The Shapoorjee family traces its history back to 19th Century Allahabad, and 7 Albert Road, where the family lived and their business flourished.
Theirs was the first home in North India, to have electricity to light up their nights and power up their fans – courtesy the ‘electricity generator’ Tehmulji Shapoorjee imported all the way from England, for the enormous sum of Rs. 3,000!
With many businesses running under one roof and name back in the day, British soldiers trooped in to pick up butter, jams and cookies imported from Australia, and Indian Rajas and Maharajas dropped in to buy cars and motorcycles imported from all over the world.
But bitten by the Swaraj movement and highly influenced by friend Motilal Nehru and his son Jawahar Lal in the 1930s and 1940s, Godrej Shapoorjee (1899-1969), joined the freedom movement, and in the bargain lost control of the family business to his younger brother.
While Godrej Shapoorjee ended up in a British jail along with countless Indian freedom fighters, his brother ended up running the family business into the ground, and squandering all its wealth.
Having seen the family go from riches to rags in his childhood, Godrej Shapoorjee’s son Tehmurasp Shapoorjee, who saw India gain Independence when he was just 13 years old, joined the Indian Air Force to be a fighter pilot when he turned 18.