Ardeshir Godrej

This Man Laid the Foundation of a Billion-Dollar Made-In-India Business Empire in Colonial Times

Ardeshir Burjorji Sorabji Godrej, who founded the company 120 years ago, was a man of high principles and resilience.


Image source: Godrej Archives

Born in 1868, Ardeshir was the oldest of six children in a Parsi-Zoroastrian family in Bombay (as Mumbai was then called). His father Burjorji Gootherajee changed the family name to Godrej when Ardeshir was around three years old.

Ardeshir studied law, like many other Indians from affluent families, during the British reign. However, his career in law was short-lived as Adi Godrej, the company’s present CEO, narrates in Peter Church’s book Profiles in Enterprise: Inspiring Stories of Indian Business Leaders.

“Fresh from law school he (Ardeshir) was given a brief in 1894 by a firm of Bombay Solicitors to go to Zanzibar to argue a case for their client. The case was going well until Ardeshir discovered that he would need to lie or, more charitably, manipulate the truth to present his client’s case. He refused to do this and no amount of persuasion by the solicitors or the client could convince him to change his principled stance.”

He came back to India standing his ground, but his career in law was doomed even before it had started. Church’s book mentions that he firmly believed that India had to become self-reliant. Having followed his disastrous start in law with an assistant’s job in a chemist shop, he became interested in manufacturing surgical instruments.

His first business — surgical instruments — did not do well, but Ardeshir was determined to continue a manufacturing business in India. He received a loan from Merwanji Cama, Parsi businessman and philanthropist, to start a new lock-making business.

The lock business marked the true start of the Godrej empire as we know today.


Image source: Godrej

Ardeshir began in a shed on May 7, 1897. His locks were cheaper than those imported from England — even better, he had discovered that foreign-made locks came with an inbuilt spring that often broke down. His locks came without this feature and sold far better in the market.

As his business flourished, Ardeshir expanded into manufacturing safes, and patented his door frame and double-plate doors. His affordably-priced safes became so popular that even the Queen of England used one during her tour of India in 1912, recounts an article in The Hindu. Godrej safes remain an iconic item till date.

He moved on next to create Godrej soaps — crafting soaps out of vegetable oils instead of animal fat. These were the world’s first vegetable soaps.

Despite being a marked departure from locks and safes, the business was a hit with that era’s version of celebrity approvals in the form of endorsements by Rabindranath Tagore and Annie Besant. Ardeshir  taught people how to make the soap as well, with a Gujarati pamphlet titled ‘Vacho ane Seekho’ (Read and learn).

His younger brother Pirojsha also joined the business, his only sibling to do so, and together they came to be known as the Godrej Brothers.

Adi Godrej, who is Pirojsha’s grandson, remembers in Church’s book, “Ardeshir was never content at succeeding at one thing and constantly sought more challenges in diverse areas such as inks, toffee, perfume making, biscuits and even vineyards. Many of these ventures did not succeed in his lifetime but those that did made a mark.”

Even as his business flourished, Ardeshir lived simply for most of his life. In the book Vijitatma: Founder-Pioneer Ardeshir Godrej, journalist and author BK Karanjia mentions how he insisted on using public transport and “the sight of him patiently waiting at bus stops, engrossed in reading a newspaper or a book, created a lot of talk in the community.” His personal life was marked by tragedy as his wife Bachubai died early, leaving no children.

Yet, Ardeshir remained resolute in establishing a made-in-India business organisation. A follower of Dadabhai Naoroji, he believed that it was important for India to not simply reject foreign-made goods, but have its own industries with high-quality manufacturing processes. An avid nationalist — though known for his differences in opinion with Gandhi — he once donated Rs 3 lakh to the Tilak Swaraj fund, according to Karanjia.

Ardeshir passed away in January 1936, a year when Godrej & Boyce posted Rs 12 lakh as revenue and Godrej soaps reported ₹6 lakh worth of revenue. The quiet man laid the foundations of what has today grown into one of the country’s most reputed industries with investments across the world.

February 14, 2017

Pakistan Post Issues Dinshaw Byramji Avari Commemorative Stamp

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





December 18, 2016



Size of Stamp: 50.5 x 35 mm

Size of Print: 47.5 x 32 mm

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

Perforation: 13 c

Denomination: Rs. 8/-

Colours: Multi Colour

Printing Technology: Litho Offset

Paper: 100 GSM Crescent and Star Water Mark Paper

Gum: PVA

Quantity: 0.2 Million

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

Printer: Pakistan Security Printing Corporation Karachi.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Issued by


Courtesy : Parsi Khabar

Religion & Politics

 Religion & Politics

Have always made

Strange bed fellows

That is how the

Story flows


We are holding

Deep Down Secrets”

We do not want

Outside world to know

‘Cause they only want

Society to know that

Nothing’s wrong:

“Zoroastrianism is

Pure as Driven Snow!!!


What an uproar

The title of the

Last of the poem created!!!!

Sent shivers down

People’s  spine

Relax, chill

I only borrowed

The title but

The idea was all mine


If we are not

Going to face facts

Accept  the truth

Admit there is something wrong

Then I am afraid there is

No Hope for our religion

To survive for very long.

What are community leaders doin?

Are they ever going to

Shift the grain from chaffe?

Or they going to continue

Their egoistic behaviour

Let Zoroastrianism go

To the dogs

Choicest Happiness


Feb 1st 2017









The Queen invites Astad Deboo


The Queen invites Astad Deboo to Buckingham Palace: India’s best known contemporary dancer and choreographer Astad Deboo is off to London to meet the Queen. He’s picked out a bandhgala and a Kantha stole that he will wear to Buckingham Palace.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will host a UK-India Year of Culture launch at Buckingham Palace on February 27

to strengthen the special cultural partnership between the two countries. The reception is expected to attract hundreds of guests from across various fields in the UK and India, including Arun Jaitley.



Date of birth : 25th October
Marital Status: Single
Live in: Karachi
Sister: Rachel Viccaji
Brother: Cyrus Viccaji
Father : Adi Viccaji
Facebook page
She has worked with the like’s of String’s, Bilal Khan etc. Zoe songs, Jo Chaho and Bichra Yar made huge impact on her career. These songs got very popular. Zoe recently sing the title song of drama ‘Tanhaiyan Aik Naye Silsiley’.
Zoe has a sister named, Rachel, who is also a singer. Sanam Saeed, Meera Ansari, Mariam Azmi and Meher Jaffri are her very close friends. She like’s to spend her time with her friends.
Zoe Viccaji was glad to be part of Coke Studio’s, She said ‘It was an educating experience, i spend my early life abroad but through this platform i came on touch with Pakistani music’.



India’s Jehan Daruvala will start the 62nd New Zealand Grand Prix from pole position, cementing another M2 Competition front row lockout after their qualifying one performance.

Qualifying for the New Zealand Grand Prix began with much of the field lying idle in the pit lane. Just a handful exited as the session went green, with Brendon Leitch and Pedro Piquet two of the men choosing to head out.

Once again, the time set early in the session weren’t of the pace set in the first qualifying session. It seemed many were looking to fine tune their setup as they hovered around the 1:03 and 1:04-mark.

Thomas Randle made the first steps towards Friday’s pace, when he dropped into a 1:02.828. He was quickly usurped by Pedro Piquet, then Richard Verschoor who went second quickest behind the Brazilian.

The surprise early on came from Harry Hayek who went fastest on a 1:02.672. Unfortunately for him though, his time on top was short lived as Piquet and teammate Daruvala went quickest.

Richard Verschoor then went about eclipsing the fastest times set in the first qualifying to hit the top of the timesheets. As was the case for much of the season, the times fluctuated at the top of the order as Randle then Daruvala went quickest.

Christian Hahn was lucky to get away without a big lose when he went wide at turn three. Marcus Armstrong nearly went off in similar fashion as he got loose exiting the same corner.

Pedro Piquet slotted into the top spot with a storming lap of 1:02.229, but his teammate Daruvala went just four hundredths quicker to demote him to second.

Just like qualifying one, the front runners began to hit their tyre limit and couldn’t quite manage to improve their pace. Despite a few last lap dashes by Verschoor and Armstrong, the pair couldn’t beat the pace of Daruvala who took pole position for the New Zealand Grand Prix.

Castrol Toyota Racing Series qualifying two: 

1. Jehan Daruvala 1:02.258
2. Pedro Piquet + 0.041
3. Thomas Randle + 0.066
4. Marcus Armstrong + 0.126
5. Richard Verschoor + 0.182
6. Kevyan Andres + 0.220
7. Brendon Leitch + 0.251
8. Enaam Ahmed + 0.385
9. Taylor Cockerton + 0.407
10. Harry Hayek + 0.414


Author : Simon Chapman

Daruvala wins New Zealand Grand Prix –

Vice Admiral Rusi Khushro Shapoorjee Gandhi

A walk down memory lane…rusi-08afa374-c70a-4b2d-97f9-b276c673464a


Vice Admiral Rustom “Rusi” Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi, PVSM, Vr.C., I.N. Ret. (1 July 1924 – 23 December 2014) was an Indian Navy Admiral.

He remains the ONLY OFFICER to have commanded ships in all naval wars fought by India:
– the 1961 war to annex Goa as Commander of the INS Betwa,
– the 1965 war with Pakistan as Commander of the 14th frigate squadron and Captain of the INS Khukri and
– the 1971 war with Pakistan to create Bangladesh when he commanded the INS Mysore, the flagship of the Western Naval Fleet.

Rustom Ghandhi served with Lord Louis Mountbatten from 1947-1948, and was his Aide-de-camp when Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India. Ghandhi was present with Mountbatten at Viceroy’s House on 15 August 1947 when India’s independence was declared.

Vice Admiral Ghandhi was awarded the Vir Chakra for conspicuous gallantry for his role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

Upon retirement from the IN, Vice Admiral Ghandhi enjoyed a short stint as technical consultant for the motion picture The Sea Wolves, and played a cameo role as the Governor of Goa in it.
He was appointed Chairman of the Shipping Corporation of India in 1981 and served in that capacity until 1986.
From April 1986 to February 1990, while Rajiv Gandhi was Premier of India, Vice Admiral Ghandhi served as Governor of the State of Himachal Pradesh, residing with Mrs. Ghandhi at Raj Bhavan in Shimla.
During this period, Vice Admiral Ghandhi was awarded the Param Visishti Seva Medal PVSM for meritorious service of the highest order.

Vice Admiral Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi, nicknamed RKS or simply called Rusi, wished to return to the sea which had given him so much.
He jested: “I enjoyed fish all my life; now let the fish enjoy me.”

Admiral Ghandhi died peacefully in his home in Navy Nagar of Colaba, Mumbai on 23 December 2014, aged 90, and was buried in the Arabian Sea on 27 December 2014 from INS Vipul.

4 days after his passing away on December 23, 2014 at age 90, his immediate family and a few friends sailed from Lion Gate on INS Vipul, 40 miles into the Arabian Sea. The Navy acknowledged him with three rounds of gunfire when white uniformed officers stood at attention, the Last Post played. With synchronized precision the naval pall bearers carried the nailed coffin and then slid it into the sea and Ghandhi went into the waters forever.

Characteristically unconventional, Ghandhi was the first naval officer to return to the ocean and the Navy had to do research as a precedent was created.

They don’t make ’em like you any more Sir…but you will live on in the hearts of so many you touched with your personality extraordinaire.

Salute to this Hero! He rests in comfort of the very waters, he once protected. Rest In Peace Sir.


Parsis at The Kala Ghoda Fest!


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


Nicole Mody, Food Curator, KGAF


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

Chef Darius Madan

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



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


Sanaeya Vandrewala (yellow top) conducting Heritage Walks

Heritage walks:

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



The ‘Rare Thoughts’ Stall with Rustom Gowadia

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

The WFA stall with Taronish Bulsara

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

Harvard – fully funded MBA Scholarship


Harvard University is one of the world rankings universities. Here is the opportunity for you to get involved in this leading business programs.

This scholarship is awarded every two year.

Scholarship award:
• Financial aid amounting to US$90,000 (US$45,000 per year) towards tuition fees
• Travel and accommodation expenses related to the internship.

Important information:

International students are invited to apply this scholarship.
You will be provided according to your education background and your promise.
What do you need to submit?

curriculum vitae with a photograph
GMAT scores and acceptance letter from the University
To apply: online by sending to

The closing date is 31st May 2017.

The Boustany Foundation Internship

Successful scholars are expected to complete a two-month unpaid internship with the Foundation. Projects are varied and relate to the Foundation’s activities or those of its partners.

Travel and accommodation expenses related to the internship are covered by the Foundation.

Click here to apply through official website online


“Go Home” by Sohrab Homi Fracis

go-homeThe new novel by Sohrab Homi Fracis describes the adventure of a foreign student named Viraf during the 80s in the United States. Viraf came from India, and more precisely from the Parsi community, descendants of the Persian Zoroastrians community who left Iran after the Arab-Muslim conquest more than 1,000 years ago. To complicate the story, Viraf came to study in the USA during the Iranian hostage crisis.

Funny, dark, true and poignant, Fracis found a way to talk about multiculturalism, immigrants, racism and globalization of the societies without being boring. Even if the story is in the 80s readers will eventually see that almost nothing has changed, except the cars!

As a Frenchman who is married with an Iranian wife who is doing her Ph.D. in a student city in the middle of Oklahoma, I have found living abroad is not always easy. Cultural differences is a big issue, especially in the long term, becoming homesick is something that almost every migrant has experimented, should I go home?

When French today are well accepted in the American society (it has not always been the case, remember when the U.S. decided to invade Iraq in 2003?), it is not always the same for Iranians, or I should say for I-ranians. The nuclear crisis came through here.

But still books such as Go Home gives hope that humanity is on the right way, the way of inclusivity and mutual respect. The fact is the publication of Go Home might not have been possible 30 years ago is proof of how much mentally has changed. But still, people in the USA, Europe and other parts of the world are angry enough to elect a person such as Donald Trump, the one who say “Go home” to the Muslims living in the USA.

Further, it might not be perceptible to the readers, but the book approached another subject concerning the generational conflict between the new and old generations. While Viraf’s father expects him to take over the family business in construction, Viraf prefers to follow his own path. The same is the issue for Viraf’s sister who prefers to marry the man she loves instead of having a forced marriage by their parents.

Finally, one of the moralities of the book will be, it doesn’t matter where you come from, do your dream, follow your path, enjoy sharing time with people, because there will be always someone who will try to demean you.

I recommend Go Home, it is an excellent book on this time of incertitude, easy to read, an American novel with a touch of India. Perfect Christmas gift for readers.

Winner of several literature awards, Fracis is the first Asian author to win the prestigious price of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2001 and since then his popularity has continuously increased.