Reminiscing Memories of Three Parsi Stalwarts we lost in last three months

It is hard to believe that we have lost three of our Parsi commuity’s esteemed luminaries – internationally acclaimed Neurolgist Dr Noshir Wadia on 10th April 2016, renowned Advocate & Solicitor Mr Dadi Engineer on May 30, 2016 and our very popular and scholastic Vada Dasturji Dr Peshotan Mirza High Priest , Iranshah Udvada on 26th June, 2016, within a span of three months.

Article by Dr. Zinobia Madan

I had the privilege to have known and interacted with each of these outstanding personalities in my lifetime. Each of them were such guiding stars whenever we turned to them for their advise !

It saddens me to think that we will always miss their physical presence, but we will always remember them through their noble work and kindness. They were great as teachers and mentors and amazing professionals with values and core beliefs in their profession. They lived a healthy lifestyle and also encouraged others to live healthily, heartily and happily. They possessed excellent communication skills and were always clear in their heads about what they wanted to accomplish. As leaders, they could relate their vision to others so that everyone working with them would work towards the same goal.

These three icons were blessed with life partners who complemented and supported them in every endeavor – Dr Piroja Wadia, elegant & graceful wife of Dr Noshir Wadia and also a Practising Neurophysiologist, Mrs Silloo Engineer, charming and caring wife of Dadi Engineer and Mrs Mahrukh Mirza, wife of Vada Dasturji Peshotan Mirza, greatly admired for her dedicated support to him.

Dr Noshir Hormusjee Wadia, one of the most respected Neurologists has been credited for his clinical acumen, excellent care of his patients, remarkable patience in history taking of the patient and putting the patients and his/her relatives at ease while caring.

clip_image002Dr Noshir Wadia did his MD Medicine from Grant Medical College, Mumbai in 1948, ad te and did his MRCP from London. He joined as a Registrar, Neurology to Lord Brain, National Hospital for Nervous Diseases (1952–56), and then joined the London Hospital as a Registrar and Tutor at the Medical School. He came back to India in 1957 and joined his beloved alma mater, Grant Medical College, Mumbai and Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals where he served as a Honorary Assistant Neurologist, Lecturer, Honorary Professor and thereafter he headed the Neurology department at Grant Medical College for 25 years till 1982. On retirement, he joined as a Consultant for Life at the Grant Medical College and Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals, and thereafter in 1973 he joined as the Director, Neurology Department at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre.

Prior to retiring from Jaslok Hospital, the most magnanimous contribution of Dr Noshir Wadia was to set up an extremely committed, well-trained and experienced team of Neurology Consultants under the esteemed leadership of Dr Sarosh Katrak.

Dr Sarosh Katrak, is one of the leading Neurologists with the longest association with Dr Noshir Wadia, and is at present Director Neurology Department at Jaslok Hospital.. Of the other leadiing Neurologists trained by Dr Wadia include Dr B S Singhal, and Dr Mohit Bhatt and Dr Fali Pochha and some others as well.

Almost towards the end of his tenure, Dr Noshir Wadia identified Dr Pettarusp Wadia, a younger generation Neurologist with super specialization in Movement Disorders from Toronto. Within a short span of time, with his expertise and empathetic approach towards his patients, this field of Movement Disorders is increasingly getting a supespeciality niche status, wherin several patients with Parkinsonism are benefitting by his expertise.

At this junture, I would like to mention the noteworthy & significant contributions of the Bharucha family, Dr Eddy Bharucha and Dr Nadir Bharucha to the field of Neurology. They have also carried out an extensive door to door survey of Parsis living in Baugs to study the prevalence of Neurological problems in the Parsi community.

Few people know that besides being an excellent practising clinician, Dr Wadia had in his lifetime greatly contributed to research. Some of his key research contributions include exploring Neurological manifestions of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis due to an Enterovirus E70. For the first time in the world, he described a new form of heredofamilial spinocerebellar degeneration with slow eye movements which was later designated as SCA2. Dr Wadia held a senior position on the Scientific Research Committee. My interactions with him from 1983 onwards as a Research Associate at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre have been very enriching and rewarding.

Dr Wadia was a patient listener to all his patients, registrars, and even to his Parsi Secretary at Jaslok Hospital, Veera Lakka, whom he and his wife Piroja helped in everyway till the end of her life.

He presented his valuable research insights on Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis in Zoroastrian women, at World Zoroastrian Congress in 2009.

He has been regarded as the Father of Contemporary Neurology and was the recepient of the Padmabhushan Award, by the Government of India.

Mr Dadi Bejonji Engineer, was a senior partner at Crawford Bayley & Co. Mr. Engineer was a Senior Advocate and Solicitor of the Bombay High Court. He had over 40 years of experience in the legal profession and had expertise in various aspects of Corporate Law, Indirect Taxation, Foreign Exchange, Imports, Trade Control Regulations and Civil and Constitutional Law.

clip_image004Mr Dadi Engineer has been credited as one of the most renowned Solicitors of our country and will always be remembered for his zest for life, his inimitable friendly style, his sense of humour and his witty approach as an Advocate.

He served as the President of the Bombay Incorporated Law Society and has served on the Governing Council of the Bar Association of India.

We will miss his active participation in all important community related matters and functions. I met Mr Dadi Engineer for the 1st time in early 80s when he was the President of the first World Zoroastrian Congress held in Mumbai and I was impressed by his oratory skills, knowledge, love and commitment towards his community and his overall style of presentation .

He had immense faith in Lord Ahura Mazda, and during Muktad days, he made it point to visit every fire temple in Mumbai along with his wife Silloo.

Our Vada Dasturji Dr. Peshotan Hormazdyar Mirza, was our High Priest of Iranshah Atashbehram, Udvada and a Scientist (PhD in Organic Chemisty), professionally. He was very popular, gentle, kind-hearted, helpful and will always be remembered for his soft-spoken nature and his remarkable insights on the subject , “Spirituality, Science & Religion.”

clip_image006I had the privilege of meeting with him for the first time at the Cama Athornan, for their refresher training programme of Navars, where we both were invited as speakers on the faculty. He gave extraordinary speeches with great emphasis on Science. I once heard him speaking on Ardibehst Yazad which was truly a great experience !

Much of my interactions with him happened subsequently in 2013, when my daughter Parinaz got married to his nephew Dinyar. Both he and his wife Mahrukh played a major role in the wedding, starting from explaining to us the significance of each wedding ceremony and how it should be performed, to participating actively in all the wedding functions. The conduct of Dasturji Mirza and Dasturji Kotwal of the wedding prayers in both Avestha Pahalvi and Vedic Sanskrit, was a real blissful lifetime experience !

I now summarize my tributes to these three impressive personalities by saying that they have touched countless lives with their knowledge, wisdom, benevolence and their unique charisma.

Our community youth should derive inspiration from these three icons who have been leaders in their respective fields – epitomizing success, excellence and community service. They were true Zoroastians as they believed in a life well lived with strong Zoroastrian principles of honesty, kindness, forgiveness and benevolence. Inspite of being from humble backgrounds, they have left a mark worldwide as leaders in their respective fields with hard work, dedication and commitment in every endeavor.

We invoke Holy Fravashis — guiding spirits of immortal souls departed from mortal life — who strove in pursuit of learning and knowledge and achieved excellence in this life as leaders, teachers, mentors and who also strove to inculcate learning and knowledge to their disciples. With reverence, we pay homage to beneficent Fravashis — the guiding spirits of departed souls.

O Ahura Mazda! The Almighty Lord! We bow to Thee in veneration and invocation! We are indebted to Thee! May we reach Thee with good thoughts, good words and good deeds! May their departed souls rest in eternal peace and progress towards Gatothman — the most blissful existence !

May Lord Almighty grant the beloved wives, families and all the dear ones of these pious souls, strength to bear this irreparable loss. May it be so as we pray. Amen!”

About the Author Dr. Zinobia Madan

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Founder & Managing Director, Clinoma Healthcare

Senior Consultant – Healthcare, Nutrition, Lifestyle & Wellness for patient care

Senior Consultant Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology & Nutrition for Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Industry

Served for more than 25 years in the Pharmaceutical industry as Medical Director – Abbott, Associate Vice President Medical – Wockhardt, & Vice President Medical – Raptakos Brett.

Founder Member, Jiyo Parsi Programme, launched the programme to the Ministry in Delhi

Special Invitee & Member Executive Committee- Indoamerican Society

Honoured with “The Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award” & “The Jewel of India Award” as a recognition of her landmark contributions to the Healthcare field and her innovative approach in launching ClinOma Healthcare.

A distinguished healthcare promoter, a successful social scientist, a mentor to many aspiring professionals and an academician conferred MAMS by the National Academy of Medical Sciences & FIMSA by International Medical Sciences Academy & FICN by the International College of Nutrition.