Did you know that some of Mumbai's most iconic cultures, eateries and structures were built and donated by one of it's most prominent and influential benefactors who came from one of the most prosperous diasporic communities? The Iranian community has made monumental contributions to Bombay’s cultural and urban landscape. Join us for a fascinating session on this inspiring community's influence on the life of Mumbai. Archivist, Oral Historian and Founder of Irani Chai, Mumbai, Bruce Carter, Co-owner of Davar & Co. Mahvash Rowhani, and Owner, Libran Seafoods Iqbal Durazi will be in conversation with Author and Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House, Sifra Lentin to trace the history, tradition, and culture of this community in order to understand the Irani diaspora in the Indian setting.
Bruce Carter has worked on community history projects since 2000. These have included oral history, exhibition curation, walking tours, writing and research. He holds qualifications in public history and library & archives management and in 2020 completed his PhD thesis at University of Technology, Sydney. Based in Sydney, Australia, he is a member of Professional Historians Association (NSW), the Oral History Association Australia (NSW branch) and the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.Read more
Iqbal Durazi is an entrepreneur and owner of Libran Seafoods. He and his siblings are descendants of Haji Ebrahim Busheri, a wealthy and successful Persian merchant who prospered in Bombay in the early 1900s. From their paternal side, the Durazis’ are half Iranian and half Bahraini, taking their surname from Duraz, a small town in Bahrain: their paternal grandfather was a pearl diver and trader, and used to frequent Bombay to sell pearls.Read more
Mahvash Rowhani has spent over 4 decades in Bombay as an active member of the Baha'i community and bringing up her two children. She is currently a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bombay and holds regular prayer meetings, study circles and values education for children and youth at her home. She has travelled through interior Maharashtra, building social bonds with people from different backgrounds and communities, sharing the importance of education, the equality of women and girls, and community building for the future. A co-owner of Davar & Co., an 'Irani cold drink house' in Nalbazar, she has also completed a counselling course and spends her spare time working with NGOs and with families in her neighbourhood.Read more
Sifra Lentin is a Mumbai-based writer and the Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, a foreign policy think tank headquartered in Mumbai. She was awarded the 2018-19 Herbert Katz Fellowship for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for her ongoing project on “Karachi’s Jewish Community”. The books written by her are: the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet coffee table book ‘A Salute to The Sword Arm – A Photo Essay on The Western Fleet’ (April 2007); Our Legacy: the Dwarkadas family of Bombay (March 2018) on the 250-year-old history of the eminent Halai Bhatia Dwarkadas Khimji family of Mumbai, and more recently Bombay’s International Linkages (February 2019), a Gateway House publication. She has also been published in three books: MARG’s ‘Indian Jewish Heritage – Ritual, Life-Cycle & Art’ (2002), One India One People’s book on Communities of India (2006), and recently in Primus Publications Mumbai Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities (2018), where she has written Chapter 10 on ‘Mumbai’s Jewish Community’. Sifra graduated in English Literature (Hons.) from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s in General Law (BGL) from Government Law College, Mumbai. Her earlier career was in journalism with a focus on Bombay and South Asian Jewish history. She is currently a Trustee of the Sir Jacob Sassoon School (Byculla, Mumbai).Read more