Lone family left to guard Parsi legacy in Kozhikode

This ancient commercial city on the coast of Kerala once played host to a flourishing Parsi community, but all that is now left is a lone family struggling to keep the community’s legacy alive.

Known in history as the land of fabulous King Zamorin, from time immemorial Kozhikode had attracted Arabs and Westerners in search of spices.

The city earned a lasting name in modern history with Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landing at nearby Kappad in 1498, heralding the era of Western colonisation of the Indian subcontinent.

A bubbling commercial centre, the city also attracted members of the Parsi community, who came to set up their business and settled down in the amiable social milieu, where Hindus and Muslims had lived in perfect harmony for centuries.

  • Yazdy Palia

    I am surprised that you do not mention the family name. It is the Marshal Family.
    Regards
    Yazdy Palia.

  • Soli Dastur

    To: Parsi Khabar:
    Thank you for the Kozikode Parsi family article. However, you never mentioned that it was popularly known as Calicut; also, who is the lone Parsi family? This was a very disappointing article in that respect. Can we have some more information about the Parsi family, establishments like agiyari, etc. if existed? Thank you once again for your wonderful information in Parsi Khabar. Love and Tandoorasti, Soli P. dastur, Sarasota, Florida, USA

  • Dr. Cyrus B. Toorkey

    Is there any contact information available on this Parsi family such as name, email address, telephone number, etc?

    Thank you. Good Luck. God Bless.

    Dr. Cyrus B. Toorkey
    New Jersey, USA

  • Hi All

    Thanks for the comments. I should have clarified earlier that this article was not authored by me or by a Parsi Khabar contributor.

    This was a Press Trust of India news article that was sourced here.

    I am sorry if it misled anyone.

    Thanks to Yazdi for pointing out the name of the family.

  • Jennifer Rewadi

    Hi all,
    I do not know this family who stays in Calicut but my uncle Mr.Paherezad Havewala would have surely known. He knew majority of the Lone parsi families staying in far off cities in India. He was a travelling Salesman for the last 40 yrs and used to travel all over India on Bike. Unfortunately he passed away suddenly on the 6th of October this year.
    I had spoken to many such people who are lone parsis in certain cities through him and every time he visited such places he made it sure to visit them. It was as if he was binding them in one thread. God Bless His Soul.

    Regards,
    Jennifer.

  • Jennifer Rewadi

    Hi all,
    I do not know this family who stays in Calicut but my uncle Mr.Paherezad Havewala would have surely known. He knew majority of the Lone parsi families staying in far off cities in India. He was a travelling Salesman for the last 40 yrs and used to travel all over India on Bike. Unfortunately he passed away suddenly on the 6th of October this year.
    I had spoken to many such people who are lone parsis in certain cities through him and every time he visited such places he made it point to visit them. It was as if he was binding them in one thread. God Bless His Soul.

    Regards,
    Jennifer.

  • Diana Bharucha

    Hi all,
    It is very interesting for me to read this article , because my great grand father Mr Eduljee Mehrwanjee Bhumgara was a very well established coir trader at Calicut dealing in lakhs of Rupees in those days !! Some time before his death, he moved back to Surat which I guess must have been his birth place . I have his business transactions book records which are really very interesting and amusing …. Looks like I need to go through them again to refresh my memory . I preserved them to keep in my grand fathers house in Coonoor ( Niligiris ) which I am presently restoring into a place called ” Great grand fathers holiday home stay ” that would be a serving guest Parsi hospitality with the old world charm that only Coonoor can offer!
    I shall be most obliged if any body could throw light on the Bhumgara house at Calicut which I believe still stands today …

    And Parsi Khabar I must congratulate you for the wonderful work you are doing !! cheers keep it up .
    Diana Bharucha

  • khushru gotla

    Kindly inform us the Contact detaisl/ Tel Nos email addresss of the Marshall Family and what Parsi Features/ Temples/ Dharmshalla are avialable near Khozikhode and adjoining areas
    Also would be intersted to know about other Pari Familys in Kerala State

    Thanks
    K.GOTLA
    MUMBAI

  • Anoo Sukhia

    My mother in law’s family came from Alleppy, Kerala.
    Their family name was Ghadially, and in the area of Alleppy they once had a railway station and an agiary. They owned coconut plantations that were after independance eventually taken over by the communist govt of Kerala.
    Anoo Sukhia, NJ, USA

  • abrar

    dear mr. yazdi,
    thanks for informing us about the name of Marshal family. But could you please explore about the background of this name.It sounds so UN-PARSI to an outsider like me. Because the enlightened Zoroastrians – worshippers of the supreme AHURA MAZDA and followers of the great scribe of Gathas,ZARATHUSHTRA, have always been much above marshalism even in the pagan and savage BCE times.
    love n’ regards,
    abrar.

  • arnavaz havewala

    soli uncle.,
    i have met the marshal family when i went for a doctors conference there .
    darius marshal is a champion shooter, a v nice man, and has two sons.
    lovely family, very well-placed.
    there is a small dadgah and a dharamshalla too.
    sadly, there are few visitors. thats strange, bcoz cochin or kozhikode, is a lovely place.
    why dont you visit it when you come to bombay this month?

  • arnavaz havewala

    hi jennifer,
    of course pehrezad knew the marshalls.
    as you know, i often spoke to perju. i had told him that i had met this family and he knew of them.
    pl give me your email so i can be in touch.
    regards,

  • arnavaz havewala

    diana
    you need to write to the marshal family.. for info on your ancestral home in calicut.
    as far as i recall, i did not see any such place. but if it exists, darius marshall would def know.
    do a search on him.
    in the meantime, ill dig out my old papers, maybe i have his tel nos.

  • arnavaz havewala

    khushru

    ill have to search hard, but will locate the info you want..just give me time.
    i always keep all cards i get whenever i am travelling.

  • Soli Dastur

    Hello Diana: it was quite interesting to learn about your great grand father Mr. Bhumgara who had a coir business in Calicut and you have “his business transactions book records which are really very interesting and amusing …. Looks like I need to go through them again to refresh my memory . I preserved them to keep in my grand fathers house in Coonoor ( Niligiris ) which I am presently restoring into a place called ” Great grand fathers holiday home stay ” that would be a serving guest Parsi hospitality with the old world charm that only Coonoor can offer!”
    I live in Sarasota, Florida, USA and will be visiting Coonoor from January 13 through 18th 2010 and will be staying at the Coonoor Taj Gateway Hotel. I am quite interested in our old Parsi families history and would be very interested in visiting the house you are renovating in Coonoor as well as the records books to see what kind of accounting they used to do then. Is there anyway we can get together by email please? (Soli P. Dastur dastur@comcast.net). It is quite a good charitable thing to do to renovate your grand father’s house in Coonoor and offer it as a Parsi guest house! We wish it was available when we will be visiting Coonoor. Do you live in Coonoor?
    Soli P. Dastur

  • Soli Dastur

    Hello Arnavaz: thanks for your message. We did visit Cochin in 2007 but did not know about any Parsis or the Dadgah or the Dharamsalla. We will be visiting Coonoor and Ooty this time from January 13 through 21.
    Soli P. Dastur

  • Shanaz Mistry

    Well.. Being brought up in Trichur, Kerala, myself, I can say that there are now 2 Parsi families in Trichur. The Adenwallas and the Kavinas. My parents shifted back to Mumbai just a month ago. And yes, the family in Calicut are the Marshals. Darius is the head and Katy is his wife. He has 2 sons and a daughter as well I guess.

  • khushru gotla

    Dear Arnavaz Havewala
    Thanks for your Mail
    Pls take your time and woould appreciate a few photos and contact details of your Connor House /Khozikhode – Mr Marshall when it is ready
    Best Regards
    KHUSHRU GOTLA

  • Armin Shroff

    Ours is a lone family in Trivandrum, Kerala. Any parsi visiting Kerala is very happily welcome. We wish to meet some crazy parsis.

  • Armin Shroff

    Does any one have any contact details of parsis in kerala. Would love to meet them.

  • n muraleedharan

    Very interesting to see that the story put out by PTI on Parsi family in Kozhikode has been well received by the members of the community. Regrding the complaint of Soli Dastur that the name of the family is not mentioned, please note that only initial paras of this lengthy story has been put your site. The story was based on interview with Darius Marshal and he has been quoted exhaustively

    N Muraleedharan, PTI, Thiruvananthapuram

  • Soli Dastur

    Hello Diana and Arnavaz: it was quite interesting to learn about your great grand father Mr. Bhumgara who had a coir business in Calicut and you have “his business transactions book records which are really very interesting and amusing …. Looks like I need to go through them again to refresh my memory . I preserved them to keep in my grand fathers house in Coonoor ( Niligiris ) which I am presently restoring into a place called ” Great grand fathers holiday home stay ” that would be a serving guest Parsi hospitality with the old world charm that only Coonoor can offer!”
    I live in Sarasota, Florida, USA and will be visiting Coonoor from January 13 through 18th 2010 and will be staying at the Coonoor Taj Gateway Hotel. I am quite interested in our old Parsi families history and would be very interested in visiting the house you are renovating in Coonoor as well as the records books to see what kind of accounting they used to do then. Is there anyway we can get together by email please? (Soli P. Dastur dastur@comcast.net). It is quite a good charitable thing to do to renovate your grand father’s house in Coonoor and offer it as a Parsi guest house! We wish it was available when we will be visiting Coonoor. Do you live in Coonoor?
    Soli P. Dastur

    P.S. Arnavaz: can I get hold of Diana by email? We will be in Conoor and would like to see the hom she is renovating as a Parsi Guest House.

  • C S Narayanan Kutty

    Dear Sir,
    We have put out the story on the lone Parsi Community staying in Calicut now known as Kozhikode, Kerala. Mr Darius Marshall’s contact No is 09846085964. Hope you could contact Mr Marshall, an illustrius man settled down here.
    With regards C S Narayanan Kutty, PTI, Kozhikode

  • Diana Bharucha

    Thank you so much Anravaz,
    Please write to me at dianabharucha@gmail.com

  • Diana Bharucha

    Thank you so much Mr Kutty , I will get in touch with him soon

  • Timmy

    I read an article which appeared in the Mid Day newspaper about parsi families in Calicut. My father Jehangir Rustum Mugaseth and my late grandfather Rustum Manek Mugaseth are from Calicut and know the Marshalls.

  • Perviz Dara Bhote

    Type your comment
    Can anyone throw light on the Parsis in Coorg? It is recorded that the first Parsis to come to Madras (Chennai now) were from Coorg. Two Parsi gentlemen came to Madras on a mission from Dodda Veera Rajendra in 1809.
    We are attempting to construct the history of the Madras Parsis and would be happy to have information on this.

  • Sushant das

    I want to convert in Parsi comunity, I am well settled, I am civil engg working power plant project.

  • Sushant das

    I want to convert in Parsi comunity, I am well settled, I am civil engg working power plant project.

  • Dara Acidwalla

    Please read this. It appeared in The Hindu in March 2005 

    http://www.hindu.com/fr/2005/03/18/stories/2005031802590300.htm

  • Dara Acidwalla

    Please read this. It appeared in The Hindu in March 2005 

    http://www.hindu.com/fr/2005/03/18/stories/2005031802590300.htm

  • Dara Acidwalla

    My mother had once told me that her (kakaji) uncle Manchershaw Hirjibhoy Wadia had bid for and won the contract to construct the M&SM Railway building in Madras (now the Southern Railway Headquarters, Chennai). 

    That edifice was constructed over nearly a decade with Porbandar stone quarried from quarries owned by H. H. Wadia & Bros, founded by Late Hormusji Hirjibhoy Wadia and managed by my grandfather, Pirojshaw Hirjibhoy Wadia, 

    If you need more information about it i can put you in touch with the family.

    dara.acidwalla@gmail.com   

  • Dara Acidwalla

    My mother had once told me that her (kakaji) uncle Manchershaw Hirjibhoy Wadia had bid for and won the contract to construct the M&SM Railway building in Madras (now the Southern Railway Headquarters, Chennai). 

    That edifice was constructed over nearly a decade with Porbandar stone quarried from quarries owned by H. H. Wadia & Bros, founded by Late Hormusji Hirjibhoy Wadia and managed by my grandfather, Pirojshaw Hirjibhoy Wadia, 

    If you need more information about it i can put you in touch with the family.

    dara.acidwalla@gmail.com   

  • Hi, We are one more family in a place called cannanore (kannur), the town in net to calicut, my family has been in keral for the last 3 generations

  • Hi, We are one more family in a place called cannanore (kannur), the town in net to calicut, my family has been in keral for the last 3 generations

  • Kushal.Mucon

    @e7cff381883a53f47ebe92dcab0749a7:disqus The Rajas of Coorg patronised Parsi merchants in the early 19th century so a few of them settled down in their capital, Madikeri (Mercara). In 1809 Dodda Veera Rajendra sent three emissaries to Madras to receive a painting on his behalf from the British East India Company. One of the three was ”Parsi Hirji”. The descendants of the Parsis lived on in Madikeri town into the present age.

  • Kushal.Mucon

    @e7cff381883a53f47ebe92dcab0749a7:disqus The Rajas of Coorg patronised Parsi merchants in the early 19th century so a few of them settled down in their capital, Madikeri (Mercara). In 1809 Dodda Veera Rajendra sent three emissaries to Madras to receive a painting on his behalf from the British East India Company. One of the three was ”Parsi Hirji”. The descendants of the Parsis lived on in Madikeri town into the present age.