CASE # 581 (POSTED July 23, 2014, NOW SOLVED)

Dear Ader, Congratulations on the wonderful service you are providing to find long lost Parsi friends. I am a former student of Prof. B. E. Mirza, who taught us  chemistry at Adamjee Science College, Karachi, during 1960’s. A brilliant teacher and a extraordinary academician, Prof. Mirza also co-authored the leading Chemistry college textbook along with Prof. J. B. Sidhwa of DJ College.  His brother Prof. R.E. Mirza later was my professor at NED Engineering College. Unfortunately, these great academics are lost to the history of education in Pakistan. We are in the process of creating a web page to honor the memory of Prof. B. E. Mirza and are soliciting the help of all persons who knew this honorable educator. We would love to get his photographs, education career, information of the book, birth and demise dates, and other information, including names and whereabouts of kin. Please do us a favor and help us find the grand old man and document his services for posterity. Best regards, Jawaid Ahmed sanskritidesai@yahoo.com Reno, NV, USA.  If you have any information, please write directly to sanskritidesai@yahoo.com and copyAderGandi@Gmail.com so it can be recorded as a solved case. Thank you. Be sure to mention the case #. You can track updates to cases by becoming our Facebook friend at http://www.facebook.com/people/Missing-Parsi/100002437887842 or by joining us on LinkedIn.com

CASE # 581 NOW SOLVED (AUGUST 18TH 2014) Ader, Professor Mirza’s son( rohinton) still lives in Karachi.  If I am not mistaken, he may still be working at BVS Parsi High School as a Bursar . The professor’s nephew ( professor R.E Mirza’s son) Sohrab lives in LA, ( in Orange County). I am sure Sohrab’s phone 3 etc. could be obtained from the Los angeles  california Zoroastrian Association. regards, sarosh  sjcollector@gmail.com

CASE # 581 FURTHER SOLVED (AUGUST 18TH 2014) From: Farokh Variava Farokh.variava@gmail.com
Dear Ader, Thanks for the mail. Regarding the update concerning my late uncles viz. Prof. Rustom E. Mirza and his brother Byramji E. Mirza. They were great noble people indeed and may their sous rest in peace Amen!  Prof. Rustom was my MASA and he was the principal of NED College and his brother late Byramji was the principal of Adamjee College.  You have also mentioned another name of Prof. Jalejar Burjodji Sidhwa (Principal of D.J. Science College). He too was my MAMA and along with Byramji uncle had written many books. Further, if you remember the Vice Principal of D.J. Science College Prof. Mrs. Coverbai Medora she too was my MASI. Regarding next of Kins I have attached the mailing addresses of my cousins who are at present staying in USA. You may kindly contact them regarding photos etc.  Regards, Farokh Variava.   Binaifer Variava binaiferv@gmail.com Yazdi Sidhwa  Sidhwayazdi@gmail.com mirzas21 mirzas21@cox.net

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3 thoughts on “CASE # 581 (POSTED July 23, 2014, NOW SOLVED)

  1. Sohrab Mirza

    Professor R.E. Mirza was my father and it is because of him that I am who I am today. I loved him dearly and try to live by his teachings and the love and guidance he gave so freely to me and to others.

    Professor Mirza was born on February 19, 1907 in Karachi, India in a poor priestly family. My grandfather Edulji was a priest and my grandmother Goolbai took care of all the household chores. They worked very hard to raise four boys and a girl. My father was the eldest followed by my uncles Shapurji, Behramji and Jehangirji. My Aunt Najamai was the youngest in the family. My uncle Behramji also known as Professor B.E.Mirza was the Vice-Principal and Head of the Chemistry Department in the Adamjee Science College.

    My father passed his Matriculation Examination from Bombay University in 1925. During this time, he was active in Scouting and in his Senior Year he was selected to the position of Head Prefect of the school. After finishing high school he went to the D. J. Sind Science College and in 1927 was accepted to the NED Government Engineering College from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.

    My father married my mother (nee Goolbanoo Burjorji Sidhwa) in 1936 and they spent 45 years very happily married. They were constantly together and never spent even a day apart. My mother was always there to help my father with his students and encouraged him to do whatever he could for them. She never discouraged them from coming to the house because she knew my father took great joy in their presence.

    After graduation my father worked for the Karachi Municipal Corporation from 1931 to 1942. In 1942 he joined the NED Govt. Engineering College as a Lecturer in Civil Engineering, and pretty soon he discovered that he loved to teach and teaching became his passion. He was one of the pioneers of education in Pakistan and played a prominent role in the development of the College. Ultimately he became the fourth Principal of this famous institution which he loved so dearly. During his long career as a Professor, he taught thousands of students who are now spread out all over the world. He was born to teach and when he taught, students listened. The reason for this is that he had the unusual ability of making a boring subject so interesting that one could not help but listen. In 1950, he was promoted to the position of Vice-Principal and in 1957 he became the Principal of NED College.

    Since Professor Mirza was not only my father but also my Professor, I was put in a rather unique situation. I did not know how to face him when I was his student. But he put me at ease, for in class I was just another student to him and he treated me as such. He always liked to have a question-answer session in every class and I never knew if I was going to have to answer some of his questions. But he was such a gentle soul that he always put me and everyone else at ease, guiding us to the correct responses.

    My father was a very kind-hearted person. Never did I see him lose his temper. I remember when I was growing up, students used to come to my house sometimes till late at night to take his advice. First, they were treated to a cup of tea. Then the problems were put forward. The problems under discussion were not only engineering problems, but personal and/or financial problems as well. He was a very patient man and after hearing the problem would suggest some solution which would work out to the benefit of that student.

    My father was also very generous and would not hesitate to help anyone in need of his help. In the late sixties when I was working as a Civil Engineer in Karachi, I remember having a conversation with a person who was an old student of my father. We were talking about Professor R.E.Mirza and his generosity when this gentleman told me, “Sohrab, did you know that your father helped me financially when I was a student…. and your mother did not even know about it.” That was my father.

    On December 10, 1966 my father retired from the NED Government Engineering College. On that day, an address of farewell was presented to him on behalf of the staff of the college. But he could not stay away from the College – he continued to teach part-time because teaching gave him so much joy.

    My parents were also very interested in Theosophy. My mother and he joined the Karachi Theosophical Society in the late forties, and became active members. He was the Society’s Treasurer, Vice-President and Office Secretary. He was also a member of the Poor Patients Relief Society, the Theosophical Order of Service and helped in the administration of the Jamshed Memorial Montessori School.

    In 1974 I got accepted to the University of Oklahoma to study for a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. Five years later, in August 1979 I returned to Karachi for vacation. My parents were very happy to see me.

    The last time that I met my father was in October 1979 when he came to the Karachi Airport to see me off after my marriage to Yasmin Majaina. Our son Shaun was born in February 1981 and my mother and my father were planning to visit us in Oklahoma in May of that year. But my father fell ill so we decided to go to Karachi to visit him instead. But we were in transit when he passed away on June 16, 1981 and were unable to see him. Our second son Cyrus was born in March 1986, and my regret is that my father was not alive to know about him. I am sure he is always looking down on us and blessing us from wherever he is.

    My father is no longer with us, but I think of him and remember him every day. He indeed was a noble man who never thought about himself but always thought about others. He was never interested in monetary gains but followed the motto of ‘Service before Self”. Soon after his demise, a Souvenir was published by the Publication Society of the NED University, Karachi in the memory of Prof. R. E. Mirza. I take this opportunity to thank the members of the Publication Society for their contribution.

    May his soul rest in eternal peace.
    Amen.

    Reply
  2. Humayoun Jawaid Ahmed

    Sohrab Saheb,

    Thank you for your write-up about your father, Prof R. E. Mirza, and your uncle, Prof. B. E. Mirza. I had the honor of being a student of both of these great teachers. In early 60’s, I attended Adamjee Science College where Prof. B. E. Mirza (your uncle) was the Vice Principal and also the Chemistry Dept. Head. Later I attended N.E.D Engineering College where your father was a professor. Both of these professors were passionate about teaching.

    Prof R. E. Mirza was such a patient and gentle teacher – one of the best in the N.E.D. faculty. He never raised his voice. He generally taught in a room that was upstairs facing Strachan Road. Once a couple of students were a bit rowdy in the class. He gently admonished them: “Look, I never take attendance in the class. Come only if you want to learn. If you choose not to come i will not count that against you”. He was an awesome teacher with a very clear step-by-step explanation, and very patiently guided us through the complexity of the subject.

    i so clearly my viva voce exam with him in 1968. It was conducted downstairs from the room mentioned above and in the section where the boilers were located. he asked me several questions, and then he pointed toward a boiler and asked: “What tool would they need to open the valve on this boiler?”. I replied: “Spanner”. Then he surprised me with: “Urdu mein kiya bolay ga?”.. I was stumped but did come up with the right answer: “Pana”. He smiled affectionately and that concluded the exam. I will never forget that wonderful smile, the genuine affection in his eyes, and my last dialog with him.

    Like you, I too completed my B.E. in Civil from N.E.D. You probably were just a couple of years my senior.- I finished in 1970.

    God bless you for a wonderful write-up about unforgettable Prof R. E. Mirza. He was probably the most inspirational teacher I had. May he rest in peace.

    Humayoun

    Reply
  3. Yusuf Agha

    Thank you Sohrab and Humayoun, for documenting your memories of two academics of old/gold. It is such a shame that you can scour the internet these days and find no mention of these great educators whose lessons helped thousands of students succeed in life.

    What wonderful stories of two great educationists of days of yore you have to tell! Unfortunately, I never studied under Prof RE Mirza, but I was a student of Prof BE Mirza at Adamjee. And how we revered him.

    When he walked into our pre-grad class for the first time, I remember being totally intimidated by his mannerism. I thought to myself — ‘Man — this is going to be two tough years.’ But as time progressed, we began to see a heart of gold peer out behind the stern veneer. He was a brilliant teacher, and had a passion for teaching.

    He authored a book on Chemistry with Prof Sidhwa, which was extremely valuable to us, and helped pass the University examinations.

    I often think of the contribution of great Parsi educators to Karachi. Not only for the institutions they built, but this vast treasure trove of teachers like Professor(s) RE Mirza (Principal NED), BE Mirza (VIce Principal Adamjee Science), Sidhwa (of the Chemistry textbook fame) and Prof. Medora (vice principal of DJ Science). And I am sure they are many more.

    We, their students, are forever in their debt.

    Reply

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