Zoroastrian Parsi Families of Jhansi
This chapter has information on the families of Jhansi. It starts out with information about the families that are still residing in Jhansi.
After this, there is information on the families who may no longer live in Jhansi but did so previously
Rati K Pestonji – wife of Late Keki B Pestonji (Son) Farokh K Pestonji, (wife) Dilshad & thier sons Hormazd & Burzin
This is my mother & younger brother’s family, Farokh is a supervisor in the Central Railway Workshop in Jhansi specialised in the Welding department. Dilshad teaches at a private Primary school. Farokh is very involved with the community projects in Jhansi, and is a member of the Parsi Anjuman committee specially looking after the Dharamsala, attending to the deceased people etc.
Rati – Rati Nee Sukhasvala. Youngest daughter of Ratanshah & Pirojbai Sukhasvala of Nana Parsi wad Bulsar. Her father had large properties in Sukhas which was used for farming etc. They had their own bullock carts for travel, insides of same very well carpeted and cushioned luxuriously.
Her sisters: Late Sheroo Manekshana, late Banu Maneck Manekshana (Mumbai), Mani Homi Manekshana (Mumbai) (Both Banu & Mani married two brothers – Maneck & Homi, cousins of Field Marshal Sam Manekshana), Perin Rusi Bharucha (Mumbai)
Her brothers : Nariman Sukhasvala (Mumbai) & late Aspi Sukhasvala (Bulsar & Navsari)
The family was heavily involved in farming and cotton ginning operations. Ratanshah built a huge palatial home in Bulsar, close to the Agiary there in Nana Parsi wad. I have very fond memories of being in that house as a very young child and playing with my cousins Adil & Burjor Sukhasvala
Pesi Pestonji, my uncle is a retired Manager of the Railway workshop and now lives in Jhansi, but spends the extreme climatic time of Jhansi cold and warm weather in Mumbai. His dedication to his brothers is legendary and frankly if we had more Pesi kakas in this world, we would have many less problems & much more happiness in families.
He is a bachelor and lives in the house built by his father, which for almost 40 years housed the Sipri Bazaar Post office. Around 1994 after undergoing an eye operation, he lost the use of his one eye. Undeterred he still leads a normal life, all alone.
To get the Post office to vacate the family home was in itself a story, where in Pesi s elder brother Dali, a personality in himself, and a senior Engine driver drove the engine in which the then Prime Minister of India Shri Morarjee Desai was travelling to Delhi & on meeting him he invited the PM to travel with him in the engine and have a rare drivers view, which the Prime Minister gamely did. Remember at that time, issues with security etc were not as stringent as now, terrorism had not yet become a daily affair also.
Dali secured an interview with the PM to visit him in his office, and there he requested intervention from the PM to obtain a clearance from the Post office department, so as to occupy the house after his retirement, which was soon to take place. Funnily as Dali U, recounted later on, after interview was over he requested the PM to at least make a note, him being a busy person he may forget this humble request, at which the Prime Minister raised and offered him a plate of cashews, under which my uncle saw a tape recorder recording the interview . In the next few months the house was vacated & then occupied by our aunt Mani Bhagat & cousin Jimmy Bhagat & family for a few years, before Pesi Uncle moved in.
Pesi uncle was also a strict disciplinarian of the family, and although being the youngest brother took a lot of interest in the studies & upbringing of his numerous nephews and nieces. Having never married he is close to a few nephews and nieces & is a very highly respected person, by the younger family members. In 2009 as we write he is the Head of the family, being the eldest male in the family. An excellent cook & person ready to assist anyone, he lives opposite to his friend Dhunji Billimoria in Sipri bazaar. He spends his time in Jhansi and Bombay also ensuring to look after his younger sister, Daulat Amroliwala -a widow.
BOYCE – Freny & Filly
Above photos of Filly & Freny Boyce & their palatial home.
Presently Filly & Freny Boyce live in the huge mansion & compound. The house was originally built by Phiroze/Fillys father, with a huge shop complex next to the house, rather part of it, being used to house and sell European liquors & wines , chocolates, guns and ammunitions & other general products to the mostly European populace of the time.
They also had the distribution rights for the Ford motor company in the 1930s.
Having one of the first cars in the area, they had a routine of going out each evening for an outing, all decked up, as was the tradition of the day, in their well decked Horse carriage and later in the car. Unfortunately Filly’s father passed away suddenly at an early age, but his mother Purvez, took up the challenge of looking after the business and family all by herself and did a marvellous job of it. She was a respected person , like her husband and his brother, & Presided over various Municipal committees etc
Frenys mother was Dinamai & father Savakshah Mehta. She had an elder brother Ratan – who worked with Crompton & Greaves Ltd in their city office. He also passed away, a bachelor, after his retirement.
Below are some photos of the wedding of Freny & Filly
The family Boyce – Rolls Royce family of Jhansi Zoroastrians as they were called in their hey day. As per Filly Boyce, his dad & Uncle were requested by the British to move from Morena to Jhansi & set up a shop to start provision supply to the British cantonment, being set up in Jhansi, which they did. Just at start of the second world war, Filly’s father passed away suddenly and the load of the business etc fell on the young widow – Perviz who, not only did a great job of managing the business but bringing up the young children also.
As per my aunt Mani Bhagat, the family at 4 pm sharp each day, all dressed up would be taken out for a ride in the family horse and cart around the town, which was like a daily time honoured ritual. They had a magnificent shop that was selling European products mainly chocolates, liquors, arms and ammunitions etc. In fact they had the license no 1 (first issued license ) for Arms and ammunitions in state of Uttar Pradesh formerly the United Provinces.
Phiroze/ Filly, the surviving doyen of the erstwhile Boyce family, is still living in Jhansi. They have no children & are retired from the business. Filly is an expert on land laws, having being involved in the local courts, for over 50 years, and is a much-respected person for land laws in Jhansi. Past their prime and lonely, they both still have very sharp memories and Phiroze Boyce fondly called Filly, is probably the person in Jhansi whose memory of Zoroastrians of Jhansi is totally unique & vast. He was also instrumental in informing me on much of the Parsee history of Jhansi.
Photos of Filly and Freny Boyce. Photos were taken by late Sue Darlow, Philly’s niece who lived in Italy and a professional freelance photographer. Photos were taken around 2006.
Dear Marukh and Firoz: Congratulations on a very well done website of the Parsis of Jhansi.
My grandmother was from Jhansi she was the daughter of Meherwanjee Boyce, born in 1894 and died in Bombay in 1962.
She was married to my Grandfather Khan Bahadur Jehangir R. Colabawala. My mother Nergesh was married to my father Phiroz H.J. Boyce ( that was the Boyce Family from Belgaum). Both my parents are deceased. I saw the write up on Phiroz (Filly) and Freny Boyce. I am pretty sure that I had met Filly in Bombay in the mid 1950’s, when I was about 12 years old. He is I believe my Grandmothers nephew.
At that time we lived on Marine Drive –Bombay.
Is there any way I could reach them, or contact them? I would appreciate it if you or your readers could put us in contact with them
I have lived in the US for the past 50years and in Texas. I have lived in Houston since 1976. My wife is Zarine Dubash (Karachi Pakistan) and I have two children Phiroz and Anita, 5 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
SETHNA – Homai & Late Col Dara
Homia Sethna (NEE Engineer)
Homai wife of Late Col Dara Sethna daughter of late Nergish Hormasjee Engineer sister to late Dosu late Jeena Katy, after being stationed in various military cantonments in the country with her late husband, who was with the Indian army, settled in Jhansi, after her husband passed on. She has two grown up daughters who have made a mark for themselves in life. She also passes her time teaching children. Her daughters are Goolnaz Jasmine, both now married not living in Jhansi
She still lives in Sipri bazaar, next to the house of her parents where probably her early life memories are still there. A very smart and debonair lady, she still is, and in her time was a beautiful lady, sporty and very outgoing.
Above: Homai – Daughter Goolnaz & daughter Yasmine marrying Ernest
Behram is a retired bank manager and now resides in Jhansi in the Parsi dharamsala complex, a bachelor, he is also Jhansi’s stand in Ervad, especially for the deceased and volunteers his assistance a lot for the community work. Most of his life was spent in the Central bank employment in Kanpur & Lucknow. After retirement he returned back to his beloved Jhansi and made it his retirement home, where most of his memories are.
His father the Late Pochajee Navrojee Icchaporia resided in Jhansi since 1904 & had migrated from Bombay .His mother was Khorshedbanu Pochajee Icchaporia. According to him 90 % of the then Parsi community was working for the Railways. In their family Behrams Fuajee (fathers, sisters, husband) was first family member to come to Jhansi in 1904. His name was Burjorjee Davar and his wife was Goolbanu. He worked for the Great Peninsular Indian Railways. He used to live close to Adi Engineers house in Sipri Bazaar.
Poochajee & Khorshedbanus children :
Phiruza died of small pox.
Hoshang married to Mehroo & their children – Farnaz is in Bombay as a teacher. Hospi is in Dubai & Vispi is in Bombay.
Behram – lives in Jhansi, retired
Late Rustam lived in Jhansi and passed away few years ago. He was also with the Central Railways.
Daulat married to Kersi Commeseriat of Hyderabad
Burjor –now retired, as General Manager from Cadburys chocolates Bombay. His wife is Bapsy & children are Peenaz & Neville (now in the USA as a Computer Engineer)
PATEL Naju & Nowzer
Nowzer Patel, Naju Patel Zubin Patel
Nowzer Patel had his own business of the Singer sewing company, but is now retired. His daughter Monaz is married to Burjor Kolahs son and they live in Bombay. Noshir s’ brother is Behram he is a very loveable person, who due to his lack of higher education never received much success in Jhansi for jobs etc. He is now working with the Delhi Fire temple priests who look after him well. An ever smiling happy person and we used to play with him when in our young age. Najju is an excellent lady and does lot of homely stuff including sewing sadras etc
Nowzer & Behrams parents were Daulat & Dinshajee Patel, both deceased. Dinshaw Patel was a valued committee member of the Jhansi Anjuman for a long time. Naju & Noshir have a daughter Monaz married to Zubin Kolah son of Baji Kolah of Jhanisi & Kanpur/Lucknow.
Monaz & Zubin have a son Danesh born around 2006.
Naju & Nowzer have a son named Zubin, who is with them in Jhansi
The Mavalvalas are the very popular and lovingly admired couples in Jhansi. Both were very soft-spoken and kind. Their children Nari and daughter Soonu are well-settled in Canada. Hoshang uncle was an engine driver, who retired around 1976 and then they left Jhansi for Bombay to be close to their children. Nari was probably the first Jhansi boy to travel to Tehran in Iran, during the boom days of the Shah in 1977.
Goolu Elavia , who is also a Jhansi girl, with lots of fond nostalgic memories of Jhansi of her time, very painstakingly & with lots of love agreed to share her photo collection with us for this site.
From her huge collection of photos we took a few that were relevant and covered a vast array of events. Gool worked for a long time with the Indian Railways. She worked in the Computer section & retired in October 2005.
She lives near Wadala & is an avid gardener along with her husband. Her 2 daughters are well settled, and working in nice positions in Private companies. We thank Gool for her patience and her vivid memories, which she shared with us & we in turn thus can share it with you -The reader
s a bachelor still living in Jhansi. He was chargeman / supervisor with the Central railways in Jhansi workshop, in the machine shop,specially looking after the turning and lathe section. He is the son of Manecksha Icchaporia & Soonamai.His father was Manager of Brendan Catering in Jhansi. Brendans were very popular for the supply of lunch ,dinner and food stuffs on the fast mail and express trains from the British times. Their food preparation was of a high standard always and very hygenically prepared and served with livered and dressed up staff at all stations.
Late Merchant Faram
Faram, worked in various vocations in Jhansi, but most of the time he earned a living providing tuitions to the children in Jhansi. A bachelor he lived in the dharamsala in Jhansi.
He is from the famous Merchant family of Jhansi. His brother Jimmy was a respectable Engineer in the Railways. One of his brothers – Jimmy unfortunately passed on, regrettably at a very young age, probably in his early 40s around 1975 & justify behind his wife Zerin & daughters Bapsy & Kashmira & son Naval. Bapsy is married & settled in Pune, Kashmira married is in Canada & Naval married and lives in Bombay. His other brother Hoshang married my cousin Dolly, daughter of Jai & Dosabhai Sheriarjee, he also passed away early probably in his late 50s around 1988, and is survived by Dolly & son Darayus married to Tina & has two teenage sons. His other son Freedy joined the Indian army and had an accident in Kutch, just around the Kargil conflict and lost his life. He is survived by his wife who teaches in Chandigarh & has two young daughters.
Some information on the Merchant family.
Hoshang Merchant was the son of Rustamji Nadirshah Merchant.His mother was Dhunmai & his brothers were Nadir who worked for the central bank.
Nadir is married to Sheroo & their daughter is Katy.Nadir was in Jhasni also for a while and then transferred to Surat. Another brother Feroze was married to Aloo and had no children. Another brother is Faram who still lives in Jhansi.
Their sister is Zerin who was married to Jimmy Eduljee Merchant who was an AEN Engineer in Central Railway .
Their children are Bapsy, Neville & Kashmira. Bapsy is married to Kerman Jalnewala, a business man from Jalna & is settled in Pune
They have twins – daughters Delna & Delzeen.
Naval Merchant is married to Katy & their daughter is Zeba. He is an accountant with Bharda school.
Kashmira is married to Yezdi Daver & are settled in Vancouver ,Canada & they have a son – Hira
Banubai & Eduljee Merchant had 4 sons .
Dara was a Doctor in Calcutta & then migrated overseas. His wife was Freni & they have a daughter .Dara works for the WHO, now settled in London. His daughter Betty also a CA is married to a heart specialist & settled in canada
Second son Faredoon was a leading Barrister in Bombay married to Diana Khambatta & they have 2 sons Cyrus & Percy. Both sons are Chartered Accountants . Percy is father to triplets.
Third son Shapur was with central bank in Mumbai
Bapu had his own business.
( Above information provided By Dolly Hoshang Merchant )
BHAGALIA Shahbanu & Late Pervez
Late Pervez Bhagallia, Shahbanu Bhagallia (wife) & Firdosh Bhagallia (son)
Parvez is one of the last few Parsi Engine drivers to retire from the Jhansi division.
His brother Adi, was in the middle east for a while and is now retired and settled in Bombay.
Purvez has three sons and a daughter; most are all settled out of Jhansi. Firdous is the only one staying with his parents & is a great assistance for the community in Jhansi. One of the younger persons in Jhansi. to stay back, and look after his parents. He has three brothers – Zubin & the twins Freddy & Firdosh. His sister Tanaz
Late RUSTOOMJI – Gudy & Sheroo
Above photo:Late Gudy, late wife Sheroo, son Rohinton & his wife Anahita & their younger son Yezdi & late Dara Mistry with his wife Rati
Guddy & Sheroo Rustomjee lived their whole lives in Jhansi. Sheroo passed away suddenly around Decmber 2005 & is survived by her husband who lives with his elder son Ronny, working as a Manager in the Railways in Jhansi . The younger son Yezdi is married to Jasmine Vajifdar, whose family came from Itarsi & has a son & daughter and lives in Kalyan
Gudy, another Engine driver now retired, lives his life with his son & daughter in law and grandchild in Jhansi. A fabulous person and full of Jokes and stories we have fond memories of him. Unfortunately his health is not the best now . He had a fondness of watching English movies which in the late 1970s I had got addicted to, as we only had one show on Sunday mornings, and we used to meet and he used to regale us with his stories of days gone past
Ronny as Rohinton is famously known, lives at Khati baba & his wife is Anahita, she is from Gwalior, and their son is Navroze Rustomji, a very smart studious and gifted young boy, who has won several awards for his studies.
Guddy Rustamji had a brother Rusi & a sister Silla married to Bhikhu. Sillas daughter is Gulshan. They used to live in the Railway colony near the Umrigar family. Rusi had a daughter Gloria. Gulshan was lovingly nicknamed Gopi & Khorshed as Colly
Late ANKLESARIA Dhunji & Mani
Dhanji Uncle, a good friend of my fathers, lives alone in his huge Mani Villa, and is retired senior Station Superintendant of the Jhansi Railway station. A die hard Jhansiwala, he loves his Jhansi & wont have it any other way.
His daughter is Feringez (Feru) married to Aly Latif and they live in Delhi, their children work in Mumbai. Dhunjis son is Farokh- Captain of his ship & is still sailing the high seas, normally lives in Mumbai. In his younger days he used to drive a BMW or Norton motor bike from Bombay to Jhansi to visit this parents.
Dhunji s wife was Mani a popular school teacher in St Francis Girls convent, fondly remembered by her students even today. Later on she was also Secretary of the Jhansi Anjuman & oversaw the Anjumans Centenary celebrations also.
Dhanji Uncle, one of my dads childhood buddies, and a person who has always lived proudly in Jhansi, has a lot to add to this website work also. The first person to agree to part his experiences in Jhansi to me, was a fountain of knowledge of the past & some of the things he informed me, just knocked me down.
A keen cricketer along with daddy & my Uncles he has fond memories of their childhood and teenage years, full of yarns & anecdotes. His wife Mani, a generous and very loving person passed away just a few years ago. His daughter Feringez lives in New Delhi with her husband & son Farokh is a Master mariner, travelling the world on ships.
Dhanji Uncle stated life as a train guard, just like my Dad, but moved on to off line work and retired as Senior Station master Jhansi railway, and we remember, although kids, how the station suddenly looked all neat, clean & tidy after Dhanji uncle took over as Station master. He was also awarded for his services by the railways. Read his interview for more information. A keen musician he used to play musical instruments & perform on stage also.
Dhanji M Anklesaria was born on 23 January 1923. He has always lived his life in Jhansi, proudly and with no regrets.
He was a very good friend of my fathers and he assisted me with a lot of information on the early Parsis of Jhansi, when I approached him. In a long discussion with him we learned the following information.
Dhanji uncles father, was Munchershaw Naoroji Anklesaria, who left Pune in 1869 at the young age of 17 years to come to Jhansi and work in the railways.
After a dint of hard work and settling down in Jhansi Munchershaw married and had 5 children. The sons were Dorabjee, Sorabjee, Behram & Dhanji (photo in November 2006) . Dhanji’s sister was Perin married to Rustamji Bahadur.
Jhansi at the time of Dhanjis growing up was an isolated town with a strong Military and Railway presence. A lot of small princely principalities were around Jhansi. There were small Princely states and they used to go and play cricket with the neighbouring teams, in those places, quiet often. Most of these were in Gwalior, Bijna, Datia, Tikamgarh, Orcha, Panna etc and the local rajas used to be hosts to the teams from Jhansi.
According to Dhanji Uncle, the British were very smart and used to control the country through the railway and military. In those early days train speeds were no where near to what they are now. Engines were coal fired, steam engines. In those early days, at most small railway stations, the arrival of a train and unloading passengers & goods used to be the highlight of the day for the locals there.
Most Railway stations including even Jhansi, in the early days did not even have any overhead cover and were open to the natural elements. The bigger stations used to have a few large pepul or neem trees for shade, with birds making it their home and there used to be a lot of cleaning up required each morning.
Dhanji uncle joined the then Railways in 1944 a guard in the Jabalpore division. After a few years he was transferred to the Jhansi division, & around 1950 he transferred to the off line station duty.
He retired as Station Superintendent, and won several awards for cleanliness, operations & maximum goods transfers etc. He retired in 1982.
During their young days, life in Jhansi was great fun and a lot of social activity took place. A social club was started around 1945 after a lot of resistance from a lot of orthodox elders. According to him, Boman Mirza, Keki Pestonji (my father) & himself had to go door knocking to the Parsi houses to convince them of the merits of the club and to join up. After a while Manekshaw Mirza (Minoo Mirzas Uncle) assisted along with Sorabjee Batlivala & Burjorjee Surty (my grandmothers brother)& the club then took off. A lot of moral support in early days was provided to the youngsters and they also had a library.
In 1946 the club took off in full swing and enrolled large number of people as members. There was arrangement for table tennis, badminton, volleyball, tug of war and other games. A lot of outdoor picnics were organised regularly. People travelling in bullock drawn carts or the tongas. There used to be huge movie sessions at Laskala, Laxmi & Sipri movie theatres, and as per Dhanji uncle the whole cinema hall used to be booked out for the Parsis & friends.
At that time there were around 85 families & over 500 members The Parsi cricket club and gym were popular meeting points. The cricket opponents the Europeans Institute club, the Crown club of the Muslims & Tandon garden Sipri club were regular opponents.
Dhanji uncle himself was a keen player of hockey, cricket and music. On Sundays the groups would travel to the sports grounds for the full day and have good fun with the full families joining in. Hormusjee Engineer used to supply his bus in later days for transport & was also their cricket captain. (I could not refrain from asking him if Hormusjee Uncle was Captain because he supplied the transport, but Dhanji Uncle said, No, it was because he was an excellent cricketer.)
A question I specifically wanted to ask him was about his feelings and the general Parsee populations, when India became a free country on 15 August 1947. He informed me, there was no fear, animosity or dred for the Indian government, as such the Parsees in Jhansi were not politically inclined towards any particular group. Parsees had very good relation in Jhansi with the locals always. The Parsis were known for their hard work, loyalty, fairness but above all for honesty. The British allowed the Parsis in their running rooms also.
In those days a around 1945, a steam engine train would take approximately 9 hours to travel from Jhansi to Agra, now done in around 3 hours. A mail train from Jhansi to Delhi was a 12 hour run then, now can be done in 4 hours.
Dhanji uncle has many very fond memories of his Jhansi. He is very proud to have lived here, no regrets, the food in the markets are fresh, everything is available and life is peaceful & plentiful. He feels the future is not bleak, but the Parsee children need to become more enthusiastic, dynamic & responsible for them selves. The lethargy in life has to be shaken off, youngsters need to roughen out things & learn of life & education is most important. He should know it, his wife Mani was a wonderful t`eacher who must have taught thousands of young children in her career in Jhansi private schools.
Dhanji uncles son is Farokh and he sails the world as a Marine ship captain.His wife Mani, passed away just a few years back. His daughter Feringez is married to Ex Governor of Maharashtra & Air Marshal Latifs son. She has two children both grown up named Saheer & Zeeshan, who are making a wonderful career for themselves.
Early Families of Jhansi
History is made up of people and their events, so is the Jhansi Parsi history. A lot of the details of the people in Jhansi are a bit sketchy presently, but as time goes and we keep researching, we are sure we will unearth golden gems of history, events, ideas, entrepreneur spirit etc. A few families that come to mind are as follows:
Some Families in Jhansi 1960 – 2000
Family name -parents – children
Bhagat – Mani & Kaikhushru -Jimmy, Zerin, Minoo, Hanita & Rrosy
Engineer – Nergish & Hormusjee –Dosu, Katy, Homai & Jeena
Billimoria, Dhunji & sisters Sheroo & Daulat
Kolah – Khorshed & Dali –Baji & Katy
Umrigar brothers -Phiroze, Khurshed & Farokh
Kohina – Banu & Sam –Kerman & Porous
Engineer – Dina & Adi – Behram & Percy
Dick _ Jimmy & Hazel, Stephanie, SHARON, MICHELLE, DARRYL AND RAYMOND
Dick – Zerin & Rony J –Neville, Goolnaz & Farhad
Bhagat – Aban & Jimmy –Roshni, Dinaz & Dimple
Anklesaria – Mani & Dhanji –Farokh & Feringez
Merchant – Dolly & Hoshang –Darayus & Freddy
Merchant – Zerin & Jimmy –Bapsy, Naval & Kashmira
Patel – Daulat & Dinshaw – Nozer & Behram
Pestonji – Sheroo & Cawas – Arnawaz & Dara
Pestonji – Sheroo & Dali –Rona, Zenobia & Percy
Pestonji – Rati & Keki – Firoz & Farokh
Pestonji Pesi & mother Goolbai
Vijli- Khan – Faram roz Eduljee
Elavia – Jaijee & Dosabhai & children – Dolly, Jhangoo, Filly, twins Adi -Aki
Roowala – Ghaveer & Noshir Dinshaw -Armin
Roowala – Seroo & Fali – Lily & Hutokshi
Ogra – Rati & Jhangoo – Gev & Pervez
Gheewala – Nergish & Pesi –Khushrow, Parvez & Zenobia
Bhagalia – Shahbanu & Parvez & 4 children
Mirza – Minoo & Freny -Bapsy, Goolu, Parvez & Katy
Ichaporia – Behram
Maneckjee – Purveen & Minoo – Kashmira & Persis
Maneckjee – Kersi
Anklesaria – Behram & Freny
Boyce- Freny & Filly
Rustoomjee – Rony ,Anahita & Nawroze
Rustomjee – Seroo & Gudy – Rony & Yezdi
Mistry – Dara, wife & son
Bharucha – Burjor & family
FAMILIES: We will endeavor to list the different families in genealogical order
Phirozshah Merwanjee Boyce (who was the First Chairman of the Municpality of Jhansi & also President from 1913 to 1916). In the Jhansi Graveyard the enclosed well & boundary were built thanks to Merwanjee Boyce
As per Phiroze (Filly )Boyce his forefathers came to Jhansi from Morena, near Gwalior, at the request of the British to open a General merchandise store in Jhansi, in the late 19th century. The British were opening up a large cantonment area in Jhansi and they required all sorts of people to tag along for their town settlements.
According to Filly Boyce, his forefathers, two brothers justify Morar, near Gwalior- one for Jhansi and the other for Belgaum, where incidentally they are still operating a large business. The early Boyce family in Jhansi may rightly be called the Rolls Royce of the Parsi’s in Jhansi. They were a very rich, enterprising family who also supported the growing local Parsi community in a big way. Until around 1990, they were still operating their stores partially. But in its glory days the store was a large supplier for European chocolates, liquor, wines, licensed ammunitions & other novelties. The main show room is still a gigantic hall, even by today’s proportion and is not less then 400 feet x 40 feet wide with heavy classical showcases of wood and glass. They were also licensed dealers for the American Ford Motor company in the 1930’s. That can provide an idea of the enterprising spirit of our early Parsis
The Boyce family was probably one of the first ones in the region to own a motorcar & had the Ammunitions license no I for the state of Uttar Pradesh, which they gave up, around 1995.
Purvez Boyce, Fillys mother was a very smart person & she had studied at Girton school in Bombay & is also Related to the famous Justice Baktawar Lentin. Single handedly she managed the business and household after her husbands passing away at an early age
ENGINEER – HORMASJEE
One of the early entrepreneurs, of Jhansi running his own transportation business & probably one of the first bus services around Jhansi. Married to Nergis, sisiter of Kaku, Faram & Tehmuras Bhagat, Hormusjee was a business man and entrepreneur. He had own bus business and also had Tempo House, dealing in Bajaj tempos.
Very enterprising person and also was President of Jhansi Anjuman for a long time in fact from around 1954 to 1982. In his later life, when I had his acquaintance, he was a peaceful man, past his prime and semi-retired, kept time in praying most of the time. Nergis aunty was a fun-loving person, a great personality full of life
Above photo 1: Late Hormusjee Engineer – Pioneer Parsi Businessman and Ex president of Jhansi Parsi Anjuman
Photo 2: Late Tehmuras Bhagat – Indian Army officer
Photo 3: Late Rustam Bhagat – Body Builder & lived in Kanpur
Photo 4: Late Farham Bhagat – Mamu was with the RTO
Photo 5: Late Col. Dara Sethna – Son-in-law of Hormusjee Engineer and husband of Homai Engineer.
Photo 6: Late Dosu (Baba) Engineer
Son: Dosu married Swetty their sons Jeeju, Pinchu & Bobby as well as their deceased daughter Dinaz. Dosu’s sons in Jhansi run own business especially in trucking, civil contracting and vehicles. Dosu was a mechanic by trade and had his own shop for motor cycle repairs at Chitra cinema area for years. Then in the late 1970s he packed up and went to work in Tehran for a few years, made good money and returned back to Jhansi & dabbled in various businesses before settling to retired life
Daughter: Katy the elder daughter married Captain Kersi Guzder, Ship Master, children Jennifer and Nicholas, also married now. Katy lives in Mumbai with retired husband. She did a lot of travelling, with her shippie husband
Daughter: Homai, who was a teacher, married to late Lt Col Dara Sethna has daughters Goolu & Yasmine. She travelled around India with her husband who was in the Indian Army. After her husbands early passing away, she settled back in Jhansi, did some private tuitions teaching etc and stays alone in Jhansi.
Son: Jeena married to Siloo, our Local Elvis and a flamboyant, soft peace loving person, no children, passed away few years back. He was working most of his life for London Pilsner, from where he retired, but did not enjoy much of his retired life.
Jeena the youngest son of Hormusdji & Nergish Engneer was another person who justify a mark on the Jhansi “style makers”. Very suavely dressed at all times, a soft spoken person and our local “Elvis”. He had a red scooter with all accessories one could find. He was married to Siloo, a Bombay girl. The two lived in Jhansi after marriage for a few years before moving to Bombay, where he lived the rest of his life. Jeena worked for London Pilsner and retired from there. He passed away around 2005, in his 50’s.
Kolah family of Jhansi
Photo on left is of Late Seth Phirozshah Sorabjee Kolah Secretary of Parsi Anjuman Jhansi Founder of the Jhansi Zoroastrian Boys Girls School of Jhansi. Today his descendants are settled all around the world we have traced them in New Zealand Canada also
Phirojshah Kolah & his younger brothers Hormusji , Nussurvanjee & Dinshawjee all lived in Jhanis
In Jhansi Phirojshah had a road built at the Aramgah over the nallah (creek) apart from starting the first Parsi school in Jhansi being instrumental in assisting the young community of Parsis in Jhansi.
Savakshah Engineer (father of Adi Engineer ) and Hormusjee Engineer (ie Dossu & Jeena’s father )were real brothers.
Katy Kolahs maternal grandfather, also a Savakshaw Engineer was a first cousin with Savakshaw and Hormusjee Engineer’s of Jhansi He was an engineer in a sugar mill but in various places in the north of India and travelled a bit due to his jobs..
Early Parsi families were employed with the Railways, as driver, guards, workshop foreman & clerks in offices. Their children also followed the elder’s steps and joined and retired from the railways. This trend only changed around 1970.
Hormusjee Sorabjee Kolah was married and his wife was Banumai . Their children
- Perin Hormusjee Kolah lives in Canada
- Late Dali Kolah married to Khorshed & their children Baji & Katy
- Late Dina married to Late Adi Engineer, their children Behram & Percy,settled in Ccanada
- Late Noshir, worked in the Railway workshop
- Late daughter Jeeni
Kolahs in Toronto Canada
Jasmine jassavala of Toronto informs us about her late grandmother Coomi
Her parents: Pirozshah Sorabji Kolah and Alami Pirozshah Kolah. Her paternal grandparents: Sorabji Kolah who came to Jhansi as a guard on the railway. Her maternal grandparents: Hormazji Mirza and Hirabai Mirza. She lived in a place called “Sipri Bazaar” and the family justify for Bombay when granny was 8 after her navjote
Dali Hormusji Kolah married to Khorshed Savakshaw Engineer of Kanpur, worked as Mail Driver in the Railways in Jhansi. In 1952 he suffered an eye injury and was declared medically unfit and worked as Shedman in the Loco shed, Jhansi till he retired. He enjoyed a retired life for 24 years and passed away on 4th. May 2005.
Has son Burjor married to Niloufer Manchershaw Cooper of Kanpur and has two sons Zubin and Aastad. Burjor has obtained a VRS from the Union Bank of India and now lives in Kanpur.
Daughter: Katy married to Keki Minoo Khambatta lives in Pune and her children are Farzana & Arzan (now an ordained priest )
Brother: Noshir, who also was in the Jhansi workshop & both brothers were into body building and wrestling etc. Noshir in later days suffered from cancer & died a bachelor
Sister: Perin is living in Canada, a spinster, and commuted to Jhansi often
Sister: Dina, married to Adi Engineer a famous Jhansi personality and political figure in later days expired in 2006. A businessman and ran a very popular wrestling Akhada (rink) popular with the locals. For freeing a kidnapped child from dacoits, was presented an award also. Was also President of the Jhansi anjuman after Hormusjee Engineer. Have two sons Behram and Percy now settled in Canada. Dina Engineer passed away 10 June 2007
AboveLeft: Navjote of Burjor Kolahs son and shows family. Katy, Barjor with Farzana in arm, Khorshed, Aastad, Zubin, Niloufer, late Dali Kolah & Keki Khambatta Right: Katy Kolah
Late Engineer – Dina & Adi
Adi is the son of Savakshah Engineer, an early pioneer Parsee in Jhansi who was instrumental in starting a business of buses & transportation. From birth he had a defective justify hand & the right hand also had fingers co joined. But this did not deter him from leading a normal life, and as my father told us, he used to lead a more then active life.
He used to run an “Akkhada” – the Indian wrestling and exercise gym & a few of the young Parsee boys used to be members of the same. His gym was a very famous venue in Jhansi.He had an imported MG coupe, which was maintained in typical Parsee fashion-Top condition. Later on in life he was involved in the local political scene & won a local corporate seat and also was awarded a medal for single handedly freeing a kidnapped child from some local dacoits.
A huge elaborate function was held for the occasion and he was ceremoniously awarded the medal by the local political bigwigs of the time. Probably one of the most famous Parsee personalities of Jhansi around the 1970’s was obviously Adi “Baba” EngineerHe also was President of the Parsee Anjuman after Hormasjee Engineer for a long time.
Dina was from the famous Kolah family & lived with her brothers Dali, Noshir & sister Perin in the Railway colony, next to the Kohina family and the elder family members like Soli & Sam, still have nostalgic memories of those childhood days. A very loving person who has being tutoring primary school children for as long as we can remember.
Both Dina & Adi passed away just a few years back only.
Dina & Adi (baba) Engineer, have two sons Behram and Percy, both are settled in Canada. The 3 photos below are of their family members.
Their palatial home in the middle of Sipri Bazaar, opposite to the famous Rama Book stores, was recently sold off (2008), as the brothers Behram and Percy, are settled in Canada for last over 30 years & probably may never return to Jhansi to settle down. At time of upgrade in 2009 of this website , both Adi & Dina have passed on, but their memories stay with us
Late Khurshed UMRIGAAR
The Umrigar brothers Phiroze, who was settled in Bombay, Khurshid (Lal Kaka) & Farokh, another smart debonair person were very popular in Jhansi and had loyal friends. Lal Kaka as Khurshid was always called worked, in the DRM office and was a soldier with the Indian reserve force and served in the 1971 war.
Farokh was a senior Ticket Examiner, a dapper tall smart person, who died suddenly after retirement in Mumbai. All brothers died bachelors. Khurshed Umrigar’s father was Jal Umrigar and mother Tehmina Umrigar.
Jal and Kaikhushroo Umrigar were brothers. Khurshed or as he was popularly called – Lalkaka (Uncle Red) due to his face being red most times, worked at the Divisional Regional Managers office in Jhansi & was also instrumental in offering me a bit of typing practice when I was learning typing in 1977 after my High school exams. He taught me not to cross-hand from justifying to the right side, or as he said – You will not be able to overcome it and it will form a habit. But then I was a young green kid of 16 years and did not listen. Today I still suffer from it and many times I remember him fondly & wish fervently I had listened to him at the time.
ALAMAI & KAIKHUSHROO UMRIGAR, neighbours of Minoo & Freny Mirza were also in Jhansi for a long time
If anyone has any information on these brothers or their parents please email us. Thanks
Late DICK – Dhun & Jehangir
An Engine driver who built a beautiful home in civil lines, and Dhunmaiji a free spirited woman, molded in a different type altogether, a vivacious person full of life and zest, full of adventure, who taught me, as a young boy the importance of independence, self reliance and living life to the full. Later on in life she lived alone, her way, & was an excellent cook. We were lucky to have been close to her and learned so much. Dhunmai passed away on the 25th January 2000.
Their children: The oldest were twin girls who died when they were infants.
Son Godrej, a colourful personality who was a master of situations, and roamed the country in his own manner. Married late in life to Shirley and has a son. He was settled in various towns, across the country, in various jobs. He passed away on 21st March 2006Son
Jamshed Jehangir (better know as Jimmy Dick – or Jimmy Kaka), who married Hazel Roberts and they have 5 children (Stephanie married to Carlton Ellis; Sharon married to Anshuman Goswami ; Michelle married to Shakil; Darryl married in 2009, and Raymond married to Jessica) Jimmy & Hazel have only 4 grandchildren -3 grandsons (Danish & Kamil Shakil and Kaizad Dick) and the only granddaughter (Rayanna Dick) Jimmy started as a fireman & retired as Senior A Grade Engine Driver. He was the Inaugural Driver to the new Super fast train, of that time, -The New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express clocking 150 kms/hr on 14th November 1988
Daughter Katy was a trained Nurse and married S T D’souza better know as Bob, flight navigator Air India, now lives in Santa Cruz & Versova. She has 4 married children (Michael, Margaret, Kevin & Steven) and grandchildren too.
Son Rony married to Zerin Bhagat in 1969 & their children are Neville married to Feringez (daughter of Godrej Pestonji also of Jhansi), daughter Goolnaz married to Cyrus Debara of Calcutta & presently living in Dubai & son Farhad married to Yasmin original from Vyara near Bulsar. Rony also started as a fireman and retired as senior driver driving some of the first superfast trains of India & is also President of the Jhansi Parsi Anjuman
Daughter Parviz better know as Panoo , now lives in Canada after she retired as Chief Air Hostess Indian Airlines and is still unmarried.
May 2009, Stephanie & Sharon recall:
Railway House – D-352 Over Bridge Road, Jhansi There’s a history to this House….This picture is taken at our front gate with us facing our Railway House. In the background you can see the row of houses – Similarly, D352 was the 4th & last house in the row from the road called Over Bridge Road where for 4 generations of the Dick family lived! Wow!
I was very young and I use to get nightmares, and I’d like to believe a story my dad told me then. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. My Dad took my hand and said you never should be frightened as this is a very safe home….! He took me to the kitchen and showed me one of the kitchen floor slabs – black stone – Of course, I was too little to read that big 3 names etched on the floor, I could read “Dick” of the 3 names etched on the floor.
It just said, “Eduljee Ardeshir Dick” and my dad told me that it was his grandfather’s name, he used to live in this house which was allotted to him by the Railways. Not only did my great grandfather live in this house, my grandfather Jehangir Eduljee too was born in this very house and so was my dad born in the bedroom on those very big wooden Parsi beds, which we still had in the existing bedroom…….How wonderful is that???
I never thought I’d tell this story, but now I can share this story on your website.
My dad was just an ordinary fireman when his father died and he took full responsibility for his siblings and widowed mother.Then he noticed a new girl in town, she was Miss Hazel Roberts, Anglo Burmese, Daughter of Major G. A. Roberts who was living with her grand mother and grand father who was a big wig in the Railways at that time.She used to go to do her shorthand and typing with a friend in the army area and dad (Jimmy) would follow on the cycle.
He asked for an intro to her through another railway Anglo Indian friend who knew her well. Leonard Eastwood. He used to refer to her as Maam, then they dated and she met my grandmother Dhun, who was extremely fond of her and then they got married in the church, and my grandmother cried loads. Then dad worked up the ladder to C-grade driver till he retired as 1st Shatabdi Driver of India nearly fifteen years ago.
They have five children – Stephanie, Sharon, Michelle, Darryl and Raymond. All studied in Jhansi St Francis Convent and Christ the King respectively. Ray boy did a short stint at St Marks too.Steffie went on to train to become a teacher in Pune, has been teaching since 1979 . Sharon went on to become a top secretary in Delhi with connections right up to the highest political office.
Mitchelle did a stint in the hospitality line and then decided to join the teaching profession & teaches in the same school as Stephanie. Darryl was in the courier service and is now in his own line of business. Ray is with the BPO… Michelle has two sons. Danish and Kamil, and Ray has two kids Kaizad and Rayanne
Jimmy had an illustrious career and now rides around town at the age of 73 on a Bajaj Pulsar, doing social work and helping the needy. He was a very strict father and we have memories of him stopping the steam engines under the Over Bridge and we would either run down to meet him if he blew his steam engine whistle or he would come up the bridge to meet us, and what a thrill we would get. I wpuld like u to know that after Rosy Bhagat I was the fastest Parsi/ Christian girl, on the track and field in St Francis Convent in Jhansi
DICK – Rony and Zerin
Zerin worked her whole life as a teacher in St Marks School in the primary section and retired as Deputy Principal. Rony was an engine driver and retired as senior driver and was awarded also. He is President of Jhansi Anjuman and did a lot for the association bringing in new life to a stagnant community.
He is ever ready to assist the Jhansi Parsis & had the Aramgah and Jehangir Baug cleaned up and kept presently neat and clean always. He is still actively involved with the Anjuman & after retirement now lives in Bharucha baug Andheri, Mumbai.Their children are:
Son: Neville, is married to Feringez (Daughter of Gudy & Dolly Pestonji, Gudy also of Jhansi) and they have a son Arwan 2 years, settled Salsette Parsi Colony Bombay. Daughter: Goolnaz, married to Cyrus Debara of Calcutta, now living in Dubai & they have a son Teeyan. Son: Farhad married to Yasmin. He works as flight attendant, living in Bharucha Baug Mumbai.
Late ANKLESARIA – Dhanji & Mani
Dhanji Uncle, one of my dad’s childhood buddies, and a person who has always lived proudly in Jhansi, has a lot to add to this website work also. The first person to agree to part his experiences in Jhansi to me, was a fountain of knowledge of the past & some of the things he informed me, just knocked me down.
A keen cricketer along with daddy & my Uncles he has fond memories of their childhood and teenage years, full of yarns & anecdotes. His wife Mani, a generous and very loving person passed away just a few years ago.
His daughter Feringez lives in New Delhi with her husband & son Farokh is a Master mariner, traveling the world on ships. Dhanji Uncle started life as a train guard, just like my Dad, but moved on to offline work and retired as Senior Station master Jhansi railway, and we remember, although kids, how the station suddenly looked all neat, clean & tidy after Dhanji uncle took over as Stationmaster. He was also awarded for his services by the railways. Read his interview for more information. A keen musician he used to play musical instruments & perform on stage also.
Dhanji M Anklesaria was born on 23 January 1923. He has always lived his life in Jhansi, proudly and with no regrets.He was a very good friend of my fathers and he assisted me with a lot of information on the early Parsis of Jhansi, when I approached him. In a long discussion with him we learned the following information.Dhanji uncle’s father, was Munchershaw Naoroji Anklesaria, who justify Pune in 1869 at the young age of 17 years to come to Jhansi and work in the railways.After a dint of hard work and settling down in Jhansi
Munchershaw married and had 5 children. The sons were Dorabjee, Sorabjee, Behram & Dhanji (photo in November 2006). Dhanji’s sister was Perin married to Rustamji Bahadur. Jhansi at the time of Dhanjis growing up was an isolated town with a strong Military and Railway presence. A lot of small princely principalities were around Jhansi.
There were small Princely states and they used to go and play cricket with the neighbouring teams, in those places, quiet often. Most of these were in Gwalior, Bijna, Datia, Tikamgarh, Orcha, Panna etc and the local rajas used to be hosts to the teams from Jhansi.According to Dhanji Uncle, the British were very smart and used to control the country through the railway and military.
In those early days train speeds were no where near to what they are now. Engines were coal fired, steam engines. In those early days, at most small railway stations, the arrival of a train and unloading passengers & goods used to be the highlight of the day for the locals there. Most Railway stations including even Jhansi, in the early days did not even have any overhead cover and were open to the natural elements.
The bigger stations used to have a few large pepul or neem trees for shade, with birds making it their home and there used to be a lot of cleaning up required each morning.
Dhanji uncle joined the then Railways in 1944 as a guard in the Jabalpore division. After a few years, he was transferred to the Jhansi division, & around 1950 he transferred to the off-line station duty. He retired as Station Superintendent and won several awards for cleanliness, operations & maximum goods transfers, etc. He retired in 1982. During their young days, life in Jhansi was great fun and a lot of social activity took place.
A social club was started around 1945 after a lot of resistance from a lot of orthodox elders. According to him, Boman Mirza, Keki Pestonji (my father) & he had to go door knocking to the Parsi houses to convince them of the merits of the club and to join up. After a while Manekshaw Mirza (Minoo Mirzas Uncle) assisted along with Sorabjee Batlivala & Burjorjee Surty (my grandmother’s brother) & the club then took off.
A lot of moral support in early days was provided to the youngsters and they also had a library.In 1946 the club took off in full swing and enrolled large number of people as members. There was arrangement for table tennis, badminton, volleyball, tug of war and other games. A lot of outdoor picnics were organised regularly.
People traveling in bullock-drawn carts or the tongas. There used to be huge movie sessions at Laskala, Laxmi & Sipri movie theatres, and as per Dhanji uncle, the whole cinema hall used to be booked out for the Parsis & friends. At that time there were around 85 families & over 500 members
The Parsi cricket club and gym were popular meeting points. The cricket opponents the Europeans Institute club, the Crown club of the Muslims & Tandon garden Sipri club were regular opponents.
Dhanji’s uncle himself was a keen player of hockey, cricket, and music. On Sundays, the groups would travel to the sports grounds for the full day and have good fun with the full families joining in. Hormusjee Engineer used to supply his bus in later days for transport & was also their cricket captain. (I could not refrain from asking him if Hormusjee Uncle was Captain because he supplied the transport, but Dhanji Uncle said, No, it was because he was an excellent cricketer.)
A question I specifically wanted to ask him was about his feelings and the general Parsee populations, when India became a free country on 15 August 1947. He informed me, there was no fear, animosity or dred for the Indian government, as such the Parsees in Jhansi were not politically inclined towards any particular group.
Parsees had very good relation in Jhansi with the locals always. The Parsis were known for their hard work, loyalty, fairness but above all for honesty. The British allowed the Parsis in their running rooms also.
In those days around 1945, a steam engine train would take approximately 9 hours to travel from Jhansi to Agra, now done in around 3 hours. A mail train from Jhansi to Delhi was a 12-hour run then, now can be done in 4 hours. Dhanji uncle has many very fond memories of his Jhansi.
He is very proud to have lived here, no regrets, the food in the markets are fresh, everything is available and life is peaceful & plentiful. He feels the future is not bleak, but the Parsee children need to become more enthusiastic, dynamic & responsible for them selves.
The lethargy in life has to be shaken off, youngsters need to roughen out things & learn of life & education is most important. He should know it, his wife Mani was a wonderful teacher who must have taught thousands of young children in her career in Jhansi private schools. Dhanji’s uncle’s son is Farokh and he sails the world as a Marine ship captain.
His wife Mani, passed away just a few years back. His daughter Feringez is married to Ex Governor of Maharashtra & Air Marshal Latifs son. She has two children both grown up named Saheer & Zeeshan, who are making a wonderful career for themselves.
2008: Ferengez is a teacher like her mother and is settled in New Delhi in NoidaFeringez & Alys daughter Seher assists in advertising film production work specialising in casting and as an assistant director, generally is the director’s right hand. She is just wrapping up a catalogue shoot for a UK crew and will be active on an Airtel commercial involving an international crew/director.
Zishaan their 22-year-old son is into photography and has just completed an assignment for the TATA Trust. Is now busy putting up his website. Aly is in advertising. For the past five years, he has been a Consultant and has been involved with many campaigns for the Ministry of tourism – Incredible India etc.
Late MIRZA – Minocher & Freny
Minocher Mirza, popularly known as Minoo was a fun loving and enterprising person in the Jhansi Parsi group. He was an Engine driver of the old school, starting with steam engines and graduating to the fast mail trains. Parsi drivers were known for their hard work, dedication to the job and fairness to their subordinates.
Minocher Mirza was the son of Mahyarjee Mirza. His wife Freny and 4 children, spent their early life in Jhansi. The family Mirza was one of the Dastoor (Mobed) family in Jhansi. They had a huge bungalow of their own in Charlie Gunj which was built by his father Mahyarjee Mirza. It was called Minocher Lodge and had 14 rooms with a massive garden which grew fruits like plums, mulberries, custard apples, guavas, papayas and many more.
Minocher Mirza worked in the Central Railway and he was promoted as a Taj Express Driver in the latter part of his career which was one of the most respectful and highest engine driver posts in the Railways.
He was awarded a gold medal and a prize of 1000 rupees from Dr. Rajendra Prasaad as he brought him in time for a very important meeting in Delhi which was next to impossible as the train was running late but in the end he made up for the delay.
A brief description of the family members: Minocher Mirza’s father Mahyarjee, also worked in the Central Railways. Mahyarjee, had a monkey named Mickey who used to ride on the family dog and go to the Sipri Bazaar markets to buy fruits and vegetables. Everybody in the market named him the sahib with a monkey. Mickey was a very intelligent monkey and loved his master.
One day a servant complained to Mahiyarjee about Minocher, about some trifling issue and Mickey was upset so he locked the servant in the kitchen the whole day for complaining about the young Minoo. Freny, was a very devoted housewife and she brought up 4 children who are now well settled with children of their own also. Daughter Bapsy, graduated and took up teaching and worked in Bombay Scottish school. Son Purvez Mirza graduated, worked in Bombay and is now settled in Kuwait, working in the University of Kuwait.
Daughter Gool graduated and took up teaching and is now the Headmistress of the Junior section in Wadia Wacha school in Bombay. Daughter Katy graduated and worked as a travel agent in Iran, Singapore and now is settled in Perth, Western Australia with her husband Minocher & son Neil.
Late GHEEWALLA – Pesi & Nergish
Pesi Gheewalla and Nergish lived in the railway officer’s quarters and Pesi was a Guard on the Mail lines. After serving his whole life in the railways, they saved and also purchased a house in Charli Gunj where they stayed happily for a long time, before migrating to Bombay.
Pesi’s parents, Phirozshaw Edulji Gheewalla and Jer Phirozshaw Gheewalla, were from a small town in Harda. Nargish’s parents, Edulji Doctor and Bamanbai Doctor, were also from Harda but later settled in Nagpur. Pesi was an active person in his youth and young life and also played Hockey in his young days for the Railways.
Nargish was a movie buff which she used to enjoy viewing, in her youth it was on the big screen but now on television at home. She was an excellent cook. Pesi passed away on 18th September 2004 in Mumbai. Nergish passed away in Mumbai. Her roj is Adar and Mah is Dae and date of death is 24th May at 2015 hrs.
They have three children: Son Khusroo, married to Mahazarine, and is settled in Canada. Their children are Saenaya and Syreen. Son Parvez married to Sachi and settled in Mumbai. Their children are Ira and Zeus.
Daughter Zenobia married Captain Viraf Motivala of Mumbai, Master Mariner & settled in Mumbai with daughters Kainaz & Karishma. Kainaz did Journalism, assisted in launching a fashion magazine, and then has joined the Bollywood film industry as a young budding actress, with some major banners.
KOHINA – Sam & Hoshang
Porous after leaving Jhansi studied in Bombay & finished off as a Chartered Accountant & is now settled in Kuwait with his family. We met up after almost 25 years when we met on 2 January 2009 in Mumbai , for his sons Navjote & it was a great nostalgic time. The whoel Kohina family was there, all the same cherpy & jolly lot & we had the pleasure of meeting the new members of the family also.
Paurus’s wife is Jasmin & his son’s are Burzin & Danesh, aged 10 & 5 respectively in 2008. Paurus works for an International bank. Sam’s brother is Hoshang, former Deputy chairman of Union bank & presently the Chairman of the Zoroastrian Bank. He is involved as a Trustee of various charities and assists.
Sams twin brother is Sohrab settled in Mody Colony in Pune. In their youth in Jhansi they lived as neighbors to the Kolah family of the time and were all growing up together ie Dali, Noshir, Dina, Perin, etc & Sohrab still remembers it all fondly & recounts it to Katy in Pune whenever they meet.
We had the privellige of meeting Nari Contractor, a leading cricketer of India in Mumbai in January 2009 and were regaled by his stories. He remembers his early days in Tikamgarh very fondly, from where his family hails.
His father was Nariman & mother Phirooza. The family ran a distillery named Abkari, in the Orcha state. Started around 1934 & wound down around the 1950’s. In those days of his youth there was only one bus, that came in the day from Lalitpur, which was 36 kms away.
If you missed that bus, there was no way of reaching Lalitpur, but wait for the next day. Life was hard. He remembers his grandfather travelling in bullock carts. His wife Dolly worked for Proteus engineering & also KSB Engineering & Pump s for years. Nari regailed us with the stories of how one could buy a lot of food with just a few paisa in those days & if our own father & uncle had not told us these things in our youth, we would find it hard to believe.
Naris sister is Sherry who is heavily involved into Meditation and training others achieve mental peace in life. She travels the world with her dedicated work. His brother is settled in the UK and retired in 1971 from an Export Import firm Nari studied in the famous Parsi boy’s town school in Nasik from around 1941 to 1950. In his youth he fondly remembers the people who played along with him like Munir Khan, Kishan Lal, Durga Prasad .
Those days they use to have the Orcha sports weeks also, where in people from around the neighbouring districts participated in local sporting activities.Naris wife is Dolly. Nari’ s son is Hoshadyar who is a Vice President with a major Indian Business house and settled in Shanghai.
Their daughter Mehera is a beautician for the Indian film stars & both are dedicated and well settled in their line of work. Nari lives in Bombay South, in one of the prestigious Parsi colonies with his wife
Late NOSHIR ROOWALA
Noshir & wife Ghaveer Roovala performed yeoman service for the community. Noshir was Secretary for almost 35 long years, performing his responsibilities with utmost dedication and enthusiasm. A railway guard by profession, and a very jolly, fun loving very active & enthusiastic person. Ghaveer aunty was a bit of a disciplinarian, but with a very large heart, for children.
Her home was open for most children,for the tuitions with Master Nautyal. In fact she was very instrumental in looking after Master Nautyal in his older days, especially when he had a stroke and was in the German hospital. It was then, she forced him to inform her of his family roots etc, as no one knew anything about our Masterjee. I used to assist her in those days, look after him, probably as was the only male student around, justify in Jhansi at the time.
This was around 1979. She was informed he was from Garhwal, so she wrote to the family there, who had never heard from him for over 50 years, and Masterjees younger brother and a daughter came and looked after him, then when he was recovered they took him back, where after a few months he passed on. His influence will always be felt by grateful Jhansi students who he nurtured in scores from young ages to teenage and till they obtained jobs.
Remember remember , the 5th of November. Masterjees birthday. God Bless His soulMany years ago Noshir Uncle passed on, leaving a huge irrecoverable vacuum in the Jhanis parsi community, specially the committee. Ghaver aunty kept the work going for a while, then packed her bags & moved over to Bombay to be with their only child Armin .
Armin is married and now am told lives in Hong kong, after a few years living in Singapore.Ghaver also passed away a few years ago Noshir brother who was also in Jhansi passed away when quiet young around 1970 & is survived by his wife Sheroo & daughters Lily and Hutokshi, both girls now married with kids and living in Switzerland & London. (If any one has any contacts with Armin, Lily or Hutokshi, kindly advise us or request them to contact us)
ROOWALLA - Godrej Subject: Jhansi. Dear Firoz, Thank you for developing www.parsisinjhansi.com. One can hardly imagine of the hard work you have put in to make something so wonderful and without any commercial interest. God bless you and your family and all those who have been your inspiration or help for this project. I am Rumi Godrej Roowalla. My dad, Godrej Manchersha Roowalla, was born and brought up in Jhansi. He was a railway driver, who spent most of his life out of Jhansi. My grandfather Manchersha Kavasji Roowalla was a railway employee too. His grave (number 255) is in Jhansi, so our part always remains in Jhansi. You have done a great job in refreshing the memories of all those who are associated with Jhansi. I am sure our family must have been close to each other in the old days, I remember my dad speaking about Mr. Jimmy Dick, who was his dear friend. Now that my dad has passed away, I can rely on this web site to tell me all those stories, and all because of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Regards, Rumi Godrej Roowalla.
Late OGRA Jehangir (Jhangoo)
Jehangir Ogra popularly known to all as Jhangoo was also a quiet reserved person in his mid age. As a youngster with my father and Behram Icchaporia they used to be a rowdy gang of youth, playing pranks on people, have a gala time at the railway institute & their antics at various sporting events were full of fun. Jhangoo Ogra was married to Rati, and had two sons Geive & Parveez.
He was a very close friend of my fathers. Jhango was in the banking industry and retired as Manager of the Central bank in Jhansi. They lived in Charlie gunj, close to other Parsee families like the Mirza, Bhagalias & Gheewalas.
His writing, I still remember was so neat, that one would think it was Italic print, Remarkable. His son Geive completed his Masters in Art from Jhansi and moved to Bombay, where later he joined up Godrej & Boyce, working for the HR department in the furniture manufacturing division & later moved on to the Thans sales office, where again he excelled and was transferred to look after the office in Dubai.
Gev did his MBA (Marketing) from Rhuia’s – Welingkar College of Management, Devp, & Research then Bombay University in 1993
.Gev is married to Veera (Veena) and his sons name is Ruzaan. Later on he moved on to the USA, where he is settled now with his wife and son & operates his own business.Jhango & Rati’s other son Pervaz did his BA & later a Mechanics course at the local ITI & then moved to Bombay and later on to Gujarat, where presently he is in a senior position with a pump manufacturing company.
He has a daughter. His daughter has just graduated recently & is to be married in January 2010. . Pallu as Parvez is popularly and fondly remembered, works for Ingersoll Rand as a manager for 1/2 of GujaratJhangoo’s ancestors His father Khan Saheb Dossabhoy Coverjee Ogra was the GM GIPR Carriage Workshop) JHS Div
His mother Cooverbai Dossabhoy OgraHis sister is Soona who married into the Nuggud family of Burma
Soona married to Ruttonsha S. Nuggud (Rice Broker from Rangoon –Burma who in his early days had 3 Race Horses and was involved in the Racing industry. Unfortunately they had to leave everything and run away from Burma, when Burma turned Communist in 1963 Doosabhoy after retirement migrated to Bombay and was the owner of Swabal Store at Tardeo but finally returned to Jhansi after 8/10 years.
Later on aaround the 1980s the Swabal stores was managed by a Mr Vakil for years, a very smart businessman, from whom it was almost impossible to extract any money for supply of the Jhansi plums we used to do. Many were the friendly tiffs I had with him. Doosabhoys friends before he died were Minoo Mirza, Bijlikhan, Bhagalia, Boyce & one of the Pestonji
Jhangoo studied at Nasik Boys Town with other Jhansi children of Ardesars, Kolas, Boyce & Pestonjees (Olias) Soona his sister studied at the famous Mayo School of Ajmer until 6/7 the grade.
Dossabhoy was instrumental in getting a large donation for Jhansi Parsi Anjuman from Bombay and also the famous aluminium herse carriage for the deceased (buggi) was donated through him to the community & is still in useJhango uncle used to work in the Central bank of India and retired as Manager of the Jhansi branch. He was a buddy friend of my fathers, and both used to have lots of laughs and memories when they used to meet. Rati aunty used to be at home and look after things.
A very lovely lady, we used to attend Master Nautiyals tuition at their home for a while and Gev & Parvez/Pallu used to be there also. Gev did his MA & Pallu also did a trade course in ITI Jhansi after his BA, before moving to Bombay. Rati aunty passed away early in life in 1980 After retiring from Central bank of Jhansi, Jhangoo left for Bombay staying with his sons and also took up some work at a security firm. He passed away around 1996.
MANECKJEE NARI Mr
Nari Maneckjee ,brother of Minoo & Kersi left Jhansi at an early age in 1962 & came over to Bombay. He joined the Western Railways and stayed with them till he retired as Senior Motorman . He is married and has a daughter Farzana.
Nari remembers his early days in Jhansi with nostalgia. He remembers all of the Olia family living near to each other in a line on Mission Road. The first house on the corner was of Dosabhai Sheriyarjee , then their house then Kaku Bhagat & then Cawas Pestonji. In fact they had cut the boundary wires between their properties so the children would not walk the road but travel safely in each others officers bunglow properites. Nari remembers his childhood days very fondly and can relate a lot of fun times and stories. He still visits Jhansi often and attends the St Judes fair often
His only daughter- Farzana is married to Zubin Bhada, son of Comomdore Maryomand Bhada of the Indian Navy .Zubin himself is a ships Master of the Merchant Navy. They were in New Zealand for a few years and are now settled in Perth with their children- Farhan & Freya. Incidentally Zubins father & Our Ervad Sapal of Jhansi are first cousins also.