Friday, December 14, 2012

Framji Hall

This is a picture taken from the gate of Framji Hall, on West Madha Church Road at Royapuram. Framji is not an unusual name among the Parsi community; in fact, among the first group of five Parsis to arrive in Madras during the late 18th century was Framji Edulji Rudibaina, a merchant. This group of traders, along with the two priests who came with them, settled in Royapuram. With their success came more of their brethren and that part of Royapuram where they were concentrated came to be known as Anjuman Bagh.

But it took almost a century before the Parsis organized themselves. The first Parsi Panchayat of Madras - to be renamed Madras Parsi Zarthoshti Anjuman in 1900 - was set up in 1876. That founding panchayat had Edulji Dinshaw Panday at its head, as President. The Secretary was Sorabji Framji. The latter went on to head the Anjuman and was also a key mover for setting up a Dar-e-Meher, the fire temple of the Parsis. 

It is likely this is named after Sorabji, rather than the first Framji of Madras. Though called a Hall, it seems more residence than meeting place. Was it Sorabji's house that has now become a reminder of how Royapuram used to be?