Friday, May 20, 2011
Down West Mada Church Road in Royapuram are several indicators of the city's Parsi heritage. The oldest of these indicators is probably this building, which stands on land that, by all accounts, was acquired by Heerjibhai Maneckji Kharas with five other Parsis sometime in the last decade of the 18th century. Just before that century ended, additional land had been leased for 99 years from the British East India Company. In 1858, with the Crown assuming sovereignty, the lands were transferred to the Parsi Panchayat.
In 1900, the Parsi Panchayat was renamed the Madras Parsi Zarthosti Anjuman. The property that had been leased from the British East India Company came to be referred to as Anjuman Bagh. Today, Anjuman Bagh houses within it a dharmsala for travellers, besides about fifteen flats though which the Anjuman provides subsidized housing for deserving senior citizens from the community.
Though the original property on this road has been fragmented, the Anjuman Bagh continues to be a reminder of how the Parsis had contributed to Madras in large measure!