Dr. Ratan Marshall Passes Away


January 18, 2011

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Eminent Parsi scholar Dr Ratan Marshal, who turned 100 in October last year, passed away on Sunday morning. He was not keeping well for the past three days. Marshal was the first to chronicle the history of Gujarati journalism from the 19th century. In this mammoth research, ‘Gujarati Patrakaratvano Itihas’ — in 1950, Marshal talks about various social reforms and nationalist movements triggered by journalism.

He talks about the role played by great journalists like Mahatma Gandhi, who wrote most of his work in Gujarati, and social reformers like Narmad. His research remains the most impressive work in the history of Gujarati journalism and language. Dr Marshal spent most of his life doing social work in Surat, where he worked with the Parsi panchayat as a special officer for nearly 60 years. His wife, late Freny, was a doctor.

Later, he moved to Ahmedabad with his son Rustom, senior counsel at the Gujarat high court. The Gujarat Sahitya Parishad felicitated Dr Marshal for his contribution to Gujarati language last year.

"His last days were peaceful. He spent the time playing with his grandchildren. He often said that he was happy with the way he lived and has no regrets," said Rustom.

Marshal’s love for writing grew with age. On turning 100, he wrote his autobiography ‘Katharatan’ and also published a compilation of his short stories ‘Parsi Sansari Premkathao’.