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Vispi Shapur Dastur: Philatelic achievements

Monday, March 18, 2013

He is a practising CA and senior partner of V.S. Dastur & Co., and D.J. Jasavala & Co. He has served as a judge/jury member all over the globe at several district, states, national and international and world philatelic exhibitons.

Dastur is the Hon. Editor of India’s Stamp Journal. A Journal of more than 67 years standing and having the largest circulation of a philatelic magazine in India. He is the first Indian and Asian (first Parsi) to win the Roake International Trophy (U.K.) for original research in Philately and a winner of various Gold, Vermeil Gold and Silver medals and Special Prizes at State, National, International and World Exhibitions including Gold Medals at Sydney, Australia, India 89 and Granada ’92 Spain Exhibitions.

Over the last 35 years he has helped in persuading the Govt. of India to issue Commemorative Postage Stamps, Special Covers and Special Cancellations on eminent Parsis, Parsi Institutions and others such as stamps on Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Parliamentary Centenary, House of Godrej Centenary, Sir Phirozeshah Mehta, A.D. Shroff, Wadia, J.R.D. Tata, Jal Cooper (Eminent Indian Philatelist and author of several publications), etc. and special cover and special cancellation for The Bombay Parsee Association, Sr. J.J. Dharamshala, Dadar Athornan Madressa, Byramjee Jejeebhoy School, Panday Girls High School, Karani Agiary, etc.

Dastur is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of District Benevolent Society (Estd. 1831) and the Sir J.J. Dharamshala, (Estd. 1847) the first Free Cosmopolitan Home for the Destitute Aged in India and Asia and has been closely connected with the mental, physical, social and other problems of our senior citizens. There are about 100 residents who are given free shelter, food, clothing, all provisions and other requirements. There is a qualified social worker, matron, medical doctors, physiotherapist, and two medical wards for male and female patients which was inaugurated by Mr. Ratan Tata.

He is also the President of the Bombay Parsee Association (Estd. 1920) which has been – inter-alia conducting Kusti Spinning and Weaving competitions, prayer recitation competitions, etc. continuously over the last 90 years where, the participants are from the age of 3 years to 85 years or more. The B.P.A. also looks after 3 monuments in Mumbai and pays homage to Dr. Dadabhoy Naoroji, Sir Hormusji Cowasjee Dinshaw (Adenwalla) on their birth anniversaries and pays homage to those brave Parsi and other members of the Armed Forces who laid down their lives for their country during World War I and subsequent wars. He also encourages and felicitates the youth and the elders by presenting the B.P.A. Achievement Awards. Dastur is also the Hon. Editor of The B.P.A. Newsletter. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Soonawalla Agiary, Mahim.

He is the Vice President of FOZAWAC (Federation of Zoroastrian Associations for welfare and Culture) which conducts various All-India Parsi sports competitions and gives cash and other awards for academic achievements.

Dastur is also the President and Trustee of The Iran League, (Estd. 1922) which holds several competitions such as Essay, Shahnameh, Rangoli, Western and Indian music, etc. It also awards the Maneckji Limji Hataria Bravery Award mostly to Parsee members of the Armed Forces.

He is Hon. Treasurer of the Save Udwada Committee and a Trustee of the Save Udwada Trust which is meant for the improvement of Udwada which houses our Pak Iranshah. He has improved the road leading from the Railway station to Udwada village, the Gujarat Express train to stop at Udwada for the convenience of the pilgrims and has endeavoured to prevent soil erosion due to the sea in collaboration with the Government.

He is a Trustee of Athornan Mandal and the Dadar Athornan Institute (Madressa) Adenwalla Baug, Ashburner Agiary, etc. He has been awarded the Navsari Parsi Association Achievement Award and the Bombay Parsi Association Achievement Award for his philatelic achievements. He has been the Community Representative (President) of the Bombay Centre of the Experiment in International Living, which is affiliated to the United Nations Organisation (UNICEF) (First Parsi).

He has been honoured by his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent by bestowing Grand Ranks in England in both Freemasonry and Royal Arch Freemasonry. He has been awarded Certificate for Meritorious Services to Freemasonry. He was a special executive magistrate (J.P.) from 1980-86.

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