Byram D Avari (1942- 2023)

Great Men Don’t Die!

Referred to as Baba, Byram D Avari always kept a fatherly hand on the less privileged.

By Talat Rahim | February 2023

It will be difficult, for all who knew and loved Byram D Avari, to refer to him in the past tense. He was too alive to be dead.

In one lifetime he achieved and enjoyed many positions and many posts. Chairman of Avari Group of Companies and the age-old flagship Beach Luxury Hotel and Ramada in Canada, Byram was much more than just a hotelier.

He was a sailor, a courageous entrepreneur, a compassionate employer, a dedicated leader of his own Zoroastrian community, Chairman of the Karachi Parsi Anjuman, an MNA who represented his community in the National Assembly, an Honorary Consul of Canada, a Vice President of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan, and above all an outstanding human being!

Lovingly referred to as Baba, by all close to him, he always kept a fatherly hand on the less privileged. He often spoke of his late father, Dinshaw Byram who had told him that God has given you hands not only to take but to try to give as much as possible. Not just money, but love, kindness, and affection. And Baba followed his father’s instructions to the tee!

There are many who have availed the facility of free boarding and lodging at the Beach Luxury Hotel and Baba has allowed free use of the Beach Luxury halls for many causes that needed assistance. The philanthropist in Baba never stopped giving back to the Parsi community all that he earned and many Muslims too, boast of the privileges given to them by this great man. He was ever so considerate, helpful, magnanimous, warm and hospitable.

Born in Karachi on 7th February 1941 before the Partition, Baba loved Karachi as he reminisced the calm that prevailed in Karachi in those days. He and his friends used to go to school, Karachi Grammar School, in a horse-driven carriage without fear of any gunshot or mugging.

A true Karachiite, he asked his two boys and a girl where they would like to go for higher studies. His children, in turn, asked him where they are going to spend their lives after their studies. When the father responded Karachi and only Karachi, they decided to pursue their higher education in Karachi despite the many options available to them.

The elder Byram started with Bristol Hotel in Karachi in 1944 followed by Beach Luxury Hotel in 1948. It goes to the credit of Baba who, with sheer perseverance and devotion, built the Avari Hotels in Karachi. Lahore, Dubai (1998) and Islamabad in 2009. Not to forget his managing the Ramada Hotel in Canada.

Baba’s passion was the sea. He loved to swim and sail simultaneously. As a champion sailor, he bagged his first Gold Medal in the 1978 Asian Games, Bangkok, and later in 1982 with his wife Goshpi who he coached himself. Goshpi Avari became the first woman from Pakistan to win the Gold Medal along with her husband in the Asian Games in 1982. This was soon followed by The President’s Pride of Performance for Sports in 1982.