A Tribute To Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry

When Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry passed away one year ago, on 28th June, 2022 the nation lost a foremost torchbearer and a true trailblazer. The erstwhile Chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Pallonji Mistry, who breathed his last at the of 93 in his Mumbai residence, was one of India’s leading Industrialists, having fortified and built a conglomerate which extended to multiple facets of everyday life.

He was a rare kind of entrepreneur, as over the decades, he successfully took on various highly competitive business industries many times over. His extraordinary grit and ability resulted in a business empire that now serves as one of the major pillars of India’s economy. But beyond all his material achievements, Pallonji Mistry – the
India-born Irish business tycoon reckoned as the country’s oldest billionaire, was also low-profile philanthropist and most importantly, a private, deeply religious and family man. Friends and kin described him as gracious, humble and charitable.

He was awarded the coveted Padma Bhushan award in 2016 for contributions to Indian industry, successfully running a sprawling construction business, dating back over 150 years. SP Group was also the single-largest shareholder (18.4%) of
Tata Sons, the main investment entity of the $103-billion Tata Group. Born on June 1, 1929, Pallonji joined the family business in 1947, under the supervision of his father, Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry, taking over its reins in 1975, after his
father’s passing.

He inherited a fortune from his father, which he multiplied manifold. He took SP Group beyond the shores of India to the Middle East, especially Muscat in Oman. He will be remembered as the man who not only built half of Bombay but also most of Muscat, including the Sultan’s palace.

Pallonji was known as the ‘Phantom of Bombay House’ for his inconspicuous but powerful presence at the Tata Group headquarters. Pallonji was a silent philanthropist, his range of charitable interests included care for senior citizens, health care, supporting education and research.

Some years ago, the Pallonji family and the Group took up the herculean task of renovating the 130-year-old building that houses the oldest and Holiest of Holy Zoroastrian consecrated Fire at Udvada – Iranshah. It was a ‘labour of love’.
The nearly 70,000 members of the SP family looked up to him with reverence and for inspiration as a beacon of propriety and solid values in a rapidly changing world. In 2012, Pallonji stepped down as the head of SP and handed over the chairmanship to his elder son, Shapoor Mistry.

Although a citizen of Ireland, Pallonji chose to spend the final years of his life in India. He was Indian at heart, Irish by citizenship and in between, he was also a kind-hearted and generous Parsi with old-world charm and grace. Pallonji Mistry is survived by his wife Patsy, son Shapoor, daughters Laila and Aloo and their families.

He transformed and reinvented the many industries his various companies were actively involved in. As a true industrialist, game-changer and philanthropist, his legacy will continue to inspire the many generations and lives that he and his organizations have helped improve through the years.

He is survived by his wife Patsy and children: daughters – Laila Aloo and son Shapoor Mistry. His other son, Late Cyrus Mistry, who served as Tata Group Chairman from 2012 to 2016, passed away in the prime of his life, in an unfortunate accident, just a few months after Pallonji’s passing.

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