“When Dada Vaswani was admitted to Ruby Hall Clinic a month ago the first thing he did was present me with his watch. I was happy yes but at the same time sad,” recalled Dr Purvez Grant, who has been his treating physician for the last 25 years. “I don’t know what the gift meant but it’s sad to see him go,” said Grant, the clinic’s managing trustee. Dada would have turned 100 years old in August. “His brain was still sharp but his organs gave way. He had infection in liver and kidney and slowly stopped responding to treatment,” Grant said. “He was a very good human being.”
A life well-lived and one that touched so many lives is how his followers recall him. St Mira’s College principal Gulshan Gidwani recalled how reluctant she was to accept the role. “I was hesitant, but Dada encouraged me to be like an instrument. I owe my education, my professional career and growth to him,” Gidwani said. “His ability to make each one so deeply cared for has been the hallmark of a century of goodness and generosity,” Gidwani added.
She recalled an incident when someone had come to meet Dada. “The guest had kept his footwear in the sun. Dada quietly took the chappals and placed them in the shade so that his feet would not burn after he put them on,” she said. He was principal for 14 years, then stepped down and retired as the vice-principal, she said. Sheila Bhojwani, who has been associated with Dada and Sadhu Vaswani Mission for over 40 years, remembered his gentle ways. “I was 16 and staying at the college hostel when Dada was the principal and also professor of civilisation science. I had high fever and the shivering wouldn’t stop. Despite his hectic routine, Dada made it a point to visit me and asked the girls to cover me with at least 17 blankets. Soon enough my shivering stopped,” Bhojwani said.
At Sadhu Vaswani College of Nursing, principal Dr Sripriya remembers how he was keen on attending the lamp-lighting ceremony to welcome first-year students. He always had inspiring words for everyone, she said. Aarti Patil, principal, Sadhu Vaswani International School at Pradhikaran, said Dada’s teachings were extremely powerful that have a lifelong impact while others at St Mira’s College said they would miss his dazzling smile, his piercing-yet-so-very-kind eyes, the wit and humour that spoke of a sharp intellect.
For Kamal Dodeja, Dada’s sunny countenance, gentle and earnest words and endearing nature were like a balm of hope and cheer to weary seekers. “Dada J P Vaswani’s life purpose was to soothe and bless, to help and heal, to inspire and elevate. When he blessed us, it seemed like all our sorrows were unreal,” she said, adding that under his leadership Sadhu Vaswani Mission made dedicated and sustained efforts in various service programmes. “To all of us Dada J P Vaswani is perennial because he lives in our hearts forever,” Dodeja said.