Areez Pirojshaw Khambatta (1937-2022) was an Indian industrialist and philanthropist who is known for being the founder of the iconic home-grown beverage brand Rasna. He was also the former Chairman of Areez Khambatta Benevolent Trust and Rasna Foundation. He passed away due to cardiac arrest on 19 November 2022.
Areez Khambatta , also known as Areez P. Khambatta , was born on Wednesday, 22 September 1937 (age 85 years; at the time of death) in Karachi, Punjab Province, British India (now in Punjab Province, Pakistan). His zodiac sign is Virgo. He first visited India when he was just two years old. Thereafter, he made frequent visits to India before settling down with his family in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Growing up in Karachi, Areez attended several ‘housie’ sessions, fun sessions arranged by Parsis of Karachi, with his mother.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
Areez Khambatta’s father, Phiroja Khambatta, established the Kid’s drink brand Rasna in 1976. Not much is known about his mother.
Wife & Children
Areez Khambatta was residing with his wife Persis Khambatta, a Pune girl, in Ahmedabad, with whom he had an arranged marriage. During a media conversation, Persis revealed that she always wanted to have an arranged marriage. Talking about Areez, she said,
He was the first person I met and fell in love with.”
I had already seen and rejected about 50 girls by then.”
Areez had a son named Piruz Khambatta, who is the chairman of the Rasna Group. Piruz is married to Binaisha, a businesswoman. He also had two daughters, Delna Boyce and Ruzan Khambatta, a social reformist.
He had six grandchildren- Arzeen (elder daughter of Piruz), Arzad (son of Piruz), Avan (younger daughter of Piruz), Areez, Firoza, and Arnavaz.
He belonged to a Parsi family and followed Zoroastrianism.
Areez Pirojshaw Khambatta started his career in 1976 with a company named Jaffe. In 1978, he quit Jaffe to join the Rasna Group, the iconic home-grown beverage brand which was established by Areez’s father as an alternative to soft drink products sold at high costs. Under his leadership, the brand crossed a turnover of a crore in the first year. In an interview, while talking about the initial phase of the Rasna Group, Areez said,
We had almost 500 people per shift, hand packing the drink and when the demand increased, we had to start the third shift.”
His brand focused on providing affordable drinks to people, which was one of its USPs. With a presence in over 60 countries, Areez pushed his brand to become one of the market leaders in the beverage segment. During the 80s and 90s, Rasna’s ad campaign ‘I love you Rasna’ gained immense popularity among the audience and ruled the television commercials on the national broadcaster Doordarshan channel.
Over the years, Rasna group won several awards including the prestigious Superior Taste Award 2008 instituted by The International Taste and Quality Institute, Belgium Cannes Lions London, Monde Selection Award, Master Brand The World Brand Congress Award, and ITQI superior taste and quality award. Being sold at around 1.8 million retail outlets, Rasna is one of the world’s largest soft drink concentrate manufacturers. As of 2022, it has 9 manufacturing plants across the country and a strong distribution network with 26 depots, 200 super stockists, and 5000 stockists. In 1997, Areez Khambatta passed on the chairmanship of the Rasna Foundation to his son, Piruz Khambatt. Areez was the former chairman of the World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthostis (WAPIZ). Previously, he was also the President of Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat and Vice President of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman’s of India.
Areez was actively involved in philanthropy and contributed immensely to societal development through social service. Under his chairmanship, Areez Khambatta Benevolent Trust and Rasna Foundation were involved in several projects related to health care, education, and scholarships from which thousands of people have benefitted.
- President of India’s Home Guard and Civil Defence Medal
Awards & Honours
- Honoured with the National Citizen’s Award for outstanding contribution in the field of commerce by the president of India Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma
- Chosen as the ‘First Outstanding Parsi’ of Ahemdabad.
On 19 November 2022, Areez Pirojshaw Khambatta died due to a cardiac arrest in Ahmedabad. He was suffering from a prolonged illness. Announcing the loss, Rasna Group released an official statement saying,
With profound sorrow and grief, we announce the sad passing away of Areez Khambatta – the founder chairman of Rasna Group, chairman of Areez Khambatta Benevolent Trust and Rasna Foundation – to his heavenly abode on November 19, 2022. Khambatta has contributed immensely to Indian industry, business, and most importantly societal development through social service.”
The Uthamna of the departed soul was held on 21 November 2022 at 3.40 pm at Parsi Agiyari Khamasa Gate, Ahmedabad.
- He was often referred to as the lion of Ahmedabad and Doyen of the Parsi community.
- Areez Khambatta served as the Commandant of Ahmedabad Home Guards & Civil Defence for 20 years.