Nowruz 2019: 5 popular Parsis in India

Sonali Pimputkar
  1. Though Parsis are one of the minority groups in India and make less than 0.005 percent of entire India’s population, they occupy three positions when it comes to country’s top 10 billionaires. The history of the community is around 3,000 years old and their names have been mentioned in history as well. The community fled from Iran and moved to India in the 10th century and since then have a major share in the evolution of the country’s economy. Today several schools, libraries, hospitals and charitable trusts are named after prominent Parsis. Here are 5 popular Parsis in India.

Pherozeshah Mehta
Mehta was born to a Parsi business family and studied law at Lincoln’s Inn in London and was the first Parsi barrister called to the Bar from Lincoln’s Inn in 1868. He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress and was chosen as the President of the party in 1890. He was also the President of the Bombay Presidency Association and Municipal commissioner of Bombay Municipality in 1873. He encouraged Indian to pursue western education and use its culture to uplift India.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha
Born to a wealthy and prominent industrial Parsi family, Homi Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist and is known as the ‘Father of the Indian nuclear programme’. He was the founding director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). He was felicitated with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1954. In 1966, he died in a plane crash near Mont Blanc when he was heading to attend a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata
The Indian pioneer industrialist and founder of Tata group, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata is regarded as the ‘Father of Indian industry’. Jawaharlal Nehru was quoted saying, “When you have to give the lead in action, in ideas – a lead which does not fit in with the very climate of opinion – that is true courage, physical or mental or spiritual, call it what you like, and it is this type of courage and vision that Jamsetji Tata showed. It is right that we should honour his memory and remember him as one of the big founders of modern India.”

Ratan Naval Tata
Indian industrialist, investor, philanthropist and former chairman of Tata Sons Ratan Tata was a member of the prominent Tata family. He has also been ranked as India’s most powerful CEOs. He is the recipient of India’s distinguished civilian awards – Padma Vibhushan (2008) and Padma Bhushan (2000).

Also read: 10 Parsis in Bollywood that portrays the versatility of the community

Cyrus Pallonji Mistry
Former chairman of Tata group, Cyrus Mistry and younger son of billionaire and construction magnate Pallonji Mistry. He is an Irish businessman of Indian origin and is also the first non-Indian national to head the conglomerate. He served as a managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji & Company, Director of Tata Elxsi Limited and joined Tata sons in September 2006. He was removed from the Chairmanship of Tata Sons after the Tata Sons Board voted against him.