Remembering a true gentleman…

(Old Article on Mr. Dinshaw, Land Owner of the entire Land where Vidyaranyapura is formed) …

Mr. Cowasjee Nusserwanji Dinshaw passed away on September 10, 2010, just a day before his 84th birthday. He was a thorough gentleman – simple, sincere, soft spoken, deeply religious, dedicated to his community and with a heart of gold.

Born in Lahore, he was educated at the Doon School in India. After completing his education, he joined the family firm of Cowasjee Dinshaw Brothers in Aden. On the nationalisation of the firm by the Yemeni Government, Cowasjee returned to India and undertook Dairy Farming in Bangalore and Nasik. His farms were considered to be among India’s finest.

Cowasjee had extensive commercial and community commitments in Bombay and elsewhere. These included: Chairman and Managing Director of the United Salt Works & Industries Limited; Director, Sir H. C. Adenwalla Trading Private Limited; Director, Cowasjee Dinshaw & Sons Private Limited; Director, Zoroastrian Co-operative Bank Limited; President, Rahnumae Mazdayasnan Sabha; and President, Iran League.

To strike a personal note, I wish to sincerely acknowledge the fact that Cowasjee had sponsored my candidature on all the three occasions when I had stood for election as a Trustee of the BPP. He had been a great source of inspiration and guidance to me over the years.

All his life, Cowasjee Nusserwanji Dinshaw took tremendous interest in the welfare of the Parsi Zoroastrian community. His great grandfather, Seth Cowasjee Dinshaw, C.I.E., had established an Adarian in Aden in 1883. In order to prevent the desecration of the Holy Fire following the takeover of South Yemen by the Communists in the early 1970s, his great grandson, who also bears his illustrious name, at great personal risk and cost, had the Holy Fire flown in a specially fabricated container aboard a chartered Air India Boeing 707 aircraft from Aden to Bombay* in 1976 and later had it enthroned at his ancestral Bai Jerbai Cowasjee Dinshaw Daremeher in Lonavala. Incidentally, this was the first time that a live fire had been transported by air from one country to another.

As Chairman of the Bombay Zoroastrian Jashan Committee, he was instrumental in organising the deputation of seven Vada Dasturjis to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities at New Delhi in 1982. At that time, the promulgation of the ‘Adoption of Children’s Bill, 1980’ was actively being considered. It was unequivocally conveyed to the authorities concerned that Parsis do not believe in adoption. This resulted in a significant victory for the community’s stand and, with the intervention of Mrs. Gandhi, Parsi Zoroastrians were excluded forthwith from the ambit of the Adoption Bill.

In his capacity as President of the Lonavala and Khandala Dokhma Trust, he played a stellar role in preventing encroachment of the lands. Under the guidance of the legal luminary Mr. Homi Banaji, who was also a Trustee of the BPP at the time, 71 plots from the Dakhma lands were earmarked for setting up a Parsi Colony and work for this is progressing.

Cowasjee was Chairman or President of numerous other charitable trusts and organisations, among them being Cowasjee Dinshaw Trust; The Lonavala & Khandala Parsee Anjuman; Sir H. C. Dinshaw Trust (1926) for Adenwalla Baug property; Bai Soonabai Hirji Agiary Charity Trust; Bhuj Kutch Anjuman; Seth Cowasjee Sorabji Adenwalla Sanatorium, Dahanu; Shri Karelwadi Thakurdwar Zarthosti Mandal; The Young Zoroastrian Society; Sixteenth East Bombay Bharat Scout Group; Zoroastrian Seventy-first East Bombay Bharat Guide Group; Zoroastrian Colony Medical Centre. Zoroastrian Building Fund; Bangalore Parsee Zoroastrian Anjuman; Bai Motibai Nowroji Contractor Charity Trust; Ashburner Agiary; Cama Baug Charity Trust Fund; Bombay Panjrapole; The ‘Lily Cottage’ Trust, Mahableshwar; The ‘Lismoyle’ Property Trust, Bangalore and The ‘Towers’ Property Trust, Bandra, Mumbai.

Though belonging to an aristocratic family, Cowasjee and his wife, Khodaparast (who had predeceased him) were humble, modest and unassuming. The couple were blessed with two sons, Anoosheravan and Sarosh; daughter Freny Adi Jehangir and grandchildren Carl, Jeh and Hirji.

May Cowasjee’s noble soul rest in eternal peace, that is our fervent prayer. Amen!

~ Tribute paid by BPP Chairman

Mr. Dinshaw Mehta at the
Public Condolence Meeting for
Seth Cowasjee Nusserwanji Dinshaw
held on Friday, October 8, 2010

Cortsey :

Trust Address :

Cowasjee Nusserwanji Dinshaw (Charitable Trusts / Voluntary & Welfare Organisation)

Old Adenwalla Building Fort


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