From the special autograph collection of Byram
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.”
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
THE STAR OF HUMANITY
once eloquently said: “We believe in caring for people from womb
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.
not only a passionate businessman, but also a very compassionate
“Don’t demand respect, command respect,”
reflects the life he lived in the service of humanity.
said: “Don’t trust be careful;”
he responded, “Let us first believe and trust until otherwise
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
1941, he was a Justice of Peace and was decorated by the British
Government for his relentless dedication towards promoting peace in
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.
THE STAR OF SPIRITUALITY
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!”
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.
lived his life with the absolute understanding that:
“If you throw sand towards the sun, it
will fall on your own eyes.”
wonderful piece of advice.
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.
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.
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.
Dinshawji for living and leaving a legacy of spirituality in our
THE STAR OF INDUSTRY
It says in my
book Bread For The Head™
that: “ When you work with love, you will love your work.”
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
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.
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
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).
courageous action of Dinshawji demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit of
adaptability to meet the changing times and adjust to multifarious
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.”
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.’
pioneered the innovative buffet system of serving food in the Hotel
Dinshaw Mahal – Zindabad
Avari Hotel -- Lahore, Pakistan
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
Karachi; and Avari Hotel in
Lahore. They also manage the Avari
Dubai, and the
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.”
a man of impeccable character, dignity and integrity.
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.
THE STAR OF CHARITY
said: “Make others happy and you’ll also be happy.”
The fiber of
Dinshawji’s life was fabricated on the core of this Zarathushtrian
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I would like
to share an eyewitness account of a time in my life spent with Dinshawji.
1979-80, I pioneered a special after-school education program for our
Zarathushti boys and girls studying in grades 9-12.
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.
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
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:
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.”
Byramji Avari embodied the Ashem Vohu Prayer for which I salute him.
you Dinshawji for living and leaving a
5-STAR LEGACY OF
HUMANITY, SPIRITUALITY, INDUSTRY, INTEGRITY AND CHARITY
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
Jamshid Varza for taking the time to post this article on the
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.