Ardeshir Cowasjee passes away

Published: November 24, 2012
Cowasjee had documented the country's history for generations to come through his outspoken columns. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/FILE

Cowasjee had documented the country's history for generations to come through his outspoken columns. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/FILE

KARACHI: One of Karachi’s most prominent citizens, Ardeshir Cowasjee, passed away on Saturday.

He was born on April 13, 1926 in Dr Kanga’s Hospital in Saddar to Rustom Faqir Cowasjee and Mucca Rustomjee. His legacy is a fairly straightforward one. The scion of a wealthy Parsi family, he completed his schooling at Bai Virbaijee Soparivala (BVS) Parsi School and later pursued further education at DJ Science College.

After World War II he joined his family business – primarily merchant shipping, among other interests. In the later years of his life Cowasjee tried to keep it as lively as possible often seen cruising the streets of Karachi top down in his metallic powder blue convertible Mercedes.

Cowasjee had documented the country’s history for generations to come through his outspoken columns.

He is survived by two children, his son Rustom and daughter Ava.

Cowasjee was the eldest of three brothers. His younger brother RF Cowasjee passed away in 2011 and the youngest brother Cyrus R Cowasjee along with Ava, who replaced R F after his death, are trustees of the philanthropic Cowasjee Foundation. He also has a sister Zenia who lives in Canada.

Cowasjee the columnist, however, was a different man.

He spoke up and wrote against what he perceived to be wrong, in the country at large and on the developments in his beloved Karachi in specific.

Cowasjee voiced his blunt opinions over 30 years through his columns in daily Dawn.

Cowasjee was also a man of extreme likes and dislikes. He had a good friendship with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) but later on he developed differences with him.

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Reader Comments (93)

  • Asad
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:27PM

    A sad day for all Pakistanis.Cowasjee was a great man,not just a great columnist but was a philanthropist too.This is a loss for all of pakistan.
    May Allah grant him a place in heaven.RIP Cowasjee.


  • aiz
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:28PM

    Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un.

    Pakistan, and Karachi in particular, is a much poorer place today. May you rest in peace, Cowasjee Sahib. We will miss you.


  • F Khan
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:30PM

    He was a brave and bold writer. RIP.


  • aaaaa
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:30PM

    If you don’t have any information then just state the facts and leave the obit for later. As it is this piece is quite poor.Recommend

  • Much Amused
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:32PM

    The last of the gentlemen warriors in this land of the pure.


  • Aftab Zaidi
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Really Sad news Another gem of a soil dead. RIP Mr. Cowasjee


  • Hopeful
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:36PM

    A legend like him shall always be missed.


  • Vijay
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:39PM

    RIP Sir!


  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:40PM

    Rest in peace. He was the representative of Pakistan’s living conscience, I hope and pray that there may be others who can keep this conscience living.


  • Arsalaan Haleem
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Truly sad to read about our great loss. Really enjoyed reading his opinions, and cherished the one evening that I got to spend sitting in front of him, hearing about Karachi’s history as seen through his own lenses.


  • Shahbaz Shah
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Cowasjee voiced his blunt opinions


  • just_someone
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:43PM

    A great man and a true and model Pakistani.
    It seems highly unlikely there will be another like Mr. Cowasjee!


  • Waleed Khan
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:47PM

    Truly a great loss for the nation.


  • shakrullah
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:51PM

    Stood for truth in times when truth was equated with blasphemy , was a beacon of light

    when forces of darkness prevailed , and his word was a medicine for our mangled

    minds and sick souls . We will miss you , Cowasjee .

    May his soul rest in peace ,


  • Youshe
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Sir, May almighty bless his soul. Ameen


  • Anon
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:54PM

    Sorry to hear.

    But who wrote this monstrosity of an article? I have never read such bad English in an English news site.


  • Nov 24, 2012 - 5:56PM

    For He Was A Man….

    Its our loss, Its Pakistan’s Loss…

    For We Shall Miss Him Forever…

    May Peace Be Upon You…Dear, Dear Mr. Cowasjee…


  • ss
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:56PM

    a great loss to our nation


  • afzaalkhan
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:57PM

    very sad news, pakistan lost another brilliant mind. I didn’t agree with lot of his thoughts but I always respected his integrity. RIP


  • Nov 24, 2012 - 5:58PM

    yo! RIP


  • Absurdist
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:58PM

    So sad. A history ended with him hitting the daisies and a struggle passed away with him. R.I.P.


  • salman
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:58PM

    Rest in Peace a great principled Karachiete has left us


  • Nadir
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Sad to hear of his passing. Mr. Cowasjee was a national treasure. The proverbial gadfly is no more.


  • hum
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:01PM

    Wish he could live a little longer, Recommend

  • Fahed Pervez
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:01PM

    He spoke up and wrote against what he perceived.


  • Ahmad
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:03PM

    He was a great columnist, historian and philosopher..
    He will be missed a lot..


  • zK
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:04PM

    What a great loss for Pakistan. The saner voices in this country are fading away.


  • Sajid Iqbal
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:04PM

    Rest in peace Cowasjee.


  • A Y
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:08PM

    Wow…. that’s not good! A great loss to our nation….. sad…


  • Raza Khan
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:09PM

    We loved him for his honest & frank opinions! We will miss him a lot. Nobody can replace him. I salute him!


  • Prakash
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:12PM

    Sad. I really admired his writings in the Dawn.


  • just_someone
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:12PM

    A great man and a model Pakistani. There shall never be one like him.
    RIP Mr. Cowasjee, it is your time to rest now, you have done your part!


  • HollyCow
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Another voice of reason is silenced. A very sad day. I had exchanged a few emails with him and found him to be a warm, humorous man. His insights on Pakistan and especially Karachi will be missed. RIP and may the Gods smile upon you.


  • anon
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:15PM

    R.I.P. Ardeshir uncleRecommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:15PM

    A blunt realistic journalist who spoke truth all his career. May his soul rest in peace and God grant him a lofty place here after. Amen.


  • Sameer
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:15PM

    Whether one liked him or not, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this man loved his country and the city where he grew up from the bottom of his heart. From his writings, he was opinionated and judgmental but has done great service to his readers by keeping them informed and apprised. An environmentalist whose heart bled at the sight of Karachi being turned into a concrete jungle with total disregard to its natural surroundings. He advocated tolerance and was not slow in giving credit where credit is due.


  • Ace
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:17PM

    I always liked his frank and forthright writing. Always considered him a useful asset to Pakistan.


  • A.A
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:20PM

    I sad loss for Pakistan. An exceptional human being and a true Pakistani. RIP Mr. Cowasjee you will be forever missed.


  • Syed A. Mateen
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:20PM

    My heartfelt condolences to all of his family members, colleagues and friends.

    He was one of the most strongman’s and a renowned columnist of Pakistan who fought against all sort of evils in the country.

    Having known to him personally, I think that Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee’s death is a great loss of Pakistan.

    There are very seldom people in the country who can stand in the same manner as Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee did during his life time.

    May God rest his soul in peace and give strength to the nation to bear irreparable loss of a outspoken person who are born once in centuries.


  • Rizwan Khan
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:25PM

    straight forward, anti-establishment, candid, fearless is how i would define you my dear sir Ardeshir Cowasjee. Every sunday i used to jump to the op-ed page of Dawn to read your article. I wish your soul peace.


  • ahmed41
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Yes indeed ~~~RIP, Sir. We will miss you.

    ** Raftay-eed ; magar na az dil-e maa **

    The best article from his pen was ( perhaps, to my mind and understanding ) in the DAWN on 23rd January, 2011 , titled * BLIND, Stupid and SAVAGE *

    It was about the need of tolerance in Pakistani society.

    He answered every e-mail~~~mathematically.Recommend

  • Another North Indian
    Nov 24, 2012 - 7:00PM

    Rest In Peace. A brave, insightful, and courageous man. An early favorite of mine among Pakistani columnists, although I stopped reading him after a few years. Yet that doesn’t take anything away from his as a person or a columnist. Pakistani is quite the poorer without him.


  • Lyari
    Nov 24, 2012 - 7:05PM

    A true Pakistani hero!!! He will be missed greatly…


  • Janu German
    Nov 24, 2012 - 7:31PM

    What a big loss for this nation.. Sad day


  • Daniel Mussulman
    Nov 24, 2012 - 7:36PM

    Today Karachi not only lost its true son, A part of Karachi is also died.
    May God rest your soul in eternal heaven.Rest in peace Mr. Cowasjee


  • Sara..
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:29PM

    Mr. Cowasjee was a great man indeed! May his soul rest in peace..


  • sabi
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:34PM

    A very sad day for Pakistan.A man who did the best jihad .i.e kalm-e-haq against jabar sultan,
    is no more among us.What a end Cowasjee, you lived with grace you died with grace.May your soul rest in eternal peace.We will miss you..


  • Noble Tufail
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:35PM

    RIP Cowasjee Sahib


  • Nov 24, 2012 - 8:35PM

    He was a true son of karachi…undeterred and unintimidated…Its parks and playgrounds, animals and birds will miss him..


  • Abdullah
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:35PM

    RIP….great loss for the nation


  • Riz
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:37PM

    Salute him for his commitment with his writing and his country. May his soul rest in Peace!


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:49PM

    When ever I wrote him,he was prompt to reply with thanks. I thought I will visit him one of these days but he is gone now. RIP Mr. Cowasjee, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:52PM



  • surelySure!
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:55PM

    True liberal, best columnist, hiting right on target and wonderful writer. What a man!!
    I will remember him.

  • Falcon
    Nov 24, 2012 - 8:55PM

    He was one of the best Pakistan had. May his soul rest in peace.


  • Raj - USA
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:02PM

    Years ago my father introduced me to his writings and ever since, I used to read his columns regularly. A great man. Many of his writings will live for ever. May his soul rest in peace.


  • A2Z
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:17PM



  • Amir
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:20PM

    First time I discovered AC was when I read his article Tree Mazar. He was a true patron of Karachi. Exposing all the ills. Yet no one heeded.
    A great loss for US. RIP Sir, all your troubles are now over.


  • Adil
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:22PM

    Today Pakistan lost a great intellect.A person with honest approach who never hid his true opinions and feelings infront of anyone.R.I.P. Mr. Cowasjee


  • Da skeptic
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:31PM

    RIP Cowasjee.

    ET shared video of Cowasjee, despite knowing that YouTube has been banned in Pakistan, ET is constantly sharing Videos of Youtube domain. Kindly use some other Media for Videos.


  • Q
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:34PM

    A grave news in this Muharram but I feel proud that he was ours. I remember that he had great love for animals and there was an old script of Persian hanging outside of his house that means “A person hating animals shall not tread in this house.”


  • Salim
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:54PM

    Cowasjee was a truth seeker, blunt but insightful. He would slap us in the face but we never learnt the lessons.
    Rest in Peace Friend.


  • MSS
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:04PM

    I am really really saddened and almost reduced to tears. He was one of a few gems in Pakistan. My heart felt condolences to his family and his readers, Pakistan as well as the world. Sir you and your pearls of wisdom will be sadly missed.


  • Saim Baig
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:14PM

    R.I.P Sir


  • Nov 24, 2012 - 10:19PM

    It’s a sad day for Pakistan….I don’t see anyone else like him. He was a rare Karachi-ite with a unique combination of social activism and wry humor. I had the privilege of meeting him for lunch at his invitation at the Sindh Club when I visited Karachi in 2009. May his soul rest in peace.


  • Spoiled Brat
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:23PM



  • Asiya Arif
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:37PM

    A true loss. RIP Cowasjee


  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:38PM

    What will happen to his property. Please give me some I will take good care of his dog.


  • mukhtar
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Man of courage and wisdom. Exposed corruption without any fear.A great writer who will be long remembered. A great loss difficult to fill the vaccum


  • M. Haider
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:59PM

    Rest in peace, Mr. Cowasjee. Loved your colourful personality and your courageous spirit. You were truly a son of Karachi!


  • Farooq Dawood
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:59PM

    Mr Cowasjee you were a patriot to the core.Fearless,forthright and sincere.Pakistan in general and Karachi in particular has been deprived of a gem.RIP.Recommend

  • Ashok
    Nov 24, 2012 - 11:11PM

    Deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of a conscientious man who was not afraid to speak his mind. I always enjoyed reading his columns. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.


  • Sikander
    Nov 24, 2012 - 11:16PM

    No No!! I loved him , I liked his columns and always waited to see his new column..Cowasjee you were a great person..And a great loss Indeed..RIP and May God give his fmaily the courage and patience in this time of sorrow.


  • Muhammad Yaqub
    Nov 24, 2012 - 11:37PM

    Inna Lillahhay wa inna elalhay rajaon.
    A great bold man. A great loss to Pakistan. RIP.


  • Salb Ali
    Nov 24, 2012 - 11:46PM

    RIP – He was a good writer … but hamaari dheet quom ko ye jaga na sakaa… dosra eska language bohat dirty thaaa….


  • gp65
    Nov 24, 2012 - 11:55PM

    Sad day. I was a fan.


  • abdul karim KHAN
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:13AM

    @Anon: i think you care more about spelling then the what man trying to say,


  • Parvez
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:13AM

    Ardeshir Cowasjee through his writings and efforts spoke for the voiceless of Karachi and also Pakistan. Another like him, will be difficult, but we can hope someone will try to follow in his footsteps.


  • Sultan
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:29AM

    A great, colourful man. Another chain link broken in the chain connecting us to old Paksitan! Go with peace, Cowasjee. You will be missed sorely.


  • Cynical
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:32AM

    R.I.P. Ardeshir Cowasjee.

    A great human being. Enjoyed his columns at DAWN.


  • Rahim
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:56AM

    RIP Cowasjee, a great loss to Pakistan in general and Karachi in particular. May his soul rest in eternal peace! Aamen.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Nov 25, 2012 - 1:59AM

    Rest in peace, Sir.


  • Pakistani in US
    Nov 25, 2012 - 5:06AM

    His death is an immense loss for Pakistan.


  • Mubashir
    Nov 25, 2012 - 5:38AM

    He shall be remembered as a man of Principles, an upright and honest journalist. A patriot who felt it incumbent upon him to be a “Good Samaritan” and bring evil to the fore. He shall be remembered for his bold scruples.


  • Ras
    Nov 25, 2012 - 5:39AM

    Rest In Peace Cowasjee Sahib. You tried to wake them up but they did not listen!

    I ran into him once in 2004. He was his jovial self. Will Pakistan ever produce another

    like him? A great Pakistani and Parsi has passed on.


  • Arif Maken
    Nov 25, 2012 - 6:08AM

    A Sad day for Pakistan. We have lost an outspoken and honest citizen who was talented, forthright, capable and loved his country and particularly the city of karachi. A living legend in his times, he will be missed for a very long time. He was a beacon of light in this sea of bigots and hypocrats. May Allah Bless his soul in heavens…..


  • K B Kale
    Nov 25, 2012 - 8:02AM

    Where can I read his old columns? For whom, for which newspaper did he write? Are his contributions available in digital form as “links”?
    K B Kale


  • Akram Khan
    Nov 25, 2012 - 8:44AM

    This is great loss to the nation. He was a great Pakistani, who refused to leave Karachi/Pakistan when he had all the oppurtunites to live anywhere.He was a man trying to voice truth without fear and compromising his integrity.I wish we have more intellectual writers like him.


  • ahmed41
    Nov 25, 2012 - 8:55AM

    We must find a non-sentimental way to preserve his memory and spread his attitudes.

    The loss is ours.Recommend

  • Tariq Izaz
    Nov 25, 2012 - 1:10PM

    He was from the ilk of Jinnah and expressed likewise. He loved his country and could not stand the leadership intellectual corruption which led them to unabashed moral corruption.. His death coming in Muharram is symbolic of his sacrifices to clean the motherland; GOD bless him always and he will be immensely missed


  • gp65
    Nov 26, 2012 - 12:05AM

    @K B Kale: He used to write for DAWN. If you google his name and put DAWN you should have no trouble in finding his columns.


  • Ras
    Nov 26, 2012 - 2:11AM

    @naeem khan Manhattan,Ks:

    Naeem good to know that you are still active. A. Cowasjee will be missed.


  • Afaq
    Nov 27, 2012 - 2:52PM

    I attended his funeral rites this morning and saw his remains. He looked very peaceful and serene. Perhaps he had the satisfaction of doing his bit for this country and did not carry any guilt luggage with him. Ironically I also saw Irfanullah Marwat there, one of his countless victims. RIP. Yes we are mourning. “Mard Ka Bacha Tha”


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