 50 percent of the marriages take place out of the community, another reason for the dwindling numbers in the Parsi population of Sri Lanka. 

Although the Parsis of Sri Lanka live in accordance with the Indian Parsi lifestyle they have been forced to make certain changes. Unlike in India, the Tower of Silence where a Parsi is placed after death does not exist in Sri Lanka and an alternative arrangement of burial has replaced this custom. 

The funeral ceremony is usually conducted within 24 hours of death and burial takes place at the Parsi cemetery at Jawatte in Colombo. Fire, a symbol of purity to the Parsis, is lit immediately when a person dies and the lamp is placed near the body of the departed soul. 

A unique feature in a Parsi funeral is the employing of a ‘four-eyed dog’ ( a dog with two markings above its eyes) which is lead up to the corpse. If the dog turns away from the deceased this serves as a final test to ensure that the person is dead, Mr. P. N. Pestonjee explained. 

However, it is believed that for four days the soul will remain in this world, and on the fourth day after burial, the family meet for lunch.

The Parsi Club which seeks to keep the Parsi community together engages in annual activities centred around fellowship. The President of the organisation is Mrs. Aban Pestonjee, the Managing Director of Abans Ltd.

“The Parsi Club has gatherings three times an year,” its secretary Ms. Perin Captain said. “These are on the Prophet’s Birthday, the Club birthday and on March 21, each year. These take the form of a dinner and also some games,” Ms. Captain added. 

Amyra Dastur plans Parsi treat for Jackie Chan

Apart from Vin Diesel, who visits Mumbai next week to promote ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ that also stars Deepika Padukone, another international celeb will be in town at the same time. Jackie Chan is slated to be in the city from January 13 for the promotions of Kung Fu Yoga, which releases on January 28.

His co-star Amyra Dastur has lined up a special treat for him — a spread of Parsi cuisine. The actor-filmmaker is a non-vegetarian, so Amyra is hoping that he enjoys the flavours.

When the unit was shooting in China, Jackie made sure that Amyra and co-stars Sonu Sood and Disha Patani were comfortable. “We loved his hospitality,” says Amyra. Now that he is visiting India, she hopes to reciprocrate the gesture.

Amyra Dastur

Amyra has chalked out a menu with her mum, Gulzar. “Since I am a vegetarian, there will also be some greens on the menu, I hope he enjoys the veg fare too,” says Amyra.

Well-known Parsi dishes like Akhuri, Chicken Farcha, Dhansak and Patra Ni Machhi will also be served. “We used to talk a lot about different kinds of cuisine (while shooting). Now, it’s time for him to savour Parsi stuff.”

Chan is familiar with Indian cuisine since the film was also shot in Jodhpur last April. “I hope he is able to handle the spices,” says Amyra, who was earlier seen in Mr X (2015) opposite Emraan Hashmi.

By Shaheen Parkar


Shenaya Jambusarwala, Corporate Director – Career Planning and Performance Management, Taj Hotels

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is proud to share that Shenaya Jambusarwala, Corporate Director – Career Planning and Performance Management was awarded the second runner-up trophy at the prestigious National Human Resource Development Network (NHRDN) – Prof. Ram Charan Young HR Icon Awards 2016.

The award recognized her as one of the top talents in the human resource space who display the potential, aptitude and attitude to be future HR leaders. Expressing her thrill on this feat, she acknowledged the culture of nurturing and encouraging talent at Taj Hotels. Taj Hotels is looking for talented professionals like Shenaya.



Zara Heeramanek’s Adopt-An-Antique initiative is a significant step for the FD Alpaiwalla Museum, the city’s only Parsi museum


The first time 18-year-old Zara Heeramanek saw the crimson-hued umbrella stand at the Framji Dadabhoy Alpaiwalla Museum, the late 19th century antique was quite literally headless.

“It was so badly damaged; the top portion seemed to have been cut off and kept aside. I thought it would be impossible to restore, but the job has been done,” says the 12th grader, a student of BD Somani School. The umbrella stand, one of several hundred antiques at the Alpaiwalla Museum at the Khareghat Colony at Kemps Corner, was the first beneficiary of Heeramanek’s Adopt-an-Antique initiative launched in October this year. Managed by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, the museum set up in the 1950s is a little known, unassuming space burdened with an overwhelmingly large collection donated over the years by members of the Parsi community.

Zara Heeramanek of the Adopt-An-Antique initiative. Photo courtesy: Milind Shelte

It has been closed to the public for years, but the museum’s grand restoration plans, spearheaded by Pheroza Godrej, Firoza Punthakey-Mistree, curator Nivedita Mehta and conservation architect Vikas Dilawari, brought it in the news two years ago. And it was around this time that Heeramanek, who grew up living in Khareghat Colony, first learnt of the museum’s existence. “My father knew the people in-charge, so when I went to visit the museum, they showed me stuff they don’t really have the funds to showcase and take care of,” says the teenager. One of the main problems that the Alpaiwalla Museum faced was that they had a lot of porcelain antiques, especially vases that are in a very bad condition.

This is what Heeramanek hopes to address through her initiative. “Raising funds to reopen the museum was far too big a project for me to take on while still in school. So I decided to start small,” says Heeramanek. While Heeramanek’s focus is now on eight late 19th century pieces, she’s hoping that the museum can carry the initiative forward even after she leaves the city to pursue her graduation in the United States. “The museum seems positive that it is a good scheme to bring it back to life or at least start the process, because it’s going to be a long one. I’m happy that I started it on the road to recovery,” she says.

Peace award for Feroze Patch

Named as winner of the Shantidoot (ambassador of peace) award of the Meerut-based World Peace Movement Trust, FerozePatch (pictured) will receive a certificate and gold medal for

patch-unnamed-8promotion of secularism without gender bias. The 69-year-old is trustee and honorary secretary of the Hindustani Prachar Sabha (HPS), an educational NGO (nongovernmental organization) founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 to promote Hindustani, the common man’s language. “This was to be a link between Urdu and the high flown Hindi, and serve as a link language between Hindus and Muslims, thus promoting communal harmony,” Patch informed Parsiana over the telephone.

How did a professional who specialized in dealing with dangerous substances such as inflammable goods become a harbinger of peace, Parsiana queried? Patch revealed that he joined the HPS in 2010 on payment of Rs 250 after attending a meeting with a friend 10 months prior. “My curiosity had been aroused by the work being done by the NGO and I later became a trustee, a post held for life and then honorary secretary, which is for a three-year term,” he shared. “The NGO is active in promoting education by opening libraries in schools and colleges and has even started one at Poona’s Yerwada Jail,” he added.

Interestingly, the NGO was co-started by Dadabhai Naoroji’s granddaughters, Perin and Goshiben Captain. In earlier years, educationist and Gandhian Dr Aloo Dastur was president of HPS, Patch mentioned.

Parsiana, Monday, 21-Nov-2016, Page 15: