Where there is a Will, there is a Way

Where there is a Will, there is a Way

The Great Dasturji Nadirshah Pestonji Unvalla – hats off ..I salute him !

Dasturji Nadirshah Pestonji Unvalla
A memorable episode in Nadirshah’s life as Panthaki of the Bangalore Anjuman involved stopping of an Indian Airlines Plane.


In October 1978, at the time of the Emergency (declared by Indira Gandhi) a group of Parsees from Navroz Bagh, Bombay came on a visit to Karnataka. They arrived by train in a reserved bogie and visited the Agiary at Bangalore before proceeding to Mysore and Ooty in several buses. They were on a sightseeing trip. Unfortunately one of the group, a Mrs. Dalal, expired at Ooty having suffered a heart attack.


The tour conductors obtained the death certificate and a necessary letter for the dean of the St. John’s Medical College & Hospital where a post mortem & embalming was to be undertaken. The body had to be sent for funeral rites to Bombay by air. In those days only one Indian Airlines flight a day operated on the Bangalore-Bombay sector. It arrived from Madras, halted briefly at Bangalore and proceeded onwards to Bombay. The departure time from the Bangalore HAL Airport was 12.30 p.m.


The conductor of the tour and four or five others brought the body in a van to Bangalore at 5.00 a.m. on Sunday morning and knocked at the Agiary gate. Nadirshah immediately opened the gate and inquired about the incident. He was told that the body had to be sent by air to Bombay urgently and requested him to keep the body in the Agiary compound as the plane was to depart only at 12.30 p.m. He advised them that a dead body cannot be brought into the Agiary compound and suggested they take it to the Tower of Silence and keep it there. Besides, the body had to be embalmed so the visitors showed him the letter they had brought addressed to the Dean of St. John’s Hospital. This hospital was rather far from the Agiary. So Nadirshah took them to St. Martha’s Hospital, where they were refused entry. Next they were taken to Victoria Hospital where the doctor was not available finally they took the body to St. John’s. (This episode is being narrated in detail to show how difficult it is to help stranded people and there were many, many over the years).
The Dean of the hospital sent them to the department where embalming was done. To their misfortunate, this being a Sunday, and no other bodies needing attention, the surgeon on duty had left the hospital. The dean was keen to help so he gave a quick note requesting the surgeon to come to the hospital urgently. They were given the address of the surgeon who was staying at the other end of Bangalore in Fraser Town.


With great speed Nadirshah rushed the relatives from Koramangala to Fraser Town, found the surgeon, gave him the dean’s note and requested him to go to the hospital by auto-rickshaw. They were then asked to immediately procure a coffin, one bag of sawdust and 50 kilograms of ice. They collected these and made haste to the hospital.


Nadirshah took Mr Savak Antia with him because his own small car could not reach quickly enough. Around 11.00 a.m. they reached the hospital and Nadirshah rushed to the department where the embalming was in progress. Mr Antia being nervous refused to enter the room. Nadirshah ventured forth in all earnestness but what a ghastly scene he witnessed! God forbid it should ever happen to a Parsi! He fervently prayed for the soul of the departed. The doctor while carrying on his work told Nadirshah that the coffin he had bought was rather small. Nadirshah asked if it was possible to fetch another given they were fighting against time. The hospital staff managed to fit the body into the coffin after all.


A strict set of rules needs adhering to, the coffin has to be hermitically sealed. Nadirshah and the relatives had taken a long piece of silk cloth, some nails and a hammer to nail down the coffin lid. Then putting the coffin into the van they hastened to the Airport. By now it was 11.30 a.m. the van followed the car up to Mahatma Gandhi Road then Nadirshah told the van driver to go to the airport by asking directions along the way. Nadirshah and Mr Antia sped onward in the Ambassador car to reach the airport earlier and started making arrangements. All along Mr Antia was most disheartening saying that the flight would surely be missed.


Before rushing to the hospital with the coffin Nadirshah had asked Mr Shereyar Vakil (who had been invited to his home for lunch that day) to immediately head to the airport and book five tickets for the relatives (at that time the airfare to Bombay was Rs.500/-).


As soon as Nadirshah reached the airport he heard the sound of the aircraft starting. Simultaneously Mr Vakil met him and informed them that he had just given away the tickets as they had all reached very late and the plane was departing.


Dear friends, here Nadirshah’s ingenuity, influence and resourcefulness were all on trial. In those days there were no strict security regulations at airports as there are today. Nadirshah requested the aerodrome officer to stop the plane, he refused to interfere saying that the plane was about to move and was now entirely under the command of the pilot. Nadirshah jumped over the cordon and frantically signaled the pilot to stop the engine. He too refused and started moving the aircraft. Nadirshah kneeled in front of the plane and shouted and pleaded that the plane be stopped. After much persuasion the pilot stopped the aircraft from moving but did not shut off the engine. He told the aerodrome officer to load the body hurriedly.


After stopping the plane Nadirshah came out but the van had not yet arrived. They had to wait for some time before the van arrived. The coffin was immediately removed, weighed and loaded on to the plane. There was no time even to collect the weighment voucher. Again Nadirshah had to plead with the pilot to allow at least three of the relatives to travel along with the body. The pilot finally gave in to the request, charging the fare but saying there were no seats available and the passengers would have to stand in the aircraft all the way to Bombay!


Nadirshah and Mr Antia returned home at about 2.00 p.m. Nadirshah took a full bath with ‘Taro’ and water as he had entered the room of the hospital where the embalming was in progress. He then telephoned Mr Darvish who was in charge of the Doongarwadi at Bombay and told him to take charge of the body as it arrived at Bombay Airport.


Finally the body was consigned to the Tower of Silence in Bombay at 5.30 p.m. after Sachkar and Gehsarna in the presence of the relatives of the deceased.
Mr Antia who was with Air India kept harping that by delaying the plane for nearly an hour (and that too, at a time when a National Emergency had been declared) the staff of the Bangalore Airport and the Pilot would lose their jobs. Next day Nadirshah wrote a polite letter to the Chairman & Managing Director of Indian Airlines explaining and apologizing for the delay caused by the above incident. Within a week he got a reply from the Indian Airlines Manager that – “It is our duty to help the people” Nadirshah hopes to remind our readers of the saying “Where there is a will there is a way”.


Courtesy :

Behram P. Dhabhar


Quotable Quotes – Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

With a distinguished military career that spanned over four decades and five major wars, Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw (lovingly called Sam Bahadur) was undoubtedly one of the most celebrated military men in independent India.

The man under whose leadership, the brave Indian Army annihilated the Pakistani forces in 1971 was known for his bravery, courage, sense of humour and wit.

I don’t know how many of these are true. Certainly glorious myths have been built around this great man, some of them improbable, but that’s a measure of how Manekshaw was perceived by friends and foes alike.

A Banker and a Gentleman – S S Tarapore

SS Tarapore (1936-2016) ­ the former RBI deputy governor helped navigate the turbulence of many financial crises

The image of a central banker is of a doughty, serious-faced individual, a bit of a grouch perhaps. He is ready with a frown and words of caution. Savak Sohrab Tara pore, one of India’s most outstanding central bankers, who passed away this week, was anything but.He always had a cheerful twinkle in his eyes. A romantic at heart (in the classical sense), he could quote Shakespeare and Aristotle as easily as Keynes–and even Wodehouse. A gentleman to the core, he was the epitome of grace and dignity. His integrity was beyond measure. On the last day of his job at the Reserve Bank of India he chose to take a cab home, instead of the official car.

He retired as deputy governor in 1996, but continued yeoman service to the central bank, and to the public at large with his writings and lectures, till his dying day. He touched many lives personally, as a mentor and guide, as a career counsellor, and as a friend. One of the great tributes to him came from former governor of the RBI Dr Y V Reddy, who said, “I have lost one of my best friends, philosopher and guru“. Coming from a governor, who has been celebrated globally for having saved India from the global financial crisis of 2008, it is no small tribute.

Tarapore joined the RBI in 1961 and retired in 1996, and was then almost immediately appointed to head a committee on capital account convertibility. His committee report and recommendations came out just at the East Asian currency crisis blew up in June 1997. It hugely damaged economies like Thailand that had an open capital account. He was of the firm view that India should open its capital account gradually, and only after ensuring low inflation, low fiscal deficit, and low incidence of bad loans. Mind you, this was at a time when there was immense pressure from the IMF and the `Washington Consensus’ for India to open its capital account completely.

In the aftermath of the Asian crisis of 1997 it looked foolish to tread recklessly into convertibility. Twenty years later, after the 2008 crisis, the IMF has itself changed its tune­advocating the wisdom of caution and keeping some capital controls. This was Tarapore’s intuition and in sight long ago, and he has been amply vindicated, but not acknowledged.

His thinking influenced many governors dating back to the days he was an executive director in the RBI. Since he never became governor himself, he was the classic second fiddle, an unsung hero who remains in the background. But with true modesty, he was the first to admit that a second fiddle didn’t have to take it on the chin, the way the RBI governor often has to.

He firmly believed in the autonomy of the RBI, and believed that its independence is very critical in ensuring low inflation. He was instrumental along with governor C Rangarajan in the early 1990’s in removing the `automatic monetisation’ of the fiscal deficit.

Prior to this, whenever the union budget had a deficit (almost always), the government depended on the RBI to simply `print more money’, thereby jeopardising inflation control, and fiscal prudence.

This space is too short to recount Tarapore’s invaluable contribution to banking, monetary policy, and indeed the nation. In the past twenty years he batted relentlessly for the common man, be it the need for higher deposit rates, or better service from banks, or more transparency on bank charges.

Despite having held the post of deputy governor, he didn’t hesitate to stand in line like a commoner at his local bank branch. So his compassion came from first-hand experience.

If the RBI is recognised as one of the finest institutions of modern India, it is in no small measure because of the contribution of unsung heroes such as Tarapore. May he rest in peace, and may we strive to uphold his legacy and live his values.


Karan Billimoria named Chairman of Cambridge School’s Board

Karan-Bilimoria-chancellor-of-the-University-of-BirminghamIndian-origin British entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria has been appointed as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the prestigious Cambridge Judge Business School.

Bilimoria, 54, Founder and Chairman of the Cobra Beer, is a cross-bench (independent) Peer in the House of Lords.

He was born in Hyderabad and educated at the Osmania University. He moved to London, qualified as a chartered accountant and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also a graduate of the Presidents’ Leadership Programme at Harvard Business School.

Since founding Cobra Beer in 1989, Bilimoria has taken a number of positions in business and industry, including serving as Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of Booker Group.

In Parliament, Bilimoria serves as the founding Chair of the Zoroastrian All Party Parliamentary Group and a Vice Chair of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group. He is the first Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.

Cambridge Judge Business School is the business school of the University of Cambridge. Established in 1954 as Management Studies in the Engineering Department and in 1990 as Judge Institute for Management Studies, the School is a provider of management education and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top business schools.


Obit – S S Tarapore

For the former deputy governor of the central bank, the RBI was not just another economic institution; it was the final frontier that kept fiscal policy in some sort of check.


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Few people born after 1980 would know of S S Tarapore. He retired from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as deputy governor at the end of September 1996. When his last day at RBI ended, he refused the official car. He took the lift down, walked out of the gate, hailed a passing cab, and quietly went home.

His finest years came when he served as deputy governor under C Rangarajan. The mutual understanding and respect led them to reform India’s financial sector and put it on a sound footing.

He was, as many in RBI acknowledge, the central banker’s central banker, a man so steeped in macroeconomic and monetary theory that for more than a decade after he formally left RBI, governors would seek his wisdom.

After retiring, he chaired two committees on full capital account convertibility and one on how to streamline the RBI. Between 1997 and 2016, he wrote and lectured on a scale that is hard to emulate. Through it all, he remained steadfast in his belief that RBI knew what it was doing and ought to be left alone to get on with its job, which was maintaining the monetary stability of India.

He used to get very angry at attempts to reduce RBI’s remit and in recent years became, as it were, the Keeper of the Flame, defending RBI’s faith and its mandate against the barbarians at the gate. He recently described the FSLRC’s attempts at financial reform as “a plot to destroy RBI”.

For him, RBI was not just another economic institution; it was the final frontier that kept fiscal policy in some sort of check. That he did not always succeed and that often the finance ministry ignored his admonitions, entreaties and wisdom, only to rue the fact later, was not his fault.

I had the privilege of knowing him for nearly a quarter of a century and, in fact, we were to have had lunch at his residence a few days ago. I am now told that if I had not had to call off the meeting, he would have had to, having taken ill.

A more honest man it would be hard to find. A more humble professional possibly doesn’t exist. A less pretentious personality is a rarity. He was, as I discovered, the very embodiment of discretion.

In 2006, RBI asked me to record on audio and video tapes the memories of senior RBI officers to assist with RBI’s history project. Tarapore was an obvious candidate. T K Chakrabarty, who is now retired, and I recorded him for almost 20 hours.

Conscientious as ever, he was the only who came prepared with detailed notes, written in one of those school note books. There were pages and pages of them and he went through the whole lot over two days. As ‘pieces to camera’ went, it was as good as any ever. He was 70 years old then but would speak without pause for an hour at a time.

After the recordings had been deposited with RBI’s archives, something happened to annoy him and he wrote off an angry instruction that his tapes were not to be disclosed to the public for 30 years after he passed on. That means the tapes will become available only in 2046.

More is the pity. He did his duty in cautioning the reckless, whether they were self-seeking politicians or innocent former judges or brash young economists, with a zeal and devotion that earned him the sobriquet of ‘old fashioned’. Calling him names did not, however, reduce the force of his logic and arguments. But death has done that now and India has lost an important nationalist.

On his retirement, S S Tarapore became a columnist with Business Standard and remained one for many years.


1958:  BA (economics) — Sheffield University
1960: MSc (economics) from London University
1961: Joined Reserve Bank of India as research officer
1971-79: On deputation to International Monetary Fund
1979-88: Back at RBI as director & advisor: stints in monetary policy and economic analsysis wings
1988-92:  Executive director
1992-96: Deputy governor

Padma Awardees – 2016

Padma Bhushan

Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry pallonji



Hafeez Contractor

Padma Shree

Dr. Keki Hormusji Gharda


Dr. Homi Bhabha


A multi-faceted person, India’s nuclear programme grew in leaps and bounds under Bhabha’s leadership.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909 into a wealthy, prominent Parsi family. Bhabha is known as the father of Indian nuclear power.

He went to school at the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay and then went on to pursue mechanical engineering in Cambridge. His father, Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha was a lawyer and his mother Meheren were waiting to see him as a successful engineer. But midway through his stint in Cambridge, Homi wrote to them saying, “I am burning with the desire to do physics.” His parents advised him to finish his engineering before pursuing his passion. The dutiful son completed mechanical engineering before switching over to physics.

Contribution to science

Bhabha’s name is associated with Bhabha scattering, which involves relativistic exchange scattering of electrons and Bhabha-Heitler theory, dealing with the production of electron and positron showers in cosmic rays. At 31, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, London. He rubbed shoulders with eminent physicists like Pauli, Dirac and Cockcroft who went on to becoming Nobel Laureates.

Bhabha is the founding director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Trombay Atomic Research Establishment now named after him. It was under his direction that Indian scientists made their way into making an atomic bomb. The first atomic reactant was operated in Bombay in 1956. Bhabha led the first UN Conference held for the purpose of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva.

He promoted nuclear energy control and prohibition of atomic bombs and was against India manufacturing atom bombs even if the country had enough resources to do so. Instead, he suggested that the production of an atomic reactor should be used to lessen India’s misery and poverty.

A prominent citizen, Bhabha was made the scientific advisor to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then to Lal Bahadur Shastri. Bhabha was also a painter, a classical music and opera enthusiast.

J.R.D. Tata called him a scientist, engineer, master builder and administrator steeped in humanities, art and music.


The Man and his Times – Sam Manekshaw


From beginning to end this delightful narrative simply races along, providing an intimate, witty and scintillating story of a superhero. Sam s humanism, his notations on official files, his colourful language and his doodles, which occasionally set off tidal waves of mirth through Army Headquarters, make this book simply un-put-down-able –Fali Nariman, President Bar Association of India, Former Additional Solicitor Gen of India and Member of the Rajya Sabha

An excellent book that is a … tribute to the great Sam Bahadur… A delightful tale woven with great dexterity and garnished with a profusion of photographs that brings out the well-rounded personality of a proud soldier, a military leader par excellence and a great human being. This gem of a book is a must for your coffee table. –Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Former Vice Chief of Army Staff

While chronicling his career, (the authors) present him … as a family man, a comrade-in-arms, a strategist and a charismatic leader of the troops. It is a story narrated with affection and admiration but never with hyperbole. A(n) …eminently readable narrative…on a remarkable military leader who changed the course of India s history. –Lalit Mansingh, Former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to the United States

About the Author

Brigadier Behram M. Panthaki commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Gorkha Rifles, served as Brigade Major, HQ 161 Infantry Brigade in J&K, was Colonel General Staff, HQ 3 Infantry Division in Ladakh, commanded 35 Infantry Brigade in Delhi and was Brigadier General Staff, HQ 12 Corps in Rajasthan. Theassignment he values most is as Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to General Sam Manekshaw. Zenobia Panthaki had a close association with Sam and his wife, Silloo, and was witness to many events described in this book.

Click Here to read reviews and buy it on Amazon

Sarosh Kapadia – ex-Chief Justice – passes away

Former Chief Justice of India Sarosh Kapadia passed away early Tuesday. His funeral will take place at Doogarwadi Towers of Silence, in Mumbai at 3.45 pm.

As Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sarosh Homi Kapadia left behind a legacy of unimpeachable integrity, discipline and principles.

He had become CJI after K G Balakrishnan. His stint had perhaps the most landmark judgments on institutional integrity and on a host of other issues. He espoused the cause of institutional integrity in the appointment of highly placed officials soon after becoming the CJI in 2010. His other landmark verdicts included the Vodafone case and the five-judge bench ruling in media trial.

Kapadia’s integrity was his most important and only asset as he once said. He was born into a poor Parsi family soon after India’s independence.

Working from the grassroots at a law firm, his was a life of discipline and work ethics that took him to the highest echelons of the judiciary. His lunch in the early days even consisted of mere roasted chana at Mumbai’s Flora Fountain opposite the Bombay high court.
Post-retirement in September 2012 Kapadia didn’t take any post on any committee or quasi-judicial body but worked quietly from his Mumbai office in arbitration.
At a public speech post retirement, he advocated a “minimum standard of fairness” as the “single largest” stimulant for economic growth. Fairness after all was his forte.