Pankaj Udhas

(17/05/1951 - 26/02/2024)

आज सेंट ज़ेवियर्स कॉलेज का एक और झिलमिल तारा पंचतत्व में विलीन हो गया। Great artist, greater human being, Padmashri Mr. Pankaj Udhas has said, ‘अलविदा’ to this world. 


Lakhs and lakhs of music lovers like you and me are shocked, saddened, not ready to accept this news. कैसे स्वीकार कर लें कि अब पंकज जी से मिल नहीं पाएँगे?


It was in early 80s, university के बेफ़िक्री के दिन, ग़ुलाम अली, मेंहदी हसन, बेग़म अख़्तर को सुनते-सुनते दुनिया-जहान को भुला देने के दिन, उनकी ग़ज़लों को सुन बेवजह उदासी के दिन।  Suddenly the whole scenario changed, when Jagjeet Singh, Pankaj Udhas became the household name for Ghazals. पंकज जी की ग़ज़लों के शब्द आसान थे, अपने आस-पास के थे, धुनें इतनी सहज-सरल कि हर शख़्स उन्हें गुनगुनाने लगा, पंकज उधास भारत के ही नहीं, दुनियाभर के गीत और ग़ज़ल सुननेवालों के चहीते गायक बन गए। पंकज जी ने करीब-करीब 45 वर्षों तक संगीत की सेवा की, दुनिया-भर में फैले अपने सुनने वालों से बेइंतिहाँ प्यार पाया, सम्मान पाया।

शक्लोसूरत से ही नहीं, व्यवहार और स्वभाव से भी बड़े शालीन थे पंकज जी। (it's really very painful to use past tense for you Pankaj ji) Pankaj  ji was always well dressed, करीने से बने हुए बाल, चेहरे पर एक हल्की सी, ख़ूबसूरत सी मुस्कान। हिन्दी में एक शब्द है, ‘मितभाषी’, जो लोग पंकज जी से एकबार भी मिले होंगे, मेरी बात को समझ पाएँगे।


In mid 80s St. Xavier's College organized ‘Pankaj Udhas Ghazal Night’. Fr. Misquitta  (the then principal) asked me to host the show (by then I had started teaching in the college) Hosting the show was like a dream come true, and that was the first time I met Pankaj ji in person. और फिर तो सिलसिला चलता रहा। Pankaj ji had his own charisma, people around him used to feel very close to him, बड़ी आत्मीयता से मिलते थे, but at the same time no one could ever cross the line, drawn by him.


एक किस्सा याद आ रहा है, Pankaj ji was invited as the chief guest for the college day function as St. Xavier's College has the tradition of inviting its own students as chief guest. I was the vice principal of the college, so I too was sharing the stage with him and all other dignitaries. When he was invited on the podium to speak, someone from the crowd hesitantly said- Sir please ‘चिट्ठी आई है’! Everyone was a little bit taken aback, since the College day function is very formal. All college Jesuits, the entire staff, all awardees, their parents, other students, jam packed college hall… Pankaj ji delivered a beautiful speech, shared his college day memories, his experiences in the field of global music and at the end he sang one verse of - चिट्ठी आई है, वतन से चिट्ठी आई है। हॉल में बैठा हर व्यक्ति ताल दे रहा था और पंकज जी की मखमली आवाज़ लोगों के दिलों को सहला रही थी।और फिर तालियों की गड़गड़ाहट। ऐसा नज़ारा कभी देखा न था, मेरी आँखों में आँसू आ गए। पंकज जी जब अपनी कुर्सी की तरफ़ लौटे तो हम सभी खड़े थे, मेरी पनीली आँखें उनसे मिलीं, मेरे काँधे पर वही उनका हल्का सा हाथ....


Pankaj ji always helped college whenever asked for any fundraising show, never ever charged a single penny.

Organizing a show called “Khazana” year after year has helped many many upcoming Ghazal singers, and at the same time helped many cancer patients. This was real Pankaj ji.

Farida ji, Nayab - Ojas, and Rewa we all music lovers are with you in this difficult time, it's a very difficult time for Pankaj ji's fans all over the world. पंकज जी अपनी गायकी से हम सबमें ज़िंदा हैं और हमेशा रहेंगे।



St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai


Fali Sam Nariman

Remembering an Eminent Jurist, A Legal Eagle, and A Righteous Man with Strong Beliefs - Fali Sam Nariman (10 January 1929 - 21 February 2024)


“I have lived and flourished in a secular India. In the fullness of time if God wills, I would also like to die in a secular India."

-Fali S. Nariman


The legal titan, Fali Sam Nariman, who left an indelible mark on the legal landscape of India passed away on February 21, 2024, aged 95. A jurist par excellence, Nariman's remarkable career spanned over six decades, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire generations of lawyers. He was a senior advocate to the Supreme Court of India from 1971 and was the President of the Bar Association of India from 1991 to 2010. Nariman was an internationally recognised jurist on international arbitration. Honoured with the 19th Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration 2018, he was one of India's most distinguished constitutional lawyers and argued several leading cases.


Born in 1929 in Rangoon (present day Yangon, Myanmar, formerly Burma) to Parsi parents Sam Bariyamji Nariman and Banoo Nariman, Fali did his schooling from the Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. He graduated in Economics and History from the St. Xavier's College, Bombay (present Mumbai), followed by an LL.B  from the Government Law College, Mumbai in 1950. He stood first in the LL.B Examination and was awarded the Kinlock Forbes Gold Medal and Prize for Roman Law & Jurisprudence.


Nariman started his law practice at the Bombay High Court. After practising for 22 years, he was appointed a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India in 1971. He was Additional Solicitor General of India from May 1972 to 25 June 1975, resigning from that post upon the Declaration of Emergency on 26 June 1975, being the only public official in India to have registered his protest against the suppression of the civil liberties.


Nariman argued in favour of Union carbide in the infamous Bhopal gas disaster case, which he later admitted was a mistake. He was instrumental in getting a deal between victims and the company outside court, which offered an amount of $470 million to the victims. He also argued in the famous case of the Supreme Court AoR Association, in which the Supreme Court took over the appointment of judges in the Higher Judiciary. He also appeared in many important cases like Golak Nath, S.P. Gupta, T.M.A. Pai Foundation, etc.


Nariman was the recipient of the Padma Vibhushan (in 2007) and Padma Bhushan (in 1991), respectively the second and third highest honours granted to civilians by the President of India. Both awards were for Nariman's contributions to jurisprudence and public affairs. He was awarded the Gruber Prize for Justice in 2002. He dedicated his awards to his alma mater Bishop Cotton School in Shimla.


Nariman was a President-appointee member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Parliament of India) between 1999 and 2005. He served as President of International Council for Commercial Arbitration from 1994 onwards, President of the Bar Association of India from 1991, Vice-Chairman of the Internal Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce from 1989, honorary member of the International Commission of Jurists from 1988, and member of the London Court of International Arbitration from 1988. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in November 1999, and served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists from 1995 to 1997. He represented the Gujarat Government in the matter of the Narmada rehabilitation but resigned shortly after attacks on Christians in the area and the burning of copies of the Bible.


In December 2009 the Committee on Judicial Accountability stated that it considered that recommendations for judicial appointments should only be made after a public debate, including review by members of the bar of the affected high courts. This statement was made in relation to controversy about the appointments of justices C. K. Prasad and P. D. Dinakaran. The statement was signed by Ram Jethmalani, Shanti Bhushan, Fali Sam Nariman, Anil B. Divan, Kamini Jaiswal and Prashant Bhushan. On 17 October 2014, he appeared for the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha in a conviction and obtained bail for her, which had earlier been rejected.


Fali Nariman embarked on his legal journey with unwavering dedication and an unyielding commitment to justice. His expertise extended to constitutional law, human rights, and commercial law, earning him a reputation as one of the foremost legal minds in the country. His contributions were not limited to courtrooms; he played a pivotal role in shaping legal discourse through his prolific writings and scholarly works including his autobiography "Before Memory Fades" - his celebrated and critically acclaimed international best seller. 

His autobiography reflects his concern for the welfare of the judiciary, his firm conviction in the principles laid down by the constitution and his views on the troubled relationship between political power and the Judiciary. 

Nariman was of the opinion that practising lawyers today are found wanting, and there exists a deep distrust for the legal profession. He believed that the legal profession is badly affected because the legal education system in India seems to have lost its ethical content. He was a man who never compromised on his principles. Over the years, Nariman was involved in several landmark cases that have shaped Indian law. 


For young lawyers in India, Fali Nariman will remain a beacon of inspiration. His commitment to upholding constitutional values, unwavering integrity, and fearless advocacy set a high standard for the legal profession. His courtroom presence and legal arguments were not just a testament to legal skill but also a demonstration of unwavering commitment to justice.


As the country mourns the loss of this legal luminary, let us remember Fali Nariman for his dedication to the rule of law, his relentless pursuit of justice, and his enduring impact on the legal fraternity. In this moment of grief, our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends, and all those who have been touched by his wisdom and guidance.


St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai mourns the passing away of a great alumnus.


Fali Nariman's legacy will continue to resonate, guiding aspiring lawyers to emulate his commitment to justice and contributing positively to the legal fabric of our nation.


Rest in peace, Fali Sam Nariman - a true icon of the legal world, and a liberal in the constitutional sense of the word, defending the fundamental rights of citizens against an overbearing state.



St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai


Ameen Sayani


A Tribute to Ameen Sayani (21 December 1932 - 20 February 2024)


Legendary radio personality Ameen Sayani passed away at the age of 91.  With his passing on the curtains have fallen on the golden era of Radio Broadcast. His warm baritone brought joy to the lives of ordinary folks. His parents were freedom fighters. Additionally, his mother Kulsum Sayani was a social reformer, an author and an educator. His father Dr.Jaan Mohammad Sayani, was a physician, who treated poor patients for free, often paying for their medicines. Ameen Sayani considered his elderly brother Hamid Sayani who was also a prominent radio host and broadcaster in the 1950s as his mentor and his Guru in the field of radio broadcasting. Prior to radio broadcasting, Ameen Sayani assisted his mother in editing, publishing and printing a fortnightly journal RAHBER (1940-1960) for neo-literates, under the instructions of Mahatma Gandhi. It was simultaneously published in the Devnagri (Hindi), Urdu and Gujarati scripts as well in the simplicity that Gandhi advocated.


Interestingly, Ameen Sayani who redefined the Hindi radio was educated in English from St. Xavier's College and had to work hard to build his skills in Hindi. With a perfectly cool demeanour at the microphone and his trademark gentle and melodious tone, he hosted over 54,000 radio programs with over 19,000 jingles and spots. Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon, an extremely popular programme, became synonymous with Ameen Sayani. It showcased the top choices of listeners in Hindi film songs, attracting countless households to tune in every Wednesday evening.


Starting in 1952 as a precursor to the ultimate countdown for Hindi film songs based on popularity, Binaca Geetmala became the sensation of Radio Ceylon. In an interview, Ameen Sayani revealed that the initial episodes of Binaca Geetmala were recorded in the studio of Xavier Institute of Communication. (XIC). By the late '70s, it had an estimated weekly listenership of around 21 crores. The show received an overwhelming response, with letters pouring in by the gunny bagfuls—reaching a staggering 65,000 per week. Geetmala transitioned to Vividh Bharati on All India Radio (AIR) from 1989 to the 1993. Besides hosting popular radio programmes like Binaca Geetmala and S. Kumar Ka Filmi Muqadama and Filmi Mulaqat, he also hosted the following: Saridon Ke Saathi (AIR’s first sponsored show), Bournvita Quiz Contest (in English), Shalimar Supermac Jodi, Maratha Darbar shows - SITARON KI PASAND, CHAMAKTAY SITARAY, MEHEKTI BAATEN, SANGEET KAY SITARON KI MEHFIL etc.


Ameen Sayani also appeared in the role of an announcer in various movies like Bhoot Bungla, Teen Devian, Boxer, and Qatl. He compered over 2,000 stage functions of all sorts in India, including musical variety shows, beauty contests, fashion shows, award functions, film silver jubilee functions, an International Film Festival closing session (in Delhi), concerts, seminars, workshops, and trade presentations. He further, compered stage shows abroad – in the US, Canada, UK, South Africa, UAE, the Netherlands and the West Indies.


In 2009, Ameen Sayani was presented with the Padma Shri award. Apart from this, he was a recipient of numerous awards such as: the "Hindi Ratna Puraskaar" by the prestigious Hindi Bhavan of New Delhi in 2007, Living Legend Award (2006) from loop federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, with India Radio Forum, Kaan Hall of Fame Award (2003) from Radio Mirchi (FM Network of the Times Group), Golden Abby by Advertising Club, Bombay (2000 ) for the OUTSTANDING RADIO CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY ("Binaca/Cibaca GEETMALA"), Hall of Fame Award (1993) from Indian Academy of Advertising Film Art (IAAFA), Person of the Year Award (1992), Limca Book of Records

Gold medal (1991) from Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) presented by Mr. K.R. Narayanan, then Vice-President of India.


As an alumnus of St. Xavier’s College, Ameen Sayani had vivid memories of his alma mater.

He fondly remembered his association with Dr. S. Naithani who was his young Hindi teacher at Xavier’s, Mahendra Kapoor (who later became a renowned playback singer) was his classmate and Vijay Anand alias Goldie (who became a famous writer, filmmaker and actor) was his junior at Xavier’s. He continued his association with his alma mater and enjoyed attending various functions in college the last being the farewell-cum-felicitation of Dr.Asha Naithani Dayama on 14th October 2018 in the iconic college hall.


 Ameen Sayani’s son Rajil Sayani also was an alumnus of St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai (B.Sc - Microbiology) in the 1980s.

St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai