Tehmulji Parsi Lying-In Hospital May be Demolished

Parsi maternity home on the block

Tucked away in a quiet lane off D N Road is one of the city’s oldest infirmaries–the charmingly named Dr Tehmulji’s Parsi Lying-in hospital. Built more than a century ago in 1895, the heritage building near New Excelsior cinema is up for sale.

For generations, Parsi women have delivered their babies in these high-ceilinged rooms and, as was the post-natal practice of the time, continued to stay on for as long as 40 days to recuperate. “Virtually an entire generation of Parsis was born in this hospital,” a community member said. But over the years, the hospital fell into disuse, with mothers preferring to head straight home after delivery. For years now, the hospital has had a single patient and the building is virtually abandoned except for a lone tenant on the ground floor.

“We have been receiving proposals from various parties. But any sale has to be done with the charity commissioner’s permission,” said Minoo Shroff, chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayat, which owns the two-storey building. “We will have to invite proper bids to sell it.”

The hospital has no shortage of suitors. The neighbouring Cathedral and John Connon school has offered to buy the property for Rs 35 crore. Principal Meera Issac confirmed this to TOI, stating that the offer was made some time ago. “But nothing has moved since then,” she said. Cathedral is interested in the property so that it can use the extra space to expand its own premises. The Hinduja Group, which had plans to start a super-speciality hospital, also put in its bid. However, its offer is much lower than Cathedral’s.

About eight years ago, the managing committee of the hospital was contemplating selling the building to the Ambanis for Rs 16 crore. However, one committee member raised objections saying that selling the hospital was akin to selling the family silver. Subsequently, the Shapoorji Pallonji group came forward to adopt the hospital. However, the trustees reportedly turned it down when the Pallonjis wanted to rename the hospital after their family.

“Ideally, the punchayat could have started it once again by investing Rs 10 crore. However, there is no initiative,” said punchayat trustee Dinshaw Mehta.

Located on Prescott Road and named after its founder Dr Tehmulji Bhicaji Nariman, the grey stone lying-in hospital was touted as the first of its kind for Parsi women in India. Its managing committee once comprised community stalwarts like J N Tata, N J Wadia, Sorabji Shapurji Bengali and Sorabji Framji Patel.

According to city historian Sharada Dwivedi, the hospital was originally opened in 1887 at the initiative of Dr Nariman in a small house facing the sea on Marine Lines. As accommodation was limited, a plot was acquired in the Hornby Estate, where the building is currently located.

“The hospital is listed as a Grade 2B heritage structure, which means that it cannot be demolished,” she said. Designed by Muncherjee Cawasjee Murzban, the building is embellished with intricately carved stone screens.

The definition of a Grade 2 structure is “buildings of regional or local importance possessing special architectural or aesthetic merit or cultural or historical value. They are local landmarks, contributing to the image and identity of the city. They may be the work of master craftsmen or may be models of proportion and ornamentation or designs to suit a particular climate”.

Original article here

  • rustom jamasji

    Well if it belonged to another small community instead of the Parsi, selling it would be the last thing on the comunity’s leaders prioroty list.
    THey would have acknowledegd primalarily that the property is bestowed upon the Parsi community to look after it and gain by it.

    They would have acknowledged that it is at prime locaton of Bombay which has sky rocketing, ever climbing estate rates.
    Everywhere else in the world heritage structures are renovated and turned into 5 star hotels.This has also been sucessfully done in Jaipur, udaipur, Jamnagar, Italy, Ireland etc.
    Can you imagine using the heritage structure and building on it( like Ben Nives, about 3 kms away from this locn wher an sky scraper is built using the old heritage structure).There are hotels in 5 kms radius which are very sucessfull and even one 5 star service apartment doing business briskly.
    The Indian tourism industry is supposed to be upmarket by more than 50%. Indian and Bombay are turning into business hobs for the world. The indian aviation industry has risen ten folds. The rate of Expats expected to work in India and bombay which will need such service is on a climb.
    Hotel Darayush in a Iranian islan called Kish is doing magnificiently. Why cant the true persians build a hotel depicting their history.It would be a change as well as good for business.
    The hotel admin culd also use members of its community thus solving employment problems and influenced based employment which is very rampant in india. The profits from this( will take some years but then which business doesnt) to continue or expand the business and part of it could go towards aiding in existing sanitoriums etc for poor members of the community or for the benfit of agiaries or the religious place of that comunity. The legacy of Temuljy would continue and also it would pleace his soul in knowing that the properties given by such as him arent withered away.

    But alas we are led by ‘business men’ who would like to sell it. Rightly so as they are pre occupied by the bickering and infighting within the punchayat.Surprisingly we have two trustees that are associated with construction work, one who is or at a stage held the post of Vice President of CONSTRUCTION DIVISION of an Indian M.N.C.!!
    We also have a trustee that in his so called pragmatism bid forgot that avuaries are sucessfull elsewhere around the world but wanted to close down the doongerwadi. Of course it would be no surprise for the Parsi community to think that this so called ‘BUSINESS MAN’ trustee would think it pragmatic to sell it but not use this very pricey piece of land to the communities advantage.He also that champins change(HOWEVER RUDDERLESS)to change the status of the building from a vacant hospital to a hotel or a office given on lease( how do u think offices in narinam point of even fort work- they are hardly on ownership but leased)to M.N.C or anyone else.
    Ofcourse details will have to be planned out.

    And whatever time is left is taken by unnecessary controversies erupting from neo zoroastrion philosophies by acclaimed doctors and lawyers who of course in their wisdom challenge zoroastrian history and philisophy as told by those who are acclaimed in Iranian studies an have Doctorate in Zoroastrian studies and are welcomed in Universities like Harward , Colombia etc.
    They also take community time by blackmailing the commnity by using their legal knowledge against community faith.
    And what have they done for the community or strenghtening its weakened structures? eh…… they might answer that after trying to win the B.P.P election!!!!

    Hope the B.P.P AND infact the two trustees with construction experience give good excuses for selling it. And their excuses will go for a toss when whoever buys it makes a profit from the business employed from the place.

  • rustom jamasji

    All over the world, enterpreneurs have sucessfully converted old heritage structures into 5 star hotels.

    Ben Nevis a building about 3 kms away from the hospital is a magnificient sky scapper buiilt on an existing old structure.
    Jaipur , Udaipur , Italy , Ireland ,Scotland have hotels and tourist spots that were old diapleted forts or palaces.
    They not only earn revenue for the owners but also for the state.

    India’s tourism industry is expected to rise more than 40 persent. Aviation industry is on a rise. Bombay is on the way to be a business hub for business across the globe. The expat community in India is going to increase and they will require such facilities.

    If this belonged to any other community , they would have used this place to increase its wealth and give emloyment oppurtunity to its young community members. All businss offices in Nariman point rae on a lease basis. Any open soace has high value in ever growing estate demand.

    The locn of this hospital is pristine and only those divorced from enterprneurship will sell this place.We have atleast 2 trustees who are associated with construction Industry within the Parsi Punchayat.
    All the trustees boast of a business background. Which business house in the India shining period are selling propertry of such magnitide in such a high demand area.

    Profits from ventures such as turning it into a 5 star hotel( something like Daeryush Palace in Kish Island in Iran) could further business expansion and also small part of it could be used to fund or aid other business ventures. Also it could aid in strenghtening agairies and mobeds system or in sanitoriums.

    To not sell this land and to turn this goldmine into giving back one requires a will and a vision. But if ther was a pasitive vision then would this place be as it is now?Pragmatism in some trustee’s eyes wanted the doongerwadi closed. The same pragmatism and continuous time consuming bickering within the punchayat will see this piece of land go in some one elses hand and with it will go Temulji’s legacy.

  • Nostalgic21

    I was born in the Parsi Lying-in Hospital.
    It is a heritage building, built in the hey-day of Bombay, with its superb architectural styles.
    It would break my hear to see it demolished and replaced by a skyscraper.
    And yet, change is the only constant in life, agonising though this thought is.
    Farah Rustom 

  • Nostalgic21

    I was born in the Parsi Lying-in Hospital.
    It is a heritage building, built in the hey-day of Bombay, with its superb architectural styles.
    It would break my hear to see it demolished and replaced by a skyscraper.
    And yet, change is the only constant in life, agonising though this thought is.
    Farah Rustom 

  • Phiroz.

    Dear Nostalgic21,
    I cannot agree with you more. Since the original object of the Trust can no longer be pursued, the Trustees can use this building for closest and nearest objective -HEALTH. They can shift the Tardeo Polyclinic and allow frenchise of Pathological  and Ultrasound investgations with proviso that Parsee patients to be charged at a discount. Similarly there is no shortage of Parsee doctors in the field Dentistry and Eye Surgery. They can be asked to start their clinics.But for that to happen we require Trustees with contacts, realtionships and goodwill not the present type of ‘social workers’  who tap their vote banks of Pall Bearers and showy interior decorators keen on exhibiting the interiors of their done up Apartments. The COST of imprudent choice of 2008 is already discernible and the final damage will be ralized by 2015, which will be too late.
    As they say, ENDURE WHAT YOU CANNOT CURE.

  • Phiroz.

    Dear Nostalgic21,
    I cannot agree with you more. Since the original object of the Trust can no longer be pursued, the Trustees can use this building for closest and nearest objective -HEALTH. They can shift the Tardeo Polyclinic and allow frenchise of Pathological  and Ultrasound investgations with proviso that Parsee patients to be charged at a discount. Similarly there is no shortage of Parsee doctors in the field Dentistry and Eye Surgery. They can be asked to start their clinics.But for that to happen we require Trustees with contacts, realtionships and goodwill not the present type of ‘social workers’  who tap their vote banks of Pall Bearers and showy interior decorators keen on exhibiting the interiors of their done up Apartments. The COST of imprudent choice of 2008 is already discernible and the final damage will be ralized by 2015, which will be too late.
    As they say, ENDURE WHAT YOU CANNOT CURE.

  • Contradhongi.

     @Nostalgic, I do not know what prompted you to pick up this topic. Has a decision been taken to demolish this Heritage Structure? Has it been  sold? 
    Nevertheless,one must thank you for raising this topic after four long years. We have arm chair critics like Rustom Jamasji who blamed the earlier set of Trustees for ‘lack of pragmatism’. Your reopening this topic should prompt likes of Rustom Jamasji to explain what ‘pragmatism’ has been shown by current set of Trustees who are in saddle since last Thirty – 3 0 – months which includes those whom he admired the most. The WAPIZ  Trustees  have let down many like Jamasji on Aviary project and on this issue of Lying in Hospital too they have been found to be lacking “pragmatism’
    Do you. Jamasji have an apology for your WAPIZ Trustees? If you happen to be a person of ethical values you ought to clarify what you think of masterly bickeings of the current set of Trustees for whom like of you raised a toast when they won and imagined as though the community was conquered and ‘deformists’ vanquished. Mr. Jamasji and his supporters need to do a lot of soul searching as to who are  actual TRUE DHONGEES and who are DEFORMISTS.

  • Contradhongi.

     @Nostalgic, I do not know what prompted you to pick up this topic. Has a decision been taken to demolish this Heritage Structure? Has it been  sold? 
    Nevertheless,one must thank you for raising this topic after four long years. We have arm chair critics like Rustom Jamasji who blamed the earlier set of Trustees for ‘lack of pragmatism’. Your reopening this topic should prompt likes of Rustom Jamasji to explain what ‘pragmatism’ has been shown by current set of Trustees who are in saddle since last Thirty – 3 0 – months which includes those whom he admired the most. The WAPIZ  Trustees  have let down many like Jamasji on Aviary project and on this issue of Lying in Hospital too they have been found to be lacking “pragmatism’
    Do you. Jamasji have an apology for your WAPIZ Trustees? If you happen to be a person of ethical values you ought to clarify what you think of masterly bickeings of the current set of Trustees for whom like of you raised a toast when they won and imagined as though the community was conquered and ‘deformists’ vanquished. Mr. Jamasji and his supporters need to do a lot of soul searching as to who are  actual TRUE DHONGEES and who are DEFORMISTS.

  • Farsak Ashli.

    THIS IS AN OBJECT LESSON FOR ALL TO LEARN NEVER TO TRUST THE WORDS OF AN ASPIRANT TRUSTEE. SIMILARLY NEVER SIT IN JUDGMENT OVER THE ACTIONS OF EXISTING ONES AND PROJECTING THE NEW ASPIRANTS TO BE EFFICIENT, HAVING BETTER INTEGRITY AND ZEAL FOR WORK. ELSE WE HAVE TO EAT OUR OWN WORDS AS CONTRA DHONGEE HAS MADE RUTOM JAMASJI TO. 

  • Farsak Ashli.

    THIS IS AN OBJECT LESSON FOR ALL TO LEARN NEVER TO TRUST THE WORDS OF AN ASPIRANT TRUSTEE. SIMILARLY NEVER SIT IN JUDGMENT OVER THE ACTIONS OF EXISTING ONES AND PROJECTING THE NEW ASPIRANTS TO BE EFFICIENT, HAVING BETTER INTEGRITY AND ZEAL FOR WORK. ELSE WE HAVE TO EAT OUR OWN WORDS AS CONTRA DHONGEE HAS MADE RUTOM JAMASJI TO. 

  • Dorab Unwalla

    Dear Farsak & Contra dhongi, Jamasji felt that members of earlier Board of Trustees lacked pragmatism. Now his favourites have shown great pragmatism in going for litigation and still greater pragmatism with infighting. 

  • Dorab Unwalla

    Dear Farsak & Contra dhongi, Jamasji felt that members of earlier Board of Trustees lacked pragmatism. Now his favourites have shown great pragmatism in going for litigation and still greater pragmatism with infighting. 

  • Dorab Unwalla

    Dear Farsak & Contra dhongi, Jamasji felt that members of earlier Board of Trustees lacked pragmatism. Now his favourites have shown great pragmatism in going for litigation and still greater pragmatism with infighting. 

  • Phiroze

    A grade 2B heritage structure cannot be demolished or altered from the outside. Charity Commissioner’s order is required for selling it off. 

  • Phiroze

    A grade 2B heritage structure cannot be demolished or altered from the outside. Charity Commissioner’s order is required for selling it off. 

  • Barak Aga

    After sellling off the Parsi Lying in Hospital, they should target the Parsi General Hospital too.
    It is located in a prime location, and will fetch a handsome gain.
    Next the Dongerwadi premises should be targetted.
    Years ago, a “Parsi” lawyer had conned a Sardarji, by “selling off the bunglies” at Dongerwadi.
    The Sardarji brought his family and possessions in a truck to the Dongerwadi premises, only to be told that the “Bunglies” were not “Bungalows” and the place happened to be the funerary estate of the Indian Zoroastrians
    The present Trustees should take a leaf out of the book of this lawyer, and sell off the Dongerwadi premises.
    After that the Trustees can target the various Parsi colonies for sale.
    The Trustees can rest assured that the next 10 generations of their family will never have to worry about money.

  • Barak Aga

    After sellling off the Parsi Lying in Hospital, they should target the Parsi General Hospital too.
    It is located in a prime location, and will fetch a handsome gain.
    Next the Dongerwadi premises should be targetted.
    Years ago, a “Parsi” lawyer had conned a Sardarji, by “selling off the bunglies” at Dongerwadi.
    The Sardarji brought his family and possessions in a truck to the Dongerwadi premises, only to be told that the “Bunglies” were not “Bungalows” and the place happened to be the funerary estate of the Indian Zoroastrians
    The present Trustees should take a leaf out of the book of this lawyer, and sell off the Dongerwadi premises.
    After that the Trustees can target the various Parsi colonies for sale.
    The Trustees can rest assured that the next 10 generations of their family will never have to worry about money.

  • Barak Aga

    After sellling off the Parsi Lying in Hospital, they should target the Parsi General Hospital too.
    It is located in a prime location, and will fetch a handsome gain.
    Next the Dongerwadi premises should be targetted.
    Years ago, a “Parsi” lawyer had conned a Sardarji, by “selling off the bunglies” at Dongerwadi.
    The Sardarji brought his family and possessions in a truck to the Dongerwadi premises, only to be told that the “Bunglies” were not “Bungalows” and the place happened to be the funerary estate of the Indian Zoroastrians
    The present Trustees should take a leaf out of the book of this lawyer, and sell off the Dongerwadi premises.
    After that the Trustees can target the various Parsi colonies for sale.
    The Trustees can rest assured that the next 10 generations of their family will never have to worry about money.

  • Rathestar.

    TIME WILL BEAR TERSTIMONY OF INTENTIONS OF THOSE WHO TOOK PRIDE IN GETTING HERITAGE STATUS FOR FIRE TEMPLES BUT HAVE NOW DECIDED TO JOIN HANDS WITH BUILDER LOBBY.

  • Rathestar.

    TIME WILL BEAR TERSTIMONY OF INTENTIONS OF THOSE WHO TOOK PRIDE IN GETTING HERITAGE STATUS FOR FIRE TEMPLES BUT HAVE NOW DECIDED TO JOIN HANDS WITH BUILDER LOBBY.

  • Rathestar.

    TIME WILL BEAR TERSTIMONY OF INTENTIONS OF THOSE WHO TOOK PRIDE IN GETTING HERITAGE STATUS FOR FIRE TEMPLES BUT HAVE NOW DECIDED TO JOIN HANDS WITH BUILDER LOBBY.