On 30 June 1823 Dinshah Manekji, the founder of weaving industry in India, was born.
He was a Parsi (Zoroastrian) who, during the rule of the Ghajars, when Iran was suffering from poverty and mismanagement, established a fund for sending aid to Iranians. Dinshah, who was also one of the members of the Legislation Board of the Indian government, and died on 5 May 1901, endowed his wealth for founding a university for women, the Bombay technology Institute, a hospital and a veterinary clinic, and . . ., all of which are operational up to date, and the Bombay Technology Institute has earned world fame. Dinshah, who was the grandfather of the wife of Mohammad Ali Jinah (the founder of Pakistan) spread all over the world; the idea that a wealthy person should endow his wealth for public services, and leaving all the wealth for the children is like depriving the society. Every individual belongs to his society and whatever he has he owes to the society, and therefore, should give part of it for the welfare of the society.
Son of Dinshah, in spite of the objection of London, who was ruling over India in 1932 (1311 Iranian calendar), came to Iran and gave many proposals to the government for industrializing Iran with the help of Parsis of India but his efforts had no result!, and this remains in the contemporary history of Iran as a mystery. If those proposals had been accepted, Iran would have now been in the same level as India in industry and technology, because actually, the Parsis had industrialized India.
Translation by Rowshan Lohrasbpour (Amorsdad-News writer
Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, 1st Baronet (30 June 1823 – 5 May 1901), Parsi entrepreneur (Iranian race )and founder of the first textile mills in India. He was also the grandfather of Rattanbai Petit Jinnah, who later became the wife of the founder of Pakistan, Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
In 1854 Dinshaw Maneckji Petit founded the “Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund” with the aim of improving the conditions for the less fortunate Zoroastrian co-religionists in Iran. The fund succeeded in convincing a number of Iranian Zoroastrians to emigrate to India (where they are today known as Iranis), and may have been instrumental in obtaining a remission of the jizya poll tax for their co-religionists in 1882.
In 1886 he became a member of the governor-general’s legislative council. He devoted his wealth to philanthropic objects, among the public and private charities which he endowed being the Towers of Silence and fire temples of the Parsi, a hospital for animals, a college for women, and the Petit hospital.
For the advancement of technical education, Sir D. M. Petit also donated premises worth Rs. 3,00,000 at Byculla, Bombay to the famous Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute (VJTI) (recognised by the Government of Bombay as the Central Technological Institute, Bombay Province). In winter 1923, that institute relocated to its present location in Matunga, Bombay.
The Petit surname is not traditionally Parsi and had come about in Sir Dinshaw’s great grandfather’s time in the 18th century. He had worked as a shipping clerk and interpreter for the British East India Company. French merchants who dealt with the lively, short Parsi clerk called him ‘le petit Parsi’.
Sir Dinshaw was survived by Sir Dinshaw Petit (2nd Baronet).