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Peerbhoy descendents claim credit to ancestor for Matheran

Monday, August 10, 2009 09:50:43 PM, UNI

Matheran Railway

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Mumbai: The descendents of Adamjee Peerbhoy, the visionary due to whose efforts the hill station of Matheran is popular today, now want to start a public movement so that their ancestor is credited with his due.


Stating that late Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy was the brain, inspiration and major resource provider behind the Matheran Railway and development of almost the entire hill station, Ali Akbar Adam Peerbhoy, late Adamjee's great grandson, now wants a public movement in this regard. Let alone doing due honours, official silence has been so defeating that now most people who visit Matheran and perhaps have been doing so for years, still think that the entire area and even the railway were developed by the British, which is actually not the case, Ali said.


Ali Akbar says he has the copy of a letter from R J Kent, joint secretary in the then Government of Bombay, appreciating the fact that the promoters of what the railway was then called, Matheran Tramway, had taken a great risk with their money to promote a people's cause, raising the indeed colossal sum for those times of Rs 15 lakh.


Ali Akbar says that all his efforts in these past several years to erect some sort of memorial to late Sir Adamjee have often taken frustrating turns.


The entire development of Matheran as well as its iconic mini-train has been the handiwork of Sir Adamjee and his son Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy. Yet, Ali Akbar is aghast that despite his long list of pioneering and even philanthropic achievements, Abdul Hussein does not have a single memorial in his name. The Peerbhoy family has brought the name of Raigad district and Matheran on the world map. So, feels Ali Akbar and the main Neral-Matheran road should most aptly be named after Abdul Hussein.


Ali Akbar has old records of almost all important projects undertaken by the Peerbhoy family, including the conferring of knighthood on Sir Adamjee and the nomination of Abdul Hussein as the first Indian Corporator of Mumbai.


The Peerbhoys rubbed shoulders with the whos who of great Indians like Tilak, Annie Besant and Hormusji Vachha.


The Peerbhoys, belonging to the Bohra community, are also the prime movers behind the Saifee Hospital at Charni Road, which they had erected in 1886 as the Adamjee Peerbhoy Sanatorium.


Incidentally, among the old legends who stayed there once, was Mahatma Gandhi.








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