Category Archives: Notable Zoroastrians

Lifetime Achievement Award – Keki Mistry

Mortgage melodist: Lifetime Achievement Award – Keki Mistry, Vice-Chairman and CEO, HDFC

Mistry has a reputation for being open and approachable.

Keki Mistry picKeki Mistry, vice-chairman and CEO, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC)

Some seven years ago, a business news television channel had organised a soiree for CEOs of the Indian industry, where the highlight was a live performance of golden-era Bollywood melodies. Nobody could have enjoyed that evening more than Keki Mistry, vice-chairman and CEO, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), who couldn’t help nodding away with gusto as the performers belted out Zara haule haule chalo and Aage bhi jaane na tu. Nayyar and Ravi are all very well, but it’s really Hemant Kumar all the way for Mistry.

At work, he has been known never to miss a beat when it comes to handling numbers. A chartered accountant by training, Mistry has always been a numbers man. His colleagues speak of how he could remember numbers to the sixth or seventh decimal point till a few years ago. That penchant for perfection manifests itself in his habit of repeatedly relooking and revising drafts before he can let them go.

Mistry has a reputation for being open and approachable. Many at HDFC credit him with imbuing the organisation with a culture of open communication and accessibility. Of course, a relatively flat organisational structure has helped enable that as much as it has helped propel Mistry through the ranks.

He joined HDFC in 1981 as an assistant manager in the accounts department and made his way up to join its board in 1993. He was appointed to his current role in 2010. Under Mistry, HDFC’s market capitalisation has moved up to $54.5 billion from $23 billion. The lender is today the second-largest provider of finance for Indian homebuyers.

Mistry has helped score many firsts for his organisation – itself a pioneer in mortgage finance – starting with the introduction of floating-rate loans in 1999. HDFC was an early mover in raising money through foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) and rupee-denominated masala bonds. As HDFC prepares to meld into its progeny, Mistry’s legacy will live on in the subsidiaries whose inception and growth he oversaw. Right from 1994, when HDFC joined hands with GE to set up Countrywide Consumer Financial Services, he has been a crucial part of every new venture incubated by the group.

Through all of this, though, Mistry, the person has remained sceptical of borrowing money. His own house was built out of his savings, not a loan. For all his love for Mumbai, which throbs with life and thrives on cosmopolitanism, Mistry has never quite been able to understand vegetarianism. Like all good Parsis, he swears by a well-cooked plate of fish.

Mistry will continue to serve on boards of leading corporates once HDFC merges into HDFC Bank. But he will have more time to spend with his family. The former boxer and bowler may not have to record cricket matches quite so often.

He does intend to keep busy, though. He has always wanted to do more for the elderly. Relieved of the responsibilities of managing a business full time, Mistry could help them walk down the road of their twilight years, Tum pukaar lo playing in the background.

Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons, dies in road accident

Cyrus Mistry was returning from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in his Mercedes that crashed on a divider at Palghar in Maharashtra. Police said two persons, including Mistry, died in the car crash.

Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry died in a road accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar on Sunday. Mistry was returning to Mumbai from Ahmedabad in his Mercedes that crashed on a divider. Mistry was aged 54 years.

Police said besides Mistry, three other persons were there in the fateful car – renowned Mumbai gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pundole, her husband Darius Pundole and Jehangir Pundole, brother of Darius.

They had visited the Iranshah Atash Behram at Udvada in the morning. Dr Pundole is believed to have been behind the wheel. Jehangir Pundole also died in the accident that took place on a bridge on the Surya river.

Also read | All you need to know about ex-Tata Sons chairman

Dr Pundole and Darius Pundole are undergoing treatment at a hospital at Vapi where they are reported to be out of danger.

“The accident took place around 3.15pm, when Mistry was travelling to Mumbai from Ahmedabad. The accident took place on a bridge over the Surya river. It seems an accident,” PTI quoted a police officer as saying.

Mistry was ousted as chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016.

Tributes started to pour in for Mistry soon after news of his death came to light with political leaders and industrialists expressing their shock over the accident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Mistry was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. “The untimely demise of Shri Cyrus Mistry is shocking. He was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. His passing away is a big loss to the world of commerce and industry. Condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” the PM wrote on Twitter.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said he was “shocked to hear about the passing away of former Tata Sons chief Cyrus Mistry. He was not only a successful entrepreneur but also was seen in the industry as a young, bright & visionary personality. It’s a great loss… My heartfelt tribute.”

Union minister Smriti Irani called Mistry a gentle soul and a man with a mission. “Cyrus as I will always remember him epitomised kindness. The news of his demise comes as a shock. My condolences to his family & loved ones.”

Noted journalist Vir Sanghvi said, “Rest in Peace. Life is so unpredictable and so fragile that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Condolences to his family. It’s very sad news.”

Mistry is survived by his wife Rohiqa and their two sons.

Pallonji Mistry, Head Of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Dies At 93

Billionaire Pallonji Mistry, Chairman of diversified Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group, died in the wee hours of Tuesday here, company officials said.

Mistry, whose SP Group is the largest shareholder in the Tata Group with 18.37 per cent holding in the over $100 billion conglomerate, was 93.

“India-born Mistry died mid-sleep at 0100 hrs at the family residence in South Mumbai,” they said. He had acquired Irish citizenship.

Paying tribute to him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he is saddened by the passing away of the billionaire.

“He made monumental contributions to the world of commerce and industry,” Modi said.

Born in 1929, Mistry headed the privately held, over $5-billion SP Group having its roots in the construction business, which had diversified into other businesses like real estate, textiles, shipping and home appliances.

The reclusive business icon, who was reportedly worth over $29 billion, was awarded with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 2016.

He is survived by four children, including Cyrus Mistry, who succeeded Ratan Tata as Chairman of the Tata Group before being ousted by the board in 2016.

In the last few years, the going has been tough for the SP Group from a financial perspective and it also suffered difficulties with raising money by pledging its Tata Group shares.

The Mistrys have been challenging the removal of Cyrus and in the process of the legal tangles, have also offered to exit their holding in the Tata Group.

Amid the financial difficulties, the SP Group sold a majority stake in home appliances major Eureka Forbes to private equity major Advent to raise ₹ 4,400 crore.

The SP Group was founded in 1865, and has built significant buildings in the financial capital over its 150-year existence including that of Reserve Bank of India and HSBC.

Union Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani described Mistry’s death as the end of an era. “One of life’s greatest joys was to have witnessed his genius, his gentleness at work,” she added.

Other ministers including Nitin Gadkari, Mansukh Mandaviya, Hardeep Singh Puri and Karnataka Chief Minister B S Bommai also expressed condolences.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday morning, which will be followed by the ‘Uthamna’ ritual as per Parsi conventions at the Tower of Silence in South Mumbai’s Kemps Corner, officials said.

A surgeon and a gentleman

Chronicling the life and times of surgeon par excellence, Dr Rustam Cooper, after whom Cooper Hospital in Juhu is named

He was all things to all persons. His behaviour and approach to the humblest patients, servants and subordinates was the same as to Viceroys, Governors, Maharajas, statesmen and industrialists consulting him,” noted The Bombay Samachar editor Jehan Daruwala in his popular column, Parsi Tari Arsi, for the birth centenary of Dr RN Cooper: April 3, 1993.

The surgeon so accomplished that he was flown to Iran en famille to operate on Empress Farah Diba—the Shah offered carpets and gold coins in gratitude—most nobly also slipped small envelopes of money under the pillows of poor patients he treated free. Conducted with quiet generosity, the second kindness was a follow-up to tide them over days of staying home with prescribed bed rest.


Dr Rustam Nusserwanji Cooper and wife Minnie on the verandah of their home in Cumballa Hill; (top) Dr Cooper, after whom the BMC named the Juhu hospital


It was the only way Dr Cooper knew to work, for which he was widely revered by patients and admired by the medical fraternity. One eminent surgeon told an patient, “If you want an operation done free, go to Cooper, my fee is R5,000.” On another occasion, Dr Cooper was called to Poona for an old and indigent patient. Cured, she insisted on paying. To save her embarrassment, he quoted an oddly precise sum, a few rupees and some annas. When a relative asked how he computed that exact amount, he explained it was his train fare.

There was everything exceptional about the man who lived by the Hippocratic oath and whose sterling contributions the municipal authorities have commemorated with the RN Cooper Hospital in Juhu. “The BMC decided to name the hospital after him, with absolutely no lobbying from the Coopers. Quite to the contrary, it came as a surprise to them,” says family friend Dr Jehangir Sorabjee.


Click Here for this full interesting story by Meher Marfatia –

Knighthood Rohinton (Ron) Minoo  Kalifa OBE


Knighthood Rohinton (Ron) Minoo  Kalifa OBE Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022

ZTFE patron Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, The Trustees and The Managing Committee conveys their heartiest congratulations to our ZTFE Life Member Rohinton (Ron) Minoo Kalifa OBE for his Knighthood for services to Financial Services, to Technology and to Public Service.  
Ron Kalifa to join ECB Board
Knighthood  Rohinton (Ron) Minoo Kalifa OBE Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 

Ron is a renowned strategic and operational leader in the field of digital and financial services, serving as Chair of Network International, a FTSE company, and of FutureLearn.

In June 2019, he was appointed to the Court of Directors of the Bank of England and is also a member of the Council of Imperial College, London. Additionally, he is a Non-Executive Director for Transport for London.

Previously, he led Worldpay, a leading technology payments company, for over 10 years and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year 2018 Honours List, for services to financial services and technology.

Kindly share the good news with those who are not connected to the internet.

Yours sincerely
Malcolm M Deboo
ZTFE President    

Justice Pardiwala is in line to be CJI

Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala, to be sworn in as Supreme Court judge along with Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia on Monday, will be the sixth apex court judge from the Parsi community.

In line to be the third Chief Justice of India from the community, Justice Pardiwala would be the top judge for a little over two years and lead the court into the next decade.

The first member of the Parsi community to serve on the Supreme Court was Justice Dinshah Pirosha Madon in the early 1980s. The two Chief Justices of India, Justices Sam Piroj Bharucha and Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia, were appointed top judges almost 10 years apart. Justice Bharucha was appointed CJI in 2001 and Justice Kapadia in 2010.

Then there were the two ‘Narimans’. Justice Sam Nariman Variava, once a part-time professor of law at Sydenham College in Bombay, was Supreme Court judge between 2000 and 2005. A decade later, the court witnessed in Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman a brilliant spell and a flurry of judgments in fields of law as varied as death penalty review, free speech and insolvency laws, only to name a few.

Decline invitations

George H. Gadbois Jr.’s ‘Judges of the Supreme Court of India 1950-1989’ mentioned that Justice Madon was not the first Parsi to be invited to serve on the apex court Bench. “H.M. Seervai and N.A. Palkhivala, in the late 1950s, declined invitations, as did Fali Nariman in the late 1970s”.

But Justice Madon, who had aspired to be a journalist and writer but took to the law as his father thought the former jobs were “low-paying positions”, accepted the court’s invitation to the Bench in 1983 and served briefly as a judge in the Supreme Court till his retirement in 1986.

Justice Madon faced odds with equanimity both on and off the Bench. When World War II spoilt his plans to earn his barrister credentials from London, he did his law at Government Law College, Bombay. Later as a Bombay High Court judge, he championed the right to free speech against censorship during the Emergency. Post his retirement, Justice Madon wrote a cutting resignation letter to the V.P. Singh government when his inquiry commission into the Meham constituency election violence was not provided office, staff or budget.

Stern, fair judge

Then came Justice Bharucha, who went on to be the 30th Chief Justice of India. Media reports of the time of his appointment as CJI showed Justice Bharucha described in the legal circles as a stern and fair judge who kept his distance from the political establishment. When the Supreme Court pulled up author Arundhati Roy for her writing on the Narmada dam issue, Justice Bharucha gave a dissenting opinion, saying the “court’s shoulders are broad enough to shrug off their comments and focus should not shift from the rehabilitation of the oustees”. Justice Bharucha’s judgment led to the dismissal of Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. The judge had held that no person convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment of not less than two years can be appointed or continue as Chief Minister.

Justice Variava, born in 1940, was a lawyer who practiced in the Bombay High Court and appeared in the city civil court. He was appointed as Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court in 1986 and made a permanent judge in 1987. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in 1999 and elevated to the Supreme Court as judge in March 2000.

Justice Kapadia was appointed the 38th Chief Justice of India. A strict disciplinarian with interests as varied from Theoretical Physics to Buddhist philosophy, he was renowned for his statistical acumen. Justice Kapadia refused to budge in the face of a concerted move to stop the Allahabad High Court from delivering the Ayodhya title suits’ judgment. He had held that judicial functioning cannot be held at ransom by threats of violence.

Justice Nariman, who was Solicitor General of India and the fifth lawyer in the nation’s history to be directly appointed as judge of the Supreme Court in 2014, was described by his fellow judges as a “one-man army” whose judgments upheld free speech in social media, decriminalised homosexuality, allowed entry to women into the Sabarimala temple, pulled up political parties for fielding candidates with criminal pasts. He guided the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code through its infant years.

Rohinton Nariman starts a YouTube Channel

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman has started an official YouTube channel. The channel is called “Justice Nariman Official” and features several of his talks on Zoroastrian Religion, Law, NCPA, history and more.

It is always a delight to hear him. Please do visit his channel and enjoy his talks.


Justice Nariman, the son of legendary senior lawyer Fali Nariman was elevated to the Supreme Court from the bar in July 2014 and served as a judge till August 12, 2021.


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