Friday, September 18, 2009

Ardeshir Cowasjee

Ardeshir Cowasjee is a renowned newspaper columnist. His columns regularly appear in the country's oldest English newspaper Dawn. His work is translated and published in Urdu press.

He is also Chairman of the Cowasjee Group and is engaged in philanthropic activities apart from being regarded as an old 'guardian' of the city of Karachi.


Ardeshir Cowasjee was born in 1926 at Karachi and hails from the well-known Cowasjee Parsi (Zoroastrian ) family. His father Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee was a businessman in merchant shipping. Ardeshir attended the Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School (BVS) and graduated from DJ Science College, Karachi. Later, he joined his father's business, the Cowasjee Group, and married Nancy Dinshaw in 1953. He has two children, Ava (daughter) and Rustom (son).


Ardeshir was appointed by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in 1973 but was jailed for 72 days in 1976 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for which no explanation has been given to date; it is said that Prime Minister Bhutto did that to rein Cowasjee because the latter was becoming increasingly vocal about Bhutto's authoritarian ways. Ardeshir subsequently started writing letters to the editor of Dawn Newspaper, which led him to become a permanent columnist. Since then, his hard-hitting and well-researched columns in Dawn have continuously exposed corruption, nepotism and incompetence in different local, provincial and national governments for the last twenty years.

Ardeshir Cowasjee is affectionately known as AC. He is also very active in various social and philanthropic activities in Pakistan and is regarded as an old 'guardian' of the city of Karachi where he regularly battles (with the pen and in court) land grabbers and illegal building projects. He currently resides in the posh Bath Island neighbourhood of Karachi with 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 cockatoo and 1 African Grey.

Ardeshir Cowasjee is also the financier of many scholarships for students wishing to pursue higher education. These include grants for both local and overseas education. Although these are given out as loans, it is not expected that most of these funds will be returned to him. However, Cowasjee does encourage the receivers to return them so that others can benefit from those funds. These philanthropic services are provided by the Cowasjee Foundation.(Source: Wikipedia)

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