Parsis In The Deccan: Trusted traders with quirky sense of humour

Known for their quirky sense of humour and love for food, Parsis are regarded as honest businessmen. Parsis in the twin cities have made a mark in the fields of automobiles, confectionary, software and in the good old days even minted their own currency known as the Pestonshahi Sicca.

The biggest name in the world of business is Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, who was a student of the Hyderabad Public School. But much before that when the Parsis first came to the city about 200 years back, the then Nizam trusted the Parsis to such an extent that he entrusted the mint in Aurangabad to two brothers Seth Viccajee and Seth Pestonji.

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Post-Independence, the Parsees in the city kept excelling in all fields and a few in the community continued with their business acumen. Homi J Chenoy and Farooz Viccaji and Sons in automobiles, Captain K F Pestonji in textiles, Sohrab Mojgani, Minoo Siganporia in confectionaries and Baria of Baria Foods have contributed to different businesses in the city.
In fashion jewellery, Normak Fashions Ltd, the Hyderabad-based manufacturer of exporter of fashion jewellery, is making a mark across the country under Gusti Noria.

The younger generation has ventured into software development and many have migrated to Canada and the USA and set up companies of their own.

Shapoor Toorkey, a businessman says, “Parsis have all along come to be known for their honesty and that separates them from others. Even to this day, when one places an advertisement of a Parsi owned vehicle, property or business there is a premium.”

You have the Tatas, Godrejs and Wadias at the national level but Parsi businessmen in the twin cities too have contributed to the growth of the city for the last 200 plus years.

Among several Parsi families, the Viccajis and Pestonji Meherjis are known for their enterprise constructed bridges and Faridoon Chenoy was responsible for the Manjira Water Supply system.

The Parsis have come a long way since the days when Sir Salar Jung I invited men from different parts of the country in 1853 to improve administration. The Parsis were most sought after for their knowledge of English and Persian. They still pitch in not just in administration but also in business, sports and other fields.