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Sir Pherozeshah M. Mehta (1845 – 1915)

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By The Editor

In 1945 an appreciation was published of Phiroz Mehta’s kinsman, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, in commemoration of the centenary of his birth. The following extracts from it seem appropriate at the present time

Pherozeshah Merwanjee Mehta was born on 4th August 1845. After a brilliant career in school and college, he was called to the Bar in 1868. By 1873 he achieved fame in his profession.

He gained his first experience of public affairs in Municipal life. He was chairman of the Bombay Corporation in 1884, and again in 1885, and was elected president in 1905. In the 1890 Congress (of the Indian National Congress) Sir Pherozeshah delivered the magnificent presidential address in which he said:

To my mind, a Parsi is a better and truer Parsi, as a Mohammedan or a Hindu is a better and truer Mohammedan or Hindu, the more he is attached to the land which gave him birth, the more he is bound in brotherly relations and affection to all the children of the soil, the more he recognises the fraternity of all the native communities of the country and the immutable bond which binds them together in pursuit of common aims and objects under a common government.

The remarkable part which Sir Pherozeshah played in the political, civic and educational life of the country brought him many honours, the last of which was his appointment as Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University in March 1915. His death occurred on the 5th November of that year.

Sir Pherozeshah was balanced, far-seeing and constructive as a statesman; conscientious, capable and practical as a servant of the public; sparkling, incisive and forceful as an orator; witty, brilliant and incomparably skilful as a debater; trenchant, chivalrous and fair as a fighter. With his broad outlook, transcending the confines of creed, caste or community, he was truly a champion of his native land, and by common consent a leader of the Indian people.

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