Dinshaw Maneckji Petit

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Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, Bt
Born Dinshaw Maneckji Petit
(1823-06-30)30 June 1823
Died 5 May 1901(1901-05-05) (aged 77)
Bombay, India
Other names Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, 1st Baronet
Occupation Entrepreneur
Religion Parsi
Spouse(s) Sanaya Petit
Children 1
Relatives See Petit family

Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, 1st Baronet (30 June 1823 – 5 May 1901), Parsi entrepreneur and founder of the first textile mills in India. He was the grandfather of Rattanbai Petit, who later became the wife of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.


As broker to European firms he amassed a large fortune during the period of speculation in Bombay at the time of the American Civil War.[1] He founded the Manackji Petit Spinning & Weaving Mills.

In 1854 Dinshaw Maneckji Petit founded the "Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund" with the aim of improving the conditions for the less fortunate Zoroastrian co-coreligionists in Iran. The fund succeeded in convincing a number of Iranian Zoroastrians to emigrate to India (where they are today known as Iranis), and may have been instrumental in obtaining a remission of the jizya poll tax for their co-religionists in 1882.

In 1886 he became a member of the governor-general's legislative council where he was criticised for playing a pro-colonial role despite being a non-official nominee to the council.He was referred to as a "gilded sham" and a "magnificent non-entity " by the nationalists. He devoted his wealth to philanthropic objects, among the public and private charities which he endowed being the Towers of Silence and fire temples of the Parsi, a hospital for animals, a college for women, and the Petit hospital.[1]

For the advancement of technical education, Sir D. M. Petit also donated premises worth Rs. 3,00,000 at Byculla, Bombay to the famous Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute (VJTI) (recognised by the Government of Bombay as the Central Technological Institute, Bombay Province). In winter 1923, that institute relocated to its present location in Matunga, Bombay.

He was knighted in 1887, created a baronet in 1890, and died in 1901.[1]

The Petit surname is not traditionally Parsi and had come about in Sir Dinshaw's great grandfather's time in the 18th century. He had worked as a shipping clerk and interpreter for the British East India Company. French merchants who dealt with the lively, short Parsi clerk called him 'le petit Parsi'.

Sir Dinshaw was survived by Sir Dinshaw Petit (2nd Baronet). A posthumous portrait of the 1st Baronet was painted by Sir James Linton.[2]


  • 1823-1886: Dinshaw Maneckji Petit
  • 1886-1887: Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, C.S.I.
  • 1887-1890: Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit
  • 1890-1901: Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, Bt


  1. ^ a b c Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Petit, Sir Dinshaw Maneckji". Encyclopædia Britannica 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 306. 
  2. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Petit, Dinshaw Manockjee". Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
(of Petit Hall)
Succeeded by
Dinshaw Maneckjee Petit, 2nd Baronet