A Brief Chronology
Mr. B.P.Wadia was born on 8 October 1881, the eldest son of Mr. Pestonji Cursetji and Mrs. Mithibai Wadia. He had three sisters and one brother. Mr. Cursetji Wadia was a descendant of the famous Wadia family of shipbuilders. The Wadias came from Siganpore, a small village near Surat. Some of the sailing ships built by the Wadias are referred to even today. The Trincomalee, later renamed Fovdroyant is still preserved at Portsmouth Harbour as “the only surviving frigate of the old sailing navy.”
As a young student Shri Wadia studied at New High School, Bombay, conducted by J.D. Bharda and K.B. Murzban. In 1900 (on 1 January, to be exact) his father had him join his office, when he was working for a well-known British firm doing textile business. Mr. Wadia’s uncle, Mr. Khursetji J.B Wadia, was then a member of the Theosophical Society in Bombay. In 1904, Mr. B.P. Wadia joined the Bombay Branch of the Theosophical Society. He became an active member of the branch and later in 1907 he left Bombay and went to Adyar, Madras, to stay and work there.
At Adyar Mr. Wadia was involved in a number of activities. He was assistant editor of new India. He worked in the Home Rule movement and was interned at Ooty along with Mrs. Annie Besant and Mr. George Arundale. He started the first labour union known in Indian labour history. In 1919 he went abroad to attend a conference on the trade union movement.
He had seen for some time now a difference between his own “back to Blavatsky” thinking and what was in actuality taking place at Adyar and he finally severed his connection through a Statement of Resignation issued in July 1922.
From 1922 to 1928 Mr. Wadia toured the United states, came into contact with the united Lodge of Theosophists, founded by Mr. Rooert Crosbie, and worked for it. He was concerned in the starting of U.L.T. Centers at New Your. Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. in 1925 plans were made to issue a photographic facsimile of the original edition of the Secret Doctrine. In that year plans were also made to start a U.L.T. Centre in London, U.K.
In 1922 he married Smt. Sophia Wadia. Our present President, and later in 1929 he visited Europe and together with her started several U.L.T centers. They returned to India on 31 May 1929 and after staying for a period of time both in Bombay and at Ooty, started the first U.L.T. centre in India at Bombay on the 17th of November, 1929. it was then situated at 51 Esplanade Road. Later re-named Mahatma Gandhi Road.
In January 1930 the Aryan Path made its appearance. “Shrayaka” wrote in the editorial in Vol 1. No. 1. p.20:
So much “original” writing is done today, so much “self-expression” is indulged in that, in the clamour that is raised, the chants of the Gods remain unheard. One of our tasks is to bring home the truth that it is not derogatory to respect the old age facts of the science of the soul. The study of the wise ancients convinces us that our forefathers knew better and more than we do. It is one of the tasks of this journal to awaken an intelligent appreciation of the hoary past so that an intelligent adaptation of some of the old truths to modern life and conditions may take place.
Shravaka is an old Theosophist who has learnt the virtue and acquired the power of saying-“thus have I Heard.”
On 17 November 1930 an year after the formation of the first U.L.T.Centre at Bombay, a four-page Bulletin was issued under the title The Theosophical Movement. In it all articles were unsigned to draw attention to the contents rather than to persons. The original articles of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge were made available by reprinting.
In 1938 a suburban centre of the U.L.T. was formed at Matunga, Bombay. And in 1942, on 12 August, the Bangalore U.L.T. came into being at Maitri Bhavan.
In 1945 the Indian Institute of Culture in Bangalore was formed with Dr. L.S.Doraiswamy as its first Secretary. Later the name was altered to make it the Indian institute of World Culture. The road on which it is situated was originally called North Public Square Road, and some mail still comes to the Institute with that address.
In 1945 the William Quan judge Cosmopolitan Home was started on a non-communal basis, to provide wholesome food and inculcate discipline directed at encouraging habits of cleanliness, tidiness, punctuality and responsibility; and this practical expression of Universal Brother hood was the nucleus of the Institute.
The institute is a non-sectarian, non-governmental, private voluntary body with its chief aim to promote intercultural exchange and universal brotherhood without distinction of any kind. It began to invite eminent persons form abroad and in India and has had persons of great eminence on its platform. Today it is a prominent landmark in Bangalore and the road on which it is situated has been re-named. After the Founder’s demise. Shri B.P.Wadia Road.
In 1954, the foundation stone for the present home of the Bombay U.L.T., Theosophy Hall, was laid and in the same year in November the Silver Jubilee of that centre was celebrated. In 1957 Theosophy Hall was opened for its first inaugural meeting on the 17th of November to an overflowing audience. The Theosophical Movement had meanwhile enlarged by stages to a 40-page monthly magazine. It has been devoted to “the Leading of the Higher Life.”
On 20 August 1958 Shri B.P.Wadia passed away at Bangalore, a few days after his stirring address entitled out soul’s need had been delivered at the Indian institute of World culture, which subsequently published it.
”Thus closed a life of selfless service. His vast insight, his courage and the breadth of his mind made him a builder of those things in life that are foundational to true living. He was an example to all of what life should be.” (Theodore Leslie Crombie, Friend of India by E. Beswick).