Journal Of The The K R Cama Oriental Institute

Special Issue 

Papers Presented at the National Seminar on 

“The Contribution Made By The Parsis To The Development Of Different Aspects of Education In The 19th And 20th Centuries In Western India”

17th And 18th Jaunary 2009

Volume – I

The K R Cama Oriental Institute had organised a two day National Seminar on “The Contribution made by the Parsis to the development of different aspects of Education in the 19th and 20th Centuries in Western India”, held on 17th and 18th January 2009. The Institute is publishing the proceedings of the seminar in two volumes of the journal. The present volume contains the papers presented at the first session and some of the papers presented at the second session of the seminar.

Volume 1 consists of the papers presented by Dr Armaity S Desai, Dr Mrs Louiza Rodrigues; Dr Mrs Zenobia P Dumasia, Mrs Silloo Commissariat, Dr Preeta Nilesh, Dr Mrs Meher Mistry, Mrs Rashna Poncha, Dr Sunil Pandya, Mrs Vispi Balaporia and Ms Zarin Sethna.

Dr Armaity Desai completed her BA (Hons.) degree from the University of Mumbai (Sociology) (1951-55) and her MA (1958-59) and Ph.D. (1965-69) degrees from the University of Chicago, both in Social Work. She has been the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, Delhi (1995-99), Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (1982-95), Principal and Vice Principal and Lecturer, College of Social Work (affiliated to the University of Mumbai.)

She is a Member and Office Bearer of several non-governmental and Governmental organisations at the international, national and local levels, like the UN (in Asia) and the Commonwealth Secretariat Committees (for Africa), Committees of the Planning Commission and Social Welfare Ministries, Union Public Service Commission and the University Grants Commission. Her research areas are in social work education and she has written in several publications on higher education. She has won several national and international awards and two Honorary Doctorates.

Dr Louiza Rodrigues completed her Ph.D. degree in 2011. Her dissertation was titled ‘Forest Conservancy in Western India in the Nineteenth Century’. She is an Associate Professor, Department of History, Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai, has been a visiting faculty to the Wellingkar Institute of Management, Research and Development, National Institute of Fashion and Technology, Mumbai and the University of Mumbai. Her area of specialisation and interests are Environmental History, Genealogy and the Heritage of Mumbai. She has to her credit major research projects from the K R Cama Oriental Institute of Mumbai, the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, the University of Mumbai and Exeter University for Gulf Studies, United Kingdom. She has also to her credit more than 20 research papers and articles in books and journals of national and international repute. She is also a recognised Ph.D. guide at the Ramnarain Ruia College and the University of Mumbai. In 2013 she was awarded the Best Paper Award and a Cash Prize, in Section III: Modern India Professor P S Gupta Memorial & J C Jha Prize in Indian History Congress, 73rd Session, 2012 for her paper on ‘Commercialisation of Forests, Timber Extraction and Deforestation of Malabar, Early Nineteenth Century’. She is the chief author of the four volume series of books on The Genealogy of the Sett/Sethna family published by the K R Cama Oriental Institute.

Dr Zenobia P Dumasia retired as a Reader and Head of the Department of History at the Elphinstone College, Mumbai, in 2008. Her doctoral dissertation on “The Contribution of the Parsis to the Development of Education and Social Change in Bombay City, 1820-1920”, completed in 1987, has been published as a book titled The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City (1820- 1920). Her article on “Parsis and the Development of Education in Bombay City” has been published in the book Minorities on India’s West Coast – History and Society, edited by Anirudha Gupta. Her two articles on “The Panday Family – Nurturing the Textile Industry” and “Professor Kamal Wood – The Voice of Nationalism” have been published in Enduring Legacy – Parsis of the 20th Century, Volumes I and II edited by Dr Nawaz B Mody.

Mrs Silloo Commissariat completed her B A degree at the St. Xavier’s College, and her B Ed degree from the St Xavier’s Institute of Education in Mumbai. She joined the R F Panday Girls’ High School in 1957 as a full time teacher and served as the Principal from 1975-2001. Presently she is incharge of several special duties of the School. She is the Head-mistress of the Bai R F D Panday Pre-Primary School and holds complete responsibility of its working and progress. She has received several awards of appreciation from the Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Zonta Club of Bombay III, in 2007 and the Life-time Achievement Award in the field of Education for 50 years from the Zochild Foundation in 2007.

Dr Preeta Nilesh is an Associate Professor of History at the V G Vaze College, Mulund, Mumbai. She has been awarded her Ph.D. degree for her study on “Law and Social Change in the 19th century Bombay: Four Case Studies”, in 2001. Following this she has completed several post-doctoral projects including studies of the Mohalla Committees of Mumbai, Colonial Hospitality in 19th c Mumbai and Fountains and Pvays in Mumbai. She has been a recipient of the Avabai Wadia Fellowship awarded the by the K R Cama Oriental Institute and has completed her project on the ‘Dining Patterns and Restaurant Culture of Suburban Mumbai’. Twelve students have completed their M Phil dissertations under her supervision and three Ph.D. degree students are registered under her guidance. She has attended several national and international conferences and has a number of publications to her credit.

Dr Meher Mistry is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of History at the Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College, Mumbai. She
completed her doctorate from the Asiatic Society, University of Mumbai on “A History of Some Parsi Settlements on the Western Coast of India (1600 to 1850) – A Study of Bharuch, Ankleshwar, Khambhat”. Her research interests include maritime history, community and business history and contemporary Indian and world history. She has been associated with the WZCF-Sanjan – Bahrot : Archaeological and Conservation Project, the UNESCO PARZOR Project and the Research Project on The Genealogy of the Seth and Sethna Family: 1930 -2010 at the K R Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai. She has presented papers at several seminars and has 13 publications to her credit.

Mrs Rashna Poncha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Sophia College for Women, where she has been teaching for the past 18 years. She stood first in History in the University of Mumbai at the BA and second at the MA examinations. She enjoys teaching and is passionate about her subject. Apart from her academic interests, in her school days, she was a successful state-level swimmer. She, along with her departmental colleagues, has organised many events for her college including international conferences such as ‘South India under Vijayanagara: Art and Archaeology’, ‘Mumbai – Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities’, and ‘Mumbai Fort: Fountainhead of Development’. She has presented papers at various Seminars and Conferences. Mrs Poncha is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree on the topic “A Study of Frere Town, Bombay (1862-1947)”.

Dr Sunil K Pandya completed his MBBS and MS degrees from the Grant Medical College, University of Mumbai. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences. He has been a Professor of Neurosurgery at the Seth G S Medical College and the KEM Hospital, Mumbai from 1975-1988. He is a member of societies like the Academia Euriasiana Neurochirurgica, the Europa India Foundation and the Forum for Medical Ethics Society. He is on the Editorial Board of the National Medical Journal of India. His publications include books titled Neurosurgery, History of Medicine and Medical Ethics.

Mrs Vispi Russ Balaporia graduated with a BA in French from the Wilson College and went on to do a Master’s degree in English from the SNDT University of Bombay where she stood first amongst all the candidates majoring in the subject of English. She enrolled in the English Department of SNDT University and was awarded an M Phil. degree with distinction. Her teaching career at the Jai Hind College, Mumbai, spanned almost forty years. She retired as Vice Principal and Head of the Department of English, but continues to take lectures as a visiting lecturer, and is also an advisory member of the

Managing Board of the College. Besides her duties at the college, she served in various capacities at the University of Mumbai, as Chairperson of the Board of Studies in English, Member of the Academic Council, the Management Council, the Senate, and eventually as Dean of the Faculty of Arts. In 1999 the Government of Maharashtra presented her with the Best Teacher of the University of Mumbai award. Currently she is the Honorary Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.

Ms Zarin R Sethna completed her MA degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Mumbai. She is an Associate Professor and Head, Department of Psychology at the S.S. and L.S. Patkar College, Mumbai since 1993. She has submitted her thesis for the Ph.D. degree to the University of Mumbai . The topic of her dissertation is “Parsi Identity vis a vis ‘Non-Parsis’ : Perceptions and Interactions”. She has presented research papers at various national seminars and published in international journals.