Tribute to Fereidoon Demehri


It is with deepest sadness we inform you that Mr. Fereidoon Demehri, the founder of our Zoroastrian News Agency (ZNA), passed away on Sunday January 18, 2015 at 12:57 PM in Vancouver Canada as a result of an unfortunate and untimely car accident. Mr. Demehri was an icon in the Zoroastrian and Iranian communities and will always be remembered for his enthusiasm in culture, the arts, music, sports, films, ancient history, and charity. FYI, some of his works, which includes his O’shihan Cultural Organization, ZNA, Z-film Festivals, etc. have been mentioned in his biography shown below.

His story is one of active generosity and a heartfelt devotion. For him, Zoroastrianity was more than a cultural identity, it was a way to bridge gaps and unite all cultures. It was more than an appreciation for the arts, it was about creating opportunity for our youth to shine as artists. It was more than announcements and events, but rather a vision to create a global community that celebrated and honored the Zoroastrian culture and faith.

He is survived by his wife, his two daughters, and his grandchildren. Fereidoon leaves a legacy that has and will continue to inspire many. The weaver of the web that has for so many years and through so many initiatives brought us closer together to celebrate and to remember our rich cultural heritage, and to create and share new memories rooted in our culture and community.

Please join us as we celebrate and remember his life and his vision. May his spirit continue to inspire us and strengthen our community as he did so tirelessly when he walked amongst us.

Ravaanash Shaad, Behesht-e Barin JaayeGaahash Baad!

FROM: ZNA

It is with deepest sadness we inform you that Mr. Fereidoon Demehri, the founder of our Zoroastrian News Agency (ZNA), passed away on Sunday January 18, 2015 at 12:57 PM in Vancouver Canada as a result of an unfortunate and untimely car accident. Mr. Demehri was  an icon in the Zoroastrian and Iranian communities and will always be remembered for his enthusiasm in culture, the arts, music, sports, films, ancient history, and charity. FYI, some of his works, which includes his  O'shihan Cultural Organization, ZNA, Z-film Festivals, etc. have been mentioned in his biography shown below. </p>
<p>His story is one of active generosity and a heartfelt devotion. For him, Zoroastrianity was more than a cultural identity, it was a way to bridge gaps and unite all cultures.  It was more than an appreciation for the arts, it was about creating opportunity for our youth to shine as artists.  It was more than announcements and events, but rather a vision to create a global community that celebrated and honored the Zoroastrian culture and faith.</p>
<p>He is survived by his wife, his two daughters, and his grandchildren. Fereidoon leaves a legacy that has and will continue to inspire many. The weaver of the web that has for so many years and through so many initiatives brought us closer together to celebrate and to remember our rich cultural heritage, and to create and share new memories rooted in our culture and community.</p>
<p>Please join us as we celebrate and remember his life and his vision.  May his spirit continue to inspire us and strengthen our community as he did so tirelessly when he walked amongst us.</p>
<p>Ravaanash Shaad, Behesht-e Barin JaayeGaahash Baad!</p>
<p>FROM: ZNA

Courtesy : Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Secunderabad and Hyderabad

Doctor Ni Dyanatdari


Doctor Ni Dyanatdari

 

Mr. Savakshah Manchershah Todywalla was not only an effective Lecturer on the esoteric knowledge of Ilm-e-Khshnoom but also an extremely gifted and competent astrologer.  He was approached by people, rich and poor, who always returned satisfied with his horoscope readings.  Yet, he never accepted a rupee or even a gift for his valuable services . He sincerely believed that the quality of services rendered by priests, astrologers, doctors, teachers, lawyers and the like, would be of a very high standard if not tainted by the lure of the lucre.

 

Often, he would refer to the  Achaemenian  and the Sassanian times when members of these professions and their families were maintained by the Crown or were allowed to charge a predetermined one time fee by way of cattle, crops, camels ,etc. for a specific service. The Law of Limit and Justice was strictly adhered to, nipping mercenaries in the bud. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye, he would ask us to visualize a scene where a doctor, on opening the doors of his clinic, would send up a prayer that God may send him a string of patients that day. “Can a physician pray for the flourishing of diseases to augment his income?” he would ask.

 

This month, we observed the annual baaj of the great Dr.(Ervad) Edulji Hormusji Coyaji of Pune.  He had had the good fortune to come under the direct influence of our revered Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowrojee Shroff.  Dr. Coyaji, a noble soul, toiled 365 X 24 with his focus on healing, never on his bank balance.  In fact, he kept in his clinic, a money box into which his poor patients could deposit any small sum according to their mite or none at all !  His fame as a very successful doctor spread far and wide and his own philanthropy inspired the affluent not only to sponsor such services but also to donate huge mansions to be converted into hospitals for the benefit of the poor.

 

The highest qualification of a truly great doctor is always the compassion he bears for the suffering of his patients. When a patient approaches a physician for help, he is already groaning under the weight of his ailment and if, genuinely poor, he is doubly burdened by his physical suffering and his poverty.

 

According to our religious beliefs, such suffering is a kind of Karmic retribution arising from our lifestyle in this or some previous birth. The sooner and the more gracefully we manage to acquit ourselves of our Karmic debts, the sooner do we move towards the state of tanpasin .(free from rebirth).  Yet, primarily, we need the fitness of our physical self to achieve this goal. Thus, a doctor plays a very important role in Nature’s Scheme of Things when he truly heals , repairs, restores !

 

No profession is free from professional hazards. A doctor is always vulnerable to contracting some serious disease while treating his patient.  Worse still, the nature of his duties constantly exposes him to various types of “invisible microbes”, druji Hikra, Buji, Nasu, ).  If he practices his art selflessly, while attempting to observe (in whatever limited way his profession permits) religious disciplines (tarikats),  Nature shall shield him from or at least minimize the ill effects of such drujis. The blessings he earns from curing or bringing relief to his patients may likewise protect him.

 

These days, patients are being treated as mere case papers. Knowledge and not wisdom, cleverness and not common sense, greed and not empathy taint the healing approach of many a wayward doctor. Some say that the pharmaceutical industry has turned into a hydra headed monster that devours patients and leads the physician astray to an extent that the medicine often proves worse than the malady !

 

If a doctor falls prey to sops offered by such corporate giants, if he leads his innocent patient into the labyrinth of needless pathological and radiological investigations, if he offers him as a scapegoat on the altar of the surgical table when surgery is superfluous, may God help him for turning his clinic into a mint for printing hard currency.  Undoubtedly, money is a harsh reality of life today when there is no Royal Treasury to maintain the doctor and his family. Yet this is not a license for the physician or surgeon to ruthlessly relieve his patient of cash when he should be relieving him of suffering and disease . Else, the patients shall feel compelled to say, “ Physician, heal thyself ! ”

 

True healing does not demand a state of art set up; it just needs compassion and a spirit to serve.

 

— Rehem.

 

 

References:

1) “Khodai Marg” by respected Bomanji Burjorji Rivetna.

 

2) The Tavil Of Vendidad by Dr. Saheb Framroze Sorabji Chiniwalla, pages 258-261.

 

 

__.,.___

Courtest : k k <K F  Keravala

Enterprise Dubai


Enterprise Dubai: When enterprising Parsis meet in Dubai

Staff Reporter / 21 December 2014

Professionals, youth, families from Zoroastrian community come together at ‘Enterprise Dubai’.

Mirza Al Sayegh lighting the traditional lamp to mark the opening of the Enterprise Dubai conference on Friday. He is flanked by (from left) Byram Jeejeebhoy, businessman; Fali Major, former Air Chief Marshal of India; Lord Karan Bilimoria and Colm McLoughlin. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

Nowhere else over the weekend in the UAE would there have been such a large gathering of ladies wearing Parsi style garas — traditional saris adorned with hand embroidery — than at the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

A two-day event called ‘Enterprise Dubai’, brain child of organiser Meher Bhesania, took place and featured Parsi business folk, lawyers and entrepreneurs, among others. The event intended to bring together professionals, youth and families from the Zoroastrian community offered a chance to network and for visitors to explore business opportunities in Dubai.

Day one began with a keynote address delivered by Mirza Al Sayegh, Director, Office of Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed binRashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

 

Click to read on….. 

 

Coutresy : Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Secunderabad and Hyderabad

 

Around the world in 53 months


FROM THE ARCHIVES…..

Around the world in 53 months

Ervad Marzban Hathiram, TNN | Nov 15, 2002, 11.14PM IST
MUMBAI: The three men knelt before Pope Pius XI, thanking God for their luck so far and seeking the pontiff ‘s blessings for their onward journey. 
The date was October 15, 1924. Dressed in khakis, Gustad Hathiram, Keki Pochkhanawala and Adi Hakim were in the midst of an adventure that had commenced exactly a year ago when six young men set out from the dusty streets of Gowalia Tank in Mumbai on an unbelievable expedition—one which involved circumnavigating the globe on bicycle. 
After weaving an intricate web of lies to avoid their parents’ ire, holding secret conclaves and making brave attempts to gather money, these three, along with their friends Jal Bapasola, Rustam Bhumgara and Nariman Kapadia had set off with a few clothes, a second-hand compass and crude copies of the map of the world. They chose a route that ensured that they would pass through terribly inhospitable terrains, for their objective was to show the world that, although the British ruled them, Indians were capable of much.
From Mumbai the cyclists headed to Delhi, passing through central India. After meeting the Viceroy, Lord Reading, they cycled through the Punjab and on to Baluchistan, crossing the Duki pass at 11,000 ft. They ploughed through three feet of snow and battled temperatures of minus 13 degrees C before finally reaching Varechhah—the last outpost of colonial India on January 20, 1924. From there, the youngsters sent their first postcards to their parents, revealing the details of their journey (which they had somehow managed to keep secret).
Crossing into their ancient motherland, Iran, the young Parsis reached Tehran, where they met Reza Shah Pahlavi. There, Nariman chose to return back to India and his fiance, while the rest proceeded to Baghdad. Despite dire warnings, they set a new record—crossing the Mesopotamian desert from Baghdad to Aleppo in 23 days. During these 956 kilometers they struggled through shifting sands, temperatures that crossed 55 degrees C and sand-fly-fever- induced delirium, and it was only thanks to a group of Bedouins that they escaped certain death. In Damascus, the group had differences and split into two.While Gustad, Keki and Adi proceeded to Europe, Jal and Rustam went on to Jerusalem. The trio reached Brindsi in Italy by steamer and then went on to Naples and Rome, where they sought the the Pope’s blessings before plunging into the next audacious chapter of their journey—crossing the Alps by bicycle. The three reached Zimplo and crossed the Gothard pass. But they were caught in a relentless storm and, suffering from severe frostbite, they collapsed and were buried in the snow. Once again, they would certainly have perished had Franciscan monks and their St. Bernard dogs not rescued them. It must have been with a sense of relief that they reached the boulevards of Paris and proceeded to London, where they received much media coverage and adulation.
After 23 days of travel through England, they caught the steamer to New York.Here Gustad announced to the others that he didn’t plan to return to India—he had decided to live in New York. The other two cyclists who had separated at Damascus also arrived in New York, and all four tried to convince Gustad to change his mind. But Gustad refused to meet them and, instead, slipped a letter under their hotel door. ‘Think that I drowned in the Atlantic, my friends, for the Gustad you knew is now no more.’
Heartbroken, Gustad’s soulmate on the trip, Keki, returned to India by steamer. But the other three continued their adventure, cycling across the US. On October 15, the third anniversary of their travels, they set a new record, covering 307 km in 16 exhausting hours.
From America, the determined group crossed over Japan and became the first cyclists to enter Korea. They then pedalled their way into Manchuria, braving the local hatred for foreigners and often starving for days. They became the first cyclists to cross the Gobi desert and reached Canton in October 1926. From there they proceeded to Hong Kong, and whizzed through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and the North Eastern states to Calcutta. They then proceeded to Colombo and covered the whole of South India—eventually reaching Mumbai on March 18, 1928, with a fan following of 1,000 cyclists and widespread media coverage. They had covered nearly 71,000 kilometers in four years, five months and three days.
Amidst these festivities, however, one family nursed its grief. My grandfather Dinshawji Hathiram, the elder brother of Gustad,was inconsolable. In 1930 he received last letter asking for some sudreh (the sacred shirt worn by Parsis), a prayer book and delivering a firm warning that he should not try to contact Gustad again.My grandfather complied—and that was the last we heard of Gustad Hathiram. A month ago, while surfing the Internet, I reached the genealogy site Ancestry.com and spotted the tantalisingly offer: ‘Search for your missing ancestors.’ Half-heartedly I typed in ‘Gustad Hathiram’ and a few seconds later found myself staring at a screen that read: ‘One death record found.’ This revealed that Gustad Hathiram had died in the sunny town of St Petersburg, Florida, in 1973. My joy at finding my grand-uncle was tempered with sadness at the circumstances. His death certificate told us he had worked as an auto mechanic, and that he had never married. Why didn’t he contact us all these years? What were his final thoughts? These and a myriad other questions will always haunt me.
Nevertheless, this chance find led me to rediscover that long-forgotten journey so filled with colour and courage. And as I read about their bold travels, I feel compelled one day retrace that fascinating journey and pay homage to the unsung hero in my family.
(This writer would be grateful if the families of the other cyclists on the voyage could contact him at marzban@cdrindia.com*)
 
 
The above email address is not in use. The correct one is:
__._,_.___

Courtesy : Mehernosh Kapadia

Dr Edulji Koyaji ni Bhali Dua


Dr Edulji Koyaji ni  Bhali Dua for deen dushmans…

 

Scanned in the attachment (Bhali Dua.pdf) below is a “Bhali Dua” (i.e. good benediction), which should be given to those Zoroastrians who have lost their faith in the tenets of our Religion. All true Zoroastrian should do this “Bhali Dua” during their daily mandatory (Farjiyat) prayers. This “Bhali Dua”(bold font in the scan) has been taken from a lecture given by  Jehangirji S Chinivala in year 1964. This lecture was given on the first death anniversary of Dr. Edulji Coyaji of Poona (1)

 

Dasturji Dr. Hormazdiyar K Mirza presided over the lecture. (2)

 

Click here Bhali Dua

 

References:
(1) Dr Edulji Koyaji was one the pupils of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Navroji Shroff. To know more about this legendary doctor from Poona, please click on the link below;
Eduljee Hormusji Coyaji, The Good Doctor of Poona

 

(2) “Dini Avaz”(page21, Vol: 5-2).

 

Courtesy : K F Keravala

The Mahabanoo Monologues


For the second guest of the day in this session of Jam with Sam, we have the indomitable Mahabanoo Mody-kotwal.
A prolific actor, director and producer in theater, film and radio, she’s also a microbiologist and a change agent who’s highly passionate about women empowerment.
Mahabanoo was chosen as one of the 50 most powerful women in India and one of 200 most inspirational women in the world. She runs her own production company “poor box productions”, has acted in Bollywood films such as “Black”, graced countless magazine covers and made the highly renowned and extremely popular vagina monologues.

Roots
Coming from a family of doctors, she got a double degree in microbiology and geology from St.Xavier’s college but had no aspirations to be a doctor herself. She went on to work with the man who made crest toothpaste but realized her calling was in theatre.

Vagina monologues
One day she watched the play vagina monologues abroad after hearing about it from her son, and was blown away by it. She wanted to bring it to India and discussed with Eve Ensler about it, eventually becoming a good friend of hers.

But she did encounter problems with actors and producers, but fortunately never with censorship except by theatres themselves, so decided to invest in the production on her own before she found a terrific set of actors and rest, with over 1000 shows including Hindi version till date, as they say is history.

They’ve been able to give away more than 1 crore through fundraisers through the play, with more men coming to see it these days.
The feud with Alyque Padamsee was touched upon even though she insisted she had no problems, but only felt it was ill timed and badly written. Her cheeky answer to media at that time for the latter’s failure was ” The penis has to flop sometime”

Movie time
Her first movie was set in London, about a boy with brittle bones called ” sixth happiness” where they had got the real life kid to play the protagonist. Her second movie was “Black”.
She loves Rock Hudson and Paul Newman as well as admiring Amitabh Bachchan who stands out amongst everyone else.
Theater
She feels theater has changed a lot with audience being more receptive although she dislikes the experimental stuff of the new age. She loves Marathi plays and told a story about how tendulkar was scared to translate vagina monologues in Marathi due to the fear of a political party.
Quick gun Sam
A new and exciting part of the show had Sam asking the guests their first reactions to specific words with Mahabanoo answering the following.
Money – Lovely
Men – Nice
Bollywood – No comments
India – Hopeless
Mumbai – More hopeless
Politics – Bullshit
Karan Johar – Love him
Personal
Mahabanoo feels social media can be a great instrument for social change and elucidated an incident where a show for 300 underprivileged children and women was sponsored by strangers from social networks.
She spends her time alone, is socially autistic, loves elephants for their human quality and is against hunting for sport. She’s also a big advocate of NOTA and hopes more people will vote for it to bring a change.
She also said that being alone helped bring about a big change in her life views and overcoming her fears.
Women in India
Mahabanoo feels India is the worst state for women, with us being a misogynistic society, and like a famous oriya writer after watching her play said, it will take more than 100 years to change the mindset. She is trying her best to bring awareness on it and told a heart wrenching story about a woman who escaped an abusive relationship after watching the vagina monologues, which made her really proud.
She feels laws and their implementation have been useless and feels it to be insult to compare ourselves to Arab and African nations.

She’s against the rehabilitation of juvenile rapists, feeling that if they’re old enough to rape, they’re old enough to face the gong and supports death penalty of rapists and murderers. She recited the following poem.

A woman stood at the heavenly gates,
Her face was scarred and old.
She stood before the man of fate
for admission to the fold.
“What have you done,” St Peter asked,
“To gain admission here?”
“I’ve lived in India, sir,” she said,
“For many and many a year.”
The pearly gates swung open wide,
St Peter touched the bell.
“Come in and choose your harp,” he
said. “You’ve had your share of hell!”

What’s ahead

She’s working on new play called emotional creatures, a series of life stories about women around the world and another dark tale about the catholic church apart from her work for social causes and women empowerment.

First Parsi & Indian to become Superintendent of Railway Police


Dear Friends,

This is yet another historic article sent by a friend which is interesting. It is our Parsi history which is little known today. It tells us how brave and committed our ancestors were!

There were many, many noble heroes the community produced but we have forgotten their achievements. Perhaps we should try and remember these brave souls with affection and pride so their memories remain with us, always.

Regards,

Pervin Mistry

The First Parsi & Indian to become Superintendent of Railway Police of the BB&CI Railways in 1870.
Please note that BB&CI Railways stood for The Bombay Baroda & Central Indian Railways, which is the present day Western Railway.

1.     Khan Saheb Kekobad Navroji Mody was the First Parsi & First Indian to become Superintendent of Railway Police of the BB&CI Railways at the Head Quarters located at Bombay in 1870.  Khan Saheb was the Title bestowed on him by The British along with other Police Awards and Medals, for his Gallant Bravery as he wiped out decoity and raids by criminals on moving trains in India.  His authority extended on the entire length of the BB&CI Railways of that time. He was like a Knight in Shining Armour on his White Stallion Horse on which he rode with Pride, Dignity and Dedication.  For those of you who have not heard about him, you may not know he had named his Beloved Horse Rustom.

2.     He was like a Rapid Deployment Force of his time, a version of today’s SWAT Team. (SWAT stands for Special Weapons & Tactics)

3.     Once he got a message that a train was attacked in a certain area, he would take His Special Train from Bombay which had only 1 engine with a Parsi Engine Driver, 1 wagon for the Police Horses, 1 wagon for his Armed Indian Cops, and a Special Wagon for himself which was like a Mobile Armory, stacked with Arms & Ammunition, food & water, and his hand-picked and trained British Officers who were deployed under his command, and reach the spot of the incident.  Once their train reached the spot, they would disembark from the train, fan out and go on horse backs, with his Armed Officers and men to catch the criminals.  He would camp in the wilderness like an old time American Sheriff, till he either killed the criminals, or captured them and brought them back dead or alive to Bombay to face successful prosecution.

4.     One day while fighting the criminals, Rustom, his white stallion horse on which he rode with pride, was killed in action by an arrow.  It is said that he had disembarked from his horse Rustom, and an active fight was taking place with the criminals when the arrow aimed at him by a criminal was in flight and would have struck him, but his brave and beloved white stallion horse, Rustom, moved in and took the arrow, and saved Kekobad’s life.  He immediately fired his  Webbley & Scott High Power 44 Caliber Revolver and shot and killed the criminal on the spot, who had shot the fatal arrow which killed his beloved horse. Khan Saheb Kekobad Navroji Mody was so much struck with grief and remained heartbroken that he mourned his loss for the rest of his life even after he had retired from active Policy Duty.  Such was the BOND between Khan Saheb Kekobad Navroji Mody and his beloved White Stallion Horse Rustom!

5.     Such brave were the Parsis of the past with real Kyani Blood that they served with Honesty & Pride. They gallantly did their duty to God, The King and the Country.

Henceforth, when we recite our prayers and utter the words, “BEHEDIN Kekobad BEHEDIN Navroji”, we will all know that we refer to the departed Soul of the brave Behdin Kekobad Behdin Navroji, the First Parsi and the First Indian to become the Superintendent of Railway Police of the BB&CI Railways at the Head Quarters located at Bombay in 1870!
Courtesy : Sam Doctor

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