Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

It Pays to be Parsi at the Taj

India’s Top Chef Hemant Oberoi gets a hefty annual remuneration of over Rs. 6 million but a 60-year old Parsi senior laundry operator at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai earns a net salary of more than two-and-a half times that amount, say many amusing reports in the Press.

Sixty year old Parsi, Pervez Pestonji Saher is a senior laundry operator at the Tata (who is also a Parsi family)-owned Taj Mahal Palace & Tower at Apollo Bunder in Mumbai, who joined the company in 1974. His pay packet is Rs.15.3 million a year and has been earning over Rs.10 million since 2006-07, according to data traced from the annual reports of The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, according to a news report.

Saher’s next take-home pay after taxes, in 2008-09 was Rs 10 million while Karambir Singh Kang, the General Manager of the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers and the man who hit the headlines for valiantly defending the iconic property during the 26/11 terror attacks gets an annual pay check of Rs 2.84 million..

Celebrity chef Hemant Oberoi, the pride of the Taj Mumbai, who also joined Indian Hotels the same year as Saher, reportedly has a net remuneration of Rs 6.05 million a year. Abhijit Mukherjee, the Executive Director of hotel operations and one of the best-known faces of the Taj management gets a salary of Rs 5.6 million.

Sources say Saher is an old loyalist within the Taj group and has even faced death threats at different points of time in his career and the management has rewarded him for standing by the group during difficult times in his 35-year career.

Coincidentally, Saher is also a union leader- ostensibly the highest paid union leader in India. Many say he is powerful because he is the general secretary of the Indian Hotels Company Employees’ Union.

Whatever may be the reason; this is one example where perhaps-it pays to be a Parsi in the Taj group of hotels.