Life is nothing but events and memories of our past. Down the lane of time the events we go throught, become past memories – Good, bad or Ugly, they all teach us and leave an impression on us and others too. Here we will try and recount other readers memories of Jhansi, other events or just nostalgia that may be of interest.
Reading the below will certainly bring back nostalgic memories for a lot of readers, you will learn, just as we did when we collected this information, marvel at things we did not know of, read real history as it happened for the local people.
There are a few articles where readers have requested information which now YOU may be able to assist them with. Emails and contacts are not provided here for privacy reasons. You can still assist them find lost ones, dear to them.
Of special note are A necklace photo supplied by Martine Janah from California, USA, showing the revolutionaries of the 1857/58 sepoy mutiny, of which I had no idea it existed. And a letter supplied by Sarah Johnson –rather a military certificate of great importance as it records the Battle for Jhansi, by British army personnel, something to note of, from the other side.
Other information is also relevant to us all, so read on, and notice the excitement of readers like yourself, their nostalgia, and their memories all in their original words. The subscriber’s name & residence town are also mentioned.
Have an enjoyable read down memory lane
Martine Janah – Los Angeles, California, USA
G’day to you too! I would be honoured to have my comments entered into your guest book. For the record, let me add one more thing, so it’s complete…
“Great website Firoze! I’m a deracinated Belgian/French-Bengali deracinated Indian living in Los Angeles, CA and happened to come across your site. I am an admirer of the Rani of Jhansi who is a young heroine like Joan of Arc. Indomitable courage, and leadership at a very young age. It is particularly relevant to me as a female.
I happen to have a necklace made in Rajasthan or Gujarat, of hand painted Indian miniatures. Each of nine silver frames contains a portrait of the leaders of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Eight kings, and the one queen, the Rani of Jhansi, are on it. It is very precious, and an antique. You will notice that this was called a Mutiny, not a Revolt, due to the implications of insubordination, versus repression of a people. It was the same in Los Angeles, when we had the Rodney King Riots, versus the Rodney King Revolt.
Thank you for preserving history, especially from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors as it is frequently written. Good job and kudos for your most excellent site!!
Los Angeles, CA 90501″
Please feel free to print all, or part, of this as you see fit. I am going to peruse your site some more as I enjoyed it immensely. I really like the fact that this young brave woman finally gets a page in history alongside men.
This was not bought on the web. The Indian jewellery dealer who sold it to me at the timeSanta Monica Gem Show in Los Angeles, California, comes to this show 4 times a year. He normally sells copies of antique silver jewelry – medallions, folk painted miniatures or pure silver, some old coin copies, and general jewelry for the masses.
Every once, in a while, he has an antique or two.
I take him aside and tell him I’m not one of the ghora-lok (white folks, meaning Anglo-Americans) but from Bengal, and what real antiques does he have for me? Then he shows me his treasures with much higher prices.
I paid US$225 for this about 10 years ago. He had no reason to lie. He told me it was an old piece (over 100 yrs old), and had the portraits of all the rajas of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, and the one Rani of Jhansi as well and pointed her out. I have not verified this, so if you do some research and find the names of the Rajas, we can dig up pictures of them and compare. They are all quite individualistic, so should be easy to identify. The one smelling the rose looks like Raja Ramohan Roy from Bengal who did a lot to eradicate the practice of Sati, as I remember from my history books. My historical facts are a bit shaky. I need to do some reading to validate what I believe.
Viraf Phiroze Mulla – Mumbai, India
Hi Firoz, – OFCOURSE I do remember you, how can I forget you. It was your photographs of the WP & WG class of steam locomotives and the WDM2 hauled Grand Trunk Express which you clicked at Jhansi which inspired me to click trains and into a different stream of RAILWAY HOBBY. You know Sarosh Mehta – we both do railway trips together to pursue our hobby.
My wife clicked this attached picture of mine when we took a weekend trip on the oldest working steam locomotive – THE FAIRY QUEEN which was built in 1855.
Godrej employee, Vikhroli
NOEL DIAS – EX JHANSI, NOW NAGPUR INDIA
I WORK IN THE MERCHANT MARINE & MY SHIP IS IN GUANGZHOU, CHINA. I LIVED IN JHANSI FROM 1985 TO 1988.
AT THE MOMENT IM GOING THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE TO TELL YOU WHAT A WONDERFUL JOB YOU HAVE DONE IN KEEPING THE MEMORIES OF YOUR COMMUNITY IN JHANSI ALIVE.
I LIVE IN NAGPUR A STONES THROW AWAY FROM DINAZ BHAMGARAS HOME AND OLD UNCLE PESI PESTONJEE STILL COMMUNICATES WITH MUM AND DAD. I REMEMBER KASHIMARA AND PERSIS MANECKJI BUT, WONDER IF THEY REMEMBER ME AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.I ALSO REMEMBER ADI BABA, (THE LOCAL HERCULES/PAHELWAN) AND WELL………….I COULD GO ON AND ON WITH ALL. THE HAPPY MEMORIES I HAVE.
IN JHANSI I LIVED IN THE OFFICERS COLONY BEHIND THE BETWA CLUB AS DAD WAS, IN THE RAILWAYS. DINAZ AND HER SISTERS WOULD PASS OUR HOME ON THEIR WAY TO SCHOO.(I TELL ADIL BHAMGARA THAT I KNEW HIS WIFE LONG BEFORE HE EVEN KNEW HER NAME).ADIL WAS A YEAR SENIOR TO ME AT THE S.F.S SCHOOL NAGPUR.
SADLY I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO RETURN TO JHANSI EVEN FOR A VISIT IN THE LAST 20 YRS. GOOD JOB PHIROZE & I WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY THE VERY BEST.
(ILL BE SENDING A SMS TO DINAZ I WONDER IF SHES SEEN HER PIC ON YOUR WEBSITE).
I’VE ATTACHED 2 PICS WHICH COULD ADORN YOUR WEB PAGE. THE PICS WERE TAKEN OUT IN THE 50’S WHEN THE STATUE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA WAS TAKEN AROUND DIFFERENT CITIES IN INDIA.
BOTH THE PICS HAVE A PARSEE LADY (WEARING A WHITE SAREE, SCARF & CARRYING A HANDBAG) STANDING REVERENTLY NEAR THE STATUE, SHE’S IN THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE PIC. I HAVE NO CLUE WHO SHE IS AND POSSIBLY YOU DONT KNOW AS WELL SINCE IT WAS BEFORE OUR TIME. THEY WERE TAKEN OUT SOMEWHERE IN CIVIL LINES JHANSI, I GUESS.
ONE PIC HAS THE LATE BISHOP FENICH OF MALTA WHO CONSTRUCTED THE SHRINE.
THESE PICS BELONGED TO THE OLD DR JOE RIGHTON WHO PASSED AWAY ALL ALONE IN 1988 IN R.NO 13 OF THE JHANSI HOTEL. AFTER HIS DEMISE THEY WERE ABOUT TO BE DUMPED IN THE BIN WHEN I GRABBED THEM.
I HOPE YOU CAN IDENTIFY THE LADY.
CHEERS MATE, NOEL
St. Judes Church, Jhansi is a very popular pilgrim venue for the devoted who come to attend the fair in October each year from the far corners of the world.
Hi Firoze, I managed to identify the lady in the pic I had sent you; she’s the late Mr’s Mirza. Brenda Flower from Jhansi had visited me and recognised her, however she does not know her first name.
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 13:56:24 +0800
HOW NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU. WELL THERES A LOT I HAVE TO PEN SO I BEGIN RIGHT AWAY.
FIRSTLY I VISITED PERTH EVERY 15 DAYS, YES EVERY 15 DAYS FROM 1996 TO 2002 AS I WORKED ON CATTLE BOATS N WE’D LOAD CATTLE OF THE WELLARD RURAL TRADE CO, UNFORTUNATELY I GOT TO KNOW ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE ONLY AFTER 2002.I WAS ON THE FAMOUS SHIP THE “UNICEB” THAT LOADED 70,000 SHEEP IN 1996 ONLY TO CATCH FIRE AND SINK A WEEK LATER. I WAS FOR 3 DAYS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN WITH BAA_BAA BLACK SHEEP AND PLENTY OF WATER, WATER EVERY WHERE, RESCUED AFTER 3 DAYS.
WHEN YOU TALK TO PESI UNCLE PLS TELL HIM IM THE SON OF JOE & GLADYS DIAS OF NAGPUR.I REMEMBER YOUR BRO FAROKH BUT NEVER MET HIM PERSONALLY HE LIVED NEAR THE BAIDYANATH OWNERS HOME IN CIVIL LINES OPP THE WEST COMPOUND.
HEY YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR WEBSITE ABOUT THE LATE COL SETHNA. MY FRIEND IT’S A SMALL WORLD. WE BOUGHT FROM THEM A PAIR OF TIBETIAN TERRIER PUPS THROUGH PESI UNCLE IN 1986. WE NAMED THEM CHIP AND DALE. CHIP DIED 2 YEARS LATER BUT DALE SURVIVED TILL 1998.
IN PERTH THERES A SHIPPIE WITH WHOM I HAD SAILED IN 1990 NAVAL OONWALLA FROM B’BAY HIS WIFES NAME IS ABAN THEY MOVED TO PERTH SOMEWHERE IN THE EARLY 90’S. A DAMN GOOD SWIMMER, WHO ALMOST MADE IT, TO THE INDIAN TEAM, FOR THE 82 ASIAN GAMES.
ALSO IN PERTH IS LEELA WOODS WHO LIVED IN THE SAME HOME WHERE PEGGY CANTEM LIVES NOW AND YOU CAN READ ABOUT PEGGY CANTEM ON THE WEB, JUST GO TO GOOGLE AND TYPE PEGGY CANTEM, THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL WILL BE MAKING A PROGRAMME ON THE JHANSI CEMETRY WITH PEGGYS ASSISTANCE AS IT HAPPENS TO BE THE 150TH YEAR OF THE MUTINY.
DO YOU KNOW BHEROZE RABARDI OF NAGPUR, HER SIS LIVES IN SYDNEY?
PHIROZE DO ADD MY COMMENTS ON YOUR WEBSITE AND IF THERES ANY THING I CAN DO TO ENRICH IT PLEASE DO LET ME KNOW. AS I FIND IT TO BE A MASTERPIECE.
ALSO IN AUSTRALIA, THERES, FALI POACHA OF NAGPUR. FALI AND I BELONG TO THE SAME MASONIC LODGE (BHOOT BANGLA) AT NAGPUR, THOUGH NOW HES AN ABSENT MEMBER. HIS COUSIN KUSHROO WAS MY CLASSMATE IF I VISIT PERTH ILL GIVE YOU A CALL AND WILL BE EVER TOO GLAD TO TALK ABOUT JHANSI.
IM ENCLOSING SOME PHOTOS TAKEN ON MY SONS FIRST COMMUNION DAY , MY WIFE AND I ARE IN IDENTICAL SUITS, AND IN ONE PIC (EXTREME RIGHT) THERES A CHILD(LIGHT PINK FUR COAT) HOLDING SOMETHING IN HER HAND AND ABOVE HER AND PARTLY HIDDEN IS HER MOM WITH HER HANDS ON THE CHILDS HEAD………..KNOW HER????????????????ALSO IN THE PIC IS NAVROZE MEHTA, THE BOY WITH SPECTS, EXTREME LEFT OF THE PIC, HIS GRAND DAD WAS A DRIVER AND HIS DAD PERCY WAS MY CLASSMATE.
IN THE FAMILY PIC WITH MY WIFE N KIDS IS DAD, MOM AND MY SIS ANNA MARIE WHOS IN MAURITIUS.
PHIROZE MY FRIEND I CAN GO ON AND ON AND ON BUT ILL SAVE SOME DATA FOR THE NEXT TIME, WONDERFUL HEARING FROM YOU.
AND, AS THE SAY,- DOWN UNDER. CHEERS MATE.
ALL THE VERY BEST TO YOU ALL,
FREDRICK – South Australia
Have just finished viewing your site on Jhansi, provided by my uncle Walter Gibbins, and must blame you for making me homesick.
Yes, I was born in Jhansi and lived in the railway area, first on Garhia Road and then later in a house on Institute Square. My Dad served on the railways as a senior guard and Mum taught at St Marks. I must congratulate you on doing such a fine job with your site.
Now coming to Parsi friends, I had Baji Kolah and Percy Pestonji in my class. There was also Hoshi and Harvesh Jehangir though my memory of them is not as clear. What happened to these guys?
I made a trip back to India some years ago and everything had changed, though Jhansi still retains the old magic. Wish I could buy my old railway house and spend half the year there!
Keep up the good work and get in touch when you can.
Best wishes to all your family,
Thanks for replying to my mail and also for the news on old friends in Jhansi.
You will be pleased to hear that I received a letter from Pesi this week. I was wondering if he received mine some time ago but he was away on holidays in Bombay. Anyway, he is fine and getting on with life. It was good to hear from him and the latest news.
I have lived in Australia for forty two years, most of my life, but I still feel I belong in Jhansi. Must get, some info from you, on hotels etc if I finally make another trip.
There are a few Jhansi families in Perth, I’m not sure if you know them. The Ellwoods lived close to Jhansi railway station, Webbs on Over Bridge Road and Kings on Brock Road. Maybe the names of the roads have changed by now!
Not much more to report from here, I keep in touch with two old friends who now live in Delhi. India is certainly changing and too fast for my liking. Hope they can improve at cricket.
Sent: Saturday, 8 November 2008 8:40 AM
I have been going through some of my Dad’s old railway friends in Jhansi, well before your time, and have come up with the name Dumasia.
All I know is that he was Parsi and shared a house with my father and another friend Austen Singh. As far as I know, he was also a guard on the railway and on retirement lived close to Sipri Bazaar.
If you have any information on this man, first name unknown, please get back to me.
How are you and all your family in Perth? Do you ever meet up with any old Jhansi folk? There are quite a few families there.
All the best, from us.
Thanks for your reply. I am not sure if Austen Singh had a motorcycle, at least he did not have one when we were there. I remember when I visited Jhansi in 1983,he lived in the same line of houses near Sipri where Mr Dumasia used to live. I heard from Pesi Pestonji that Austen Singh had passed on some time ago. All three of these guys (including my Dad) shared a house as bachelor’s on Over Bridge Road.
I remember Austin’s son David who was in St Mark’s with us. If you happen to be in touch with Pesi Pestonji, he is likely to know about Mr Dumasia. I am pretty sure he had the first house in the same line as Jacob’s, Austen Singh and others as you left Sipri (on your left) to get to the railway station.
If you want the latest news on who comes and goes in Jhansi, Mrs. Cantem in Civil Lines is the expert. We keep in touch and I am amazed at the number of old Jhansi folk, mainly from the U.K. who have returned to visit their old home.
Anyway, I am hopeful that some news will finally emerge.
Best wishes to you and your family,
BANGALORE THEN – N – NOW
This site is quite interesting.
GEV OGRA – Ex JHANSI, NOW USA
Thanks for your prompt reply and was great hearing from you almost after say 15/20 years. T his is all because of the Jhs Parsi website which my niece Persis forwarded to me from Dubai.
Well its work in progress and I am sure you will add a lot of stuff incl. so many families which were the integral part of our community.
eg.Battiwala’s , Goody & Phiroze Pestonji, Anklesarias, Kohinas, Jalnawalla’s &Manekji’s etc.Well I will send you the attachment in detail in my next email.
The business I own is called Successories which is a franchise and so I have a retail outlet and a website which you already know. This is my 6Th year in business. Prior to that I worked for Godrej as you know and I left for Dubai & Muscat for 5 years to manage Godrej dealerships out there.
Good to hear that Rosie’s daughter has got married recently. Well frankly I have not seen Rosy in ages & perhaps I last saw her was when we all studied together at her place under the able guidance of Nautiyal Master. I so vividly remember you in your brown coat quietly sitting in the corner studying hard out of fear while we were fooling around. Boy I will never forget those good ol days.
Pallu is doing fine and is managing Inger sol Rand in Gujarat .He has a daughter Ferzin who just graduated in Finance Management and is now working for Reliance Financial Services. How is Fakku? I guess he is in Dubai.
Give me some more news about Jhs. wallas. I heard Kerman’s wife passed away some time back. By the way, sorry to know about Keki uncle. He uses to be my Dads school friend in my childhood I saw many pictures of your dad & my old man together and i do remember he use to call my dad Ustad. How is Rati aunty
is she still in Jhs?
Firoz, I did reply to your email promptly but some how it did not go through. Some bad news from Jhs. Dina Engineer passed away 2 days back. Behram & Percy her sons are in Canada and perhaps you know that. Their father & her husband Adi Engineer passed away around 6 months back.
Well I have to go so talk to you later.
JOAN D’SILVA – Ex Jhansi now PUNE, INDIA
I was browsing the internet and happened to come across your website on the Parsis in Jhansi. It is really fantastic. Although you say you still have to do more research, I can see that already you have spent a lot of time, effort and research.
I am not a Parsi but, like you, I too am a Jhansi-walla. Although I have travelled the length and breadth of India, Jhansi holds a special place in my heart. Seeing the pictures, especially of the steam engine and the tonga brought back many nostalgic memories of when I was young in Jhansi. I know it is a website of the Parsis but since you have included other pictures as well, it would be nice if you could also think of including and mentioning the Jhansi Bund (Railway Dam) and Abbotts Dam where we all used to go for picnics.
I was pleased to see the names of Zarine Bhagat, Arnavaz Pestonji and Bapsi Mirza who were in school with me. I was also pleased to see a message from Walter Gibbins. I remember him when he lived on Garhia Road close to my parents’ home.
I doubt if you will remember me and you must be wondering who I am. My parents were Winoo and Maud D’Silva. My father was a Mail Driver and we lived on Garhia Road and then Chapel Road. After my father retired, he built his own house close to where Dhunji Anklesaria lives now but now my parents are no more and the house has been sold. I have worked all over India for the last 36 years and am now retired and settled in Pune (close to Bombay). One of my closest friends when I was young in Jhansi was Adrienne Conlan who used to live in Perth and now has moved to Albany.
Keep up the good work Firoz. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours. If I can give you any inputs, I shall be happy to help.
SANJAY KOHLI – ex Jhansi now KANSAS CITY, USA
I am speechless to find you on Internet. I am so glad to know about you on web parsisofjhansi.com
Please send me your phone number I will contact you soon. More later.
Senior Software Developer – Spencerreed Group Inc.
President: Indo American Chamber of Kansas City,
Vice President: India Association of Kansas City,
Secretary: Hindu Temple & Cultural Centre of Kansas City
Secretary: Charleton Place Home Owners Association, Kansas City,
Col Rajkishore Dubey
Dear Feroze and Mahrukh,
Let me introduce myself – I am Col. Raj Kishore Dubey from Sipri Bazaar Jhansi – a very close friend of Dhunji Billimoria, Behram Icchaporia, Burjor Icchaporia , Burjor Bharucha… and few others from the Jhansi Bawa’s since the 1940’s. I am sure we would have crossed paths at some time.
My daughter , Ruchi showed me your website on the Parsis of Jhansi recently, and it was a real pleasant surprise to see the amount of work put in to build this community website. By the way, I have know most of them through their life time and mine – whether the Bhagats, Bhagalia , Merchants, Pestonjis , Maneckjiee, Anklesarias, Bharucha , Engineers, Kolahs, or any other Parsi family that has resided in Jhansi since 1940’s.
I on behalf of all my friends present and past ( I knew Jhangoo and Rati Ogra, Dina Didi and Adi Baba and their children too) I thank you for the amount of effort that you have put in into building this page. It has brought back some beautiful memories of weddings, navjots and birthdays at Parsi Dharamshala and all the fun we used to have. It has brought back memories of childhood and youth.
God bless you and your family for the hard work and the details you gathered.
Just an FYI – for the memories – Farham Merchant passed onward to his heavenly abode recently. I do not have the exact date but will check with Dhunji and confirm back.
BTW – your website in the introduction to Icchaporias mentions – Late Hoshang Icchaporia – Hoshang is very much still on the earth hale and hearty residing in Bombay with son Vispy. Do correct that
Col Raj Kishore Dubey
245 Azad Gunj Sipri Bazaar,
Jhansi – 284003
WALTER GIBBINS – ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Walter Gibbins and his family were in Jhansi for a long time, made long lasting friendships and people still remember Walter with great pride & affection. After leaving Jhansi he settled in Adelaide where he lives with his wife & daughter Susan & her husband. He has fond memories of Jhansi. He has contributed interesting articles for our website also
Hi Firoz, Attached our wedding photograph taken outside St. Mark’s Church, Jhansi.(now a primary school) From right. Mr Fred Lawson, Mail guard Jhansi, his wife (my wife’s sister) Mrs C Lawson. Mr & Mrs Cyril Fernandez, Lesley my sister, my wife’s Uncle Mr Laffrey, Mr J Silver, Mrs U Silver ( my wife’s sister) Mr R Alderson my father-in-law, My beautiful wife Brenda,& the ugly bloke, Lynn Alderson ( my wife’s younger sister) Mrs A Alderson Brenda’s Mother. Shirley my sister (Now living in Perth)
My wife Brenda and her sister Mrs D Fernandez were teaching in the convent and her sister Mrs C Lawson was teaching in St Mark’s School.
ELITE CINEMA JHANSI
Jhansi walas will love this. It is an interview with the film operator of the famous ELITE cinema. How melodramatic is that
When Manekshaw Confronted Indira’s Cabinet
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Politics — Pragmatic @ 8:21 am
The Field Marshal quoted the Bible and offered to resign…
There are many stories, some true and some apocryphal, about India’s legendary soldier – Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. It is common knowledge that India’s military campaign in 1971 to liberate Bangladesh was delayed on professional military advice, against the wishes of the political class. It is delightful to revisit the anecdote in the words of the lead historion of the dramatis personae. The Field Marshal narrated this incident as a personal example of moral courage, at the inaugural Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lecture in October 1995 at Delhi.
There is a very thin line between being dismissed and becoming a Field Marshal. In 1971, when Pakistan cracked down in East Pakistan, hundreds and thousands of refugees started pouring into India, into West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The Prime Minister held a Cabinet meeting in her office. The External Affairs Minister Sardar Swaran Singh, the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, the Defence Minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram and the Finance Minister, Yashwant Rao Chavan was present. I was then summoned.
A very angry, grim-faced Prime Minister read out the telegrams from the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. She then turned around to me and said, “What are you doing about it?”
And I said, “Nothing, it’s got nothing to do with me. You didn’t consult me when you allowed the BSF, the CRP and RAW to encourage the Pakistanis to revolt. Now that you are in trouble, you come to me. I have a long nose. I know what’s happening.”
I then asked her what she wanted me to do.
She said, “I want you to enter Pakistan.”
And I responded, “That means war!”
She said, “I do not mind if it is war.”
“Have you read the Bible?” I said.
The Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh asked, “What has Bible got to do with this?”
I explained, that the first book, the first chapter, the first words, the first sentence God said was, “Let there be light” and there was light. Now you say, “Let there be war” and there will be war, but are you prepared? I am certainly not. This is the end of April. The Himalayan passes are opening and there can be an attack from China if China gives us an ultimatum.
The Foreign Minister asked, “Will China give an ultimatum?” And I said, “You are the Foreign Minister, you tell me”. I told them that my armoured division and two of my infantry divisions were away. One in the Jhansi/Babina area, t he other in Samba and the third one in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. I mentioned that I will require all the road space, all the railway wagons, the entire railway system to move these formations to the operational areas and that harvesting was in progress in the Punjab and UP and they would not be able to move the harvest which would rot; and I pointed out to the Agriculture Minister that it wouldn’t be my responsibility if there was a famine. Then I said, “My armoured division, which is my big striking force is supposed to have 189 tanks operational. I have got only 11 tanks that are fit to fight.”
The Finance Minister, who is a friend of mine asked, “Sam why only 11?”
So I told him, “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking you for money for over a year and you say you haven’t got it!”
And finally I turned around to the Prime Minister and said that the rains were about to start in East Pakistan and when it rains there, it pours and when it pours, the whole countryside is flooded. The snows are melting, the rivers would become like oceans. If you stand on one bank, you can’t see the other. All my movement would be confined to roads. The Air Force, because of climatic conditions would not be able to support me. Now Prime Minister, give me your orders. The grim Prime Minister with her teeth clenched said, “The Cabinet will meet again at four o’clock”.
The members of the Cabinet started walking out. I being the junior most was the last to go and as I was leaving, she said,” Chief, will you stay back?”
I turned around and said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, may I send you my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?”
She said, “Every thing you told me is true”.
“Yes! It is my job to tell you the truth” I responded, “and it is my job to fight, it is my job to fight to win and I have to tell you the truth.”
She smiled at me and said, “All right Sam, you know what I want?”
I said, “Yes, I know what you want!”
[Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lectures 1995 – 2000, Lancer Publishers & Distributors, Delhi, 2001]
Three cheers to the old soldier! The only regret – I wish all of us had compulsorily read this at school, among all the mythological and faux historical fables, as a living illustration of moral courage.
From Ravinder Malhotra – ex JHANSI now DELHI, INDIA
I have just been forwarded a message from an old friend from Jhansi who has along with his family settled in Adelaide.
I am Ravinder Malhotra and I studied in St. Mark’s High School, Jhansi till my Senior Cambridge in 1965.The Principal during our time was Mr T E Allan and our English teacher was one Mr. V C Francis, unpopular with the children but to who I owe my eminence. I am a poet, and have been conferred the title of “The Living Treasure of Delhi”. I have also dedicated my first book of poetry, “Life’s echo” to him.
I had a classmate Rona Pestonji who decided to do High school and thereafter I was told he shifted to Bombay and lost contact. I am interested in tracing him out. Does he belong to the same family? If he does I shall be obliged if you could direct to me his contact details: ED note: Rona Pestonji, my cousin & a great jolly person, passed on at an early age, in sad circumstances around 1990, trying to assist others) St Marks Dawn Picture
I also recollect that one Mr. Pestonjee was a close friend of my grandfather. Mr. Pestonjee used to carry out auctions for my grandfather. Are you of the same family.
Since you are located at Perth, may I call upon you for a favour. I had another class mate, an anglo indian named Richard Elwood who shifted and settled in Perth. His elder sister was named Christabel. Would you have any clue to their where abouts. Best regards,
Ravinder Malhotra Naraina Vihar New Delhi
Thank you for a quick reply.
I have been sending mails to a lot of people settled in Perth, on their last known address. I was sceptical about your contact details too, but nevertheless proceeded to do so. Finally someone replied !
Yes, the 1965 batch was the last for Senior Cambridge. Our teachers were
Hindi – Mr. Phillips, Biology -Mr Dhar, Chemistry – Mr. Lal, Physics – Mr.Thakore, English – Mr. V.C Francis, Health Science – Miss. S Paul, Mathematics- Mr. TE Allan ( The principal) I wonder if any of them taught you.Mr. Phillips could have.
It is nice to know you excelled in your academics. Jhansi had no dearth of talent and during my research I find people from my town have done exceedingly well in life too.
No, it is not Walter Gibbens. It is Frederick Lawson. His mother taught in St. Marks and he studied in the school till they decided to move out. I think he is in touch with Walter. I am settled in New Delhi and have a couple of serviced apartments for visiting expatriates and upper end tourists.
I have traced out and am in constant touch with nearly all my class mates except a girl by the name of Zareen Choksi. Her father Col.(Dr) Choksi was posted in Jhansi in 1963. If my memory serves me right the family originated from nasik. I have an old pic which I am forwarding along with this mail.
She is the girl with specs standing, her younger brother is kneeling and her sister is standing in the last row on the left, the one with short hair. See if you can manage a lead on this too.
Shall await your attention once you are through with your pending work.
I am presently compiling data for a book on Jhansi. Let me see how it shapes.
Do keep in touch, Best regards,
Ravi New Delhi 5/09/2007
RADHA NAIR – PUNE
Dear Firoz and Mahrukh Pestonji,
I am Radha, a free lance write based in Pune. I need your help.
I came across your website by accident and found that you have maintained a wonderful website on the Parsis of Jhansi, I was wondering whether you would be able to give me Zerin Ankles aria’s e-mail ID as I wish to write to her.
Also, I am doing a feature on Roshan Menon, a broadcaster who worked with All India Radio in the ’50’s. I idolised her as a child, and still do.
I have been trying very hard to get information on her , from people who worked with her or knew her unfortunately, all these people are in heir eighties, and so can remember very little about her or those wonderful days.
If you could please help me with inputs, or guide me to people who could give me information on this wonderful lady, I would be deeply indebted to you.
Very proud to know that you lead the NCC contigent in 1979. It must have been a glorious moment. I have aalways loved watching the Republic day parades, having seen them from Rajpath at the age of 7. On that occassion, I had the good fortune to shake hands with Jawaharlal Nehru, when he came to greet us children who had come to meet him. It was indeed a momentous occassion.
Yes my father was a Naval officer.
In the ’50’s soon after India gained her independance, almost all the world leaders came to Delhi, one after another. My father was then posted in Delhi. We were staying in Central Vista mess at that time. It was the quarters given to the Armed Forces families. One side of CV faced Queen’s way(Janpath), and the other King’s way(Rajpath) .
We children used to crowd the balcony facing Queens way, to get a ring side view of the world leaders, as they came visiting our country, one by one.
We had the great luck to see dignitaries like President Nasser of Egypt, Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, Emperor Haille Selasie of Ethiopia, Chou en Lai and Mao Tse Tung of China, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Bulganin and Kruschev of USSR and of course the Shah of Iran and his very beautiful consort Queen Soraya, at close quarters. ( what a beauty she was!)
What a privileged glimpse of history we had.
Each of these dignitaries, when they visited India, were taken in a splendid, gleaming, open, horse -drawn carriage in which they were seated alongside Pandit Jawharlal Nehru. The carriage would be royally esccorted by The President’s body guard, who were mounted on fine steeds, and resplendent in their Regimental uniforms.
They would ride slowly down the spruced up Queens way, past the buntings and crossed flags of India and those of the visitng dignitaries ‘ respective country, which were mounted high on each tall, wrought iron lamp post. As they swept past regally, they would wave to the cheering crowds which had gathered in large numbers on either side of Queens way to greet the foreign heads of state.
Then a little further down, where the Queens Way bisected the King’s way, they would turn right and majestically ride all the way up to Raisina Hill , between North Block and South Block, till they swept out of view , as they moved onwards to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Those were unforgettable days, and I am proud to be part of those glorious moments of Indian history, when India slowly awakened to a new dawn. My parents had the great fortune to attend a dinner party at Rashtrapathi Bhavan hosted by the Prime Minister for Lord and Lady Mountbatten, to which all the Armed forces officers and their wives had been invited.
Such a pleasure, receiving a letter from you. Thank you for that fabulous attachment” Amazing long train. ‘The pictures are simply stunning against the spectacular backdrop of sheer mountain faces, and while the train crosses bridges.
I love train journeys, —not the cramped ones we are forced to undertake today courtesy the Indian railways, but what they used to be in the ’50’s and 60’s. The romance of the Railways is one of life’s undying pleasures. Will you please share your grandfathers railway stories with me/ Nothing would give me more pleasure! I am including a story by Anvar Ali Khan which I hope you will enjoy.
God bless you for your BIG heart.
Trains That Whistled in the Night
Remember the railway journeys of your childhood?
I was born into a railway family. My grandfather used to be on the old Nizam’s State Railway and that meant I grew up in a large, high-ceilinged railway colony bungalow, pervaded by the faint, gritty, blue-grey fragrance of coal dust. Where a vintage HMV gramophone played Juthika Roy and K L Saigal. Where the dinnertime conversation was about such all important matters as the 327 Down and the 106 Up. And where I would wake up in the middle of the night to the long, sweet, slowly dying call of a train’s whistle, as it rushed down the nearby tracks, and away into the darkness.
It was the theme sound of my childhood…
Some of my earliest memories revolve around going on tour with my grandfather in his railway saloon. Or “going on line”, as it was called. The saloon itself was a rather grand affair, with a kitchen and a pantry (where Abdullah, my grandparents’ cook, presided), a bathroom, complete with a full length bath tub, and — what fascinated me most — a huge, old fashioned valve radio in the living room, with a “magic eye device”, and the names of exotic faraway radio stations written across its bandspread (Nanking, Batavia, Alexandria, Bucharest, Leopoldville…
Only slightly less exotic, I suppose, were the names of the places we ourselves visited when we “went on line”. Names like Bezwada and Dronachellam, Vicarabad and Kazipet. Some of them held secret, hidden meaning for me. Like Guntakal, it always seemed to me, was the sound that a train makes as it pulls slowly out of the station. (Guntakal-Guntakal-Guntakal). And Kachiguda was the same train, having picked up speed. Kurnool, meanwhile, was clearly the sound of its whistle. (Thus, Kurn-o-o-o-l!)
My memories of those early childhood train journeys are, at best, arbitrary. I remember things like the taste of hot toast, as it can be made only by railway caterers, slightly blackened, and tasting deliciously of the charcoal fire it was toasted over. I remember the old signs in railway compartments, warning you against accepting food, drink or cigarettes from strangers, as they might be drugged (an edifying thought, that). I remember the privilege of being taken by my grandfather to inspect the engines of trains, and being introduced to the engine drivers — men, invariably, with tattooed arms and large sooty handkerchiefs knotted on their heads. And then there was the even greater privilege of being allowed to wave a guard’s flag for him, to signal the train to start. (At age five, I recall, it gave me a sense of vast power to have an entire train move — or not move — at my personal whim.)
I also remember man-eating tigers.
Or to be precise, a man-eating tiger. Its snarling head graced my grandparents’ dining room wall: it had been shot by my grandfather, apparently as a public service — his role as a freelance shikari on the occasion being merely an adjunct to his duties as a railway official out “on line”. That was the kind of world it was.
Trains That Whistled in the Night, 2
Remember the railway journeys of your childhood?
If I spent my childhood on trains, I suppose I also grew up on them — in more ways than one.
By now I was at boarding school — and the first taste of independence one had in life was on the train, travelling from home to school and back, unsupervised and unhampered by grown-ups. It was in those brief two and a half days between Calcutta and Ajmer that we, aged 11 and 12, first began to emerge as men of the world. Seasoned, swaggering professionals, who knew all the ins and outs of train travel.
The distinguishing mark of such a traveller was a huge, old fashioned khaki bedding roll — the bigger the better. As soon as you boarded the train the routine was you unrolled this onto an upper berth — upper berth, mind you — so you’d be undisturbed by the masses. Then you changed immediately into a loose, striped night suit (no matter what time of day or night), and occupied somebody else’s window seat. You were now equipped to savour every pleasure of the coming train journey, to the fullest….
Chief among these pleasures was the act of getting off at every wayside station and swaggering aimlessly along its platform. Then, as the train began to move (and this was the real objective of the exercise), you’d run alongside, and board it at the very last moment possible — swinging yourself on board with studied nonchalance, and thereby causing admiration and envy among fellow passengers. Another mark of the maestro was an intimate knowledge of the specialities of every little station along the way; the tea at so and so place, the pakodas at such and such place. This was a business of esoteric, and you had to steer clear of the merely commonplace. There was no premium, for instance, on knowing that Allahabad was famed for its guavas — any fool amateur could tell you that much.
Then, of course, there were the good old A H Wheeler stalls that played such a significant role in our adolescent lives. We’d buy all our James Bond books there — sources of much inspiration for our man of the world act. (Ian Fleming was still alive and writing then and there’d be a new title out every summer holiday: Rs 3.50 if you bought the Signet edition, Rs 2.50 for the Pan edition). I remember, too, all those other books — the Perry Masons, the Carter Browns, the Mickey Spillanes, and the Neville Shutes. But that was not all, for it was courtesy A H Wheeler & Co that we received our early, but fairly well rounded sex education…
It would happen like this — at the very first large station the train stopped at, we would all troop out to the A H Wheeler thela. There, after close scrutiny and much whispered consultation, we would finally decide on one of the sexual manuals on display in a corner. We would then contribute equally towards the price of the book, all four or five of us, and the transaction would be completed. What followed after that was a copybook example of public school discipline and ingenuity…
Once back in the compartment, the book would be ceremoniously handed over to Amit, who, aged 13, was the senior most of us. He would start reading it — and every time he finished with a page he would quickly tear it out. This fluttering page would then be passed down the line, boy to boy, always strictly in order of seniority, until it reached young Devapriaya, the junior most, whose duty was to read it and then immediately fling it out of the window. Thus when we reached our destination it was always with a considerably enriched general knowledge, but, more importantly, not a shred of incriminating evidence.
On one occasion, however, we came to grief. Two young army lieutenants sharing our compartment took it upon themselves to confiscate our book. They claimed we were too young to be probing the secrets of the Kama Sutra; we knew the real motivation was that the bastards couldn’t wait to get their hands on the book themselves. It was finally surrendered to them with much reluctance and ill will, and we sulked and muttered darkly, I remember, all the way back to Calcutta.
Many years have passed since then; too many years, perhaps. Adolescence slowly gave way to adulthood — which is now giving way to incipient middle age. A loss of innocence has turned to full-blown cynicism at the world and its affairs. There have been many transitions. Many journeys, too, but less and less of them, I find, by train. The pace of life is different now…
I sometimes sit and think to myself that what I’d really like to do one of these days is to take a nice long train journey, once again. It does not have to be to any particular place; anywhere will do, as long as it’s far enough. And then I shall travel like the true professional I once was — with an enormous, old fashioned bedding roll, a loose, striped night suit, a surahi and a couple of vintage Perry Mason novels (where can one find them nowadays, I wonder?) I shall get off at all those little wayside stations, drink tea and eat pakodas on their platforms. And then, as the train begins to pull out, I shall climb back on at the very last moment — with as much nonchalance as is still possible. It’s the only way to travel, really…..
Trains That Whistled in the Night, 3, Fast Facts
Great Rail Journeys Through India
India possesses one of the largest railway systems in the world. Unbelievably some 10,000,000 people ride India’s 11,000 odd trains everyday between 7,085 stations. Journeying by train through any part of the Indian countryside is very enjoyable and the scenery very attractive. But we recommend, arguably, some of the most scenic or enthralling journeys to take within India:
· Kalka, Himachal Pradesh — Simla, Himachal Pradesh :
A ride through beautiful mountainscape.
· New Delhi, Delhi — Agra, Uttar Pradesh :
The Taj Mahal is visible from your railway bogey as you pull into Agra.
· New Delhi, Delhi — Jaipur, Rajasthan — Bikaner, Rajasthan – Ajmer, Rajasthan — Jodhpur, Rajasthan — Udaipur Bikaner – Jaisalmer, Rajasthan:
A ride aross the Rajasthan deserts where the quaint villages and the colourfully dress Rajasthani people provides a fascinating backdrop. This hopping journey (you will have to change trains) can accomplished in any order.
· Calcutta, West Bengal — New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal — Darjeeling, West Bengal:
A winding toy train journey of eight hours through beautiful jungles and hillside.
· Calcutta, West Bengal — Puri, Orissa:
The train travels along the coast for a good portion of this journey.
Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh — Bhubaneshwar, Orissa:
The train meanders around the shores of the magnificent Chilka Lake.
· Guwhati, Assam — Rangapara, Assam — North Lakhimpur, Assam – Murkong Selek, Assam:
Many stretches of this journey is accomplished along the Brahmaputra river.
· Silchar, Assam – Dharmanagar, Nagaland:
Great views through lush countryside in a very remote part of India.
· Bombay, Maharashtra – Pune, Maharashtra:
Beautiful views of the ghats and the Sahyadri mountain range. One can travel by a double-decker train.
· Cochin, Kerala — Alleppey, Kerala — Kottayam, Kerala — Trivandrum, Kerala:
A short journey through the awesome Kerala backwaters.
· Mettapulayam, Tamil Nadu — Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu:
A toy train ride up the forested Nilgiris.
· Mangalore, Karnataka — Mysore, Karnataka:
The countryside and jungles make this route quite unforgettable.
· Trichur, Kerala — Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu:
A wonderful way to see Kerala.
· Mysore, Karnataka – Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu:
A gorgeous journey through a rather vast section of South India.
I read a magical article on a train ride in Wales and my thoughts turned to your grandfather. In his memory, I am sending you this piece, which I hope you will enjoy
“This magical little train forces you to slow down and join an era when the pace of life and its human scale was very different from today. Never mind the Age of the Train; this is the Age of the Trundle.”
As you are interested in Railway stories may I suggest you have a look at these websites. I found them delightful
Windy skies Anil Purohit’s blogspot.
I am sure you will find much that will delight you.
ADALE PATEL – MUMBAI INDIA
A good article on history of Parsis with rare photographs.
Google Earth Community: Parsis- The World’s Smallest “Nation”
STEPHANIE DICK (ELLIS) – Daughter of Jimmy Dick of JHANSI now DELHI, INDIA
Sun 23/11/2008 5:58 PM
This is with regard to some corrections with regards to some details- Dick family. if interested pls contact me.
Jimmy Dick needs to be changed to Jamshedji Jehangirgi Dick. who started out as a fireman and retired as Shatabdi Driver. Incidentally he was India’s first Shatabdi Driver. Katy was a nurse (his sister) was not an airhostess and was the personal nurse to the late Raj Kapoor’s father and married to Bob D’Souza (Indian Air Force.) later navigator with Air India. His younger sister was Ms Parvez Dick who was an airhostess with Indian Airlines and is now settled in Canada.
Thanks for taking note.. btw my dad is really well known as Baba..
Stephanie Ellis d/o Jamshedji
(This is my reply to Steffi s above email. Readers will note her enthusiasm and charm for life, very infectious)
Thank you for your email. Lovely to hear from you. Please don’t call me SIR, we used to play together when we were kids, when u used to visit Dhun Aunty, yr granny. May be u have forgotten. I am Farokh/Fakkus elder brother from Jhs, if it jogs yr memory.
Appreciate your corrections that are a great assistance as I am not too familiar with yr Dads family side. Yr Dad is also very famous still, for his driving etc and he used to take us to Delhi then slow the train down for us to jump out, glorious days indeed.
Yr paternal granny was living opposite to us in civil lines if u remember it, and I owe a lot in life to her love and teaching to us when we were kids. I also had the privilege of hosting her in Bb when she used to stay with me in Vikhroli and her cooking and energy to the last was out of this world, I miss her positive attitude in life and her self reliance and independence. She was a very beautiful lady in her youth , but as she grew older her beauty grew more inwards and what a personality. She specially came down from Jhs to BB for our elder sons navjote in 1999 and that was very touching. Unfortunately soon after she left us all, which was so shocking for me? Also we r in the midst of modifying the web also. So yr corrections will be very good for us. Enjoy Life
Firoz K Pestonji
FIROZ ! Oh my god! oh man! this is so good!!! of course i remember u and i am steffie.. the eldest, then comes Sharon who is in England but on holiday at perth even as we speak.. mitchu is here in delhi with me and so is darryl and rayboy too… i just returned from jhansi.. dad came in so i went back with him for 24 hours to see my mum and when i go there i generally go with him to visit all the parsi graves as i go to see my nana dhuns grave.. so we go to visit all i knew too.. its a routine we have.. i am surprised at the prompt reply from u.. forgive me all the grammatical errors and shortforms….
i will let dad know of this communication with u as when i was there in jhs mr abbot gave him the printout.. so i saw the heading and first thing as i came back to delhi i opened early parsis of jhansi…
i will try and get u the photos too.. i remember uncle ronnies wedding where my dad was having dinner and sunoo mavellwallah and rosy bhagat were standing behind him… but ronny uncle and all should have the pics of us as children…
oh i am so excited at receiving this mail… and all said and done im proud of being a half parsi. hope to hear from u…
and keep in touch.. if u want i can write of our early days as kids .. the churning of ice cream , i have great memories of them good ole days..take care… u used to look after uncle ronnies house nah? see i remember
Date: Monday, 24 November, 2008, 7:00 AM
hey there my aussie new friend!
i came about this when i think my dad must have picked up this printout from boyces house abt the parsis in jhs.. i happened to be in jhs that night and was packing to leave for delhi and he threw it on the table.. i asked what is this and he said oh something abt theparsis of jhs.. i opened it and made it a point to note down the id and the first thing i did when i got to my computer in delhi was to look it up and one thing led to another and here we are.
i have married a christian boy i was in love with from childhood. I did not have kids out of choice though i love them. reasons for that too,,, more of that later,, i was bringing up my own bros and sisters and then their chn.. so its just me and my hubby.. hes a pvt tutor,its my grandmother’s and Santos family blessings that i am still alive and kicking
Still i pray and i work very hard,, i dont own a house of my own,,, i do have a maruti van very very old and i hardly drive it. i have a scooter,,, bajaj cub which i bought in jhs one year after my marriage in 84 and i still ride it all around and the engine has not been opened to date.. God bless my Ram Pyari as my school kids call it.
Pls dont think i am half the cook my grandma was .. but i can still give u khana..God bless u and your family
You do know that i have relatives from mummies side in perth? and some old anglos from jhansi.. called Webb. Look up ur local directory.. The corner red beautiful bungalow that led to the gully of my grannys house,, that was owned by sinclairs who were the relatives of the Webbs and got them to Australia nearly forty years ago ,,, somewhere thereabouts.
Do u know the only thing I have of my dhun nana besides my grandfathers easy chair? a little bell which has Ahura mazda on the stem.. and i keep it on my altar,
Sarah Johnson – UK
(Ed – This is an important letter, as is providing a glimpse of a document about a person who fought against the Ranee of Jhansi in the 1858 battle. In fact the Hussars, to which the gentlemen fought with, killed the Ranee of jhansi. The dates mentioned are correct and recorded historically along with events.)
23 Oct 2008
I came across your website and wonder if you can be of help. My relative served in the Hussars in some of these wars and I am trying to transcribe his war papers, the bits in bold with *** are the words I cannot make out? Have you any ideas for the correct place names. Sorry if this is not something you feel you can help me with?
23 Oct 2008
Hi again, thought I would send you these notes I have on Thomas …
Army No. Private 759 – 14th Kings Regiment, Light Dragoons
Enlisted 15th March 1841 age 18 years 9 months
Medical report shows: Suffers from Rheumal, chronic since 1847 – caused by constant exposure and hard military service for 19 years in India, and not increased by vice or misdemeanour. Discharged 2nd August 1860 because of Rheumal
Won Punjab Medal 1849, Chelsea Pensioner
The Punjab Medal was a campaign medal approved in 1849, for issue to officers and men of the British Army and Honourable East India Company who served in the Punjab campaign of 1848-49 – operations which ended in the British annexation of the Punjab.
The medal was approved on 2nd April 1849, authorised for all who served in the Punjab between 7th September 1848 and 14th March 1849. Three clasps were authorised, although no medals were awarded with all three clasps. No unit qualified for both the clasps Mooltan and Chilianwala. The medal was issued without a clasp to those units that were present in the Punjab but did not take part in fighting.
759 and also won the Indian Mutiny medal for the 1857-9 campaign
Thank you for your email. Wonderful ,to hear from you. Your relative was involved directly in one of the most decisive battles for the freedom of India, the 1857 Mutiny as per the British & the action he took against the Rani of Jhansi, was decisive in keeping the British in India for another 90 years literally. Also it shook the East India company from its foundation and the British Government of the time had to intervene and take control etc
If u can scan the document s and email to us would be great and if we have your permission we can even load them on our website. That’s if u agree to it
Also i presume yr translation under is from said document. I have corrected below what I can think as correct from yr translation. Please do keep in touch and if we can assist will be great. I am thankful for you to have contacted us on this. Do keep in touch Pl read below also for corrections.
Please contact us if you require any other information. Enjoy Life
ACTUAL TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL ABOVE DOCUMENT, AS BEST POSSIBLE, DONE BY FIROZ PESTONJI
With regard to the CHARACTER & CONDUCT of No 759 (or 75 G) Private Thomas Gear the board have to report ———it appears that his conduct has been Very Good. That he is in possession of Four Good conduct Badges, has never been tried by Court marshal and has one entry in the right Defaulters book
Served with the Army of the Punjaub (Punjab) in 1848, TG (Thomas Gear )was present at the affair at Ram Nuggur (British way of writing RAM NAGAR ,Translates to Town of Rama the Mighty Hindu God) & at the Battle of Chillianwalla (town in old Punjab) and Goojerat (Gujrat) special service.
Present at the Surrender of the Sikh army, the Occupation of Attoch & Peshawar (Both of these are now part of modern Pakistan) ,and the Expulsion of the Affghans (Afghans) beyond the Kyber Pass (This was a fierce battle between the British forces and the Afghans where the British army had major losses also and lot of bravery was displayed). Received a medal for services in the Punjab Campaign, a Bar for the Battle of Chillianwalla and one for the Battle of Goojeratt (Gujarat, am not sure of this really)
Served in the Expedition of 1857
Served with the Central India Field force in 1857-58, under the command of Major General Sir Hugh Rose ,KCB, was present at the capture of Rabghur 29th January, action of Barodia (Baroda ? ) 30th January, freeing Muddenpore (Madanpur) pass 3rd March, battle of the Betwa 1st April, siege and capture of Jhansi 5th April, action of Koonch 7th May, Battle of Gollowbe (Must be Gwalior) , 22nd May advance on and capture of Calpee (Kalpi/Kalpee) and pursuit of the Rebels 23rd May, capture of Morar Cantonment 16th June, Recapture of town and fortress of Gwalior 14th or 19 th June 1858.
At Kolapure or Kalpee in 1844-45 (Kalpee is a town in the area he has been mentioned earlier)
(Or is this a signature A K Capere or A Kolapere or A K Lapere, u need an expert on handwriting to decipher this. My concern is the year mentioned 1844-45. As previously all other records mentioned in proper ascending order why this is backtracking to 1844/45 is not clear.)
I came upon your interesting website about Jhansi and the Parsi community of Jhansi while looking for some info on the Ranee of Jhansi.
On the webpage http://www.parsisinjhansi.com.au/memories.html I found a photo of a Good Conduct Certificate awarded to Thomas Gear, who had served under Sir Hugh Rose in the Central India Field Force at the time of the Mutiny, and your transcription of the handwritten Certificate. May I suggest a few modifications to your reading?
‘The Battle of Goojeratt’ was the Battle of Gujrat in the Second Anglo-Sikh War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gujrat ). ‘Rabghur’ should read ‘Rathghur’. Rathgarh (or any of its versions) is a fortress near the fort of Banpur. ‘Gallowbe’ should be ‘Golawli’, 6 miles from Kalpee on the Yamuna. The 1844-45 reference to ‘Kolapore’ in the last line is (perhaps) to the Sawantwadi (near Kolhapur in Maharashtra) campaign of 1844-45. It was small local disturbance and was easily put down. Please notice that this reference looks like a supplemental afterthought and was perhaps added when Thomas reminded the writer of the Certificate of it. This means that Thomas was in the Sawantwadi-Kolhapur area 12-13 years prior to coming to Central India. A closer look at the certificate shows that these words have been written in a slightly bigger hand – but by the same person – and the black line below it is not parallel to the other lines above it, indicating that the line and the writing on it were added later.
George Bruce Malleson’s ‘History of the Indian Mutiny’ available in books.google.com at http://tinyurl.com/yhxk2y7 or http://books.google.com/books?id=ZxoNAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=George+Bruce+Malleson&ei=2pXPSpuKBoG0yQSgycXtBA#v=onepage&q=&f=false
from p/142 onwards covers this part of the Campaign and all these names occur in it.
Should you be interested, a lot of information about the Jhansi action and the Ranee is available at http://www.copsey-family.org/~allenc/lakshmibai/index.htmlArvind Kolhatkar, Toronto, October 09, 2009.
PERCY KARANI – MUMBAI, INDIA
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2008 05:22:03 +0530
Subject: Article from The Telegraph: Calcutta
You have been sent this article from The Telegraph, Calcutta
Wedding trousseau, the Parsi style
Jamshedpur, Sept. 19: After wearing saris of Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra and south India to your relatives  019 weddings, if you want something unique then head for the Parsi Association Hall at Sakchi. | Read
Late SUE DARLOW – ITALY / UK
GALLERY 4 HAS A PICTURE OF PESI PESTONJI FROM JHANSI.
Be sure to scroll through the other “picture galleries” 1 through 6 on the right-hand banner. Pretty nostalgic!
HARNEET SINGH – DELHI, INDIA
This is an amazing article for History buffs- to do with the Ranee of Jhansi
First Australian novelist, his life in India Harneet Singh
New Delhi, September 3: And all this while we thought that cricket is the most common denominator between India and Australia! A certain gentleman called John Lang achieved so much more than just a World Cup trophy.
Lang who? Don’t worry too much if you have never heard of him, chances are he is a stranger to even Steve Waugh. Thank god for Rory Medcalf then.
Yes, the most well known Australian in the Capital—in capacity as the First Secretary, Australian High Commission— Medcalf has unearthed another fellow Australian who has a strong Indian connection.
Medcalf has been researching on John Lang since January 2003 and plans to bring out the results of his quest in a book. He made a presentation on Lang at a day-long symposium- Portraying India: Image, Identity, Myth at India Habitat Centre on Wednesday.
So, who is John Lang? He was the first Australian novelist who lived in India in the mid 1800’s. What’s more, Lang was also the court lawyer of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. Perhaps, he was also the first Australian to sue the East India Company on behalf of an Indian businessman.
Says Medcalfe, ‘‘As a diplomat I have always wanted to point to longstanding links between India and Australia. But I had no idea that one of the most prolific chronicles of mid-19th-century India was the first Australian-born novelist. He knew and portrayed India intimately in the years before the transforming events of the 1857 uprising.’’
By Medcalf’s accounts, Lang was quite a character! Not only just a writer, he was also active in Indian society, journalism, culture, business and law. The title of one of his later Anglo-Indian novels was ‘‘Too Clever by Half’, which Medcalf feels sums him up perfectly. Of Jewish origin, Lang went to Cambridge to study law but was expelled. He started his law practice in Sydney but it never really took off. Having published anonymous slurs about the failings of other lawyers, he was ostracised and there was nothing left for him but to go to India.
Medcalf feels India was just what Lang was looking for, ‘‘Lang found himself in India. He began to grow up and started using his better qualities. By what I can gather, Lang shared a more deeper affinity with India. Sharing a colonial past— those days Australia was also under the British rule— also helped.’’
Incidentally, Medcalf discovered Lang through the stories of writer Ruskin Bond. ‘‘Ruskin Bond has kept his memories alive and I have build up on his detective works. Another man who has helped me is an Australian librarian called Victor Crittenden, who is researching on him with a literary angle in mind.’’
Claiming to be ‘‘personally fascinated’’ with Lang, Medcalf rates him quite high. ‘‘He was an extraordinary man who translated Persian poetry, learnt Persian and Hindustani and owned a newspaper called the Mofussilite in Meerut. He had the courage to sue the East India Company on behalf of Indian banker Jyoti Prasad of Agra. He even won the case. He was also the first foreigner to be invited in Rani Laxmi Bai’s court.’’
Medcalf also tells us that Charles Dickens commissioned Lang to write series of articles after the 1857 mutiny. Called ‘Wanderings in India, these accounts are, Lang’s most important text that can be found today.
‘‘With all his characteristics, Lang is someone who in the vibrant, complex, democratic, intellectual, noisy, incredible work-in-progress of today’s and tomorrow’s India would feel quite at home. But it’s so sad that there is no portrait available of his,’’ signs off Medcalf. The next working day after your service
Regno di Jhansi, Kingdom of Jhansi, 1857-1858
Bandiera di stato alzata nel maggio 1857, nei primi giorni della grande rivolta, quando Jhansi si dichiarò di nuovo regno indipendente, restituendo il trono alla rani Laksmi Bai. Ammainata il 4 aprile dell’anno seguente con la capitolazione del forte di Jhansi. Drappo di solito triangolare in proporzioni 2/3. Era una bhagwa zenda maratta. Lo stendardo della regina portava in più le armi, di forma non ben conosciuta.
Translation of Italian to English : State Flag raised in May 1857, in the first days of the great revolt, when Jhansi declared it was again an independent kingdom, returning the throne to Rani Lakshmi Bai. The local Jhansi flag was lowered on 4 April 1858, of the following year with the capture of the fort of Jhansi. The flag drape was usually triangular proportions in 2/3. bhagwa was a zenda Maratha (Flag of Marathas ). Whether the banner of the Queen was carried in at times of presentation of arms & weapons by soldiers, is not well known.
FARROKH ANKLESARIA – USA
Thanks for contacting me and sharing your fascinating website of Jhansi, its history and the Parsis associated with it. How amazing that we Parsis are found all over India and in so many parts of the world. Did you know that there was a Parsi who used to come to see Napoleon Bonaparte everyday when Napoleon was imprisoned on the island of St Helena.? The British Governor of the island stopped the Parsi from visiting Napoleon. They kept Napoleon under a strict watch as he had escaped from Elba previously. I read this in a fascinating biography of Napoleon written by an English author.
You can have a look at our two websites: www.BestAgainstStress.com and www.EnlightenedSentencing.org The Enlightened Sentencing Project, is our non -profit organization that caters specially to the needs of offenders. Offenders are sent by the courts in St Louis to the Enlightened Sentencing Project.
It is to be noted that the Transcendental Stress Management program that we teach is so effective that it is one of only four alternative sentencing programs recognized by the State of Missouri. You can have a look at the government website at the following link and scroll to “St Louis” and “St Louis County”
Thanks again for taking the time to write Firoz. I look forward to remaining in touch and perhaps meeting you someday in Perth!
Th Enlightened Sentencing Project
SATELLITE MAP OF JHANSI
Attached is the link for satellite map of Jhansi starting from Elite cinema, had fun re tracing some of the routes leading to St. Marks and pinpointing my home also. It seems nothing much has changed in the railway colony , Army and Civil line area since last 45 years.
DEBORAH NIXON – SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
I was looking at your website re the history of the Parsees in Jhansi, very interesting. My Grandfather was a foreman on the GIP line and the family lived in Jhansi for awhile I found amongst my father’s things a Farewell letter to my grand father from the European and Parsee Staff at Jhansi I often wondered why the Parsees? Was the railways a particularly big employer of Parsees? Anyway the family name is Nixon and my g’fahter’s name was Bundy (Bernard) Nixon. Regards Deborah Nixon
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Teaching, Learning & Equity)
University of Technology, Sydney
Hi Phil I have found a photo with names on it: Jhansi – 1929 Standing left to right: B.V.Moghe, G.S.Garauker(sp?), N.K.Bhide, Ramnath-Dutley, D.R.Patki, Durgacharan Parshan, Seated: the Nixons!
You say head gear is indicative do you mean the black pillbox? I ‘lost’ the email where you commented on the situation in 1929 maybe explaining the undertone in the farewell letter was that the year Gandhi did the big train tour? Thanks for your help. Please feel free to forward to Walter Gibbins if you think it would be of interest Regards Deborah
Phil you say a few look like pareses what identifies them as such: headgear clothes … I know that Parsis have a link with Iran so do people look more Iranian? I have read J Masters book post colonial critics put it down but I’d say it was quite a good picture of the community and the racism. My family did not identify as Anglo Indian but the very first guy who went out there in 1788 married an Indian woman so we have a weak ancient blood link to India!!
Do you know of anybody who was actually driving trains at Partition? Thanks for the website fascinating stuff. Regards Deborah
My G’dad is in the middle with the moustache and light coloured eyes! let me know what you find in the photo! Regards Deborah
My G’father’s name was Bundy (no T as in Bunty) I thought it might have been after the Bundy clock used when workers clocked on and off … My family worked all along the GIP line
Hi Phil interestingly both farewell letters (1 from Jhansi 1 from Kalyan) are typed and they both sign off from the ‘Anglo Indian and Parsi staff -Jhansi Running Shed’ and ‘The European and Parsi Loco.
Running of Kalyan’ unfortunately no individual names. My G’dad then moved to Damoh then to Bhusawal as you know railway people really moved around a lot. I have got a great shot of Jhansi staff 1923 but will have to send it from work I think the file is too ‘fat’ for my computer here at home!! If not I can get a photocopy and send it to you. This is related to my research I am doing a PhD looking at the railway colonies during partition. My father’s family were in India for 5-6 generations
YASMIN MEHERVANJEE – PERTH, AUSTRALIA
FARZANA PESTONJI – PERTH, AUSTRALIA
Firoz PESTONJI’s daughter on the cover of a company magazine
BAKHTAVAR PERCY PESTONJI – MUMBAI, INDIA
Happened to come across this Z website which is loaded with good information about our religion, prayers, history, list of all Darb-e-Mehr all over the world with their Salgreh dates, etc. etc. etc.
Love and Tandoorasti.
JAYPRAKASH PAUL – TEXAS, USA
This message is for Firoz.
> I was your classmate in Jhansi from the second to sixth grade. Wow
> imagine seeing your photograph after so many years on the website.
> Hope that your email works. Let me know if you get this email. All I
> can say is wow!
> Gday Jaiprakash
> Thank you for your email. Good to hear from you.
> So what are you upto, and where are you now, So nice to hear from an ol
> class fellow of St Marks.> Our St Marks has changed totally.> Do keep in touch
> Enjoy Life,
Thanks for your prompt reply. I do not know if you remember me. We used to play soccer, marbles etc. while we were at St. Marks. I clearly remember you, and you still look the same. I remember you, Sunil Harsulkar, Anirudhwa Sarkar etc. I do not know where those guys are. I remember St. Marks when Mr. David was the principal followed by Mr. Phillips and the by Mr. Lal.
After finishing ICSE at Jhansi, I moved to Bangalore. Finished my college and Bachelors ,and came to the United States to finish my higher education in the sciences, technology and law. I have remained here ever since. I live in Texas now but have generally moved all over the country. I am married, and have two kids both in college.
It looks like you have settled in Australia. How is life there? My wife and I wanted to visit that country many times. However, now that you are there perhaps I can book something through your organization. Kindly let me know if you have any tour programs and their details.
I love your website and came across it by happenstance. Do you go to Jhansi often? Do you know of any others from our batch?
Thanks again for your reply.