2013 is the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
I am delighted to inform you that my illustrious predecessor Dorab Erach Mistry has been recognised for his services to the Zoroastrian community and to Inter Faith Relations by being awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
All of us who are active within the ZTFE know that Dorab has served our Association and our community for many years. But in the light of Dorab’s recent honour it is appropriate to give our members and well-wishers a background on Dorab and why he was awarded an OBE.
Dorab E Mistry was born in India on 7th April 1953 and graduated from Bombay University in commerce in 1973. While at Bombay University Dorab become one of the youngest leaders of the Indian National Congress I Youth Section and was well known to the Prime Ministers of India Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and their families. Dorab qualified as a chartered accountant in 1976, having won the President’s Gold Medal. He started his career at GODREJ, one of India’s leading industrial group, in 1976. Since 1977 Dorab has been based in London handling the vegetable oil buying and trading portfolio for GODREJ. The company’s wide ranging interest in vegetable oil processing, animal feeds, oleo chemicals, alcohols, soaps, toiletries, foods and plantations gives him a unique perspective of the Indian vegetable oil scenario. Dorab is also one of GODREJ’s Vice Presidents, in charge of the Far East; he is an international traveller, making several work related journeys abroad every month. Since 1996, Dorab has been a regular speaker on vegetable oil Price Outlook and is regarded as a leading analyst of price behaviour. He also writes and speaks regularly on the Indian economic scene. Since 2001, Dorab served as India’s representative on the managing committee of the International Association of Seed Crushers and was its Vice President from 2006 to 2008. When Dorab makes his speeches on palm oil forecast, international traders take note!
Even with his hectic work schedule, Dorab still makes time to undertake community and inter faith work in an honorary capacity and never claims expenses. He is one of my illustrious predecessors, elected to the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) Managing Committee in 1996. The following year he was elected as its 24th President, serving in the top position until 2005. The ZTFE is the oldest Asian religious voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom and also the oldest Zoroastrian Association in the West, established in 1861. During his tenure Dorab succeeded in persuading the Zoroastrians of UK in 2000 to purchase a disused cinema in a grade II* listed building on 440, Alexandra Avenue, Harrow. In 2005, with the collaboration with English Heritage, this disused cinema was inaugurated as the Zoroastrian Centre for Europe. The purchase and refurbishment of the Zoroastrian Centre was from donations from within the Zoroastrian community, especially the late Zartoshty Brothers, and no application for funding was made to government or external agencies. Besides winning awards for conservation, the Zoroastrian Centre in Harrow is a contributory factor in making the London Borough of Harrow the most religiously diverse borough in the UK according to the national census. It is an asset to the Zoroastrian community as well to the local community in Harrow, used for fund raising and other charitable activities by Harrow Council, Harrow Inter Faith Council, faith communities especially the Tamil Sri Lankans as they do not have a local centre of their own.
During Dorab’s presidency, the ZTFE was successful in organising the first Royal Visit in 2002 of HRHs Prince Edward and Sophie – Earl and Countess of Wessex for a Thanksgiving Service to mark the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Also during his presidency funds were raised to establish the Zartoshty Brothers Lectureship in Zoroastrian Studies, later to become Zartoshty Brothers Chair, at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, making SOAS the only institution in the world to have a permanent Chair of Zoroastrian Studies. Besides performing voluntary service, Dorab is also a regular donor to various charities.
Dorab has also demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the promotion of good interfaith understanding and activity in the UK. Besides serving the Zoroastrian community in an honorary capacity, Dorab is also active in several inter faith organisations since 1997. After passing the baton of presidency in 2005, Dorab continues to serve on the ZTFE Managing Committee as its Honorary Treasurer and External Relations – Inter Faith Officer. Dorab represents the ZTFE and the Zoroastrian community on several local and national inter faith organisations in the UK. Since 2006 Dorab is one of the Directors of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom (IFN) currently its co-Vice Chair, since 2005 the Vice Chair and Honorary Treasurer of the Faith Based Regeneration Network (FbRN), Honorary Treasurer Council of Dharmic Faiths (CoDF) since its inception in 2010. Dorab was the Zoroastrian representative on A Year of Service (AYOS) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He is also Zoroastrian representative on Barnet Inter Faith Council, his local borough where he resides.
Dorab is happily married with his childhood sweetheart Shehnaz; they have 3 daughters, Tina, Sherie and Roxanne. Like their father, his daughters Tina and Sherie have served the ZTFE as it elected Chair of the Young Zoroastrians (YZs), both have represented the ZTFE at inter faith gatherings in the UK and abroad.
For the ZTFE and the Zoroastrian faith in UK, Mr Dorab E Mistry has been one of our prominent ambassador who has brought us recognition, acceptance and participation in the wider inter faith community and in public life. The ZTFE is overjoyed that Mr Dorab E Mistry has been awarded the OBE from Her Majesty’s Government in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. It is justly deserved! Congratulations Dorab.
Malcolm M Deboo
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