H J Rustomji Parsi Home
H J Rustomji Parsi Home
H J Rustomji Parsi Home
Members of KZBM at HJR Home-1916I

Karachi Zarthosti Banu Mandal was established by a group of far sighted ladies on 11th November 1912 at the residence of Mrs Goolbai Nusserwanji Mehta on Elphinstone Street now known as Zebunnissa Street. Other founders included Soonamai Phochaji Jeejibhoy, Cooverbai Maneckjee Dhalla, Dhunmai Sethna and Manijeh Hommie Mehta.

The mastermind behind this was a lady called Shirinbai Dadabhai Collector who wrote a series of articles in the Parsi Sansar in 1910, for starting a Mandal.

The constitution was drawn up for KZBM with the help of Mr Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta, Mr Ardeshir Mama and Dastur Dr Maneckjee N Dhalla giving us the mission statement, of Seva & Sakhavat , meaning service and charity, which is of paramount importance to us even today. The Founder Members were: Goolbai Nusserwanjee Mehta, Soonamai Poochajee Bomanjee Jeejeebhoy, Dinbanoo Rustomjee H J Rustomjee, Mithibai Doosabhai Ralli, Cooverbai Maneckji Dhalla, Maniheh Hormasji Mehta, Bachubai Nusserwanjee Sethna, Alamai Fardonjee Challa, Dastorjee Maneckji Nusserwanjee Dhalla, Jamshedjee Nusserwanjee Mehta, Hormusji P Byramjee and Cowasjee Sohrabjee Lawyer.

KZBM was the sister organisation to the Young Men's Zoroastrian Association, established a year earlier.

President: Mrs Goolbai N Mehta
Vice President: Cooverbai M Dhalla
Secretaries: Bhicaiji Kabraji and Mithibai Ralli
Treasurer: Manijeh H Mehta

They ran this organisation from the upper floor of H J Rustomji Home, [Presently H J Rustomji Bagh, popularly known as Cowasjee Foundation, Shahrah-e-Iraq Rd]. The floor was rented to KZBM for 50 years @ Rs7 per month and then later for Rs14. [Goolbai Mehta served as President for only a year due to her death in 1913].

Mr Jehangir R Punthakey in his booklet The Karachi Zoroastrian Calendar, printed in 1919, wrote 'With the establishment of this Mandal, the income of poor Parsi women has improved considerably and to a great extent idleness has decreased'. From inception the needy were supplied with medicines, taught sewing, embroidery and other skills enabling them to have extra income. Annual cooking and elocution competitions were held amongst members. Records show there were 140 members in 1919.

The aims were:
  • To educate Zarthusti ladies.
  • To develop neighbourly feelings amongst the ladies
  • To teach poor ladies sewing, embroidery and other skills,
  • To enable them to support themselves with honesty and respect
  • To impress upon the members the aims and sanctity of good womanhood
Past Presidents:
Mrs Goolbai Nusserwanji Mehta
Mrs Soonamai Phochaji Jijibhoy
Mrs Soonabai Ardeshir Mama
Mrs Manijeh Hommie Mehta
Mrs Aloomai Minocher Dinshaw
Mrs Najumai Faredun Dinshaw
Mrs Mucca Rustom Cowasjee
Mrs Mehra Cyrus Minwalla
Mrs Perviz Viraf Daroga
1912 -1913
1914 - 1919
1920 - 1926
1927 - 1954
1955 - 1978 [February]
1978 - 1980
1981 - 1988
1989 - 1991 [February]
1991 - 1994

Specific sub-committees were formed in 1956 which stand to this day. They are in order of commencement:

Welfare [This was known as Poor Welfare, but since 1995 the word "poor" has been dropped]
Child Welfare

Mr Sohrab Hommie Mehta built and donated the present building which is located in the Sohrab Katrak Park, Parsi Colony, to the Mandal, in memory of his mother Manijeh Hommie Mehta which was inaugurated on 14 October, 1962. It was also the occasion of KZBMs Golden Jubilee.

On the occasion of our diamond jubilee, in 1968, we commenced giving loan scholarships for students wishing to go abroad for Higher Education. A booklet was printed giving the student full information of all Zarathushti Trusts who support the promotion of education. Further editions were made in 1985 and 1994. To date 68 students have been assisted by KZBM to study abroad, all of whom have repaid their interest free loan, that is the individuals who have completed their course.

October 1995, KZBM started a Business Loan Facility Scheme. To date we have assisted 6 individuals, who repay their interest free loan, monthly. Two individuals have finished repayment.

April 1998, KZBMs constitution was brought in sync with the 21st century. The proposals were given and accepted by the General Body and have been approved by the Social Welfare Department, Sindh, on November 20, 1998.

July 1998, A Book Society was formed, triggered by the fact we received a large donation of books from the Karachi American School. The community has rallied round as always and donated a fine selection, ranging from Mad Magazines and Mills & Boons to collector's items such as biographies of Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill. All books are colour coded for easy selection and the Society is manned by volunteers every day of the week. A PC with a laser printer was also donated to the Society by Union Texas, for the use of members. We have 53 paying members, and all school going children and senior citizens of over 75 years are gratis.

We continue to give monetary monthly assistance, at present to 46 individuals, and a further 25 persons are assisted occasionally. Medical monthly assistance to 30 persons and also assist any person who needs a one time assistance for their illness and/or surgery. We have bi-yearly sales to assist our community to sell their wares and also take part annually at the BWA Christmas Bazaar and the Friends of APWA Bazaar being a member of this association. We are paying the fees of 14 school going children and though we do not approve of tuitions, we have no alternative but to assist 8 children. Three students fees are paid by KZBM who are studying at college in Pakistan. 11 postgraduate students are at present studying abroad, having taken a loan scholarship which will be repaid once the course is finished. There are over 90 school going children in the Child Welfare group, the youngest being in class I, where they learn arts and crafts, educational games and competitions, field trips, indoor and outdoor games, cookery and have two annual parties. They are given courses in English Language, French, computers, plumbing and electricity. We also send them to The Sunday School for Little Zarathushtis. These children come from all walks of life and are not only the indigent.

There is a monthly programme for the full community to take advantage of. They are both varied and interesting, at a minimum charge.

We conduct workshops, send our youth to take part in Zarathushti Congresses, youth to take part in sports, assist in National fund raising schemes, and network globally with our Zarathushti organisations. Besides giving remuneration to the indigent, we take them out, give them moral support wherever needed, give clothing to the elderly and children, household linen, and food hampers averaging four times a year. We pay the medical bills of indigent patients of the Parsi General Hospital and donate linen once a year to the hospital. We are playing an active role in networking with the rest of the community especially in North America.

We have microfilmed all our minute books, Special and Annual General Meetings, original letters of donors who set up specified funds in KZBM and other documents that form our history.

KZBM has a record of managing committee minute books and annual reports from the year 1923 to present date. We are unaware if any reports were printed prior to this.

Goolbai N MehtaThe Parsi population of Sindh in 1911 was 2,411 out of which 2,202 were living in Karachi. On 14 March, 1999 there are 2,379 living in Karachi and 2,565 in the whole of Pakistan.

As mentioned earlier, in 1919 KZBM had 140 members compared to the present - on July 1 1998 - there are 691 members of KZBM out of which 56 are ordinary members paying an annual fee of Rs12. Patron members are 15, paying a one time amount of Rs500, and the balance are life members having paid a fee of Rs200. The membership fees are the same since inception.

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