Nusserwanji Dorab Nagarvala
(10th October 1909 – 11th September 1998)
Mr. Nagarvala was born into a prominent family in Ahmednagar . His mother Tehminabai was a strict disciplinarian and his father Darabshah was a respected and active member of the Parsi community in Ahmednagar. Darabshah Nagarvala was bestowed the title Khan Bahadur and he held the post of President of the Ahmednagar Municipality for 17 years. Mr. Nagarvala or Noss as he was popularly known, was educated in a Cantonment Marathi medium school until Std. IV and thereafter in an English medium school.
Mr. Nagarvala successfully passed matriculation and his parents decided that he should join the prestigious Deccan College. During his first year at college all he did was play – as a result he failed that year but he had made his mark as a sportsman by participating in all the games, cricket, hockey, football, tennis, athletics and swimming. Under Mr. Nagarvala’s captaincy the Deccan College won the prestigious Northcote Shield of the Bombay Presidency for inter-collegiate cricket in 1929.
On completing his Inter Science he opted to study in Bombay, first at the Grant Medical College and then at Elphinstone College. However, the climate in Bombay did not suit him and he decided to return to Poona to do Inter Arts at the Deccan College. At this time, the Indian Freedom Movement was in full swing and Mr. Nagarvala had taken to wearing khadi and the Gandhi cap. Observing Mr. Nagarvala’s attire, Mr. Rawlinson, the Principal of Deccan College asked him to remove the cap. When Mr. Nagarvala refused to do so he was ordered to leave and not allowed to return to the college. After this incident Mr. Nagarvala joined the Fergusson College where he was held in high esteem by the professors.
It was while at college that Mr. Nagarvala met a beautiful, multi talented young lady called Erin Cursetjee. It was love at first sight for him and he invited her to be his tennis doubles partner. This marked the beginning of a lifelong partnership and they were married in 1935.
He started his career as a teacher in the Shri Shivaji Primary Military School. in the year 1933. His love for teaching was so great that he did not mind working for a salary of Rs.75.00 per month. However, as an ardent nationalist he was unable to tolerate the rampant discrimination that existed in the school. After an altercation with the Principal over the disparity in salary between the British and Indian staff he resigned from the school in 1946. Subsequently a friend had offered Mr. Nagarvala a partnership in his business which he refused saying “Once a teacher, always a teacher” and the idea to start a school of his own took root.
Fortunately he was married to a lady who shared his dream and Dr. Erin Nagarvala worked with him every step of the way. Starting a school was no easy feat and life for them was not a bed of roses but with their combined grit and determination the National Model School came into being on the 1st of June 1947. The motto of the school “Service and Sacrifice” stands testament to the dedication of this admirable couple.
Mr. Nagarvala had been a sportsman of great repute. He represented The Maharashtra Cricket Association at the Ranji Trophy and set a world record in 1939-40 for the ninth wicket partnership with Vijay Hazare for 256 runs. This record was included in the Wisden Cricket Almanac as an all India record. Always passionate about cricket, he went on to be a Test Match Umpire and an examiner for Test Match Umpires. Mr. Nagarvala’s accomplishments in sports are numerous as are the various sports bodies / clubs that he founded and headed. Everywhere that he held office he was well known and at times