Category Archives: Notable Zoroastrians

Lord Karan F Bilimoria: How I turned Cobra Beer into a Global Brand: Harvard Business Review November 2018

Please see the attached copy of an informative and inspiring article in the Harvard Business Review, November 2018 issue, by our patron Lord Karan F Bilimoria CBE DL titled; ‘How I did it: Cobra’s Chairman on turning an Indian Beer into a Global Brand’. 

Yours sincerely Malcolm M DebooPresident – ZTFE

Cyrus Mistry makes a comeback, starts VC firm

Mistry Ventures LLP to invest in and nurture start-ups across the world

Making his comeback into the corporate world, Tata Sons’ former Chairman Cyrus Mistry has started a firm Mistry Ventures LLP that will invest in and nurture start-ups in India and across the world.

The venture capital firm will provide strategic insights and advice to businesses, incubate new ventures, and provide seed, early stage and growth capital to start-ups.

Incidentally, the announcement coincides with the second year of Mistry’s ouster from Tata Sons, following a boardroom coup on October 24, 2016.

“The intent to deliver profit with positive social impact will be embedded in each of the ventures we promote or partner with,” Cyrus Mistry said in a statement.

“Mistry Ventures will do more than just invest in companies. By interpreting some of the major global and local trends and understanding their impact on industries and companies, we will incubate new businesses, forge partnerships and make investments across sectors. Mistry Ventures will focus on providing mentorship and infusing unique capability sets to help start-ups craft the appropriate business experiments needed to validate, scale and bring products and services faster to market,” he said.

The VC firm is jointly promoted by Cyrus Mistry and his elder brother Shapoor Mistry, both promoters of Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SP Group), a conglomerate operating in the engineering and construction, infrastructure, real estate among others. The group also has presence in energy and financial services sectors across 60 countries.

The new firm has roped in Ashish Iyer, Senior Partner and previously Global Leader, Strategy Practice at the Boston Consulting Group, to lead the firm. “Iyer has worked with companies across sectors globally and brings deep expertise across domains and capabilities such as strategy, go-to-market, digital and innovation among others and I am very excited to have him on board,” Mistry added.

Mistry, who was the sixth chairman of the Tata Group between 2012 and 2016, was ousted following a board room coup on October 24, 2016. On December 20, 2016, through family-run firm Cyrus Investments he moved the Mumbai Bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Tata Sons and others for oppression and mismanagement.

In July this year, NCLT dismissed Mistry’s petition, ruling in favour of Tata Sons, following which the former chairman moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in New Delhi.

VP confers Lal Bahadur Shastri award on Fali Nariman







Stressing on probity in public life, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday hailed late PM Lal Bahadur Shastri for his “integrity and moral uprightness” and said the education system needed to highlight contribution of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Addressing a gathering after presenting the 19th Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration to eminent jurist Fali S Nariman, Naidu said Shastri didn’t have two sets of principles one for public consumption and other for personal life.
“Even after 52 years of his demise, we still remember him for his values, commitment, courage, and also dedication,” he said.
He said India has a rich tradition of respecting women dating back to the Vedas and Upanishads and that the country should not lose sight of such historical traditions.
Nariman said he was happy “not just because Lal Bahadur Shastri is a great name in India’s history, but also because it (the award) is to be presented by another great son of India, Venkaiah Naidu”.

Serum Institute’s Founder Dr. Cyrus Poonawala Nominated For Nobel

Billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Serum Institute of India Ltd., sits for a photograph in Pune, Maharashtra, India, on Monday, May 4, 2015. Serum, Asia’s largest vaccine maker, will look at a possible merger with generic drugmaker Cipla Ltd. if the European venture between the two companies succeeds. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India, has been nominated from India for the prestigious Nobel Prize ,said Dr Parvez Grant, Managing Trustee of the Ruby Hall Clinic. He was speaking in an event held in JW Marriot, Pune on Sunday to felicitate of Dr Cyrus Poonawalla who was recently conferred an honorary ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ degree by the Massachusetts Medical School at Boston for his unparalleled work in the field of immunisation at the global level.

Dr Poonawalla was awarded the Padma Shri in 2005 for his contribution to medicine, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.



Missing Sam – Paucity of Real Life Heroes today!

After the resounding success of ‘Raazi’, director Meghna Gulzar is all set to tell the story of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who led the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 as Chief of the Army Staff. He was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
Speaking about what prompted her to tell his story, Meghna told BT, “We have a severe paucity of heroes today. We don’t have any and definitely not from the real world. He was one such real-life hero. Even the slightest mention of him is held in high regard by generations who have known him. Hence, I think that subsequent generations need to know about his life. He was widely felicitated as he was one of the most decorated officers of our country, but it’s important for people to know about him today and not let a hero like him fade away in the pages of history.”

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

The acclaimed director adds, “What appealed to me the most about him is that he was somebody who would neither take himself or his huge accomplishments, or whatever difficulties he faced in his life seriously. He was someone who could face any situation with a smile. Even if a war was brewing, he wouldn’t snap or get frazzled. He was in complete control of the situation and a hands-on leader, who was aware of ground reality — whether it was about the logistical difficulties his most junior officers faced, concern for the jawans, their health issues or their pension. He was aware of the grass root reality, people’s strength and weaknesses. That’s what made him a great leader.”

The director also explained why the film isn’t a ‘biopic’ per se. She clarified, “I don’t even look at Raazi as a biopic, because we are not tracing the story of her life from her birth to death, in chronological order. You are looking at an event in her life. Similarly, Sam Manekshaw’s life is so vast and full that there is no way you can make a chronological biopic on him in two hours. What we are trying to do is tell the story of this man with utmost honesty, without making it sound like a historical document.”

Talking about the casting for this ambitious project, Meghna who is collaborating with Ronnie Screwvala on the film revealed, “I want to get done with the writing before I go down that road, or else I will get stuck with a name or a face and I don’t want that to influence the script.”

Maja Daruwala with her father Sam Manekshaw

Maja Daruwala, daughter of Sam Manekshaw, speaks about the film being made on her father

‘As a family, we are excited about Ronnie, Meghna and team taking on the important task of reintroducing Sam’s legacy to generations, who never had the chance to know him. His values were values that we all should carry forward. This film will play a great role in ensuring that.’



Field Marshal Manekshaw was loving, gracious, playful and charismatic

Maharashtra honours Ratan Tata with top industrial award

Tata expressed his gratitude and thanked the state for the award.

Tata Group patriarch Ratan Tata was today felicitated by Maharashtra government with a special award for his contribution to the development of the state.

Tata, who served as the chairman of the salt-to- software conglomerate for over three decades across two stints, was presented the Mahaudyog Sanman, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on his twitter handle late this evening.

Fadnavis presented the award to Tata during a special awards ceremony to recognise his contributions to industrial development at the second day of the ongoing Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit.

He was accompanied by industries minister Subhash Desai, tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal and junior home minister Pravin Pote Patil.

Other categories from where entrepreneurs were felicitated included information technology, women, exporters and small businesses.

Valiant Parsis in War and Peace

I am happy to announce that my new book VALIANT PARSIS IN WAR AND PEACE was
released by Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor at Iranshah Udvada Utsav on 24th
December 2017.

You may take a printout of the outer jacket and display it at your nearest
agiary/colony notice board.

I am currently in Mumbai for three weeks.

Marzban Giara



320 pages, hard bound, illustrated, printed on art paper

Foreword by Air Chief Marshal Fali Major (Retired)

An index of names – surnamewise of 550 Parsi officers and men with 200

Price:Rs.700/- plus courier chargesRs.200/- per book in India

Available from:

Marzban J. Giara,  WZO Trust Funds Senior Citizens Centre,  Pinjara Street, Malesar, Navsari,
Gujarat, India Pin 396445


Available from 1st January 2018 at Mumbai:

  1. Mr. Hoshedar E. Ichhaporia. Desai Building, ground floor, (opp. Bank Of
    India). 668, Katrak Road, Dadar Parsi Colony  Tel. 24124303

  2. Rustomfaramna Agiary Dadar

  3. Karani Agiary, Cusrow Baug, Colaba

  4. Tata Agiary, Bandra

  5. Mevawalla Agiary Byculla

  6. Parsiana book shop, K. K. Chambers, A. K. Nayak Marg, Fort, Mumbai Tel

  7. Jame Jamshed office, 2282020223

The author Marzban Giara has documented the lives and contribution of Parsi
officers and men of the armed forces, police, fire brigade as a labour of
love. It has an index of names surnamewise of 550 Parsis and 200

This book has an attractive outer jacket with colour pictures of all the
Parsi service chiefs on the front cover and Lt. Generals, Air Marshals,
Vice/Rear Admirals on the rear cover. It has a foreword by Air Chief Marshal
Fali H. Major (Retired)

There is a special section 24 pages with colour pictures of medals pre
independence and post independence and life sketches of the Parsi service
chiefs – Field Marshal Maneckshaw, Admiral Jal Cursetji, Air Marshal Aspi
Engineer, Air Chief Marshal Fali H. A. Major, as also Vice Admiral Rustom
Contractor, Director General, Indian Coast Guard and Khusro F. Rustamji,
Director General, BSF; Keki Dadabhoy of Black Cat Commandos and Lt. Col. Adi
B. Tarapore, the only Parsi winner of Param Veer Chakra.

There is a chronological record detailing the contribution and preparedness
of the Parsi community during the Second World War. Pictures of the two War
Memorials at Khareghat Colony, Mumbai are included. A list of Parsis who
died during World War II, Indo Pakistan Wars and Indo China War of 1962 is
also given. Date of disbanding of the Parsi Battalion is also given as also
obituaries of several Parsi officers and men.


Table of Contents


Dedicatory page

Table of Contents




Recipients of Awards and Medals

Pictures of Awards and Medals

Life sketches of Parsi officers and men (arranged alphabetically
surnamewise) 200 pages

Parsis in Police Service

Chronological record from 1919 onwards

Parsi Ambulance Division

War Memorials

Index of names – surnamewise

Press announcements




Marzban Jamshedji Giara is the author and publisher of books on Zarathushti
religion and Parsi history.  In the eighties he helped Dr. Bahman Surti to
publish seven volumes of SHAH NAMAH OF FIRDAOSI in English Prose.  What
started as a hobby has become a full time obsession.  During the past 33
years he has produced many firsts including the first illustrated Global
Directory of Zoroastrian Fire Temples in 1998 and its 2nd edition in
December 2002, The Zoroastrian Pilgrim’s Guide in 1999, Parsi Statues in
2000, All India Directory of Parsi Institutions in 2010 and its 2nd edition
in 2015 and The Contribution of the Parsi Community during the First World
War (1914-1918). He has to his credit thirty six other books, some authored
or compiled by him, some translated from Gujarati into English.  He is
perhaps the only one who has had a track record of consistent performance in
bringing out new and informative publications that meet the needs of the
community and most of these with his own resources, without seeking any
sponsorship. A keen student of Parsi history and Zarathushti religion, he is
an independent thinker, writer, public speaker, free lance journalist and
research worker.

His parents and his teachers have been the inspiration for him.   Right from
childhood, his father ingrained in him the idea: “Son, be a creator and not
a spectator in life.  We must give back to society more than what we have
received from it.” These words have motivated him to pursue his noble work
of bringing out new and innovative books in the service of the community.
Married to Bapsy (nee Daruvala) since 1969, they have a son Zareer and a
grandson Farhad. The family’s support and encouragement from friends and
well wishers drives him to carry on with his work in his chosen field of

He has been featured in The Times of India, Jam-E-Jamshed, Afternoon
Despatch and Courier, Indian Express as also in Parsiana and was interviewed
on Doordarshan TV and ZEE TV alpha Humata Hukhta Hvarashta for his
publications. He is interested in devotional music and has compiled and
published two song books Jarthosti Gayan Sangrah, and Gaavo Maari Saathe
Singalong Treasure Trove of Parsi Songs and also produced audio CDs of
devotional hymns Zoroastrian Melodies, Khushaline Bandgina Geeto, Ame
Chhaiye Parsi.

Mr. Rusi M. Lala has acknowledged his contribution in his book For The Love
Of India biography of Jamsetji N. Tata. His article Through the Lens on
Parsi photographers co-authored along with Dr. Nawaz B. Modi is included in
Vol. III of the tome Enduring Legacy published in 2005. His article “Statues
in the making of Bombay” has been published in the tome Threads of
Continuity by PARZOR in March 2016. He has presented slide shows on Parsi
statues highlighting their contribution to humanity.

‘Among India’s military greats, he was the greatest’

Sam Manekshaw led the Indian Army to its greatest military victory this month 46 years ago.
Lieutenant Colonel A K Shinde (retd), the field marshal’s doctor for 25 years, tells‘s Archana Masih about the charming man behind the soldier’s uniform.

IMAGE: Then General S H F J Manekshaw with troops during the 1971 War. Photograph: Kind courtesy Major General B N B M Prasad and DPR Photo Division Archives

Among the family photographs in Lieutenant Colonel A K Shinde and Mrs Raj Shinde’s drawing room in Bearhatty, the Nilgiris, is a photograph of an iconic Indian soldier.

Like always, Sam Manekshaw is wearing a suit. He is bent by age but his charming smile radiates through the framed picture taken at their daughter’s wedding where he was the chief guest in 2001.

“He was a demigod. Those who remember him in the army worship him,” says Dr Shinde, who was the field marshal’s doctor for 25 years.

“He was ram-rod straight and only got a stoop in later years. He dressed immaculately — and always looked you in the eye.”

“He never demanded respect. He commanded it.”

IMAGE: Field Marshal Manekshaw flanked by Dr A K Shinde and Mrs Raj Shinde at their daughter Sangeetha’s wedding in 2001.

After taking premature retirement from the army, the doctor settled down in the Nilgiris where the field marshal lived in his later years.

He also remembers when he was consultant physician at the military hospital and General Manekshaw used to come to see him.

“There would be a small crowd waiting outside and he would never, I repeat NEVER, enter my office,” emphasises Dr Shinde.

“He would wait his turn outside talking to the jawans and their families in Gorkhali, Punjabi, English or Hindi. Then some nursing assistant would spot him and come running inside and say: ‘Sir, the field marshal is outside’.”

“And I would go out and tell him, ‘Sir, don’t do this to me!'”

“He would say ‘You bloody well go inside and do your work’,” remembers the doctor with a laugh.

IMAGE: General Manekshaw was a brilliant commander. Men who served under him all have ‘Sam Manekshaw’ stories to tell of his leadership.

The field marshal, the highest ranking officer in the Indian Army till his passing, could have informed the doctor that he was on his way and Dr Shinde would be ready but that was not Sam Manekshaw.

He was a soldier’s soldier. He liked going into the trenches to meet his men and once refused silverware, instead asking for a tin mug, while having tea with troops on the China border as chief of the army staff.

Recounting an incident when the field marshal was shifted to the army hospital in Delhi, Dr Shinde remembers receiving a frantic phone call from his daughter Maja.

“She said all these doctors are standing around and he is giving them a lecture!” recalls the doctor who first met the then lieutenant general at a forward post in the 1965 war with Pakistan.

“People were just in awe of him.”

In his last days when he was gravely ill, the field marshal preferred to stay at the military hospital rather than the hospital going to him which would have been done, considering his rank and stature.

“They could have opened an ICU inside his house but he was not that kind of man,” adds Dr Shinde.

“They don’t make soldiers like him any more,” adds Mrs Raj Shinde who worked closely with Mrs Siloo Manekshaw at a clinic for the poor for nearly 20 years.

Mrs Manekshaw was the pillar of the clinic, giving it life and building a healthy corpus of funds that it now employs two full time doctors and nurses.

IMAGE: Mrs Shinde worked with Mrs Manekshaw at a clinic for the poor. The painting on the wall was created by Mrs Manekshaw for Mrs Shinde. Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/

The Shindes are one of the few old timers in town who knew the Manekshaws very well. They generously share stories about the soldier widely considered the country’s greatest military hero.

Not far from their home by the bridge is a statue of the field marshal. His home, they say, was tastefully done up and had a magnificent garden. Four Gorkha boys from the regiment he belonged to were assigned to his service.

“But he watered each plant himself every day till he took ill,” says Mrs Radha Balachandran, a Coonoor resident for nearly 50 years.

“He loved gardening and his dogs. You could often see them (Siloo and Sam Manekshaw) in the market buying meat for the dogs and vegetables in their old Maruti 800,” adds Mrs Shinde.

“He was a military icon, but was very unassuming.”

As his doctor, the field marshal’s courage was known to Dr Shinde. He had seen the scars of the bullets that had riddled his torso. Shots that nearly took his life while fighting in Burma during World War II and won him the Military Cross.

General Manekshaw had an illustrious career, he commanded the hot seat commands of the Indian Army — the Eastern and Western Commands — and provided brilliant leadership to the combined defence forces, heaping a humiliating defeat on Pakistan in the 1971 War.

He also stood up to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, refusing to relent when she pressed for an earlier start to the military campaign.

“He told her — ‘Darling, you have a long nose, I have a long nose. It ends there. You mind your matters and let me mind mine’,” continues Mrs Shinde.


IMAGE: The field marshal proposed a toast at Sangeetha Shinde’s wedding.

The field marshal wore his laurels lightly. Often glossing over it with his famous humour, flamboyance and charm.

Once while addressing a doctors conference as chief guest, he spoke about coming from a family of doctors himself.

“‘My father was a doctor, my brother was a doctor and I too nearly became a doctor’,” recalls Dr Shinde repeating the field marshal’s words, “‘But better sense prevailed and I joined the army — but to this day, no lady has complained about my bedside manners’.”

“He had such a great sense of humour.”

Many who met Field Marshal Manekshaw have ‘Sam Manekshaw’ stories to tell.

This one is from Mrs Shinde — whose father was from the last Indian Civil Services batch and helped quell the post-Partition riots under Sardar Patel at the home ministry.

Mrs Shinde along with her mother and sister had taken a cruise to Israel. At one of the ports en route, they went shopping and an Arab shop owner took a fancy to her.

He told her mother that he would be willing to give 10 camels for Mrs Shinde if she would join him.

“And my mother-in-law instead of saying ‘Impossible’ asked how much is a camel worth?” laughs Dr Shinde, an excellent story-teller.

“On her return, my wife was relating the story and the field marshal told her, ‘Darling, I don’t have any camels but I have two cows and three dogs’.”

“Oh, you never took offence because he said it in good humour and was a complete gentleman. The ladies loved him,” adds Mrs Shinde with a laugh.

IMAGE: Dr Shinde, an army doctor, first met then Lieutenant General Manekshaw at the war front during the 1965 War. He was the field marshal’s doctor from 1982 till his passing in 2008. Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/

In the happy tales about the legendary soldier is also anguish that the field marshal was not given his due by the government in life or death.

It was only when then President A P J Abdul Kalam visited him that the Rashtrapati realised that the field marshal had not been given his entitlements.

“He went back and must have ticked off somebody in the government so Rs 1.3 crore of back pay was given to him. As a field marshal his pay was equivalent to that of the chief. He did not have a staff officer or official car.”

“After that they gave him a staff officer, a car, but it was too late,” says Dr Shinde, still visibly upset.

Some months later, Field Marshal Manekshaw passed away.

Shockingly, none of the three defence chiefs, not then defence minister A K Antony nor any other minister attended the field marshal’s funeral.

“It was shameful!” says Dr Shinde who was at the funeral.

“And it will be a shame if he doesn’t get a Bharat Ratna. He led the three services to India’s greatest military victory and was an exceptional leader of men,” he says in reference to current army chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent remark that Field Marshal K C Cariappa should be honoured with the Bharat Ratna.

“Among India’s military greats, the greatest is Sam Manekshaw.”


Archana Masih /


Google Doodle honours Homai Vyarawalla, the ‘First Lady of the Lens’

The country honoured Homai Vyarawalla with a Padma Vibhushan in 2010 (Source: Google Doodle)


Homai Vyarawalla is India’s first woman photojournalist whose lens earned her a reputation for the candid shots of India’s independence movement, the first tri-colour hoisting, the death of Mahatma Gandhi, and others which become a part of national archives. Today, google doodle in its portrait featured Homai Vyarawalla to mark her 104th birth anniversary.

Born in 1913 in a Parsi family in Navsari, Gujarat, Vyarawalla’s childhood was spent on various places as her father worked in a travelling theater company. Besides completing her education from Bombay University and Sir JJ School of Art, she started taking snaps of daily life of mumbaikers and in this way become a professional photographer.

Vyarawalla at her house in Mumbai (Express Photo/Bhupendra Rana/File)

During the turbulent time of second world war in 1942, Vyarawalla got a job at the British Information Services in New Delhi, and also started working with the Bombay-based ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’ magazine where many of her black and white images were published that became iconic later.

Vyarawalla before receving the Padma Vibhushan award at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Express Photo/Praveen Jain/File)

The photographs that she clicked were published under the pseudonym ‘Dalda 13’. This number was symbolic as her birth year was 1913, when she was 13-years-old she met her husband and her first car’s registration number was DLD 13.

A year after her husband’s death in 1973, Homai Vyarawalla quit photography and lived alone in Vadodara, Gujarat. In the year 1989, she lost her son and only child. The country honoured her with a Padma Vibhushan in 2010. The iconic lady’s journey came to an end on January 15, 2012.