Shanghai, China was reached two days later at 2:30 P.M. on 22 June 1932, where they were met by Herbert and Jalbhai. Dressed in a stylish suit and Panama hat, Baba disembarked and was driven a few miles to the Palace Hotel which overlooked the Huangpu River.
Present day State flag since 1949 Old Shanghai Municipality flag Old Nationalist flag in the 1930s
1932 S.S. EMPRESS OF JAPAN
After tea, Baba indicated to Herbert, "I want to go out and mix with the Chinese, so take me to a place where there are thick crowds."
Herbert took Baba to a few places, but they were not crowded enough to suit his purpose. Baba then went to the slums of Shanghai by hand-pulled rickshaw, but the narrowness of the lanes prevented it from entering and Baba traversed the area on foot for three hours. He strode rapidly up and down the squalid alleyways, causing the humble dwellers to stare at him with fascination as he passed by.
After racing through the back alleys of Shanghai, Herbert was quite tired. Being new and unaware of Baba's ways, during Baba's stay in China, Herbert tended to arrange things according to his own preference, which Baba did not always like. Baba also kept changing his mind and plans which was surprising and baffling to Herbert, causing his mind to become disturbed.
On Thursday, 23 June 1932, some of the people whom Herbert had told of Baba came to see him at the hotel.
Baba was busy planning his return to India, and he sent Herbert and Chanji to book the tickets. The first plan of returning to California had been fixed for weeks, but was now canceled. After going all day from one office to another, exasperated, Herbert vexatiously asked Chanji as they were returning to the hotel, "Why does Baba act like this? It is a pity he does not know his own mind. Didn't he know what he wanted to do at the beginning? What harassment this change of plans has caused. Baba does not seem to realize I have to earn my living, and that my other appointments today were quite important and nearly impossible to postpone."
Chanji repeated this word for word to Baba, who scolded Herbert, "If you think like this about me, it is no use having you work for me!" Herbert wisely
remained silent and Baba forgave him.
Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1445
That evening, Baba and the mandali went to eat at the restaurant of Mr. Chung at his invitation. Baba had a fun time as he watched all trying to eat with chopsticks for the first time. They then went to the Cathay Theater where they saw Beast of the City. Afterward, they went to the railway station ( Nth.Shanghai R.S.) and boarded the 11:00 P.M. train for Nanking. Baba, Herbert and Kaka sat in first class, and Beheram, Jalbhai, Adi Jr. and Chanji were seated in second class.
North Shanghai Railway Station
When Meher Baba and his men Mandali went to the North Shanghai Railway Station in June 1932 to take the train to Nanking, they would have ventured into a building that had been shelled very badly in the previous February. Remnants of that destruction would have been evident. The station was rebuilt some years later.
Pictures below show some of the destruction the Japanese forces were inflicting on the city of Shanghai.
SHANGHAI - NANKING ( NANJING ) RAILWAYS
The dark green route shown in map above, is the one that Meher Baba travelled to
Japan & China on the S.S. Empress of Japan ( above ).
The light blue is the route taken on the S.S.
Kaisar-i-Hind ( shown below ) from Shanghai to Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang, Ceylon & Bombay.
Details of journey :
Baba had travelled by boat through Asian ports such as Hong Kong - Kowloon 1st July, then Singapore on the 6th July, Penang - 9th July, then sailed to Colombo, Ceylon and finally to Bombay reaching it on 11:45 PM on 15th July.
Shanghai 1935 maps
Shanghai February 1932 Warfare
VIDEO 1930S - SHANGHAI
The Palace Hotel - Shanghai
The Palace Hotel was not exempt to damage caused by the accidental bombing by the Chinese Air force. The picture above shows the destruction the bombs caused when they exploded in the road between the buildings in the main street Nanking Road.
The Palace Hotel Tourist brochure
FILM : "THE BEAST OF THE CITY" 1932
On Thursday, 23 June 1932, Meher Baba saw this film at the Cathay Theater in Shanghai, later they then went to the North Shanghai Railway Station to travel by train to Nanking. Baba, Herbert and Kaka sat in first class, and Beheram, Jalbhai, Adi Jr. and Chanji were seated in second class.
Meher Baba concluded his 2nd coast to coast trip across the United States, finishing at Vancouver, Canada, his first and only visit to this nation.
He and his men Mandali departed on the SS Empress of Canada from Vancouver on the 12th January 1935 for Honolulu, which they arrived on the 17th. at noon. After a short stay, the ship continued onto Yokohama arriving on the 25th followed by Kobe on the 26th.
Meher Baba and his companions arrived in Shanghai on the 30th January, they were met by Rustom K. Irani who had arrived two days earlier from India.
After making ship booking arrangements, etc., Baba gave Rustom instructions for him to go to the USA to assist with a possible film production of a script approved by Baba.
The following day Meher Baba and his other men mandali continued their journey to Hong Kong arriving on the 2nd Febuary. On the same day they visited Kowloon and transfer to another ship SS Fushimi Maru and departed on the 3rd.
Arrived in Singapore 7th Feb., then Penang on 10th and then Colombo on the 13th Febuary.
It took the party another 3 days to arrive in Meherabad, India on the 16th.
Thomas Cook Travel : 15 The Bund, Shanghai
- office located inside building
Late January 1935
After sailing from Honolulu, Baba informed Chanji, "There is one soul I want to contact on this ship." The next day, Chanji went down to the laundry room to iron Baba's pants and met a wealthy woman named Margaret Scott. She narrated a troubled life, saying that she was desperate and now thinking of divorcing her husband. She had seriously contemplated suicide. Chanji told her about Baba, who later sent word to the woman not to get divorced. Chanji talked with her for a few minutes each evening and she became eager to meet Baba in person for she sought his blessing.
Baba agreed to see her on deck when he disembarked in Shanghai on the 30th, if no one else was around. When Baba came up, she was surrounded by people.
To her amazement, they all dispersed and she had her precious few minutes with Baba. He consoled her and blessed her by making the sign of the cross on her forehead.
Rustom had been instructed to meet them in Shanghai, but when they got off the ship, he was nowhere to be seen. Worried, they searched up and down the wharf, went to the General Post Office and finally to the Cook office, where by sheer chance Rustom appeared. Rustom had arrived from India two days before, but he had misplaced the name of their ship. He had spent a frantic two days awaiting Baba's arrival, doing everything he could to obtain information. His funds were completely depleted and he was about to wire Ramjoo in Nasik. He was overjoyed and relieved beyond measure to see Baba, who said it was his key that had drawn Rustom to the Cook office just in the nick of time.
All had lunch in their cabin and then went around Shanghai, visiting the hotel where Rustom was staying. Baba gave Rustom instructions and booked his passage to New York and Hollywood as his representative to supervise the work with Norina and Elizabeth on the screenplays This Man David and How It All Happened. Before Rustom departed, Baba exchanged overcoats with him, Baba wearing Rustom's and giving Rustom his coat, which Baba said would keep Rustom safe. Rustom was concerned about his family and Baba promised to look after Rustom's children.
1) 1932 - It is not
known with what ship Rustom had travelled on to Shanghai from India or to the USA and returning to India. Also what hotel he stayed in Shanghai.
2) The lady Margaret Scott that Baba met on the ship in Shanghai was a prominent Baba follower in New York during the 1950s who had helped Gabriel Pascal
MAY 1932 - Prior to Meher Baba's visit to China
( L-R ) RAOSAHEB AFSERI, JAL IRANI, PENDU IRANI ( seated in centre ),
VISHNU DEORUKHAR ( top ), RUSTOM K. IRANI AND GUSTADJI HANSOTIA (seated far right)
It appears that the men Mandali of Meher Baba made a short trip to the city of Hangzhou from Shanghai whilst Baba was visiting the United States during May 1932. Baba told them to travel to Shanghai direct from Bombay and wait for him whilst he went to Europe & the United States. Rustom Irani ( in the above photo ) was scheduled to meet Baba in Honolulu on the 9th June.
Following the group photo below is a postcard that Herbert Davy sent to his sister Kitty, from Hangzhou. The building featured is similar to the '4 Seasons West Lake Hotel' .
Checkout the following web page :
The original caption for the above photograph was that the statue was of Confusius and it was taken in Nanking, this is incorrect.
Members of the Chinese Meher Baba group have visited the actual site and
have stated that the statue is that of Deng Shiru, A famous Chinese calligrapher who evolved the written characters from the ancient past style to that used
today. The statue above had been erected in 1924 but was destroyed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution during mid 1960s-mid
1970s. This statue was erected in Hangzhou which is south of Shanghai on the coast and beside the Qiantang
River. This statue was rebuilt in 1978 within the grounds of the Xiling Seal-Engravers'
With thanks to Mike Hong & other members of the Chinese Meher Baba group for their assistance.
New Statue of Deng Shiru in Hangzhou in the grounds of the
Xiling Seal-Engravers' Society (西泠印社)
DENG SHIRU : 1743 - 1805
L - R : ?, Jal Irani ( Baba's brother ), ?, ?, Herbert Davy, Rustom K. Irani, ?, ? somewhere in China in 1932.