The book, ‘Zenobia Mistri, Teacher Par Excellence’, was the focus of a gracious event organised in Mumbai on 12th February 2019. Shireen Isal, the author, read extracts from the biography, followed by a Q&A with a small but enthusiastic audience. The event, arranged by Mehli and Saker Cooper and moderated by Firdaus Gandavia, Ph.D English Litt., was attended by, amongst others, students of Zenobia Mistri, one of the most iconic teachers of French language and literature in the Mumbai of the last century.
There were moments of nostalgia, when many of those present recalled their teacher with affection. Moments of humour too at her lovable eccentricities. But, above all, an all-round acknowledgement of her immense teaching talents, from which scores of students over five decades greatly benefited.
Teachers devote their lives to the cause of their students’ education and well-being, moulding and framing who they are without their even realising it. Zenobia Mistri was one such teacher and this was unanimously acknowledged at this reunion.
Thanks to a gift in 2018 from the Trust of Morvarid Guiv, the Morvarid Guiv Graduate Fellowship in Zoroastrian Studies has been established in UCLA’s Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World. Named after the late Iranian philanthropist Morvarid Guiv, the fellowship will support graduate students studying the Zoroastrian religion, its ancient history, languages, and scriptures. The gift secured additional matching support from the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match program.
The Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world and was the dominant faith of the Iranian World (including Asia Minor and Central Asia) prior to the rise of Islam. The fellowship enables UCLA’s long-established doctoral Program of Iranian Studies to attract and train new generations of experts exploring the many facets of this influential, ancient Iranian religion that continues to thrive today—further reinforcing UCLA as the premier destination for scholars working on ancient Iran.
“It is a great privilege to host this timely fellowship that so wholly complements the mission and aspirations of the Pourdavoud Center and its eminent eponym,” said M. Rahim Shayegan, Director of the Pourdavoud Center. “The Morvarid Guiv Graduate Fellowship will not only strengthen the study of ancient Iran at UCLA, but also ensure that future generations of scholars pursue research in the languages and history of this remarkable religion.”
Born in Iran, Morvarid Guiv and her husband Rustam Guiv were successful business people who helped Zoroastrian communities by building schools, low-income residential projects, and Zoroastrian community centers. When they immigrated to the U.S., they founded Zoroastrian community centers in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Graduate students awarded the fellowship will benefit from the presence of a strong faculty specializing in ancient Iran and the ancient world at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and from the unparalleled resources of the Pourdavoud Center, the first research institution in the Western hemisphere that aims to advance the knowledge of ancient Iranian languages, history and religions. Named for the late Professor Ebrahim Pourdavoud, a pioneering scholar of ancient Persia, the Pourdavoud Center aims to engage in transformative research on all aspects of Iranian antiquity, including its reception in the medieval and modern periods, by expanding on the traditional domains of Old Iranian studies and promoting cross-cultural and interdisciplinary scholarship. Professor Pourdavoud was the first scholar to translate the Avesta, the Zoroastrian sacred scriptures, into Persian.
It is with great joy and humility that I inform you that our (tiny little) company, FreedomOne International Executive Coaching was awarded theMost Impactful and Upcoming Life Coaching & Corporate Training Brand for 2018 by Global Brands Publications UK, at an international awards ceremony that was held in Macau recently. I must admit that we were very pleasantly surprised that we won amongst a very strong and established peer group, I am told.
There were representations from over 18 countries and 25 different categories of business lines.
I would like to express my deepest, deepest thanks and appreciation to all of you for your willing support, care and respect to us over the last few years. We could not have done this without each one of you and your trust in what we delivered for you. Thank you so much !
I was also a speaker at the event and spoke on ‘Branded for Success in the 21st century’ which was very well received by a diverse audience. The topic covered the 4 essential elements that companies would absolutely need if they aspire to go from being Good to Great in this modern age.
We so look forward to serving you in 2019.
CEO, FreedomOne International Consulting
Executive Coaching & Business Transformation,
Award winning Author / TEDx Presenter / Emmy Nominated co-producer
From: Meher Amalsad, Westminster, California, USALet’s Create An Inner Desire, To Honor Our Sacred Fire Banameh Ahura Mazda
My Dear Zartoshti Brothers and Sisters: Our mission is to promote our core essence ofGood Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds with Humanity. With this sense of our Zarathushti pride… Let’s begin by watching this 5-minute heart warming clip on
“The Secret of Holy Fire, Azar Goshnasp”
This is a very ancient fire which is believed to be still alive by many in Azerbaijan – Iran .
This documentary endeavors to showcase this rare fortune to everyone who likes to know more about this Holy Fire, The great Pars, The power of mesmerizing Sassanid Kings and about our glorious Persian History in the past 2,500 years.
To date, Mona Sedaghat, the producer, funded $69,700 USD
for this documentary from her own personal funds.
The production of this documentary movie started in May 2018.
She has been working diligently with a well known History Professor of UCI, Dr. Touraj Daryaee and Mobed Zarrir Bhandara, the head priest of Zoroastrian Association Of California.
While the movie is at its completion stage, Mona has ran short of funds.
She is in urgent need of financial assistance from those who would like to become a part of this fabulous journey.
She also needs help to promote this movie by showcasing it at various Universities, museums, galleries, festivals as well as on prominent TV Channels across the globe.
The funds needed to complete this movie is $14,000 USD.
To date she has invested about $69,700 USD from her own personal resources.
If you would like to be a partial or full sponsor for this laudable project please contact:
The Gathas are the Heavenly songs of our Dear Prophet
Zarathushtra. These divine hymns in
essence, represent Zarathushtra’s communication with Ahura Mazda, in which the
Prophet enquires about various aspects of the corporeal and spiritual worlds
that embody the Almighty’s Holy Plan. It is through these Gathas that we learn
that Ahura Mazda ordained Zarathushtra to propagate our great religion and lead
The five Gathas address a wide variety of information,
which include, the creation of Nature, the concepts of Asha, Vohu Manah and the
Twin Spirits, the choices that mankind has to make between Good and Evil, the
expected outcome for the demons of the time, the punishment for the followers
of falsehood, and a slew of other material. The devotional ‘Manthras’ that Zarathushtra
prayed at the time to invoke the sacred Blessings from Ahura Mazda, is
sprinkled in different verses of each Gatha. These specific verses could very well be a
great source of divine prayers for us to recite as well.
To allow a true Zarathushti to pray these selected
sacred verses that are relevant to our daily lives, I have extracted these
verses from each Gatha and have compiled them in a PDF format. I have also provided the English translation
for each stanza, to help with the understanding of the meaning of each verse
for the reader. This translation is
based on “Gatha ba Maani” by Ervad Cowasji Eduljee Kanga, and “Divine Songs of
Zarathushtra” by Iruch Taraporewala.
I am well aware of the unfortunate degradation of our community members throughout the world, to shy away from following the tenets of our religion, let alone reciting our daily prayers. However, even if a handful of true Zarathushtis do get a chance to recite these verses, I will consider myself blessed by Ahura Mazda.
Garments are designed to promote ‘good thoughts, good words and good deeds’
Members of many different religions wear clothing that is specific to their faith and their patterns of worship. Members of the Zoroastrian faith, one of the world’s oldest religions founded in ancient Persia in the sixth century B.C., wear two special pieces of clothing: a sudreh and a kusti.
The sudreh is a white undergarment vest. There is a “v” pocket in front called the “giriban.” One has to collect as many good deeds as possible in this giriban. A person wearing it is considered to be the keeper of the pledge to do good (kissaai-karfa). The fabric has to be clean, and a Zarathusti (another name for a Zoroastrian) wears the sudreh after taking a daily bath.
The second item of clothing, the kusti, represents the 72 chapters of one of the holy Zoroastrian books. It is woven of lamb’s wool and has tassels on both ends. It is wound around the waist three times to represent the good thoughts, good words and good deeds to be performed by the wearer. It is placed around the waist after the sudreh is put on. It is knotted twice, once in the front and once at the back. This sets a binding commitment to the Zoroastrian creed.
The sudreh is put on after a cleansing bath without any prayers, but donning the kusti requires the help of prayers. These prayers are found in the Khordeh Avesta, the daily prayer book of the Zoroastrian faith. “Khordeh” means “god” and “Avesta” is an ancient language of the Persians in which the book is written. Hence it is the “language of god.”
A child begins wearing the sudreh and the kusti during the initiation ceremony of the navjote (newly born). Traditionally this ceremony is performed at the age of 15, which is considered to be the age of reason or coming of age. One must have the capacity, maturity and training to make responsible choices, and to take responsibility for decision-making and judgments. Before the navjote ceremony, these things are the responsibility of parents. During the navjote ceremony, the child makes a pledge to abide by the tenants of the faith, a covenant (a pledge) that Zoroastrians will renew every time they recite the kusti prayers as they wrap the kusti around the waist.The Zarathusti initiate must have the capacity to enter the faith with this pledge and be responsible and accountable for every thought, word and deed.
According to the Zoroastrian faith, one is endowed with a good mind (vohu manah) at birth, to be used for good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The good is referred to as “spenta menuy,” and the evil as “angrey men,” according to the Avesta texts.
Cowsie Malva lives in Redlands. A retired school teacher, Malva is a member of the Redlands Area Interfaith Council and a Zoroastrian priest.
Ruby Hall prides its reputation in medical tourism Pune-based Ruby Hall Clinic is among the largest multi-speciality medical facilities in Western India. It has been in the space for over five decades. Ruby Hall Clinic, CEO, Bomi Bhote, shares his views with Pankaj Joshi. He talks about the drivers in the sector and where the company looks for growth.
Professor Almut Hintze FBA, Professor of Zoroastrianism and Co-Chair SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies, London, along with her colleagues Ms. Celine Redard, Mr. Benedikt Thomas and Mr. Kerman Daruwalla, presently at Navsari were keen to visit some villages in South Gujarat Navsari to see for themselves and understand the harsh conditions in which many of our Zarathushti brothers and sisters live and the work the WZO Trusts are doing to bring them into the mainstream of society.
Two members of Team WZO Trusts at Navsari accompanied Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues on a day trip to a few villages on January 30, 2019. We are pleased to attach some photographs taken during their visit.
WZO Trusts express their gratitude and are very grateful to Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues for their interest and having taken the time and trouble to visit some of the villages for firsthand knowledge.
WZO Trusts have since 1991 impacted the lives of 489 families in 198 villages, having facilitated their transition from abject poverty and back into the mainstream of society.