K. M. Shroff

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Kavasji Merwanji Shroff (1856-1927) was a highly educated Parsi (Zoroastrian) member in Bombay, and one of the earliest Indian members of the Theosophical Society.

Personal life and education

Little is known of Shroff's life and early years. He was a resident of Bombay.

At some point he became a colleague and friend of Miss Mary Carpenter, an English educator and philanthropist who spent time in India.[1] In 1874 Shroff made a tour of the United States, lecturing about Zoroastrianism.

He served as secretary of the Bombay Branch of the National Indian Association, and of the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[2]

Theosophical Society involvement

Shroff was one of the earliest and most active Zoroastrian members of the Theosophical Society. In 1874 he lectured in the United States, and Col. Olcott traveled from Boston to New York to meet him. Unfortunately, that meeting did not take place, but Shroff joined the TS by corresponding with the Founders before they left New York.[3][4]

He was vice president of the Bombay Branch from 1882 to 1885, a member of the TS General Council, and delivered a brilliant speech at the 1882 convention, when D. M. Bennett was visiting. Shroff had been a member of the party welcoming Bennett at the dock, along with Colonel Olcott and Damodar. Col. Olcott referred to him as “the all-accomplishing Mr. K. M. Shroff.”[5] Shroff spoke at Olcott's request to newly initiated members of the Bombay T.S. about observing phenomena:

At the request of the President-Founder, Mr. K.. M. Shroff, the Councillor of the Parent body, one of the most energetic fellows of the Society, addressed the meeting, explaining to the members to their entire satisfaction, certain phenomenal occurrences that had recently come under his personal observation and had also been witnessed by His Highness Daji Raja Chandrasingji, the Raja’s Dewan and by Rawal Shree Harreesinghji of Sihore, and a few others.[6]

In 1883 he become editor of the Jam-e-Jamshed daily newspaper published in Gujarati and English, and members of the Bombay Branch contributed articles on Theosophical topics.[7]

Shroff was persuasive and energetic in his Theosophical work; and he helped to establish the Homeopathic Charitable Dispensary and Bombay Veterinary College and Hospital, working with Tukaram Tatya.[8][9] Unfit and diseased oxen could be treated for free at this facility as a humane substitution for the previous system that forced the owners to take the animals to court and then pay fines without improving the condition of the cattle. The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also provided water troughs where needed for draft animals. Mr. Shroff lectured and raised money on behalf of the S.P.C.A.[10]

In 1882 Shroff worked with Stuart Beatson, a young cavalry officer, to take legal action against the editor of Rast Goftar, who had accused Blavatsky and Olcott of taking money.[11]

He was the leading signatory of a certificate written by a group of Bombay Theosophists to Mrs. Gordon, attesting to the process by which letters were sent in the Vega incident.[12]

Online resources



  1. "The Poor Brutes" The Theosophist 4 no. 39 (December, 1882): 54.
  2. "A Report of the Theosophical Society" Supplement to The Theosophist 3 no. 29 (February, 1882): 10.
  3. "White Lotus Day at Bombay" Supplement to The Theosophist 16 no. 9 (June, 1895): xxxii.
  4. H. S. Olcott, "Old Diary Leaves Oriental Series - Chapter III" The Theosophist 16 no. 3 (December 1894): 138.
  5. H. S. Olcott, "Charities" Lucifer 3 no. 18 (February, 1889): 503.
  6. "The Bombay Theosophical Society" The Theosophist 3 no. 6 (March 1882): 1.
  7. "Bombay Theosophical Society" Supplement to The Theosophist (January, 1888): xxiv.
  8. "Charitable Dispensary in Bombay" Supplement to The Theosophist 6 no. 61 (October, 1884): 143.
  9. "Charities" Lucifer 3 no. 18 (February, 1889): 503
  10. "The Poor Brutes" The Theosophist 4 no. 39 (December, 1882): 54 .
  11. See HPB letter to Khandalavala dated Jan-Feb 1882 and HPB letter to Khandalavala dated March 1882. HPB Collected Letters Volume 2.
  12. See Introduction to Letter 244 in HPB Collected Letters.