Even in Death, A Parsi to the End.


January 24, 2010

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A very interesting account from way back in the 19th century.

It was a hot and sultry afternoon, that 21st day of April, 1844 as Mr. Mancherji Hormuzdiar Chanddaru left the offices of the popular Parsi periodical ‘Chabuk’ (lit. Whip) near Gunbow Street in the busy Fort area of Bombay. As he walked down passing the well on the main street and entered a small lane, a group of some Parsi boys suddenly emerged and one of them swiftly unsheathed a long knife and dealt a deadly blow to the gentleman. As he fell down bleeding profusely and died, the boys escaped.

The British rule was at its height in those days and police efficiency was a given, not an exception. Pretty soon, a group of 18 Parsis was arrested and produced before the court of the Chief Justice of Bombay, Sir Henry Roamer on 17th July, 1844. Unlike the trials of today which drag on interminably, the proceedings were swift and eight days later, the jury (India had a Jury system in those days) returned the guilty verdict against ten of the eighteen. The remaining were acquitted. On a mercy application by the jury, the Chief Justice exiled 6 of the ten convicts out of Bombay forever, but sentenced the remaining four to be hanged to death for their role in the murder. British justice was swift, efficient and harsh – to set a good example to the common people and to instil a fear of the law in them.

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