Amitav Ghosh on Navsari


February 1, 2013

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navsari-jeejeebhoy Amitav Ghosh the famous Indian writer was recently in Navsari for the Conference organized to celebrate the 140th Anniversary of The First Meherjirana Library in Navsari.

He has some interesting observations in a diary article he wrote on his blog titled:

Navsari – Home of Indian Zoroastrianism & Hub of the China Trade

One of the most interesting aspects of Navsari’s history is its connection with the China trade. Many of Navsari’s Parsi families were deeply involved in this trade and two of the subcontinent’s foremost China traders were born in this town – Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and Sir Jamshedjee Tata. They were born in the same neighbourhood, in very similar houses, both of which are now maintained as museums by family trusts.


I don’t know if any research has been done on this, but to my eye, these houses appear to have more in common with the ‘shophouses’ of Southeast Asia and Guangdong than with the urban dwellings of the interior of the Indian subcontinent. Should this be true, it would provide yet more reason to believe that in many respects the coastal regions of the Indian Ocean have more in common with each other  than with their hinterlands.

Small wonder that enterprising young men born under these roofs would go eastwards to seek their fortunes!

Read the entire article here.