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Jewels in the crown of India

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It is microscopic community with macro achievements that have been enumerated times without number. And these bear repeating. The Parsi contribution to India has been extraordinary, despite its small numbers. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Parsis built the shipyards and docks of Surat and Mumbai and were in the forefront of trade and commerce.

They helped to build India's national infrastructure and promoted the growth of industry, in general. Tata and Godrej are household names. Parsis were in the forefront of the freedom struggle and names such as Dadabhoy Naoroji, Madame Cama, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Veer Nariman, Sir Dinshaw Vatcha and Sir Shapurji Bengali fought to create a free and modern India.

Not many are aware that it was Parsi philanthropy which helped Mahatma Gandhi to return to India from where Gandhiji launched his freedom struggle. Yet they number less than .02 per cent of the population and their dwindling numbers are a concern to all of us. In the following pgs, we introduce you to some Parsis who exemplify their community. Certainly this is not an exhaustive list. It cannot be. But they are among those whowould stand out anywhere, not just within their own small numbers.

On the occasion of Pateti, New Year and Khordaad Sal, we salute them and the whole community

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