Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

A year on, JJ Hospital finally gets Rs. 52 Lacs from Maneck Sanjana’s Estate

In January 2011, JJ received an email that a Parsi woman had left 100,000 Canadian dollars for it. But the hospital authorities thought of it as an elaborate online fraud

By Santosh Andhale | Mumbai Mirror

Congratulations! You are entitled to receive 100,000 Canadian dollars. Send us your account details so that we could facilitate the transfer.

If you had such an email in your inbox, you would probably frown and delete it. If your new-to-email dad gets it, you would painstakingly try to explain why that email is a fraud. So one can understand that when state-run JJ Hospital received such a mail in January last year, they chose to ignore it. Only this time, it was for real.

A Canada-based Parsi millionairess had actually donated 100,000 Canadian dollars (that’s about Rs 52 lakh) to the hospital. And after a year of living in utter disbelief, the hospital authorities have finally received the large sum.

Maneck K Sanjana, who died in Toronto on November 13, 2006 at the age of 89, had willed large sums of money to hospitals in Canada and to the Parsi wards of JJ, Byculla-based Masina hospital and Parsi General Hospital.

In January 2011, Sanjana’s estate executor Edul Kanga had sent a mail to JJ hospital asking for the its bank account so that the money could be transferred. Being privately owned, other hospitals received the sum through foreign exchange, but the state-run JJ hospital could not. But JJ authorities didn’t respond to the mail fearing that revealing its account number could expose the hospital to potential fraudsters.

In March 2011, Kanga then contacted the state health department, which promptly forwarded his mail to JJ, giving the e-mail some sense of credibility. But the hospital still chose to tread carefully. A new account was opened with the State Bank of India’s Byculla branch and an affidavit was drawn saying that the money transferred into the account will be used only on patients of the Parsi ward as willed by Maneck.

JJ hospital dean Dr TP Lahane said that it was a case of better be safe than sorry. “We have heard of a lot of phishing cases. The hospital did not want to take the risk of losing its own money by giving out its own account number to the Canadian woman’s lawyer. But we also did not want to lose such a large donation,” he said.

“Even in this case, there was no activity for over four months after we opened the account. It was only last month that the money was credited into the account. We have already started spending money on the Parsi ward,” Lahane said.

Sir J J hospital is one of the oldest and largest hospitals in Southeast Asia. The 1,352-bed hospital has a separate ward for Parsi patients. A foreign donation to this 150-year-old hospital has been rare, he said.

In an email response to Mumbai Mirror, Sanjana Estate executor Edul Kanga, also a good friend of the Sanjanas expressed happiness that finally everything has worked out well.

“The money can now be spent by the Dean of JJ Hospital, in concurrence with the Sir JJ Charity Trust, for the Parsi Ward inmates of the hospital,” he said.

Who are the Sanjanas

Maneck Sanjana grew up in Parel and went to a Parsi girl’s school. She was the vocal teacher at the prestigious J. B. Petit School for Girls. She often sang on All India Radio. She also studied singing in Siena, Italy.

Sanjana along with her husband Khurshed, whom she knew from her days as a soloist with BMSO choir, migrated to Canada in 1957 and settled in Toronto.

Khurshed worked for Canadian Law Reports and William Mercer Co. (Toronto) for many years. He died on April 6, 1997.

Maneck died in 2006, donating most of her property to charity and making family friend Edul Kanga as the executor