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Dinshawji Avari – A 5-star Zarathushti


















From the special autograph collection of Byram Dinshawji Avari

It is said that: “If you focus on your job, you will only make a living But if you focus on yourself, you will make a life worth living.”

The late Dinshawji Byramji Avari was one of those rare Zarathushtis who truly believed in success from within. He knew that IMPOSSIBLE actually meant I M POSSIBLE. His personal motto: “Content with what I have, but not with what I AM,” kept him focused on improving the  I AM in his quest for iconic success within our Zarathushti community. He was grateful for what he had while he was in pursuit for what he wanted. It was this special and heart warming attribute of Dinshawji that made him a 5-STAR ZARATHUSHTI in the eyes of humanity. The Avaris, under the guidance of Dinshawji’s humanitarian, charitable, social and communal services; have earned the recognition and respect of the Zarathushtis as well as all sections of society in Pakistan.


Byram Avari once eloquently said: “We believe in caring for people from womb to tomb.”

I know that he has inherited this spirited gene from the goodness and graciousness of his honorable father Dinshawji – a man who I truly revere and honor.

Dinshawji was not only a passionate businessman, but also a very compassionate humanitarian.

His motto: “Don’t demand respect, command respect, reflects the life he lived in the service of humanity.

When people said: “Don’t trust be careful; he responded, “Let us first believe and trust until otherwise proven wrong.”

The Rotary Club of Karachi was the outcome of the vision and service minded charter members and figured personalities like Dinshawji. In 1947, during independence when the Club boat was rocked with the migration of a good number of its members, the storm was weathered by the foresight and hard work of Rotarians like Dinshawji, who then served as its Founder President.

Starting in 1941, he was a Justice of Peace and was decorated by the British Government for his relentless dedication towards promoting peace in humanity.

He was on the Managing Committee of Sindh Red Cross/Red Crescent Society starting in 1941. He was also instrumental in forming a committee of Zarathushti Trustees to support, house and fund the Zarathushti refugees from Iran.

He served as the Founder and President (for 13-years) of the Deaf and Dumb Center in Karachi – a place responsible for rehabilitating the majority of Deaf and Dumb people in Karachi, Pakistan.

He was also on the Managing Committee of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for over 45-years which demonstrates his love and dedication towards all of God’s creation.

In short, his love and spirit extended far beyond serving people – to all creations that embodied the essence of humanity.


Dinshawji once said: “God does not look at the oratory of your prayers – how eloquent they are; nor at their arithmetic – how many they are; nor at their logic - how methodical they are; but he looks at the sincerity of your prayers – HOW SPRIRITUAL THEY ARE!”

Dinshawji was a man of God in his thoughts, words and deeds who fully recognized that there is GOD in the word GOOD.

He was one of those rare individuals that I have known in my life who truly believed in holding others in the light. It is because he knew that:

People, who face the light, do not see any shadow of doubt.

Dinshawji lived his life with the absolute understanding that: “If you throw sand towards the sun, it will fall on your own eyes.”

What a wonderful piece of advice.

He found inner peace and solace in prayers and bestowed 45-years of dedication on preserving our Zarathushti customs, tenets and traditions; especially in our sacred place of worship – the two revered Dar-e-Mehrs in Karachi.

The most spirited memory that I as a child have of Dinshawji, is that no matter who went to see him for assistance or guidance in his office or home, not only were they welcomed with open arms and a magnanimous heart, but also they never returned empty handed. Some visitors were even served food at his home on his special dining table.

In December of 1994, I was with Byram Avari in his Beach Luxury office when a Zarathushti walked in for assistance and I saw Byram extend and resonate the same gesture of spirituality to this person.

Bravo Dinshawji for living and leaving a legacy of spirituality in our Zarathushti community.


It says in my book  Bread For The Head™ that: “ When you work with love, you will love your work.”

Dinshawji was a living testament of this life transforming philosophy.

Being born in a humble family, he studied in the Petit Orphanage in Bombay, tutoring kids to pay his way through college and obtained a B.Com. degree from Bombay University.

In the mid-1920’s, as an effervescent and conscientious youth, he started his career with the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada on a meager salary of 75 Indian Rupees per month.

His determination and commitment to success made him rise to greater heights and in 1929, the company transferred him to Karachi to open up a new office. Within a short period of time, he was able to bring in record business for the Company and was promoted to take sole charge of offices in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province and Afghanistan.

He also holds the honor of becoming the FIRST Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) in Asia. 

In spite of being an Insurance Magnate, somehow his quest for success was not satiated by the Insurance Business.

As a result, at the age of 42, he chose to charter his attention in a different segment of business – hotels and hospitality. 

In 1945, he placed his entire life’s savings and borrowed substantially to acquire the Bristol Hotel in Karachi at a purchase price of 100,000 Indian Rupees (a substantial sum in those days).

This courageous action of Dinshawji demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit of adaptability to meet the changing times and adjust to multifarious circumstances.

It is worthy to note that in spite of being the Chief Executive Officer of the Bristol Hotel, Dinshawji personally got up at 4:00 A.M. every morning to go to the market and shop for his hotel supplies.

He was just not a man of thoughts and words, but also a man of deeds filled with proactive visions and affirmative actions.

A story is told about Dinshawji in which Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidaytullah, the First Governor of Sindh, who told Dinshawji’s wife Khorshed that: “You need to get Dinshawji’s head examined for building a hotel in the barren, desert grounds of Queen’s Road surrounded by marshy lands.”

Well today, we can admire and appreciate the foresight of Dinshawji, when one experiences the beautiful, serene and scenic setting of the Beach Luxury Hotel – a leading hotel of Karachi.

Not only do weddings and navjotes take place at this hotel but also Dinshawji was instrumental in turning around this entire marshy land into an elite locality known as ‘Queen’s Road.’

He also pioneered the innovative buffet system of serving food in the Hotel Industry.

Dinshaw Mahal – Zindabad
Avari Hotel -- Lahore, Pakistan

A Hotel reflecting the traditional hospitality combined with 5-Star standards of service.

Today, Avari Hotels International is one of the most respected names in the hotel industry in Pakistan. It is known for providing superior services and world-class amenities. It is the only Pakistani Hotel Chain with International Links. In Pakistan, they own Beach Luxury Hotel and Avari Towers in Karachi; and Avari Hotel in Lahore. They also manage the Avari Hotel in Dubai, and the Ramada Hotel Toronto Airport at Toronto, Canada. Dinshawji’s spirit of Industry teaches us all that:

“Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it become a part of who you will become.”



It is said that: “When money is lost nothing is lost, when health is lost something is lost; but when character is lost everything is lost.”

Dinshawji was a man of impeccable character, dignity and integrity.

He never compromised on principles, even though he was flexible and willing to listen to all because he believed that everyone has something to contribute towards one’s development.

In spite of being a self-made multi millionaire he treated every one with a million dollar attitude of dignity and grace.

In times when many people ignore ethics and silence their conscience, the luminary Dinshawji maintained the courage of his conviction and could not be shaken in his resolve to do that which he believed to be right.


Zarathushtra said: “Make others happy and you’ll also be happy.”

The fiber of Dinshawji’s life was fabricated on the core of this Zarathushtrian philosophy.

On 5th of November 1987 (his 85th Birthday), the Zarathushti Community of Pakistan honored Dinshawji for his charitable contributions towards providing housing facilities, assistance for education, annual celebration facilities for the entire community at the Beach Luxury and for being there unconditionally to serve his fellowmen in their hour of need.

In difficult times, Dinshawji believed that: No one can change what happened, but we can all change what happens – through charity.

And that is why he lived the axiom: Zarathushti thy name is Charity.

He served for 32-years as the Trustee of the Karachi Parsi Anjuman Trust Funds and as its Chairman for the last 5-years of his life.

He also served as Chairman of the Jehangir Rajkotwalla Baugh Trust for the last 12-years of his life as well as the Chairman of the Bai Virbaiji Katrak Charity Funds for the last 26-years of his life.

By opening the doors of Beach Luxury Hotel to hold annual galas during the Parsi Navroze, Dinshawji along with his family and team of loyal workers have rendered yeoman service to the Zarathushti community by collecting Lacs (Hundreds of Thousands) of Rupees and donating the same to various Parsi Charities. Most of these funds along with his personal donations and those collected from special charity dinners organized by him were earmarked for the Bomanshaw Minocher Homji Parsi General Hospital in Karachi. This showed his deep feelings for the sick and the suffering in our community.

Dinshawji was an avid supporter of promoting good education in our community. He was a member of the Managing Committee of the two top schools in Pakistan – namely the Bai Virbaiji Sopariwalla Parsi High School and Mama Parsi Girls High School.

I would like to share an eyewitness account of a time in my life spent with Dinshawji.

During 1979-80, I pioneered a special after-school education program for our Zarathushti boys and girls studying in grades 9-12. 

This program was introduced at the B.VS Parsi High School to coach our Zarathushti kids (who could not afford to pay for extra-tutoring services) to be able to get admission in good engineering, medical and commerce colleges so that they could have a bright career and brilliant future.

It was a program designed to create a chain of assistance in which the 12th graders would help the 11th graders who in turn would coach the 10th graders and so on.

Not only was there an outpour of communal financial assistance but also great support from the Avaris, Dinshaws, Cowasjees, Markers, Bhandaras and many other philanthropists in Pakistan.

But I will always remember what Dinshawji told me when I had approached him. He said: “Meher, get whatever you want for the kids, and let me know how much it is. Do not short change education for our Zarathushti kids.”

That was the level of commitment Dinshawji offered to the furtherance of education. To-date, this program helped numerous Zarathushti kids to be able to secure admission in their dream colleges.

Dr. Kershew Khambatta – a prominent Zarathushti surgeon from Pakistan once said: “Many people give many things; but Dinshawji Avari was a very rare and special individual who gave of himself.”

He recalled that he was very sick and in hospital and when Dr. Kershew was ready to come home from the hospital, Dinshawji turned up in his car to take Kershew home.  As Kershew said:  “Dinshawji could have easily sent his driver and car but instead he gave of himself by personally coming to the hospital to take me home.”

I like to conclude by stating the following:

The Ashem Vohu prayer says: “To think a Good Thought, To speak a Good Word, To do a Good Deed - is RIGHTEOUSNESS. Happiness comes to those who are righteous for the sake of righteousness itself.”

Dinshawji Byramji Avari embodied the Ashem Vohu Prayer for which I salute him.

Thank you Dinshawji for living and leaving a


Sources and Resources to gratefully acknowledge for the composition of this article: 


Byram Avari for providing me with valuable pictures and pertinent information.

Dr. Mehr Soroushian for giving me the opportunity to write this article for www.Vohuman.Org

Jamshid Varza for taking the time to post this article on the www.Vohuman.Org website.

My daughter Anahita Amalsad for her kind editorial assistance.

Special Brochure – An address of Honour and Felicitation presented to Mr. Dinshaw Byramji Avari, B.COM., CLU., J.P., to commemorate his 85th Birthday.