Bombay Parsi Businessman Readymoney, 1867
Old 1890 photo of a Parsi businessman Readymoney of Bombay (Mumbai). This is a rare photo of British-era businessman J. Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney. A highly regarded industrialist and philanthropist in the British era. He was the son of the man who built Bombay’s first cotton mill.
Cowasji Jehangir was knighted by Queen Victoria. He adopted the moniker “Readymoney” the British had given his family. Cowasji’s father Cowasjee Nanabhai Davar opened the first cotton mill in the city in 1854. Readymoney had built colleges, hospitals, clubs, etc. He financed the building of the University of Bombay.
The islands of Bombay developed into a single landmass by reclamation. By 1830 onwards a rapid commercial expansion took place. The growing prosperity, together with religious tolerance shown by the British, attracted immigrants from all over the Indian sub-continent and from abroad.
Out of them were the Parsis, shrewd businessmen from Gujarat who came to make their fortunes. The Parsis- a Zoroastrian community had fled from Persia in the 8th century due to persecution. First settled in Surat on India’s west coast. On the persuasion of the British, they moved down to the new land of Bombay from Surat. The British had first encountered the Parsis in Surat and had found them valuable as middlemen between themselves and their Indian suppliers.
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Did you know- this respected Bombay Parsi businessman Readymoney was knighted for his philanthropy, he died in 1878.