Soltoon was Baidul’s wife and had two daughters. They met Baba early in 1929 and visited their house in Jafrabad (Iran) and later sent far from Iran at the ashram. She was close disciple and served Meher Baba
Some of her experiences with Meher Baba are described as under:
On the 25th and 26th October 1929, Baba was shown different places in Yezd as suitable spots for His seclusion, but He failed to find a place that met His requirements. He also visited Baidul’s house in the suburb of Jafrabad where he met Baidul’s wife Soltoon and other relatives. Baba requested Soltoon to prepare lunch, but He was in such a hurry to eat, He did not allow her to cook the rice properly. Rushing the meal, Baba took all the pots to the dining room where He served the mandali and others. Soltoon tried to stop Him, saying that the rice was not cooked properly. But when Baba asked each person if it was uncooked, they all replied that it was excellent — much to Soltoon’s amazement.
Also in June 1939, Baidul and his wife Soltoon, with their two daughters Dowla and Sarwar and son Faredoon, came to live at Meherabad. They were housed in the Arangaon Family Quarters. The wife and children did not know any other language except Persian, but Dowla and Sarwar soon learned Gujarati from the women mandali.
In Bangalore, a large house a quarter of a mile away from the Links at No. 4 Palace Road was rented for the men; it was also owned by Ismail’s brother. In the Links bungalow Baidul’s family (Soltoon, Sarwar, and Dowla) stayed along with eastern women disciples.
During this period, Savak Kotwal’s daughters Najoo and Hilla were sent to Secunderabad to study in one of the finest girls’ schools in the country — the school attended by the children of the Nizam. Baidul’s daughter Sarwar was sent with Gaimai to Bangalore, where she attended school. School fees for the three girls, and their living expenses, were paid by Baba. Meanwhile Soltoon, wife of Baidul and others stayed with the women mandali.
Baba left Meherabad for Ranchi on Wednesday, 3rd July 1940, by train in the morning with the men and women mandali, and three masts, Chatti Baba, Shariat Khan and Mohammed. Among the women who accompanied Baba, Soltoon was among them and several women servants.
In 1942, along with Gaimai, Soltoon, Nergiz (Kotwal) and Silla prepared chapatis for the group, while Katie and Manu were doing the cooking. Mehera and Khorshed would prepare Baba’s food; Kitty was supervising the household work; and Mani would do typing. Thus, Baba kept everyone engaged in one duty or another.
As soon as Baba arrived in Meherabad, He divided the women into five different small groups. Each group was assigned a separate room on Meherabad Hill. The women of one group were forbidden to speak with the women of the other group, and if anyone had to convey something to a woman of a different group, she had to do so through Kitty, who would pass along the message. Mehera, Mani and Meheru consisted of one group; Naja, Khorshed and Walu another; Kitty, Rano and Margaret the third; Mansari, Katie, Soltoon and Dowla the fourth; and Gaimai, Manu, Meheru (Jessawala), Soonamasi, Nergiz and Kakubai the fifth.
Reaching Aurangabad, Baba called the other women there from Meherabad including Soltoon,. In 1944, Baba described to them his Kashmir visit and, after a few days, sent them back to Meherabad.
When Baba returned from Wai, He kept Kaikobad, his family and Mansari in the hospital quarters on the hill, and Soltoon and Dowla in a separate room. Soonamasi, and other ladies elsewhere on the hill.
“The Meherabad group will be subdivided: In one group will be Khorshed and Soonamasi; in another Kitty, Rano, Naja and Katie; in the third Soltoon and Dowla; and in the fourth Mansari, Jerbai and the Fatties (Jalu, Gulu and Meheru Dastur). Every group will have separate cooking arrangements. Mehera, Mani, Meheru and Walu will stay at Pimpalgaon.”
There was a hidden reason behind Baba’s dividing the women at this time — and probably behind his recent work with Chacha, also. The country was about to be partitioned into two parts — India and Pakistan — and violence and civil chaos was breaking out everywhere in India. When the government’s plan for partition was announced, Baba snorted in disgust and remarked, “Two parts — it will be (divided into)!”
On 28th, September 1949, Baba went to Bindra House in Poona, driven there in Adi’s car with Eruch and Baidul. He informed Pappa and Gaimai, “Keep Soltoon and Dowla with you as members of your own family. I am giving you this responsibility and you will be serving me by carrying it out.”
Meher Baba decides to take only four women disciples Mehera, Mani, Meheru and Goher. and arrange some to stay at Meherabad, few in Bombay. Baidul’s wife Soltoon and their daughter, Dowla, were instructed to stay at Bindra House in Poona, along with Walu. Baidul’s other daughter Sarwar was living in Bombay.
Baba arrived in the morning by Car in Guruprasad. Since He had walked and climbed more steps than usual that morning, His hip joint was giving Him pain at the end of the tiring drive, so the men carried Him up the steps of Guruprasad in a lift-chair. As always during Baba’s stay in Poona, Kaka was left behind in charge of Meherazad, and Kaikobad was taken to Meherabad Hill to stay with his family. Due to Baidul’s stroke in 1963, Baba had sent Baidul to stay at his daughter Sarwar Taraporewala’s home in Bombay. (Baba sent Baidul to his daughter’s every year thereafter, in addition to permitting him to spend some weeks in Poona with his other daughter Dowla and his wife Soltoon.)
References/Images from: Various Lord Meher volumes, discontinued website's ambprasarkendra & love-remembrances, images and dates, stories etc from respective copyright owners websites or publications used with permission - i.e. In His Service, Glow International, MeherBabaTravels, MSI and MNP Collections, from AvatarMeherBabaTrust, BelovedArchives websites and from various other website sources, Books, journal etc. More information where ever available with us like letter scans, stories etc are added. Kindly feel free to Contact us with any updates, photos or corrections etc.
- Adele Wolkin
- Anita de Caro
- Aranvaz Dadachanji
- Delia De Leon
- Dolly Irani
- Elizabeth C. Patterson
- Enid Corfe
- Gaimai Jessawala
- Gulamasi Satha
- Gulmai K Irani
- Gulnar Sukadwala
- Hedi Mertens
- Helen Dahm
- Irene Billo
- Ivy Duce
- Jane Barry Haynes
- Jean Adriel
- Jeanne Shaw
- Kakubai Deorukhkar
- Katie Irani
- Kharmen Masi
- Khorshed Irani
- Kitty Davy
- Manu Jessawala
- Margaret Craske
- Mary Backett
- Nadia Tolstoy
- Nonny Gayley
- Princess Norina Matchabelli
- Roshan Kerawala
- Shanta Devi
- Shirin Sheriar Iran