Shahpur Guiv was a modest businessman of Yazd, Iran. His primary business was selling of
local hand made cloth. He was married to Kharman and had three sons -Guiv,
and two daughters - Dowlat and Gohar.
Bahman, the Youngest son passed away at a young age and after his demise, Rustam
adopted the name of his brother as his middle name and began to be known as Rustam Bahman
Ardeshir Mehraban was another businessman of Yazd. He was married to Dowlat and had
four sons - Bahman, Jamshid, Fareidon, Rashid and two daughters - Gulchehr and Morvarid.
Ardeshir Mehraban had four other brothers - Keikhosrow, Godarz, Rustam and Rashid. All
these five brothers had business in Iran and India, Yazd and Bombay being principal
Keikhosrow whose full name was Keikhosrow Mebraban Kaikhosrowi first went to Bombay in
1856 and stayed for several years, was the leading person of the Irani Zarthushtis of
Bombay and donated generously in charitable causes. In 1890, he built a school -
Dabirestan-e-Keikhosrowi in Yazd at a cost of Rs.10,000/- (Indian Rupees) and also donated
Rs. 5,000/ for its maintenance fund.
Arbab Rustam Guiv had attended this school and had his elementary and secondary
education in Dabirestan-e-Keikhosrowi in Yazd, under Ustad Khodabux, his venerated
teacher. Arbab Rustam Guiv married Morvarid, the daughter of Ardeshir Mehraban
Keikhosrowi. Keikhosrow Mehraban Keikhosrowi was Morvarids uncle.
In 1908, Arbab Rustam came to Tehran on a mule to join his elder brother Arbab Shahpur
Guiv and other relatives. From thereon, skies began to revolve benignly and both brothers
prospered in business. Besides their import end export business, they were also engaged in
real estate and had large holdings of land.
Arbab Shahpur Guiv was married to Kharmen whose mother and Arbab Rustam Guivs mother
were sisters. Arbab Shahpur Guiv had three sons and two daughters - Keikhosrow,
Homayun, Parvin, Mehraban and Jamshid.
After the death of his brother, Arbab Rustam Guiv continued the business with his
brother's sons and other relatives.
Arbab Rustam Guiv with considerable foresight, purchased between 150 to 200 acres of
fallow land at the foot of the Demavand mountain, and with determined zeal, boring tube
wells, converted same into fertile land and cultivated fruits and grain which were
exported to European countries as well. To this land, he gave the name of 'Rustamabad'.
Rustamabad is about 100 kilometers north of Tehran.
Similarly, he purchased additional fallow lands at Koohan, a village about 10
kilometers distance from Rustamabad and turned same into fertile land where he cultivated
fruits and vegetables, thus providing livelihood to a large number of persons who
worked on the farms. At Koohan, he also built a large training and educational
organization for the youth of the village.
Arbab Rustam Guiv began taking interest in community affairs from 1953 when he was
elected a member or the Tehran Zoroastrian Anjuman. In March 1935, he became the
Vice-President and continued in that capacity until the death of Arbab Keikhosrow Shahrokh
who was the then President of the Anjuman as well as a Member of the Iranian Majlis. In
1935, when he became the Vice-President, the Tehran Zoroastrian Anjuman was in financial
difficulties. Arbab Rustam Guiv gave a part of his large land holding to the Anjuman,
which was sold and the Anjuman difficulties were ended.
Arbab Keikhosrow Shahrokh passed away on July 2, 1940 and thereafter, Arbab Rustam Guiv
took his place as the President of the Tehran Zoroastrian Anjuman.
Because of the Second World War, Arbab Keikhosrow Shahrokh's place in the Iranian
Majlis remained unoccupied. On January 16, 1942, Arbab Rustam Guiv was elected as a
representative of the Zarthushtis in the Iranian Majlis.
Vicaji Ardeshir Taraporewala, a leading architect of Bombay, prepared plans for the
Atash Bahram of Yazd. This Atash Bahram was built at a cost of Rs.31,823/- by the trustees
of the Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund, Bombay, on lands donated by the sons of
Ardeshir Mehraban, Dastur Rashid Shahriar. and Dastur Namdar Shahriar, The Atash Bahram
was officially opened by Arbab Rustam Guiv on June 3, 1944.
Arbab Rustam Guiv and his wife Morvarid Khanum came to Bombay on February 15, 1953 and
were the guests of Sir Noshirwan and Lady Jerbanoo Engineer. From Tehran, they had first
gone to Karachi before coming to Bombay. They were in India for almost two months and
visited Udvada, Navsari, Banglore, Mysore, Coonoor, Ooota-camund, Calcutta and Delhi.
Wherever they went, the Zarthushtis most cordially welcomed them.
During this visit, Arbab Rustam Guiv was deeply impressed with the housing colonies of
the Parsis in Bombay. He was particularly impressed with Khosrow Baug in Colaba and from
that time on, he seriously thought of doing something similar for the low and middle
income Zarthushtis in Iran.
The members of the Tafti and Aresh families began the development of Tehran-Pars
township in 1952, a suburb north of Tehran. They purposely chose the name Tehran-Pars for
this township to associate the ancient province of Pars, a stronghold of Zarthushtis and
from which, the present day community members in India have come to be known as Parsis.
Arbab Rustam Guiv bought about l5 acres of land in this new development and built total
of 80 two-unit houses to house total 160 low and middle-income Zarthushti families. He
also built a beautiful Adarian (Fire Temp1e) using the style of old Achaemenian
architecture at Persopolis and also provided a big separate hall for use for all religious
and social community activities. This is the 'Rustam Baug' of Tehran-Pars, a beautiful
housing colony in garden-like surroundings, providing economical housing to poor and
low-income Zarthushti families. This 'Rustam Baug' was built during 1956 and 1957.
Besides the housing colony in Tehran-Pars, Arbab Rustam Guiv also built two schools in
Tehran-Pars and dedicated them to Aga Poure Dawood, scholar and professor of Avesta and to
his old venerated teacher - Ustad Khodabux of Dabirestan-e-Keikhosrowi of Yazd where Arbab
had his education as a young boy. The Pour Dawood school is for boys and Ustad Khodabux
School is for girls.
Arbab Rustam Guiv had built for his own residential purpose, a huge palatial place on
Shah Reza Avenue, which had become a place for Parsi and other dignitaries coming to
Tehran from India and elsewhere to whom Arbab extended true Zoroastrian hospitality.
On the same avenue stood the magnificent Anoushiravan Dadgar Zoroastrian Girls High
School. This school was built out of a donation of Rs. 100,000/ - from Ratanbai Edulji
Bamji in memory of her father Nusserwanji Ratanji Tata. This school was officially opened
on September 11, 1936.
Adjacent to this school, Arbab Rustam Guiv built the only Girls' School out of the
funds belonging to his late brother Arbab Shahpur Guiv. This school provides education up
to elementary and secondary levels.
Arbab Rustam Guiv continued as the President of the Tehran Zoroastrian Anjuman except
for one term in 1957 when Dr. Esfandiar Yeganegi, BA. Ph.D. served as the President. In
all, Arbab Rustam Guiv served the Anjuman for a total of 32 long years, 5 years as the
vice-President and 27 years as the President.
In 1960, Arbab Rustam Guiv and Morvarid Khanum went to Japan, and on their way, stopped
in Bombay. On March 21, 1960, at the Byramji Jeejeebhai Institute, the trustees of the
Parsi Panchayte, the Irani Zarthushti Anjuman, and the Iran League gave a big reception to
After his visit to Japan, Arbab Rustam Guiv in partnership with his friend Mr.
Arjumand, started the GUIVAR factory of Tehran where they manufactured pipes and fittings,
employing between l00 to 150 workers, mostly Zarthushtis. It is said any Zarthushti, from
any place in, Iran found work at this factory.
In all his acts of charity, it was his wife Morvarid Khanum who impelled and pushed him
all the time. Between them, they decided to create the Guiv Foundation. Arbab decided to
change his, residence and demolished his palatial residential place on Shah Reza Avenue.
In its place, he built a five-storey commercial-cum-residential building, the entire
income of which went to the Guiv Foundation for various charities. Thus Sazemane Kheyria
Rustam Guiv (Registered No. 386 under Iranian law) a philanthropic organization came into
existence in 1960 on Shah Reza Avenue - Kakh Jonubi No. 4.
Zarthushtis from India, Pakistan, Africa and other places began to come to North
America, first as immigrants to better their future and later in recent times, as a place
of haven and refuge. As has happened many times in the long history of our people, at
times of adversity, under some divine dispensation, someone from nowhere suddenly appears
on the scene to buttress and prop-up the community, especial1y in matters religious and to
hold the community together.
Arbab Rustam Guiv appears to have chosen one for this purpose. His friend, philosopher
and guide, Dr. Rustam Sarfeh was instrumental in inducing Arbab Rustam Guiv to do
something for the Zarthushties of North America.
The Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York (ZAGNY) became the first recipient of
Arbab Rustam Guiv's benefaction. Arbab Rustam Guiv and Morvarid Khanum attended the Parsi
New Year function of ZAGNY on August 23, 1975 where his attention was drawn to the efforts
made by ZAGNY to have a place of worship. Arbab promised financial assistance, which
culminated in the establishment of Arbab Rustam Guiv Darbe-Mehr in New Rochelle, New York.
This Darbe-Mehr was officially declared open on December 3, 1977 with 235 adults and 80
At the opening ceremony on December 3, 1977, Arbab Rustam Guiv said and this is from
ZAGNY's Newsletter of January 2, 1978 - "...be united... be broad minded and welcome
new comers who desire to know, study and follow Zoroastrianism. Our prophet did
not ever put any restrictions to anyone who willingly wanted to follow his principles
..... make constructive criticism to build up new and thoughtful plans to make the
Zoroastrian Temple an International Center."
Arbab Rustam Guivs donation totaled US$180,000 when the Darbe Mehr was dedicated
and declared open and it is reported that he was also assisting in the maintenance of the
It was in November 1977, Arbab Rustam Guiv and Morvarid Khanum accompanied by Dr.
Rustam Sarfeh were in Toronto when plans were laid to have a Darbe Mehr in Toronto. A year
later, on November 26, 1978, Arbab Rustam Guiv invited the Zoroastrian community to a
luncheon and informal dedication of the Mehraban Guiv Darbe Mehr. This Darbe Mehr is named
after his nephew Mehraban, son of his elder brother Arbab Shahpur Guiv.
The luncheon and informal dedication was attended by Arbab Rustam Guiv and his wife
Morvarid Khanum, Keikhosrow Guiv and his wife Shirin Khanum, and two of their
children Guiv and Freny, Dr. Rustam Sarfeh and 500 members of the Zoroastrian community of
Toronto. Keikhosrow Guiv, another son of Arbab Shahpur Guiv and nephew of Arbab Rustam
Guiv also made a brief speech and said - "I pray to Ahura Mazda that everyone present
in this place and those who are absent, try their utmost to make use of the Mehraban Guiv
Darbe Mehr by their kind participation in its activities and give their best efforts to
make the place function at its best, so that the soul of my brother may rest in peace in
The official inaugural ceremony of the Darbe Mehr was on September 21, 1980 but Arbab
Rustam Guiv and Morvarid Khanum or anyone from Iran were unable to attend. Arbab Rustam
Guiv and Morvarid Khanum were not sure if they could return to California because of
cancellation of all visas of Iranian passport holders as decreed by President Jimmy Carter
on April 7, 1980 and nobody was permitted to leave Iran because of the Iran-Iraq
Arbab Rustam Guiv's donation for this Toronto Darbe Mehr was US$ 600,000 which he had
initially sent for the purchase of this beautiful place which was purchased for Can$
515,000 and had to be altered to make applicable for community use.
Similarly, Arbab Rustam Guiv had also promised the Zoroastrian community of Chicago, a
sum of US$ 150,000 if the community could raise amongst themselves $50,000. Previous to
this new arrangement, there was some other arrangement whereby land was purchased for a
Darbe Mehr but later that scheme fell through.
The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (Incorporated), the London Anjuman, London,
England, have also received various donations from Arbab Rustam Guiv over the past years
prior to Arbabs death.
Their Annual Report for 14 months ending March 31, 1980 reports munificent donation of
£l00,000 by Arbab Rustam and Madam Guiv and Mr. Fareidon and Mr. Mehraban Zartosthy
families for either a new property or for an extension to their present Zoroastrian House.
Arbab's donation appears to have been £50,000.
To have a permanent qualified priest to serve the London Anjuman, a Mobed Fund is
established in which Arbab Rustam Guiv and the Zartosthy brothers have each donated
There was however a hope that Arbab Rustam Guiv would also be generous in his
charitable help for the poor needy Zarthushtis of India, especially for housing of the
needy in Bombay. Mr. B. K. Boman-Bahram, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Parsi
Punchayet, Bombay, had written to Arbab Rustam Guiv in August 1978 to assist in
this respect and Arbab Rustam Guiv responded with an immediate remittance of Rs. 600,000
and had expressed a desire to send another remittance of Rs. 600,000 if the situation in
Iran would improve.
Furthermore, he wrote to Mr. Boman-Behram - "In gathering, from, your letter, the
sad result of the housing problem for the Parsi/Irani community specially in Bombay, I
have decided to stop (apart from completing what I have done upto now) my activities in
U.S.A. and Canada, and concentrate my future activities (although my financial sources are
almost exhausted) to India, specially Bombay.''
The situation in Iran instead of improving, deteriorated and Arbab Rustam Guiv and
Morvarid Khanum who had dome to North America, thereafter themselves could not return, to
Iran, or even go anywhere else. They became virtual exiles.
Arbab, Rustam Guiv made La Jolla in California his temporary place of residence. He
however desired to go to Bombay for permanent residence but such a visa was denied to him
and per force he had to remain in California.
During September 1980, the Zoroastrian Center of California under the direction of
Madam Farangis Shahrokh was looking for a suitable place for their Center instead of
having the Center in a rented place which was, straining them financially. They found a
suitable place and Arbab Rustam Guiv, three weeks before his death, came forward with the
required finance, $108,000 to purchase the property.
This property is located at 4814 South Bayless, Anaheim, California, which
is about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, California.
All the properties in North America, in New Rochelle, N.Y., Toronto, Canada, and
Anaheim, California were purchased by Arbab, Rustam Guivs Foundation and
leased to the respective Zoroastrian organizations on a 99 year lease at a, token $1.00
rent per year.
Arbab Rustam Guiv fell down at his residence in La Jolla and had to be taken to the
hospital. There he developed pneumonia, was in a state of coma for the last four or five
days and the stout noble Zoroastrian heart breathed for the last time on October 7, 1980
at 4.15 a.m.
It was his wish to take his body to Iran but under present conditions there, it was not
possible to do so immediately. It was discussed to embalm his body and transport when
opportunity would make that possible but it was said that would interfere with religious
In the end, Arbab Rustam Guiv was buried on October 9, 1980 after a funeral ceremony
performed by Ervad Parvez Patel of New York and Ervard Keikhusrow Mody of Los Angeles. It
was a working day and about a hundred community members attended the ceremony and paid him
their last respects. He was buried in Rosehill Memorial Gardens, Whittier, California.
A week later, his wife Morvarid Khanum purchased 50 burial lots in the same cemetery
and the community there is collecting funds to purchase additional 100 burial lots and
have reserved another 100 to 150 lots in the same area, thus making a separate Zoroastrian
section in this cemetery.
The Iranian government for his long and distinguished services, as a Member of
Parliament, as a Senator and a kindhearted philanthropist, honored Arbab Rustam Guiv.
He was awarded the Nishane Daraje Yek Tarbiat Badani (Medal of the First Rank in
Physical Culture) on 10th Aban, 1335, (November 1, 1956). Farmane Neshane Sepas Daraje Yek
Vizarat Farhang (Medal of the first merit from the Ministry of Education) was awarded on
24th Esfand, 1536 (March 15, 1957). Farmane Inte-sale be Sanatori (Appointed a Senatbr) on
3rd Mehr, 1342 (September 23, 1963) and Farmane Ozviat Sazimane Melli-e Hefazat (Appointed
member of the organization for the Preservation of National Ancient Heritage) on 19th Tir,
l345 (July 10, 1966).
Such indeed was the life of a devout religious charitable noble worthy Zoroastrian on
whom Ahura Mazda showered His Blessings during a long healthy and virtuous life. He has
indeed left behind visible marks of his munificence arid it will be the responsibility of
the recipients of his benefactions to uphold his honorable name and perpetuate his memory.
Advanced in age and almost in virtual exile, many thoughts must have crossed his mind.
Many would be his wishes unfulfilled. We know at least of two. His wish to do something
for the needy Zarthushtis of Bombay and his wish to return to Iran remained unfulfilled.
Arbab Rustam Guiv is dead indeed in the eyes of men but in the memory of Ahura Mazda he
will live forever. May his soul and souls of his ancestors rest in Eternal Beatitude and
Peace and may the love and blessings of Ahura Mazda descend upon them all, and rest,
remain and abide with them all forever and ever. Amen!
It is indeed the hope of this writer that some future mature historian will do proper
justice to the manifold activities and charities of this noble soul. This is only a brief
account from very little limited available material.