Dec 28, 2008

Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy (JJ)

Anyone who has traveled over Mahim Causeway, or have been to JJ group of hospital which also includes the Cama Hospital recently in news due to the terrorist attack of November 26, or has heard of JJ school of arts, architecture must wonder what does JJ stand for. JJ stands for Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy. Here's some information of his splendid benevolence.

Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy was born in Bombay in 1783 in a poor family. His father's profession was to buy and sell old bottles. Jamsetji, at the age of eighteen, entered into partnership with his father in law, and made successful voyages to China - dealing in opium trade. His ships build in shipyards of Bombday trades with all parts of the East. He also dealt in cotton trade.

He was very prosperous after twenty years of business. In winning his fortune, he did not forget how to spend it - because for him responsibilities and duties were never separate from the wealth. Parsi, Christian, Hindu, and Muslims were alike the objects of his benevolence. He funded hospitals, schools, charity homes throughout Mumbai and India. He also financed construction of public works such as wells, reservoirs, bridges, and causeways.

Jamsetji's wife Avabai spent the entire sum of Rs. 155,800 in 1841 to build Mahim Causeway to connect Bombay to the island of Salsette after the British government refused to fund the public works project.

Queen Victoria conferred the knighthood on him in 1842, followed by award of baronetcy in 1858.

Sir JJ passed away in 1859. City of Mumbai has a lot of reasons to be grateful to this great man.