Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

IO Islamic 4378 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Multilingual presentation scroll to Sir Jamshedji Jiji Bha'i


Magnificently illuminated and calligraphic monumental presentational scroll (mānpatr) in two consecutive parts, Persian followed by Marathi in overlined Gujarati script.

The Persian section commences with an invocation to God (surrounded in a neo-Gothic design), followed by a poem praising God consisting of 4 numbered couplets in mas̲navī form (enclosed in a separate neo-Gothic frame, with the coat-of-arms for Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (sic), Knight, either side). This is followed by the main body of the text, consisting of a lengthy account describing God's elevation of certain individuals in every age responsible for nurturing the weak. It then praises Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (Sar Jamshīd-jī Jī Jī Bhāʾī), Knight (in gold), entitled by Queen Victoria (in gold), for his godliness and liberality. Linking the generosity of kings and nobles to the arrival of the Iranian Parsi community in India, with special reference to the tradesmen of Surat, Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy is described as having kept alive this tradition. Presently, interruptions to trade, arson, and flooding of thousands of homes, have left the [Parsi] people in a ruinous state. Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy has sent from Bombay (Mambaʾī) humanitarian relief and distributed cash (hundreds of thousands of rupees) to the Kokan, Gujarat, Pune, and Deccan regions, building hospitals, schools, hotels, reservoirs, wells, and bridges. He travelled to his ancestral home in Navsari, 20 February 1850, and generously compensated the poor, and elevated his fellow dastūrs and mūbads along the way from Chichan Tarapur to Navsari, thence to Vyara, Songadh, Surat, Bharuch, and Vadodara. By way of appeal (ḥasb-i ʿarz̤adāsht) from the people of Navsari, this order (ḥukm) was issued, with accounts of charity broken down into 16 points (set out in a smaller nastaʿlīq hand). This scroll was corrected by Modi Rustam-jī, Khurshīd-jī, etc., all pure Zoroastrians of Surat, and sent to Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy. A corrected transcript of accounts for additional aid distribution are enclosed (?) and dated 1 May 1850. The contents were announced at the gathering celebrating/commemorating Ātish Varahrām (sic) to everyone's approbation. Ends with a prayer for the acceptance and multiplication of Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy's virtues.

The Marathi text repeats the contents of the earlier Persian section with some formulaic modifications and adding an appendix listing names (?) of Parsis in Marathi, Avestan, and Persian arranged into 3 columns, each terminating with the Arabic phrase, ‘tammat al-tamām va al-ṣaḥīḥ’ (complete and correct).

Illuminated and painted floriated scroll headpiece and outer borders; neo-Gothic invocation and enclosed panel of verses with coat of arms; gold interlinear floral and abstract motifs on fine silver-flecked paper; 12 sheets of paper pasted together, some numbered on the reverse; main Persian text in large nastaʿlīq with a smaller hand for details; Marathi script in the remaining two-thirds of the scroll, interspersed with occasional Persian and Avestan inscriptions.

Generally, in good condition; some creasing; silver outer border tarnishing on upper portion

Language(s): Persian, Marathi (?), Gujarati, Avestan, and English

Physical Description

Form: scroll
Support: Vertical scroll; no cloth backing or dowel
Extent: 1 f.
Dimensions (leaf): 7249 × 576 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 19th century CE ; Gujarat or Bombay, India


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