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Your memories of Jhansi & days gone past

We have recorded here memories of people who have some connection with Jhansi, today they may be living away and are in the far corners of the world, but in their hearts, they all hold a special place for Jhansi. Some stories may not be of people of Jhansi, but as the place is mentioned in their accounts and it has significance for this web, we deem it important to add it here

When you read other people’’ memories, you will certainly be taken down your own memory lane & you may relive your OWN early memorable days. Lot of information is generic, but most is specific & we are sure you will enjoy it

For reasons of privacy we have not attached contacts of people, but if you require contacting anyone you meet on these pages do let us know

Parsis in Australia


best wishes,
Neena Bhandari
Foreign Correspondent

Dhyan Chand World’s Famous hockey Legend from Jhansi


More News of Parsis in Australia

Naval Patel


A most remarkable- anecdote. What a pity this happened – if it is true!

Regards Naval

———- Forwarded message ———-
I want to tell you a story that has never been printed. In 1942 during the Quit India Movement by the Indian National Congress, the British Indian Government had placed Mahatma Gandhi “under house arrest” but treated him well in the Aga Khan Palace in Poona. The Government appointed one Colonel Nariman Mehta of the IMS, my paternal uncle, to look after him. Mahatma Gandhi and Col. Nariman got along exceeding well. Whilst “under House Arrest” Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Leader of the Muslim League, who was a friend of the Mahatma, used to visit him very often. My uncle was always present when any visitor came to see Mahatma Gandhi.
At that time, Jinnah was not propagating the idea of partition, and he once confided to Mahatma Gandhi that he would like to be the first Prime Minister of free India. After Nehru was released Mahatma Gandhi called him to the Palace and said “let’s make Jinnah the first Prime Minister of India – he hasn’t long to live, and after that you can have a field day. That way we would avoid the partition of India”. Nehru was most adamant and stubborn, and insisted on being the first Prime Minister. Had he agreed with Mahatma Gandhi, India would have remained united, not partitioned, and would have been a military force to reckon with in the East – and the unbelievable communal bloodbath of 1947 may have been avoided. Besides the Army of India would have been strong and united, and it is more than likely that China would not have attempted to occupy Tibet – as an undivided India would have been talking from a position of strength, and we would have had a peaceful Himalayan Frontier from Ladakh to Burma.

From, Brig. (Retd.) Furdoon S. B. Mehta’s Address at the Remembrance Day Memorial Service on Sunday, 9th November 2008 at the Afghan Church, Colaba, Mumbai

Sunil Sharma 4/12/2007

Hi Firoz

It was nostalgic reading about Jhansi on your web page. Vijay medical stores in Sipri bazaar, I remember it and then we had the Tandon Book Store close to it. I can never forget Bhatia book store in sadar bazaar which was my favourite haunt for buying comics.

St Mark’s surely was a prestigious school during my times, the only other competitor being Christ the King. My Dad was the Divisional Accounts Officer and I still cherish the nice times I had at the Betwa Club.

I am attaching 2 pictures from St Mark’s 4th and 6th Grade, my pics as I aged and a current picture of my family here in the US.

I guess your brother who is in Jhansi would be able to email me some current pictures of my residence in Jhansi. We lived at C 93 Wright Road, just close to the Railway Station, 56 Mcneil Road and on Station Road close to Betwa Club..

Waiting, for your pictures.

Take care,


Subject: Locating a Parsi Family

I was born in Jhansi and studies in St. Marks High School in Jhansi till 7th grade and latet moved to Kashmir and did my MBBS there and am at present in USA. My sisters had a Parsi frined by the name of Parveen Sahir and Denaaz ShairSahir, they studied in St Frances High School. Do you have any information regarding them. Their father was working with Central Railway.


Sunil Sharma

Hi Firoz,

Nice hearing from you, I left Jhansi in 1966, when Mr Allan was the Prinicipal. Mr Phillip was my Hindi/PT teacher. Ms. I. Paul and S. Paul were my my teachers in 5th and 6th grade. Ms. Lawson my 4th grade teacher is now settled in Adelaide and I am in touch with her sons Frederick and Cedric. I really miss Jhansi and am planning to visit in January, 2008. I mostly go to Bombay and Jammu but this time I will surely make it to Jhansi. Do you by any chance have pictures of the School, I would love to show them to my kids.

Take care,


My house on C-93 Wright Road, and C-56 McNeil Road , Me and my school mates-Vimlesh Namdev( Pathologist) and Rajesh Kapoor( Lawyer) we met after 43 years.

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Dr. Hemu Lall

Well I am Dr.Hemant Kumar – Mr .H.S.Lalls son. I have literally enjoyed your site about the Parsis of Jhansi, as I hail from Jhansi. My father Mr H S Lall was teaching in St Marks School at Jhansi ,he was then appointed as principal of St Pauls School at Calcutta and then of Armenian College in the same city and then retired from Ingraham College Ghaziabad as Principal .He was closely associated with the Parsis at Jhansi. During his time Miss Annu Pestonji, Zarin Bhagat ,Miss Pirozeshah and many others were working in St Marks .I remember Nari and Dara Pestonji taking tuitions then. Mr Lall was very close to Mr Eddie Engineer .
The site is par-excellence and you have taken great pains to describe even the finer details and the past history of the Parsis who have contributed so much for the development of our country. Well regarding me .I am presently working as the Professor and Head of the Deptt. of Pediatrics Govt Medical College at BILASPUR C.G 495001 , India and my wife, daughter of a senior IAS officer is also Prof and Head of Patholgy with me here. My brother Hartshit is also a Doctor in Anasthesia. The greatness and the beauty of Jhansi of those days can be attributed mainly to the Parsis. Wishing the Parsi community a great success and prosperity

Dr. Hemant Kumar

Anil Newton

Dear Firoz,
The net is an amazing place you never know who turns up….??!!!! Well being a lover of railways am trying to trace the history n links of my grand dad. So if you hv any inputs or contacts wud really appreciate. btw he was John L. Newton. he was ss bby vt then ss jhansi.
Another thing as u know Dosu engineer passed away but Sweety aunty n his families are fine by God’s grace.
Hope to her from you soooooon.
Regards to you family
Anil Newton

Rusi Sorabji

Rusi Sorabji
Dear friends,
Have you seen this web site, Zoroastrian Heritage.?
It carries some interesting accounts of early Parsi settlements on the Konkan Coast south of Bombay besides other things. Please click on the link below.


Amongst other interesting information on the site, this is what caught my attention and I am sure you may find it interesting too.

As early as 950 CE, Arab traveller Misar bin Mukhalihal noted that in Saimur or Chaul, “there are Mussalmans, Christians, Jews and Fire-Worshippers (sic),” and that “in the city there are mosques, Christian churches, synagogues and fire-temples.” If by 950 CE there was a substantial enough Zoroastrian community to support and have a functioning fire-temple in Chaul, the community must have settled there in the early years of the Parsi-Zoroastrian migration to the west coast of India.

In the hills between Thana and Borivali to its northwest west, and some 6 km in a straight line, lie the caves of Kanheri. Amongst the cave’s Buddhist carvings, inscribed in the stone walls are four Pahlavi inscriptions on the facade of cave 90 bearing the names of Zoroastrian visitors. They are dated A.Y. 378 (twice) and 390 (once), that is October 10,1009; November 24, 1009 and, 1021 CE. Inscribing names on rock is no simple matter. The writing must first be written or scratched on to the rock and then chiselled away.

Three centuries after the Parsi-Zoroastrian visitors left their names in the walls of the Kanheri caves, the oldest surviving Pahlavi manuscripts preserved by the Parsis in India, was written at Khambat (Cambay) in 1323. Since these earliest of known writings by the Zoroastrian of India were only in Pahlavi and not in another language, we can surmise that for a few centuries after their landing in Gujarat, the Zoroastrians continued to maintain the use of Pahlavi (even casually by tourists to Buddhist caves).

Other than the scratching of names on the walls of Kanheri’s caves, we do not hear much of early Zoroastrian settlements in the Konkan from Parsi sources. Parsi sources tend to focus on Gujarat, the major population base of Zoroastrians at the time when the Muslims arrived there in the 14th century CE.


Dear Mr Pestonji,
First my congratulations on your website. You have taken great pains in compiling these pages. Going through each page of your website on the PARSI families of Jhansi brought back many many MEMORIES OF THAT WONDERFUL TOWN.
First of all a few words about myself. I am 62 years old and lived in Jhansi from 1950 to 1963 where my Dad was in LIC. Both my brothers and myself studied in St Mark’s from where I did my Senior Cambridge in 1960.
My sister did her schooling in ST. Francis. I subsequently went to IIT KANPUR and finally retired as the CHAIRMAN of a govt Public sector Undertaking.
But the most treasured part of my life and memory dwells in Jhansi. With the internet we can go and spend time there. At St. Marks my class friend was Godrej Pestonji. His elder brother was a few classes ahead of me. All of us brothers and sister had a lot of Parsi and Anglo Indian friends.
Do you know what made me write to you.
One I saw Jeena Engineer’s photo after nearly fifty years. a flamboyant guy he dressed nattily. I cannot believe he has passed away at this young age. His sister Homai was one of my sister’s best friends. Where is Homai now?
Also their elder brother Dosu roared into town on his souped up vehicles whenever he came to pick up his wife at lunch time from st Marks where she taught.
The Patel family (SINGER SEWING) lived behind us at Civil Lines. I think the son was Nosher Patel who was my Junior at school..
My wife still uses that machine bought by my mother from their shop in SADAR BAZAR(?) nearly sixty years ago. I also went through your painstakingly researched and compiled history of Jhansi, the Parsi families. a job really well done.
God bless you and your family.
I got a whiff of the Jhansi loco sheds, the WP steam engines and so many other sights and sounds while browsing your site.
Keep it going.
Devasis Chowdhury
We old Jhansi men did a recent get together at PRESTON UK. (I saw the snapshot of your old buddies)
Do you remember Sahaney Brothers on SIPRI ROAD.
Kapil Sahaney of SAHANEY BROTHERS, Dr Boota Singh (from JHOKAN BAGH, his Grand dad built the JHOKAN BAGH GURUDWARA) and myself all passed out from ST MARKS IN 1960. We met with our families during BOOTA,s daughters marriage in 2007 at PRESTON UK. They still have their families in Jhansi and remember all our childhood Parsi and Anglo Indian friends.
Dear Mr. Pestonji,
This foolish and nostalgic old man could not help going back in time to Jhansi through your excellent website.
May the Lord grant you more strength to your talented brains and congrats once again for an excellent attempt to preserve a historic presence in a historic city.
As a young boy I have met many of the people mentioned and visited the places in Jhansi from 1950 to 1963.
I was in school with Jeena and Godrej Pestonji .Nozhar Patel lived behind us in civil lines and my sister studied with Homai Engineer.
All this happened fifty years ago but even today it is clear as crystal/
Keep up your excellent work.

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‘One Hell of a Life’
Stan Blackford
Raconteur and After Dinner Speaker, and Author of:
One Hell of a Life: An Anglo-Indian Wallah’s Memoir from the Last Decades of the Raj
Website: www.onehellofalife.com
Email: stanblackford@onehellofalife.com
Tel: (08) 8235 1131
Mob: 0402 720 286

The book is very simply written, and amazingly we can feel our own days in India through the authors tales, can be purchased as below –Firoz K Pestonji

• First Published March 2000
• Reprinted 31 times (as of March 2005)
• 283 pages x 19 photographs
• 4 a Life: Cost AUD $25.00
Packing & Postage

Australia $4. page glossary of Indian words and phrases

One Hell Of 00 Total AUD $29.00
South East Asia $8.00 Total AUD $33.00
Elsewhere $12.00 Total AUD $37.00

It is the heart-warming story of a backward boy, unable to talk at the age of four and sent to boarding school in order to learn to speak. Branded a moron and dragged through ten schools in seven years, he suddenly “finds his feet” and becomes dux of one of India’s most prestigious colleges, eventually becoming an officer in one of the Indian Army’s most famous regiments and Adjutant of its premier battalion.

He is an Anglo-Indian, a much-despised member of the human race in the days of the Raj, rubbing shoulders with British and Indian officers. He comes from a dysfunctional family and a broken home. Laugh at his misfortunes and exult in his successes; hold your breath as the four-year old barely escapes a kidnap attempt; enjoy travelling on the world’s most famous mountain railway, Darjeeling’s toy train, which was once chased by a wild elephant.

Read of cobras, jaadu (Indian witchcraft) and schoolboys using toilet paper as currency to support their gambling habit. Accompany the author as he goes to catch a monkey and shoot a panther, as his brigade confronts the Russians over possession of the Iranian oilfields and as he reads fairy tales to a bloodthirsty Pathan warrior who asks if the stories are true!

Feel the desperation of millions as murder and mayhem stalk the Indian sub-continent. See the refugee trains, ushered in by the granting of independence to India, when inter-communal violence spawned ten million refugees overnight and one million hapless men, women and children were slaughtered. For the old India wallahs, this is a trip down memory lane to savour the aura of Calcutta, of Chowringhee and Firpo’s; of Darjeeling and Mussoorie, of Dehra Dun and Poona; of the railway institutes and the Auxiliary Force, and much more.

Stories of pathos and humour, which will make you, laugh one minute and cry the next. A tale of rare moral courage.

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