Wadia family

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Wadia family
Current regionMumbai, India
MembersArdaseer Cursetjee
Bahman Pestonji
Darashaw Nosherwan
Lovji Nusserwanjee
Neville Wadia
Dina Jinnah
Nusli Wadia
Ness Wadia
Jehangir Wadia
Connected familiesJinnah family
HeirloomsWadia Group

The Wadia family is a Parsi family from Surat, India currently based in Mumbai, India and the United States.[1] The family is related to the politically prominent Jinnah familyNeville Wadia was married to Dina Jinnah—the only child of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Rattanbai Petit.[2] The present head of the house is Nusli Wadia, son of Neville and Dina, who runs the Wadia Group of companies. The Wadia family has three main branches: textiles, shipping, and jewelry. Descendants from each of these branches have made significant contributions to their fields, to their communities, to India, and to the global economy; they have been industrialists, government leaders, medical doctors, and scholars.


Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia advanced the Wadia shipbuilding dynasty in 1736, when he obtained a contract from the British East India Company for building docks and ships in Bombay (present-day Mumbai). Although the Wadias would eventually come to be considered a Bombay family, many of them remained in Surat, where one branch of the family established a ship breaking yard (where ships are dismantled) that remains one of the largest of its kind in the world.[3]

The poem whose words would become the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States, were written in 1812 on board a Wadia-built British Royal Navy ship, HMS Minden by Francis Scott Key.[4]

By the 1840s, the family was one of the leading forces in the Indian shipbuilding industry. At that time they had built over a hundred warships for Britain, and had trading networks around the world.

The prominent women of the Wadia family, including Motlibai Maneckji Wadia, Jerbai Nusserwanji Wadia, and Lady Hirabai Cowasji Jehangir, were known for their philanthropy in providing financial support to Zoroastrian temples, establishing schools and hospitals, and supporting the arts in the 1800s.[5] More recently, Neville Wadia continued the philanthropic tradition of his family by continuing to establish hospitals and schools.[6]

The Wadia family has endowed Nowrosjee Wadia College in Pune. Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia's great grandsons, JBH Wadia and Homi Wadia founded Wadia Movietone in 1933, which had its studios at Lovji Castle (Lovejee Castle) in Chembur, Mumbai, India. The company has a ship as its logo, honoring their family legacy.[7]

The family is related to Pakistan's politically prominent Jinnah family, through Neville Wadia, who was married to Dina Jinnah from 1938 to 1943, and had two children together, Diana and Nusli Wadia. Dina was the daughter of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Rattanbai Petit, the former is the founder of Pakistan, while the later was the daughter of Sylla Tata and Dinshaw Maneckji Petit.[8][9][2] Though Dina took divorce from Neville in 1943, she remained a prominent member of the Wadia family.[10][11]

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ "The Wadias of India". Vohuman, A Zoroastrian Educational Institute. 28 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Fact file: Jinnah's family". Dawn. 26 December 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2017. Dina and Neville lived in Mumbai and had two children, a boy and a girl, before the couple divorced.
  3. ^ "The Wadias of India". Vohuman, A Zoroastrian Educational Institute. 28 May 2018.
  4. ^ "The US National Anthem Was Written Aboard This Made-In-India Ship". The Quint. 5 April 2017.
  5. ^ "The Wadias of India". Vohuman, A Zoroastrian Educational Institute. 28 May 2018.
  6. ^ Singh, Kuldip (6 August 1996). "Obituary: Neville Wadia". The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Surat's Wadias created Fearless Nadia". The Times of India. 2 October 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  8. ^ Guriro, Amar (30 June 2009). "Aslam Jinnah's claim of being Quaid's family disputed". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Dina Wadia's last meeting with Quaid-e-Azam–in her own words". Samaa. PTI. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Dina Wadia and her darling papa". Geo News. PTI. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Remembering Dina". Tribune.pk. 17 November 2017.

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