The Velvet Underground and Warhol’s banana
|In 1936, Kishni Lalvani (the second lady from the right), |
was one of a group of young ladies on a tour of Europe,
chaperoned by a respectable Scottish lady who lived
in Hyderabad. Quite a stir they created, in their elegant and
fashionable saris, from Norway to Spain and beyond!
They visited cultural sites and interacted with cultural
groups, and people were charmed by their poise and
flawless English. This clipping appeared on 20 June, 1936.
Captioned ‘Hindu students in Barcelona’, it went on to say,
“The group of Hindus students that is taking a study trip
through Spain has arrived in our city, visiting our museums,
our monuments and our teaching officers”. The photograph,
by Puig Farran, was taken at the Patio de los Naranjos de la
Generalidad. Image courtesy Kishni's daughter, Bina Thadani.
What is remarkable is that, in pre-Partition Hyderabad, where patriarchal norms and misogyny was at its heights, some of its courageous women powerfully resisted the yoke of men and subjugation.
|Gomibai Javhermal Shahaney relaxing at|
home with her newspaper. Karachi c1940
Courtesy Sunita Shahaney
|Jamna Pahlaj Gidwani |
(nee Jamna Sahibsing Shahani)
had a driving license in 1928.
Courtesy Nelum Gidwani
|Mira Advani: a First Class|
double graduate with MA
and MSc in pure and
applied Mathematics from
DJ Sind College at age
19. Karachi c1943
|Dr Valiram Lakhani|
Courtesy Dr Naresh Shivdasani
|Dr Hari Mirchandani, carrying Meena (now Meena Mani), |
her brother's daughter whom she had delivered
two days previously, Delhi 1950.
|Some time around 2009, in pursuit of a location for the|
Sukkur branch of SIUT (Sindh Institute of Urology
and Transplantation), Pakistani philanthropist Dr Abid Rizvi
and his team came across the Chablani Maternity Home
in a decrepit state. Dr Rizvi worked with the Sindh
government to transform it into a modern facility
by 2012 and they named it SIUT Chablani Medical Center.
They spent several months trying to contact Lila’s relatives
in India to get a portrait of hers to display in a prominent place.
Lila’s niece, Sujata Tolani, arranged for family photographs of
Lila to be scanned and composed to show her at different times
in her life, and sent this photograph to SIUT, Sukkur.
Courtesy Jyoti Punwani
|Mohini and Sujan Bhawanani|
|Pribhdas 'Kaka' Tolani (1893-1988) and his sons, Bombay, c1970s|
Gopaldas, Pribhdas, Nandlal, Chandru
I never wanted to profit from my educational institutes. What I did want was to run professionally-managed organizations. I wanted to do good business and have a healthy bottom line, but always within the ambit of the law. While doing so, I wanted others around me to benefit too. Working with my team, we built a reputation for being decent, principled, and reliable. Today my biggest satisfaction comes from the respect that every member of Tolani Shipping, of Tolani College of Commerce and of Tolani Maritime Institute command, on the basis of this reputation.Dr Tolani was never interested in wealth and power for the sake of wealth and power. The young Nandlal, a child who loved his grandmother dearly, had promised her that one day he would earn so much that she would have enough money to even fill up the toilet. When the time came that Dr Tolani could have fitted gold taps in his bathrooms, he chose instead the vision and the discipline to use his wealth to truly live life to the fullest. He built a beautiful home, indulged his passion for luxury cars – not with a fleet, but one which he would drive himself and another for his family – and surrounded himself with good friends. In his words:
To me, wealth has given security and some freedom of choice. I have been careful with my spending, and almost always chosen comfort over luxury.
I did use my wealth to indulge my love for bridge and sailing, and to try and attract others to these sports. These are sports that test our mettle, one mentally and the other physically. As such, they help us to engage and develop the faculties we are blessed with as human beings, and thus live life to the fullest.
If there is one lesson of life that I would like to leave my grandchildren, it is the fact that money has little value. Personal satisfaction is far more important than money. For my grandchildren, and for those who come after them, I leave a wish that they may always understand the true priorities of their own lives, and that they may always have the discernment to judge right from wrong. I believe these are the things, rather than money, by which a life may be deemed successful.
|Smt Shantabai Savur|
|Bhavani Shankar Rao Savur (1900-1961) and Smt Shantabai|
Bab (Ramanand), Gopal (later Dr Gopal Rao Savur),
Sushila (later Mrs Tirkannad Sushila Amrit Rao
Gul (later Mrs Gul Raghuvir Dhareshwar)