Memorial Meet Held In Honour Of Areez Khambatta

On 24th December, 2022, the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat held a memorial function, a Jahsan and Gambhar, in honour and celebration of the life and times of Mr. Areez Khambatta – prominent industrialist, philanthropist, ex-Chairman of WAPIZ, and Ex-President of the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, most popularly and fondly remembered as the founder of ‘Rasna’ (the world-famous soft-drink concentrate), who passed away on 19th November, 2022, at the age of 85.

In the memorial meet, which saw the presence of nearly 500 humdins of Ahmedabad, a special letter from Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and special speeches of appreciation by Vada Dasturji Dr. Firoz Kotwal and Vada Dasturji Cyrus Dastur were read. Anahita Desai and Khojestee Mistree also spoke highly in praise of Mr. Khambatta.

Mr. Khambatta’s popularity was amply displayed during the function as people spoke of his with as much warmth and fondness, as with reverence and awe. The following were some highlights about Mr. Khambatta from the various speeches…

As a Human: As described by one of the speakers, Mr. Khambatta was like a coconut – hard from outside but soft from inside; an emotional, family man who dedicated his life to the community and family. He was full of compassion for the community and always available for those in need.

As a Nationalist: Everybody referred to Mr. Khambatta’s tenure of more than two decades in Home Guard and Civil Defense, where he was instrumental for saving lives of fellow citizens. Unlike other rich and established families, he didn’t hide away but led from the front for his country in its time of need like riots, war etc.

Citizen of Integrity: Most of the shared that Mr. Khambatta contributed immensely to India’s development by paying his taxes honestly and being honoured as Gujarat’s highest tax-payer for many years.

As an Entrepreneur: Mr. Khambatta was deeply respected for competing with multinational companies and offering an Indian option, which was made available not just across millions of Indian outlets, but also many other countries. A technocrat, he was the man behind the flavours and the taste behind Rasna, which was well reflected when a speaker shared how his own house was a lab and his own family and friends were his R&D evaluators!

As a Community Leader: Mr. Khambatta established himself firmly through hard work as a community leader – he was the Trustee and the President of the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat; then founded WAPIZ alongside like-minded people. WAPIZ as an organization aimed to ensure that the religious tenets of Zoroastrianism are protected and reformists wouldn’t not wash away the heritage, culture and religious principles. Many spoke of his generous financial help to various people, organizations, NGOs, Panchayats, and WAPIZ, through which these organizations could thrive.

As a Philanthropist: Innumerable people mentioned the yeoman services rendered to society by Mr. Khambatta via his various foundations and trusts which he chaired viz. Areez Khambatta Benevolent Foundation and Rasna Foundation, ensuring medical aids and scholarships for the needy, donating medical equipment to hospitals, helping through the pandemic with Covid relief funds and activities.

In the programme special speeches of appreciation of Vada Dasturji Dr. Firoz Kotwal, Vada Dasturji Cyrus Dastur and the Hble PM of India were also read. The programme was preceded by a Jashan performed by Er. Mehrooz, Er. Vistasp, Er. Farokh and Mr. Areez Khambatta’s grandson, Er. Arzad. After the memorial programme, people were served an authentic traditional Parsi gambhar.

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