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Parsi community calls on govt to preserve cemetery in Rawalpindi

Illegal sale of land and encroachers have reduced centuries old #ParsiCemetery in Rawalpindi to half its area, says former lawmaker Isphanyar Bhandara, calling on the Punjab government to declare it a heritage site.


By Rehan Piracha –


A former lawmaker from the Parsi minority community has called on the Punjab government to protect the community’s 150-year old cemetery in Rawalpindi from land grab and declare it a national heritage site.

The Parsi cemetery on the Murree Road in Rawalpindi has been eclipsed by the New Jewellery Market, Isphanyar Bhandara, president of Parsi Union of Rawalpindi, tells in an exclusive interview.

“The cemetery is built on a scenic and beautiful place but unfortunately it has been reduced to less than half its area in the last two decades,” Bhandara says. The Parsi cemetery had an area of 25 Kanals but illegal sale of land and encroachment has reduced the graveyard’s total area to 7 to 8 Kanals now, he adds. A grave of Behram Jee Hormas Jee Boca, who died in 1860, is also part of the cemetery. Bhandara’s late father MP Bhandara, also a former lawmaker, is buried here.

The former lawmaker laments that a former office-bearer of the Parsi Union illegally had illegally sold off half of the cemetery’s land in 2005. According to him, land earmarked for a graveyard cannot be sold or utilized for another purpose without the permission of the Auqaf Department.

In addition, the cemetery is facing threats of further encroachment of land from residents of neighbouring buildings. “Our neighbours who should respect sanctity of the Parsi graveyard are instead trying to encroach upon one-and-half Kanals of open land earmarked for future graves of the Parsi community members,” he says. These residents have built windows on the side of the cemetery and trying to turn the open space into a passage way, he explains.

Bhandara says the Parsi union has gone to court to prevent further encroachment on the land belonging to the cemetery. “It’s unfortunate that the Parsi community is forced to approach courts to protect their property from neighbours who should have helped preserve the legacy of their minority brethren,” he adds.

Asked whether he had approached concerned government officials and ministers for the preservation of the cemetery, Bhandara says the union had expressed their concerns to all the quarters in the country but no response or action has been taken yet. Responding to a question about lodging a complaint to the National Commission for Minorities, Bhandara calls the commission a toothless and cosmetic body, adding that he was a member on the previous commission.

“The National Commission for Minorities can do nothing to protect rights of the minorities and even the rulings from the Supreme Court are of no effect in this regard,” he adds. Unless, the station house officer of a police station regards that it is his duty to protect and safeguard lives and properties of the minority communities, no directives will have an effect, he points out.

According to the marble plaque at the gate of the cemetery, the Parsi graveyard was built in the 1890s. “This cemetery, together with the buildings and compound wall, was erected to perpetuate the memory of the late Seth Jahangiriji Framji Jussawala and Seth Jamasji Hormasji Bogha – both Rawalpindi Parsi merchants – by their respective grandsons, Seth Dorabji Cowasji Jussawala and Seth Nasarwanji Jehangiriji Bogha Shahshai in the month of Tir 1367, January 1898, ” reads the inscription on the plaque.

Talking about the colonial-style red mortar building in the cemetery, Bhandara says, the beautiful single-storey structure is designated for the last rites of community members. “Prayers for the deceased as well as their last rites are performed in the building,” he adds.

Bhandara called on the Punjab government to declare the Parsi cemetery in Rawalpindi a site of cultural heritage in order to preserve and protect the landmark from land grabbers and encroachment. “I’m making this demand to the provincial government and the city’s deputy commissioner so that the legacy of the Parsi community is preserved and recognised,” he adds.

The former lawmaker says it is high time that the government ensured the protection of lives, properties and communal worship places of the minority communities. He pointed out that the Parsi population in Pakistan has dwindled to 800 citizens from over 5000 at the time of partition. “Presently, there are a handful of Parsi families in Rawalpindi,” he says.

Bhandara says the brain drain and exodus of minority communities from Pakistan is linked with a lack of economic opportunities and insecurity in the country. “It’s not only the Hindus and Parsis who have emigrated but thousands of engineers, doctors, and IT professionals have gone abroad to seek better opportunities,” he concludes.


The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

Indeed, Iranian civilization could not form and could not last unless the intelligence of the Iranians created the “kariz” or the aqueduct because our land is water-scarce and, in many parts, desert. It was the proper and careful management of the waters of this land that, over millennia and centuries, formed one of the most brilliant civilizations in the world. Part of that water management went back to the construction of the kariz. Kariz was made from Iranian awareness and genius and was our gift to the world. In Tehran, which has been known as the center of the country for two centuries, karizes have played a fundamental role in the lives of the people of the capital. The oldest kariz in the city, which is 700 years old, was built by order of a Zoroastrian lady. That kariz is called Mehrgard and still has signs of its watery past.  

Kariz has been one of the most critical water supply sources in Tehran since it was chosen as the capital of Iran until the last forty or fifty years. Even before Tehran became the capital, the city had a large number of karizes. Based on the research of Javad Safinejad, who is one of the prominent experts in kariz, 572 karizes have been created in the history of Tehran! This number of kariz is genuinely remarkable. Although many of Tehran’s karizes were lost over time, by the 1330s SH, the capital’s karizes were still prominent, reaching 29 disciplines. However, the pipeline system eliminated the need to dig the kariz, reducing the number of kariz in Tehran.

In a simple definition, Kariz means the use of underground water. This is achieved in a way that recognizes Iranian creativity and art more than anything else. As mentioned, the number of karizes in Tehran, like other large and small cities in Iran, was enormous. The kariz or the qanat water of Sanglaj, which could be seen in the city park, and it was so full of water that it was not lost even with the destruction of the Sanglaj neighborhood in the first half of the fourteenth century; Sardar Kariz in einoddoleh Street (the present day Iran Street) that would supply water to the whole neighborhood; Bagh Saba kariz would supply water to the Old Shemiran Ave., Darvaze Dowlat, and the surrounding streets and neighborhoods; the important and very valuable kariz of Haj Alireza, which would pass by the front of the parliament and would supply water to Udlajan and the whole area around chal Meydan;, as well as the karizes of Elahieh, Baha Al-Mulk, Baharestan, Beryanak, Pamanar, Jalalieh, Nezamieh, Jamshidabad, Farmanfara, Yusefabad, Behjatabad, the Russia embassy kariz, the British embassy kariz, Jalalieh, and many other karizes. Among these two kariz’s were more important: first was the Mehrgard Kariz and the second was the Nasserite Kariz. These two are worth giving more details on.

Mehrgerd, the oldest kariz in Tehran

Mehrgard kariz is the oldest kariz in Tehran. It was sometimes called Kariz Mehran because its mother well (main well) was in Mehran Village, a part of Shemiran and Tajrish district, and this kariz spread to the present Zarabkhaneh, seyed Khandan and Majidieh areas. Historical signs and documents show that this kariz was made by order of a Zoroastrian lady. Although her name remains unknown, this benevolent lady is mentioned several times in ancient writings.

Nasserite Kariz would supply quite a significant part of Tehran’s water. During the Qajar period, the Shah and his court maintained and supervised the Mehrgard kariz. After that, it became one of the royal assets of the Pahlavi dynasty.

In the past, the abundance of water in the Mehrgard waterway was such that its surplus reached the areas of Bazaar and Oudlajan. Mazhar. The first opening of Mehrgard Kariz, called mazhar, was located on Nasser Khosrow Street and the gush of water from its canal could be sent in the streams in this building.  Its other branch started from Alborz High School on College Square and, and went along Ferdowsi Street to the lower zones of the city.

With the expansion of Tehran and especially construction of the telecommunication building in Toopkhaneh Square, and later, the construction of one or two metro stations, the first opening (mazhar) to Mehrgard Kariz was destroyed and now it cannot be found. However, there are still signs of water in the Mehrgard waterway when digging underground for underground construction projects.

It should also be noted that the 700-year-old kariz of Mehrgard drained 200 liters of groundwater per second with only the force of gravity and without any maintenance. Such a mechanism has been described as an “engineering masterpiece.” Although the dredging of Mehrgard has been forgotten for decades and constructions all over have blinded its entrance (mazhar or the first opening), yet signs of life of this kariz can be found, and if just an effort is made to revitalize it, one of the important signs of civilization in Tehran will not be lost.

Nasseri is one of the most important karizes in the capital

Most of the karizes in Tehran belonged to those with wealth and power, and they were built to irrigate their gardens and lands, and if there was a surplus of water, it would be directed to lower lands, which belonged to the people. There was a unique example. That example goes back to Kariz Shah (Nasiri). This kariz was built by order of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, and he had ordered it to be dedicated to the people.

After providing the water need for Golestan Palace complex, the Nasseri Kariz would flow to the southeast of the city, forming a settling called Qanatabad.  This kariz was in use until the early 1330’s, but then it was abandoned when water pipelines began to be drawn in Tehran, in those years.  Another use of this Kariz was to provide water for the 10 indoor baths of Golestan Palace during the reign of Nasser Eddin Shah.

Current karizes of Tehran

Now, in these recent years, the number of Kariz’s in Tehran has decreased a lot. Failure to dredge and fill the wells of the karizes is one of the reasons for the loss of these valuable water resources. Digging deep wells, which began in 1342, and increasing their number day by day, reduced the use and maintenance of Tehran’s kariz’s.  Digging subway tunnels was another reason for the drying up of running springs and as a result the blocking of water flowing into the canals.  At a time, the flow of water in the city was such that the humidity of the running water would affect surrounding houses and would make the walls damp, sometimes right upto the roof, forcing the inhabitants to move to other neighborhoods.  It did not take long before there was construction on top of the Kariz.  Now, the problem of these areas is subsidence of land. The karizes were a sign of Tehran’s prosperity and greenery; They were also considered a sign of wealth in other towns and settlements of our land. But urban renewal and modernism destroyed those ancient signs of civilization. Was what we gained enough to lose our karizes and water resources?

* Using: The article “Mehrgard is the oldest living aqueduct in Tehran” written by Narjes Zivodar in Iranshahr Intellection Magazine (Winter 2017); Nasrollah Haddadi’s note on “Iran Newspaper Website”; As well as “City Headline” websites; “Tehran Nameh.”

Negar Jamshidian

The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

WBG-IMF Civil Society Policy Forum 2021

Civil Society Unit | Department of Global Communications | United Nations

World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum

27 September – 8 October 2021

Dear Civil Society Colleagues,

On behalf of World Bank Group (WBG)-International Monetary Fund (IMF), we invite you to register for the Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF). The CSPF is a key part of the WBG-IMF Annual Meetings (AMs), and is taking place from September 27 – 8 October 2021. It is comprised of 18 CSO-led sessions on key development issues, also including several WBG-IMF staff as panelists.

Registration is open until 5 p.m. EDT, 20 September 2021.
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Launch of the Gen Z and Beyond Global Survey

Dear Zarathushtis in North America and all over the world,

FEZANA is delighted to inform you of an exciting new project that is launching around the world today.

The GenZ and Beyond Project is an online survey of the global Zoroastrian community. It is being conducted at the Shapoorji Pallonji Institute for Zoroastrian Studies (SSPIZS) at SOAS, University of London and led by Dr Sarah Stewart, SSP Senior Lecturer in Zoroastrianism. Dr Nazneen Engineer, former student of SOAS, is the Project Manager.

Watch the promotional video on the launch of the Gen Z Survey Project

This Survey, which is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the global Zoroastrian community to participate in, will:

  1. Provide an accurate and detailed picture of the community as it exists today.
  2. Identify ways to preserve and perpetuate Zoroastrian identity, belief, and practice.
  3. Generate educational and further research opportunities for the future.

The Survey is completely anonymous and all data that is collected is subject to strict data protection regulations. We encourage every single person who is eligible to take part to sign-up for a ‘unique Survey link’ using your email address or mobile telephone number.

For more information on eligibility and participation, data collection and protection, and research outcomes and benefits, please visit

The survey and its findings will help FEZANA and its member associations in various ways in the coming years. FEZANA endorses the project and we urge you to participate in it, and share it with each and everyone of your family and friends. This is an individual survey and we urge each and every member of every family to take this.

Sign Up For The Survey

Inside a 75-YO Parsi Lady’s ‘Paradise’ for 431 Rescued Animals

Roxanne Davur grew up around rescued wild cats and today runs Probably Paradise — a shelter home for dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, cows and pigs in Karjat.

Trying to get Roxanne Davur to speak uninterrupted for 30 seconds is quite difficult, as a cacophony of animals in the background often breaks out.

“It is always noisy when breakfast is being served on the farm,” chuckles Roxanne, who runs Probably Paradise, which is situated 11 km outside Karjat, Maharashtra.

She laments how she is often asked, ‘Why is the name Probably Paradise for an animal shelter?’ “You have to be dead to go to paradise, so that’s why this is Probably Paradise,” she replies.

The 1.5-acre farm in Karjat houses 431 animals today, including 250 dogs, 162 cats, eight ponies, seven donkeys, two horses, one pig and one cow. The 75-year-old lists out the numbers from a roster sheet that is updated every month. Most of these rescues are from Mumbai and Pune, where they were injured, abandoned or fell chronically ill. This shelter home for unwanted animals has the unique purpose of giving them a ‘dignified place to die’.

“They are all residents, not pets,” asserts the Master Trainer in Animal Welfare.

Roxanne Davur runs Probably Paradise

Life on the farm starts early when this septuagenarian, dressed in floral motifs and her short hair neatly combed, wakes up in the wee hours of the morning to get the herd ready for the day. “The staff come at 8 am, then we have feedings, medication, and we tend to emergencies throughout the day that even extend into nightfall,” says the 75-year-old.

“Just last night, someone brought in an injured dog, which will probably stay here. Our gates are open so the animals can come and go as they please. We also allow visitors but only during reasonable daylight hours.”

Their daily routine also includes preparing tonnes of food, medications, buying vegetables — and one wonders how many hours in a day does Roxanne have?

But her journey with rescues begins when she was a young girl watching her hardworking father, Murzdan Davur, find time to bring home injured and wounded animals. So, growing up in a typical Parsi household, animals have always been a “way of life” for the Davurs.

Growing Up Around Wild Cats

Roxanne Davur runs Probably Paradise

“At first, my dad would bring back street dogs that were abandoned like German Shepherds, Dobermans. At one point, I think my dad had 50 dogs, and my stepmom and I would look after them,” she recalls.

In 1963, the Davurs moved out to Karjat while Roxanne was sent off to boarding school.

“We had a diverse bunch of animals. We rescued hyenas and wild jungle cats too,” says Roxanne.

She grew up to work in the sales and airline industry before finally giving it all up to open ‘Terra Anima Trust’ in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, in 2000.

“My stepmother often said — She is going to end up around animals,” chuckles Roxanne, adding, “I first started with an animal shelter in Ooty for seven years from 2000 till 2008. I was an ‘honorary animal welfare inspector’ for the Nilgiris, appointed by the government, with no salary. I conducted rescue missions there too, when I was in my 50s. But, unfortunately, we had to later close down due to insufficient funds.”

She further adds, “After that, I moved back to Maharashtra and opened my doors to animals on my 1.5-acre family land with Probably Paradise. Back then, people were far more generous in Maharashtra than in the Nilgiris. Plus, I had the land ready, which nobody could chuck me off.”

So, in the Christmas of 2011, Probably Paradise came into being with help from Mumbai-based World For All. Having tied up with the NGO, she is assured that her legacy will not die with her.

By 2016, the shelter had less than 100 dogs, less than half the number of cats they house today, a donkey and five caretakers.

Team at Probably Paradise
Team at Probably Paradise

Today, Probably Paradise has 14 staff members, which is still a 60 per cent deficit for the number of animals they house. They also have an on-call vet and an equine dentist. Speaking about their 10-year-journey, she says that they slowly started building the shelter but still have more work to do today, referring to the building of one more cattery and another block of stables.

They also have to redo the medical block, where one veterinarian from Mumbai drives down.

“We cook around 100 kg of chicken waste per day, which is cooked every afternoon to be served the next morning. We use about 30 kg of dried food for dogs and cats. I use premix fodder for the donkeys and the cattle. I have a monthly budget of Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh for running expenses,” she says.

Asked how she manages running this shelter home, she earnestly says, “I beg.” A brief pause later, she continues, “I am constantly on Facebook; I write grant applications to CSRs [corporate social responsibilities] and hold fundraisers to raise money.”

Animals Are Beautiful People

Roxanne Davur founder of Probably Paradise

The animal activist encourages people to bring injured animals to her instead of conducting rescue missions herself – which are costly and don’t ensure the animal won’t wander off.

“Sometimes, people leave old animals on the street in the hopes that they will be run down by traffic. Peanut was one of two such ponies that had to be picked up from Matheran — the first one was dead by the time we got there. Peanut’s hoof was run over, and it is still awful, but he is now in treatment, which can take up to six months. So we had to arrange for a tempo to pick him up,” says Roxanne.

Tales from the farm are replete with such stories that often have a tint of droll humour.

“Peru, the dog recently had facial reconstruction surgery because he was hit on the head several times. He has no ears left, but he is a hilarious dog. He is always up to something — trying to steal food. And he always has a happy face,” she says, adding that there are some dogs that you can’t help but smile when you see them.

For dogs, being two-legged or three-legged is not a ‘handicap’, says Roxanne, “They get on with life.”

Probably Paradise shelter home
Peanut’s hoof that was badly injured in a road accident.

“I have Lalu bhai in front of me, who suffers from dementia. Now, we have more cases of dogs with dementia as street dogs are not being killed off as easily as they were before the 2000s. Lalu trots off somewhere and often stops in his tracks because he forgets why he is going there. It is the same disease that affects humans,” she says.

Speaking of a solution for strays, she vehemently says, “These animals have the legal right to stay on the street and be cared for. We need to teach children that it is not okay to beat/abuse any living being.”

As we conclude our discussions, Roxanne holds the receiver away from her and shouts out a few dog names. Then, with a chuckle, she continues, “A few dogs, who finished their breakfast, were sneaking up on Lalu bhai to steal his food.”

The animals at Probably Paradise are up for adoption, but their wait is often in vain. The 1.5-acre land often falls short for the animals at the shelter, who are quite happy encroaching into Roxanne’s living quarters.

“Once you open your gates to animals, you don’t have to do much — the animals will find their way to you,” she signs off.

If you would like to help Probably Paradise and the work of Roxanne Davur, please click here.

Roxanne Davur

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

Renowned Film Critic Rashid Irani Found Dead in Mumbai Home

Renowned film critic Rashid Irani. (Pixel Villages photo)

Renowned film critic Rashid Irani was found dead Aug. 2 at his residence in Mumbai. He was 74.

Irani, who had multiple health issues and lived alone, was said to have breathed his last on July 30 at his home in Dhobitalao, according to his close friend Rafeeq Ellias.

Karan Johar, on Twitter, shared a throwback picture with Irani. He wrote, “Rest in peace Rashid. I remember all our interactions and conversations so fondly. Your insight on Cinema will always be treasured.”

Randeep Hooda tweeted, “Cinema a little less loved today. RIP Rashid Irani saab.”

Sudhir Mishra said, “Oh shit !When I came to Bombay in d early eighties, this was the kind of Bombayite I grew to love. Gentle, firm, held his own in a discussion but always listened. In front of him his city changed. He was in a sense like d Grandfather in Fellini’s Amarcord: lost near his own house!”

Well-known scriptwriter and journalist Aniruddh Guha, the grandson of late filmmaker Dulal Guha, tweeted, “GUTTED! There was no one more passionate about cinema than Rashid Irani! A man stuck in a time warp. Living alone, without Wifi or gadgets, eating meagre meals. A frugal existence. All his friends feared this is how he’ll go. Will miss him saying “Aneerood” on the phone.”

The official social media account of the Mumbai Press Club also paid respects to  Irani: “Rashid Irani, 74, one of the country’s foremost film critics, passed away probably on 30 July at home. He was not seen for 2-3 days; a search by friends, club officials and police led to his home, where his mortal remains were found.”

Irani, who had contributed to national dailies like “The Times of India,” “Hindustan Times” and the website “,” was described as “one of the pillars of the Mumbai Press Club Film Society.” The critic was a core member of the club, and never missed a day at the media center writing his reviews and watching films.

Irani was also one of the owners of Cafe Brabourne, a restaurant near Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium. His stint as a journalist was described by him as “It all began with Marilyn Monroe,” as he told Elias.

By R.M. VIJAYAKAR/Special to India-West

Munchi Cama expired on 03 July 2021

Two days after Asia’s oldest newspaper, the Gujarati daily Mumbai Samachar entered its 200th year, one of its owners, Muncherji (Munchi) Cama, passed away on Saturday. The paper was founded on July 1, 1822, but the Cama family became owners in 1933.
Besides being a newspaper proprietor, not many know that Munchi also controlled the Ardeshir Hormusji Wadia Trust, which according to government records, is one of the biggest private landowners in Mumbai. It has over 361 acres in Kurla and a corpus believed to be a humungous Rs 700 crore. Some years ago, when I asked him about the trust’s phenomenal land holdings, he explained to me: “We cannot speculate on our land holding unless we take an audit. A lot of our land was acquired by the government decades ago, but it was returned to us completely encroached.’’
He told me that many builders had approached the trust, offering to rehabilitate slum dwellers and redevelop the land. In the early 20th century, the Cama family of Mumbai Samachar owned 1/3rd of the land in Chembur.
In the early part of the 19th century, Ardeshir Hormusji Wadia was given the lease for Kurla, which comprised the six villages of Mohili, Kole Kalyan, Marol, Sahar, Asalphe and Parjapur, for a yearly rent of Rs 3,587.
In 2018, I met Muncherji at the K. R. Cama Oriential Institute in Mumbai, where he was a trustee. The library, founded in 1916, has a treasure trove of ancient Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian literature and manuscripts including books on Islam and the Koran. I was pleasantly surprised when Muncherji readily agreed to show me a rare manuscript, which also happened to be the library’s most precious treasure– a 7th century AD Arabic manuscript called “Ahd-Namaha’’ or what is called “Covenants of faith’’ or charters granted by the Prophet Mohammad and his son-in-law Imam Ali.
In 2004, my front-page report in TOI about the sale of the Cama family bungalow, Cosy Corner, off Nepean Sea Road to a builder for Rs 108 crore, upset the Camas (So I was told). The builder was one of the tragic victims of the 26/11, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Nauzer Bharucha
Goodbye Muncherji …
Muncherji Cama more popularly called Munchi is no more.
I got to know him better in 2008 when he was part of the AFP-7 Panel along with myself to contest the first Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) elections by the process of Universal Adult Franchise. Unfortunately he lost.
He was well read, witty and had the most amazing sense of humour. At public meetings it would be a joy sitting next to him simply to hear his witty comments spiked with caustic humour.
At one election meeting a lady rudely called him a “fat potatoe”. Without batting an eyelid he said: “I am a (healthy) sweet potatoe”. The audience was bowled over.
At the food table he would tell you the right sandwich to pick or the right cut of meat to select. Oh yes he loved good food and that ran in his family.
When I resigned as trustee of the BPP in March 2011 he was elected in my place but he too resigned before completing his term of office.
Through the A H Wadia Trust and several other trusts he was helpful to a large number of people seeking medical other assistance.
He did not believe in making applicants run from one trust to another. I remember recommending the case of a lady in Poona suffering from cancer around the year 2008. The couple was retired and the expense was around Rs. 13 lakhs. He called the lady in my presence and told her “You focus on your recovery and leave the expense to me”. He lived up to his promise and from just a single source all her medical expenditure was covered.
There are innumerable stories about how he would go out of his way to help those genuinely in need. He would send his personal staff over to help some old lady or gent living alone and in need of non financial assistance such as cooking, cleaning paying utility bills etc. He would often even visit beneficiaries at their homes.
He was Director of Mumbai Samachar which will soon be celebrating its 200th anniversary. He sat on the Board of several other institutions including the K R Cama Oriental Institute.
He was ailing and homebound for several months but continued to take active interest in all his work till the end from home.
He loved life and tried to live it fully and cheerfully despite various health challenges.
He had his share of critics but non could doubt his honesty and integrity.
Goodbye Munchi! I’ll always smile thinking of all those comments you passed sitting next to me at the last meeting of the BPP that you attended.
Noshir H Dadrawala

Muncherji Nusserwanji Cama, a director at Mumbai Samachar, the oldest Indian newspaper in print, died on Saturday after a brief illness, sources said.

Cama, who was in his 60s, was active in the family’s publishing business till the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the sources said.

The former trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) was a resident of Walkeshwar in south Mumbai. Founded in 1681, BPP is the apex body representing the Parsi Zoroastrian community in Mumbai and is among the oldest charitable trusts.

Keenly interested in history, languages and linguistics, Cama was on the board of several charities and was particularly interested in enhancing educational standards of the less fortunate and helped provide medical treatment for the poor.

His elder brother Hormusji N Cama is more active in the day-to-day operations of Mumbai Samachar.

On July 1, Mumbai Samachar entered its 200th year of publication. The Gujarati newspaper, with its office located in an iconic red building in south Mumbai’s Fort area, was first published in 1822.

Founded by Parsi scholar Fardoonji Murazban, the newspaper passed through several hands until bankruptcy turned it over to the Cama family in 1933. PTI

L&P’s Hemin Bharucha’s shout out to global companies

Welcome to London! L&P’s Hemin Bharucha’s shout out to global companies

“Six and a half per cent of London’s population is of Indian-origin, either first-generation or second generation,” says Hemin Bharucha, Country Director-India and Senior Leadership Team member at London & Partners (L&P). “When I walk the London streets, I can hear Marathi, I can hear Hindi; all sorts of Indian languages being spoken.”

““We work with high-growth companies whose sectors align with good growth for London. London is Open” – Hemin says, signing off. Photo courtesy: L&P

With over two decades of international trade experience working at senior levels with global companies, Hemin has been heavily involved in broadening the India-UK bilateral relationship.

From providing strategic direction for investment projects to generating business development and marketing opportunities, he has successfully consulted and advised a wide spectrum of companies during the course of his career.

“We work with 50 different partners; accounting firms, legal firms, immigration firms. All of them can help Indian companies to set up in London especially. We look at attracting partners from tech, from creativity, mobility and life sciences,” explains Hemin.

He added that India and the UK share a similarity in accounting and legal systems as well as a historical familiarity with each other.
He added that India and the UK share a similarity in accounting and legal systems as well as a historical familiarity with each other. Photo courtesy: MEA

His affiliation with Britain and British agencies stretches back decades, including working at the Scottish Development International, Scotland’s trade and inward investment agency, and the Yorkshire Forward initiative of the British High Commission, where he influenced and facilitated Indian companies to expand their business in the UK, before becoming L&P’s India head in 2017.

On being asked whether the main job of L&P is to market the city as a destination for companies to open their offices, he says that it is equally for London-based companies to do business in key global markets including India.

L&P was launched as a non-profit company in 2011 by the then Mayor Boris Johnson, aimed at promoting the city as an attractive destination for businesses, students and investment. It focuses on building London’s international reputation, helping to retain and grow businesses, attracting international audiences and guiding them to grow with the city.

On being asked whether the main job of L&P is to market the city as a destination for companies to open their offices, he said that it is equally for London-based companies to do business in key global markets including India.
On being asked whether the main job of L&P is to market the city as a destination for companies to open their offices, he said that it is equally for London-based companies to do business in key global markets including India. Photo courtesy: L&P

Despite the negative impact of the pandemic and the economic downturn that has resulted from it, L&P is gearing up for a post-COVID recovery. In fact, says Hemin, they supported 16 new companies that set up shop in the city in 2020 without even physically looking at space.

“It is a testimony to the city of London as a safe place to invest for Indian companies,“ Hemin says.

He added that India and the UK share a similarity in accounting and legal systems as well as a historical familiarity with each other. London has also developed as a global hub for tech, finance and education, which is another major draw for businesses.

Despite the negative impact of the pandemic and economic downturn that has resulted from it, L&P is gearing up for a post-COVID recovery.
L&P is gearing up for a post-COVID recovery. Photo courtesy: Flickr

“With India, we focus mainly on trade, investment and on students. The biggest pull for companies is that the customer is sitting in London,” Hemin adds. However, he says, one of the most important tasks L&P faces is identifying companies that would be a good fit for the city, especially when it comes to midsize and smaller companies and startups. A lot of research and effort goes into determining the compatibility of a firm with what the city has to offer in terms of networking, facilities and technology.

“We work with high-growth companies whose sectors align with good growth for London. London is Open”, Hemin says, signing off.

Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation.

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