Manchersha B. Godrej
Manchersha lived in Paris most of his life, and remained
a bachelor. He was a businessman who dealt in automobiles and accessories.
Born in 1872, he was ten years older to Pirojsha and four years younger
to Ardeshir. His papers reveal that he arranged to send machinery for
Godrej & Boyce from Paris via Antwerp to Bombay in April 1929, and
was very much involved with the affairs of the Company. The machinery
he sent included a Guillotine Shear (Type F.2, No.4), a Machine Plant
(Type H.2, No.5); a 6 h.p. motor; Guillotine Scissors, Electric drive,
and many other accessories.
He remained in constant touch with Pirojsha to whom he wrote letters in
Gujarati at regular intervals. A learned person who had a very good command
of the English language, he would not hesitate to call a spade, a spade,
as is evident from his letter of 3-3-1927 to the Editor of The Herald,
In this letter he vehemently objected to the ‘‘display of savagery and
bad taste in the Municipal Corporation in Bombay on voting an address
to Mr. Shapurji Saklatvala, M.P.,’’ wherein he states, ‘‘I should like
to know if these gentlemen think for themselves, or is it that somebody
else thinks for them. No doubt he (Saklatvala) is rough and rugged in
his speech ?trenchant and caustic, but never foul-mouthed and vulgar
like some of the Councillors who disgraced themselves on Monday. He is
not a time-server nor a title-hunter’’.
Manchersha’s notes on various subjects give us an insight into the character
of this intellectual man of learning, whose personal contacts are restricted
mostly to Pirojsha, his brothers and sisters, and perhaps to Pirojsha’s
sons. Had it not been for his writings and letters, little would the outside
world know of this man.
If Ardeshir could be considered a genius, Manchersha could be ranked in
the same category. It wouldn’t be wrong to surmise that Pirojsha received
a lot of guidance from Manchersha. It would be worthwhile to make an in-depth
study of his letters written in Gujarati to Pirojsha beginning 4th March,
1910, which are under translation.
It is very rare that a man can give an apt definition of God. To Manchersha
‘‘God is the Universal Saint. The creator is the primary element and the
ultimate principle, beyond Nature’’.
Comparing God and Man he says, ‘‘the spirit, or soul of man, is the primary
element and the ultimate principle, beyond the mind’’. To him, God is
beyond nature, and man is beyond mind. But then what is mind? To him it
is the ‘‘organ of spirit. An instrument called the brain, which is utilised
by the mind. The brain is an organ of the mind linked with thought’’.
The five senses are channels of communication with the environment and
surroundings. The eyes give sight, the ears respond to sound, the nose
evaluates smell, the palate gives taste, and the skin is sensitive to
Man is gifted with memory, reason and critical faculty which distinguishes,
compares, classifies, infers, concludes and judges. As for man’s imagination,
he is gifted with a creative faculty.
Manchersha gives a very lucid description of Science. According to him:
‘‘Science has raised the dignity of matter by proving that matter and
energy are not separate entities but only two aspects of the same basic
element and reality. It is therefore logical to infer that mind and body
are only two separate terms employed to distinguish psychological activities
from physiological activities, and therefore one cannot exist without
‘‘Blind obedience to authority amounts to suicide of the thinking and
critical faculty, and one must exercise one’s own judgement from personal
‘‘Science neither dictates nor gives orders. Its votaries are free to
accept or reject its conclusions. It never asks its followers to take
its teachings on trust. It respects and encourages independent thought
and criticism. It is always moving forward step by step from the known
to what is still unknown which it tries to unravel. It always seeks, inquires
and asks questions.
‘‘Science is practical wisdom and not mere abstract philosophy. Science
frees the mind from error and superstition. Science is opposed to blind
faith and blind obedience to authority and hero worship. Science is new
light, it is marching forward. It assimilates the grain in past knowledge
and rejects the husk.
‘‘For the scientist the solution of a problem is its own pleasure and
satisfaction. In the system of science the moral guidance (religion) of
human action has no place. Science is the torch that illuminates the vast
darkness around us’’.
To Manchersha, Karma meant action, ‘‘our own doing’’. An individual reaps
today what he sowed for himself yesterday. This law applies to nations
as well. According to him, the cause for decline in India is that ‘‘Hindus
ill-treated the early inhabitants of India, so are ill-treated by the
conquering British. By practising slavery, they prepared themselves for
slavery. Our misdeeds and wrong done to others react on ourselves.’’
To him philosophy is ‘‘qualities of objects separated from matter, ideas
we form, essence of things, seek things in itself ?not as it seems to
us, but appears to us.
‘‘Hindu philosophy considers the goal of life as a man’s search for salvation.
The Hindu accepts his present happiness and unhappiness as inevitable
justice meted out for sins of a previous life. Therefore no attachment
to joy or sorrow. It has values in faith that brings compensation if not
in this life, at least in the next.’’
According to Manchersha, Steel production has been dropping in India over
the years. In 1941-42 India produced 840,000 tons of Steel. In 1946-47
it came down to 750,000 tons, and in 1947-48 the production came down
to 660,000 tons. In 1946 the cost per ton of Steel was Rs.46/-. The very
next year in 1947 it shot up to Rs.71/- per ton.
Inflation and remedies suggested:
According to Manchersha, Inflation is caused by scarcity,
insufficiency and undersupply of essential commodities. There is excess
and oversupply of money in circulation. India has purchasing power
of 1,250 crores. As a consequence of
this there is an abnormal rise in all-round prices of essential commodities.
Speculative profits push up Inflation.
The remedies suggested :
(1)Speculation in essential commodities should be prohibited by law.
(2)Banks be prohibited to advance money on the hypothecation of essential
(3)Compulsory declaration of stocks held.
(4)Freeze part of purchasing power. Freeze 20% of salaries over Rs.500/-
by non-negotiable Bonds cashable only after 5 years.
(5)Issue of new currency at the rate of 80% freezing, remaining 20% for
(6)Tax on agricultural incomes over Rs.500/-.
(7)Restriction of dividends.
(8)Increase of Business Profits Tax.
(9)Compulsory Savings of Incomes over Rs.5,000/- a year.
(10)Control food, sugar, oils, textiles, etc.
Manchersha was of the opinion that ‘‘Money buys common measure of values.
Money buys medium of exchange. Money buys buying power’’.
sane knowledge acquired by free exercise of freedom of thought
and critical faculty, through experimental investigation. Science
is escape from blind obedience of the dead form of the dead past
and from the abject slavery of fantastic superstitions preached
in the name of religion.?nbsp;
When does a crisis occur or depression set in? Manchersha
assigns the following six reasons:
(1) ‘‘Mal vechato nathi’’ (Goods are not being sold).
(2) ‘‘Loko ni maang nathi’’ (There is no demand).
(3) ‘‘Kharidvani shakti nathi’’ (There is no purchasing power).
(4) ‘‘Kamani nathi’’ (There is no income).
(5) ‘‘Bekari vadhi gai’’ (Poverty is on the increase).
(6) ‘‘Machine a admi ni jaga lidhi’’ (Machine has taken the place of man).
Culture to him is Music, Dance, Drama, Sculpture, Painting, Literature,
Other subjects which Manchersha delved into were ‘‘Electricity and Magnetism’’;
‘‘Sound-energy’’ when compared with the piano and the human ear from 16
waves to 18,000 waves; the ‘‘light year’’; ‘‘Superstition’’; ‘‘Pain and
Hypnotism’’; and ‘‘Precious Stones’’.
Perpetual Calendar for 2000 years:
By far Manchersha’s greatest discovery and contribution was his formula
on the ‘‘Perpetual Calendar’’ for 2,000 years starting A.D. 1 to A.D.
The same formula can be applied and adopted in the present 21st century
and even for future years. In our time we have seen and heard of calendars
(brass plates) being sold showing 50, 75, 100 and 200 years. But here
Manchersha has devised a formula for the measurement of time for not only
2,000 years, but even beyond.
He narrates some very interesting facts. According to him, Rome was founded
in 753 B.C. It was not until the 6th century A.D. that the Calendar dividing
the year into B.C. and A.D. was introduced by Dionysus Exigans, a Roman
Abbot. The Julian Calendar began on 1st January, 46 B.C.
Even in the reformed Gregorian calendar there still remains, according
to Manchersha, the mean annual error of 25.9 seconds with 97 leap years
in 400 years.
The Mahommedan Era began on 16 July, 622 A.D. (Friday).
The Yezdigerd Era began on 16 June, 632 A.D. (Tuesday).
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII directed that 10 days be omitted from the Calendar,
and the Gregorian Calendar began on Friday, 15 October, 1582. Pope Gregory
said that century years exactly divisible by 400 without a remainder
should only be reckoned as leap years. As such 1700, 1800, 1900 are NOT
leap years, but 1600 and 2000 are leap years.
Manchersha adopted a very simple formula for correlating days of the week,
present or future, with dates for any given years.
The formula he devised was:
Century Year + Group No. + Additional No. for each century
Due to restrictions of space, it is difficult to incorporate herein full
details of his formula, but suffice to say that it enables you to arrive
at the DAY when it is 1st January of ANY year, followed by the subsequent
11 months of the year. At a glance you will be able to find the day of
Manchersha’s writings reveal the genius of the man. He expressed his views
on a number of subjects from Paris where he spent the major part of his
life. He returned to India in 1946, and died in Bombay on Monday, 16 January,
1961. To the world unknown, but now so much of the man is revealed to
us through his writings!
?Pesi D. Muncherji
?What is the difference between a
Scotsman and a Coconut?
You can get a drink out of a Coconut.
?The Scotsman was asked for a donation to the orphanage, so he sent
them two orphans.