Maneck Davar: Know Your Candidate

The upcoming elections for the position of Trustees of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat are nearly upon us. At Parsi Khabar we are hoping to provide an unbiased platform to the candidates to put forth their thoughts, ideas and a little bit about themselves so that the discerning voter can make up their mind and exercise their vote judiciously, for the larger benefit of the BPP and the entire community in Mumbai. The first candidate in the series is Maneck Davar

Maneck Davar writes


My Dear Humdins,

I am essentially a private person, letting my professional work speak for myself. My biggest influence was my father, who passed away when I was 11, but even at that age, inculcated a positive sense of discrimination in that what was right had to be supported and what was wrong – opposed. He had a great sense of honor and self respect. Today I would ascribe all the success I have achieved to the fact that I have lived on my own terms and never compromised on my principles no matter the benefit. Just one example. In the 1977 elections after the Emergency, I worked for the election of Ram Jethmalani, who remains a father figure to this day.

I am very clear that these elections have to be contested with the same principles and honour I have believed in all my life. I detest political games being played and in spite of being aware that I have a better chance aligning myself with some candidates, I have decided to remain independent no matter the constraints. I am appealing to all to come forward and help me if they believe in what I say and what I wish to do.

I also consider one of life’s important objects is to be of use to others, especially those to whom you can make a difference. I have enumerated all the organizations I am involved with in my profile.

I am a proud Parsi, deeply disturbed by the depths to which the BPP has sunk, hence I have chosen to contest these elections and not sit by and watch the drift. I wish to bring a huge attitudinal change in the way the BPP is managed and perceived, and by the grace of Ahura Mazda, the good wishes of all who know me, I pray that I am successful.

I have been 38 years in journalism and publishing, commencing my career as Assistant Editor of Blitz under the legendary Rusi Karanjia, at the age of 19. Today, I am the Chairman of Spenta Multimedia Pvt. Ltd., India’s largest custom magazine publisher and also Chairman of Mumbai Boat Show Pvt. Ltd., Spenta Digital Media Pvt. Ltd., Liquid Publishing Pvt. Ltd., The Smart Manager Pvt. Ltd. and MW.Com Pvt. Ltd. I am a member of the National Governing Council of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and was for 4 years on the board of Kemp & Co., one of the oldest companies listed on the BSE.

Hailing from humble beginnings in Balaram Street, Grant Road, I have gained vast experience of the corporate world, setting up processes and systems, working with NGOs as well as liaising with government. My experience in print journalism and publishing includes having written for and worked with major Indian newspapers and magazines – The Times of India, Indian Express, Statesman, Midday and India Today. During my long career, I have been, at 23 years, city editor and chief reporter of the Mumbai newspaper The Daily, editor and publisher of the law magazine Lex et Juris, in partnership with Senior Counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, and editor and publisher of the Gentleman Group of magazines. I have also worked on investigative exposes of the CBI director Mohan Katre and Bank of Baroda Chairman Premjit Singh along with my stories on Reliance and L&T and on the Punjab insurgency for the Indian Express Group in 1989-92 and other newspapers.

Spenta Multimedia, was established in 1995, in one room with four staff and today it has a stable of thirty six custom publishing titles and seven newsstand magazines. Spenta titles include JetWings, JetWings International, The Smart Manager, Marwar, HAIR, Domus,  Solitaire International, Liquid, Apparel, First Update, Imperia, Hello, Life @ Club, The Chartered Accountant Journal, Investime, @TCS, Indian Management, to name a few. Spenta Multimedia is a completely integrated print and online media company with in-house content, design, digital, print and book publishing capabilities and over 300 employees.

Over the years I have been associated with many public organisations. I was the Hon. Secretary of 10th World Zoroastrian Congress, inaugurated by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and am on the organising committee of the Iranshah Udvada Utsav. I am the Chairman of the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) which conducts the annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, with over four lakh visitors every year. The KGA also restores heritage buildings, and one of its projects is the Hormarjee Wadia Clock Tower in Bazaargate Street. I am also the Managing Trustee of Make-A-Wish Foundation India, which fulfils wishes of over 5,000 children with life threatening ailments every year and Chairman and Trustee of The Society for the Protection of Children in Western India, which runs the 99-year old Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Home for Children whose 125 residents are abandoned and orphaned. I serve on the Board of Trustees of Apne Aap Women’s Collective which works with commercial sex workers and their children in the city’s red light district, and I am a patron of The Research Society (Jai Vakeel School) and a committee member of SHED, Society for Human and Environmental Development founded by Mrs. Bilkis Latif, wife of the former Governor of Maharashtra, Air Marshal Idris H. Latif.

I have decided to contest the BPP elections, motivated by the desire to restore the credibility of the 334-year old institution, to ensure enhanced and regular provision of financial succour to its needy beneficiaries, and maintain the funds and properties of the BPP in a transparent and efficacious manner.

– Maneck Davar