The Contribution Of The Parsi Community During The First World War

A new book titled “The Contribution Of The Parsi Community During The First World War (1914-1918)” by community Historian Marzban Jamshedji Giara was recently launched.

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The author Marzban Giara seen with the book, during the recent Zoroastrian Return To Roots Tour to Navsari in March 2016

This book is the culmination of the author Marzban Giara’s single minded determination and dedication to record for posterity  the sacrifices made by Parsi doctors, soldiers, businessmen and philanthropists during the First World War. It vividly tells about the role of 700 Parsis with over 200 photographs. Little known facts about the Parsi Battalion and the War Memorial at Khareghat Colony, Bombay are well documented quoting the sources of information.

Starting with prayers by the community it goes on to narrate the part played by community leaders by appeals, speeches, logistics support, the Parsi Ambulance Division, doctors, nurses, motor drivers, storekeepers, accountants, postal service, finances, war loans, use of Parsi properties, Parsi contractors, recruitment assistance, books by Parsis relating to the War. There is a special mention of the part played by Tata Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. which resulted in Jamshedpur being named after its visionary founder.

This book is published by Sorabji Burjorji Garda College Trust, Parsi Cultural Division, Navsari. It was released on 2nd March 2016 by Dr. Dakshesh Thakar, Vice-Chancellor, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat on the 71st annual day of S. B. Garda College. Ms. Ramia Mohan, IAS, Collector, Navsari district graced the occasion.

Mr. Dara K. Deboo, chairman of the Trust stated: “Parsis have been pioneers in education. 51 high schools and 27 colleges were started by Parsis. Sir Cowasjee Jehanghier started Sir Cowasjee Jehanghier Navsari Zarthosti Madressa in 1856 as also Elphinstone College and Institute of Science, Bombay University Convocation Hall and an Engineering College at Pune. Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute, and Grant Medical College at Bombay, Byramjee Jejeebhoy Medical Colleges at Pune and Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore were all started by Parsi philanthropy. When S. B. Garda College was started in 1945 in Navsari it was the only college between Bombay and Ahmedabad.”

“We Parsis are a peaceful community but in times of war we have always been in the forefront in the defence of our country. Parsis have been Chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Border Security Force. In no other country in the world would you find such responsible posts are entrusted to a member of a microscopic minority community. Even in the field of atomic energy we have produced Dr. Homi Bhabha after whom Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is named.”

Price: Rs.300/- postage extra 149 pages, illustrated, hard bound, printed on art paper.

Available from Mr. Dara Deboo at Navsari e-mail: dara.deboo@yahoo.com