When Adil Jal Darukhanawala gets down to writing a book, you can be assured it will be the most intricately researched, comprehensive resource on the subject. His latest attempt is no different. To coincide with the revival of the Jawa brand in India, he has penned a book titled “Jawa: The Forever Bike” which traces the history of the brand. Beginning with how a family of Irani-Zoroastrians introduced the brand to India, remained its custodians for the longest time, its decline and now its second innings with Classic Legends.
The book starts off with an introduction to Jawa and what it stood for giving the reader context to what was happening in a post-independence India, and how the company set about mobilising the masses. It delves deep in to how the Irani family made contact with the Czechs and brought and grew the company in India, bringing to light how a combination of fierce competition, rapidly shifting economy, a lack of foresight from Ideal Jawa and support from their Czech arm eventually saw the company die out.
This book is a treasure trove with never-seen-before pictures of the Irani family, the Mysore factory and their R&D set up. You can tell that the author has leveraged the vast network of connections, built up in his four decades of automotive journalism, to tie together the story of Ideal Jawa in to one definitive narrative of the company.
Some of the real gems in this book include sections dedicated to the people who kept the spirit of Jawa alive – not just the family that owned ideal Jawa, but the enthusiasts who succumbed to the charm of these motorcycles. The author has profiled collectors and enthusiasts who still own and run Jawas, as well as the mechanics who have kept these machines running through the years. And being the true-blue automotive journalist that he is, he even managed to get astride a 1948 CZ125 that he describes as “the holy grail” of Jawa in India – it was Farrokh Irani’s, the chairman and MD of Ideal Jawa.
The book is truly a collector’s item, not just for the Jawa enthusiast but for any biker in India who seeks to understand how we as a country have gotten where we are when it comes to motorcycles. The book draws to a close recounting the forces that came together to revive Jawa in India, an epilogue to a brand that truly shaped the way this country looks at motorcycles.