J N Tata Parsee Girls High School

In 1887 the Empress Mills started a Gujarati school for children of its employees with two Mehtajis and one master, N Madan. It was a primary school. Boys went for further studies to SFS School and a few girls to the St Joseph’s Convent where, during those days, only 16% non-Christian students were allowed. Therefore, a private school for girls up to Std VI was started in 1901 by an enterprising and competent Parsee lady, Tehmina Karani.

The school could accommodate only 40 girls and boys. To meet the shortage of seats, Karani along with Sir Bezonji Mehta, Goolbai Cama, Peshotan Kotwal, DK Kamdin, Bezonji Pestonjee and Jamshedji Billimoria starting the Parsee Girls’ High School. Karani amalgamated her private girls’ school with the Empress Mills Gujarati School. Soon, Parsee philanthropists and others came forward with donations. With the help of Sir Dorabji Tata, who offered an impressive sum with the request to name the institution after his father Sir Jamshetji Tata, the JN Tata Parsee Girls’ High School was born in 1920.

Then, slowly arose a magnificent building on the two plots of land opposite the Jumma Talao – one donated by the Empress Mills and the other by Seth Jamnadas Potdar. The new building was declared open on November 1, 1926 by Lady Butler, the then governor of CP & Berar. The school was given recognition in 1927. With the swelling numbers, the school building also needed to be expanded. In 1930 a large auditorium was constructed on the top of the front wing, to accommodate 500 people. It was later tiered and carpeted with felt. In 1955, wings were added on top of both, east and west ground floors to house a spacious and well-equipped laboratory on one side and classrooms on the other. In 1959 the west wing was enclosed to form classrooms for the senior school.

The school building is a Grade II structure in the list of heritage building and conservation areas published by the state government. It is a colonial style building constructed around a courtyard and has exposed brick masonry painted red with sandstone columns. The school has laboratories and a clean domestic science department, terraces for games and PT, a well-stocked library and reading room, a recreation room for students and a comfortable staff room for teachers. There is a neat little garden in front with a Grecian statue to enhance the beauty of the surroundings. In 1965, the school was given a grant by the zilla parishad and thus became a government-aided school. The school has produced many outstanding students like Swati Dandekar, Dr Jamshed Irani, Sonal Mansingh, Dina Dalal among many others.

Its current use

The school has 55 teachers and 20 non-teaching employees. About 2,200 students from kindergarten to Std 10th are studying in the school. Rani Trivedi is the 9th principal of this school. To meet the increasing number of students, the trust built a new building where earlier there were school staff quarters. The new building houses class 5th, 6th and 7th students. The schools also has a computer lab, canteen and playground for students. The school has a separate physics, chemistry and biology laboratory. Every year the school adopts two poor children and given them free of cost education from kindergarten to Std X.

  • KANGA.

    The School is named as a Parsi School. How many Parsi pupils are studying as of now, is not stated.
    Like other assets of our Parsi pioneers, this too, I assume, is without the beneficiaries for whom it was established.
    Is the writing on the wall not visible for other assets in Bombay and what would be their fate in years to come?
    One can assist a genuinely blind person but nothing can be done for those who cover their eyes with cobwebs of bigotry.

  • roney amroliwalla

    Type your comment here….
    For readers who do not know, the school is at NAGPUR and has acquired the status of being one of the leading GIRLS school in central India .Nowhere have you mentioned this fact

  • Boman.

    Will the author reconcile the following:.
    It is said that it is a GIRLS School but on the other hand it is said that ‘The school has produced many outstanding students like …………., Dr Jamshed Irani…………….” ?

  • Soli Buhariwala

    It is a PARSEE School for the benefit of Society.
    The number of Parsi students studying in the school now is immaterial. However, no Parsi student should be denied admission in the school eternally.

  • Anti indifference.

    Soli Buhariwala proclaims ‘ It is a PARSEE School for the benefit of Society.’ Why avoid an issue rightly raised by Kanga? Going by standard of ‘reasoning’ expressed by Soli Buhariwalla, after some years we will say that even premises of our Fire Temples (since deserted due to lack of population ) ‘were for benefit of Society.
    No, I am not even remotely suggesting conversion bogey. All that I am saying is that when we know that few Parsis will be left in years to come,why not ‘encash’ on the properties and utilise the proceeds for benefit of existing Parsee Zoroastrians. If a Parsee School has no Parsee students, would itr not be better to sell off the premises (after due permissions) and utilise the proceeds for say for defraying cost of higher education of youngsters of our community.Should we remain mute spectators to dissipation of assets bequeathed by our ancestors?
    Similarly such sale proceeds could be used for subsidizing the medical care and the elderly Parsees.
    For example, the premises of erstwhile Lying in Home are vacant since decades. Was it an object of this Trust to keep its premises vacant?

  • Delnavaz

    Hi, nice article. thank you for sharing this info with us.

  • Ahsan Rafique

    Type your comment here…
    I am a Pakistani Muslim, and understand that I have no right to interefer in your internal affairs. Even then I will say that comments of “anti indifference” gather mass. Your community should sale out such assets and must finance your youngsters to marry and raise larger number of children.