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Benefactors Of Pune - Part 1 - The Jejeebhoys

After the occupation of Pune by Britishers starting 1818, a systematic and all round development of Pune started to take place, like, gardens, water supply systems,Libraries, hospitals, educational institutes etc, by the Britishers. Peshwas had done good developments in inner city side, however outer Pune was still reeling under inconveniences.

Among some Indian Philanthropists who came out with generous donations were Jejeebhoys ,David Sassoon, Kawasjee Jahangir, Sardar Mudliyar etc.

Amongst them were Byramjee Jeejeebhoy and Jamsetji Jejeebhoy. Both were from different lineages and weren't related to each other.

Jamsetji Jejeebhoy

Jamsetji Jejeebhoy

Jamsetji Jejeebhoy was an extremely wealthy trader, and was the first Indian to be honoured with Knighthood and Baronetsy both. He made his millions in the trade of Cotton and Opium (which was legally tradable commodity at that time).

To his credits are following

The Bund:- He built a long damlike bund on Mula Mutha river to facilitate water supply to Cantonment area, especially for poor people ,who had no access to good quality water.

The water from the Bund was pumped to three different tanks.

One at J.J. Garden behind old West end. Second at Cantonment garden and third at Charbavadi - behind Baba Jaan Chowk. From these three tanks further distribution took place. The Bund was constructed between 1846 and 1850. About 75% of the cost was borne by Jamsetjee.

The Bund

Bund Garden:- This garden was subsequent to the Bund project. It as comissioned by Jamsetji Jejeebhoy and developed by Colonel Sellon of British Army and was completed in 1869. This was one of the recreational gardens for British Soldiers.

Bund Garden

The J.J Parsee Fire Temple:- Located near J.J. Garden (which was also developed by Jamsetji Jejeebhoy). Pune Parsee fraternity wanted a good Fire Temple (Agyari) in Cantonment area, and approached Jamsedjee. Being a devout Parsee he readily agreed and donated a handsome amount to build the Agyari. The long cherished dream was fulfilled by Jamsetji. This Agyari was built in the year 1845. Alongwith the fire temple, dining halls and quarters for the priests were also built. The inauguration was attended by Parsee priests from Mumbai and eminent Parsees from Pune and Mumbai.The Agiyari has completed 175 years. On the lighter side of it ,today's most famous J.J.Garden Vada Pav Centre near the Agyari also has flavour of Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy .

J J Agiyari

It is interesting to note that Jamsetji Jejeebhoy was the first president of Pune Native Education Society which instituted Peru Gate Bhave School and he had visited it. In 1926 Native Education Society changed its name to Maharashtra Education Society as it stands today.

Byramjee Jeejeebhoy

Byramjee Jeejeebhoy

Another wealthy Parsee gentleman from Mumbai to whom British Government had leased 7 villages from Jogeshwari to Borivali in 1830. This tract of land measured a whopping 12000 acres. (Though most of this land is under slums and unauthorized structures,The Jeejeebhoy group still holds about 800 Acres of land). He also owned Lands End at Bandra with a Portuguese fort, known as Bandra fort. He built the famous Band Stand. This 2 kms stretch is today named as Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Road, and is an elite neighbourhood. It has residences of people like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and many other luminaries.

This wealthy gentlemen Sir Byramjee Jeejeebhoy gave Pune its most prestigious Medical Institution The B.J.Medical College. One of the top ten Indian Medical Colleges of India. Britisher's were broad minded in matters of education and wanted to educate worthy Indians into modern methods of medicine. Here Byramjee Jeejeebhoy handsomely contributed and gave away his parcel of land on which the College stands today. Though David Sassoon had built Sassoon Hospital, the College bore Byramjee's name in gratitude of his major role in this project.

Before that it was B.J. Medical School, founded in 1871, and was offering L.C.P.S. Degree. (My grandfather was a doctor from 1923 batch) Teaching staff included many Britishers like Lt.Col. Maddok, Major Dudley,etc. In 1946 the name was changed to B.J. Medical College. The college was using Sassoon hospital's facilities for training of doctors in hands on skills, and also many surgeons were faculty here. Sassoon hospital was established in 1867.

B. J. Medical College

Some notable alumni include Dr.Mohan Agashe, Dr.Shriram Lagoo , Dr. Himmatrao Baviskar, Dr.Sharad Hardikar, Dr Jabber Patel and many others. One of its most notable Deans, Dr. Y.M.Bhende who discovered rare blood group called "The Bombay Blood Group" in 1952 which is acknowledged globally and credited to him ( this was in Bombay though).

Dr. Y.M Bhende was a faculty and Head of Department (Pathology) and later on he went on to become dean of B.J. Medical College.

One interesting fact is that Mahatma Gandhi was operated in Emergency for Appendicitis at the hospital in 1924 while he was under detention in Pune.

The background success stories are many and accomplishments are plenty. But our richest tributes go to its patron, Byramjee Jeejeebhoy.

Pune is greatly indebted to these two Pillars of Philanthropy, Jamsetji Jejeebhoy and Byramjee Jeejeebhoy.

Disclaimer: Photographs are not taken by me and are only for representational purposes. Original copyrights lie with the owners.

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Ranjit Ghatge
Ranjit Ghatge

Thanks for appreciation 🙏🙏🙏


Jayant Khandeparkar
Jayant Khandeparkar

Very interesting info for every Punekar. Keep it up.

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