Vol. 1 June 1996


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Dr. Mrs. Mani Kamerkar 

Dr.Mrs. Mani Padmakar Kamerkar nee Mani Framroz Vasunia was born October 1925 in a well established Parsee family. Her father was a merchant trading with Japan and China, and she spent her first 12 years of life in Kobe, Japan, with her 2 sisters and a brother, uncles and aunts in a joint family home. After coming to Bombay, she finished her education in the St.Mary’s School, Pune and then joined the Elphinstone College, Bombay. She got her B.A. in History and Politics in 1948 and completed her M.A. in 1949. In 1950 she joined the National College, Bandra, as lecturer in History. She has her Ph.D. from Bombay University.

During her M.A. studies she joined the Socialist Party and worked in the trade union movement where she met her husband, Padmakar Kamerkar. Padmakar belongs to a family from Ratnagiri. Her father was in the Judicial Services as a District Judge. Padmakar joined the national movement in his early college days and was very active in the 1942 freedom struggle. He was private secretary to Mr.Achyutrao Patwardhan, one of the leaders of the movement. As a consequence, Padmakar was arrested and spent nearly 1 year in jail when he was in the 2nd year of college. After being released he continued his studies in the Law College, Bombay and gained an LL.B. degree. At the same time he became a member of the Socialist Party and started working in the trade union movement.

Mani and Padmakar were married in 1950 in a Civil Marriage, ceremony. After that Mani got more involved in her academic work and continued in her teaching in the College and University, becoming the founder principal of the Maniben Nanavati Women’s College and Director, College Development Council of the SNDT University. She took up serious historical research and writing on Western India and has several publications in books and reputed journals to her credit. She is well known in History circles as an authority of the colonial period. In the meantime Mr.Kamerkar achieved prominence in his legal profession and was recognised as an expert in constitutional and industrial Law. He was greatly esteemed in the Bombay High Court for his integrity and commitment to human rights and the common man. Unfortunately he passed away, with a massive heart attack on May 11, 1988. His portraits are placed both in the High Court and the Industrial Court.

The couple had 2 children, a son Anant and a daughter, Jyoti. Anant is a Media Consultant working particularly in training programmes, and Jyoti is a lawyer. They are both married and have children. Mani is now working in an honorary capacity with the Asiatic Society where she is one of the four Vice-Presidents. She is also on the executive committee of the Cama and the Heras Institute, where she continues her Research of Historical writings. She is now working on Parsee History in particular. Two of her latest articles on Surat and Navsari have been published in this year’s Asiatic Society Journal and the Cama Institute Publications respectively. She is very much interested in the rights of inter-married Parsee women and their children.

Excellent Gifts available from A.I.M.Z.

  • Silver Key Chain with A.I.M.Z. logo for Rs 300
  • "My Simple Book of ZOROASTRIANISM" By Lorraine N. Moos for  Rs 200
  • Dr. Kaikhosrov Irani’s speech on 2 cassettes for Rs 150