XYZ Stepping Forward – An Appeal

An Appeal…

Dear members of the community,

Our organisation – XYZ is organising a MAD Initiative (Making A Difference) called XYZ STEPPING FORWARD which is a Shoe Collection Drive on Sunday, 2nd October 2016.

Our Xtremely Young Zoroastrians along with friends, family and well-wishers will be going to 21 different colonies and baugs in the city only between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm to collect all types of footwear, i.e. shoes, slippers, sandals etc. which are in wearable condition. If you do not have anything to donate, we are also accepting donations of Rs. 200 for a new pair of shoes for the needy.

These shoes will then be sorted and sent to NGOs like Hamara Footath, Greensole, Angel Xpress Foundation, Oscar Foundation and others to be distributed to people in need and improve their lives.

We at XYZ are overjoyed that so many baugs, colonies, gymkhanas and associations are helping this cause and also appreciates the support of the Scout Groups and other organisations. We especially thank the PARSI TIMES for spreading the message to all their readers over the last month. We hope that the children of our small community bind us together and work as one to make a huge difference to the people in need.

While reading this message, we want you to know that you can also help in any of the 3 following ways:

    Please give as many pairs of shoes as you can. Please tie the shoes with a rubber band or string and hand it over to the kids or drop it off at the collection centers.

A donation in cash or cheque can also be made for new shoes.

    Make the conscious decision to come down to your colony and help with the collection process for only 1 or 2 hours.

    If you are unable to do the above, we still hope that you can forward this message to others in the community and Make A Difference.

This may be an XYZ Initiative but we hope that every Zoroastrian comes together and makes a change as you too are an Xtremely Young Zoroastrian within. This is not about your social or civic responsibility. This is about Being Better Parsis.

Warm Regards,

Hoshaang Gotla
Founder, XYZ



The first official Zoroastrian temple opened its doors in Sulaimani on Wednesday. Photo: Sartip Osman/Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Zoroastrians in the Kurdistan Region hope that their first official temple in the region, opened on Wednesday, will provide the right environment to “reintroduce” Kurds to their ancestral religion.

Awat Hussamaddin Tayib, the chief of the followers of the Zoroastrians in the Kurdistan Region—she calls it Bashur, Southern Kurdistan, in Kurdish—told Rudaw English that dozens of Kurdish people are returning to Zoroastrianism, but that some keep it secret out of fear.

Zoroastrianism was a dominant religion in the region that was largely lost following two major historical military campaigns, Tayib explained, one during the time of Alexander the Great and the other during the Islamic campaign which brought much of present-day Middle East under Islamic rule in the seventh century.

Today, some followers of Zoroastrianism are afraid to publicly practice their religion.

The war against the Islamic State, Tayib said, is on the Kurdistan border. She fears that some Islamists might not be happy about the rise of her religion.

The Zoroastrians opened their first temple in the Kurdish city of Suleimani on Wednesday. They lit a fire and played the frame drum or daf to celebrate the occasion, two elements of their rituals.

Tayib takes pride in her religion because she can, like her male counterpart, run the affairs of her fellow Zoroastrians “without any gender discrimination.” In our religion, she explained, we only talk about human beings, and humans by nature do not recognize gender roles.

Tayib, who was living in Europe until four years ago, is the representative of the Zoroastrians at the Kurdistan Region’s ministry of religious affairs. She assumed the position after Zoroastrians received official recognition in 2015.

Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion which grew to popularity in present-day Iran and some parts of Iraq and then spread to the rest of the world.

Zoroastrians are best known by their religious motto “Good Thoughts, Good Acts, and Good Deeds”. They believe in one God, that the world is divided between the good, represented by fire or light in their rituals, and the devil, and a day of judgement.

Many of its adherents in Kurdistan believe the founder of the religion, Zoroaster or Zardasht as it is called in Kurdish, was a Kurd and he spoke a variation of Kurdish language called Avesta.

Kurdish Zoroastrians believe that the Kurdish dialect of Hawrami, still widely spoken in Kurdish areas in Iran and Iraq, has many similarities to the ancient language.

Hawramis believe that the language has remained largely intact due to the limited contact they had with the outside world. Their mountainous areas kept them safe from foreign rule for much of their history.

Tayib said Avesta language is faced with extinction. She does not speak the language but, in an effort to preserve the language, she and members of her congregation are studying it.

Tayib could not give an exact number of Zoroastrians in the Kurdistan Region as some followers do so only secret for “their own safety or social considerations,” but she estimated it could be in the hundreds of thousands.

A 2006 report by the New York Times put the number of Zoroastrians worldwide at 190,000 at the most.

More photos from Sartip Osman of Wednesday’s opening celebration can be seen here.

Free Education at Batha School, Panchgani

Good morning. I think you are aware that I am working with  S M Batha High School Panchgani as Director education and holding additional charge of principal. Once this school had many Zoroastrian students Boyd and Girls.

New Trustees are putting their best to revive it’s original glory.

We have started School Improvement Program in 2014. We brought in many changes. Some of them are, we developed infrastructure, developed in house curriculum, sports and we are recipients of many awards in inter school activities in sports, academic curricular activities at Taluka, District and regional levels.

Our next goal is to admit Zoroastrian students in our school. We will be meeting Parents in Mumbai on first October, 2016 at Sethna Agiary Hall Tardeo, opposite Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai at 10:30 am. Kindly guide Parsee parents desirous of admitting their wards to S M Batha High School Panchgani. The trustees are willing to render financial support to deserving students. We have excellent academic support and well developed Sports.  Looking forward to your support.

Thanking you in anticipation.

With warmest regards.

Mrs. Bhavnagri

Volunteers needed

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Astad Deboo to perform with Manipuri drummers in Paris

As part of Namaste France festival, contemporary dance icon Astad Deboo will collaborate with Manipuri drummers at France’s Opera Bastille
He turns 70 next year, but there’s no stopping Astad Deboo. A pioneer in the field of Indian contemporary dance, he has been invited to perform at the Namaste France festival in Paris. The 75-day festival kicked off on September 15, and Deboo’s 14-member troupe will perform on October 3. Deboo is known for his masterful technique of blending folk, traditional and contemporary styles with theatre.’
A still from a previous performance of Rhythm Divine II: River Runs Deep, which Deboo will present in Paris. Pic courtesy/Amit Kumar
A still from a previous performance of Rhythm Divine II: River Runs Deep, which Deboo will present in Paris. Pic courtesy/Amit Kumar

The excitement evident in his voice, he says, “This is the first time ever that a contemporary dance troupe from India has been invited to represent the country on such a large stage. It is a dream to be performing at the Opéra Bastille, which is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.”

Deboo will be collaborating with the acclaimed Pung Cholom drummers of Shree Shree Govindajee Nat Sankirtan, Manipur, to perform a piece titled Rhythm Divine II: River Runs Deep. The dance exponent has a long-standing association with the group, having worked with them for over 10 years.

“We received the invitation only six weeks ago, and didn’t have the time to choreograph a new piece. This is why we’re going with Rhythm Divine II, which is a tried-and-tested routine. However, this is the first time it is being presented outside India,” adds Deboo, who will be returning to France after 20 years. The 85-minute performance gathers tempo slowly, ending in a flying crescendo and, in Deboo’s words, is almost spiritual.
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The drummers of Shree Shree Govindajee Nat Sankirtan. Pic courtesy/Amit Kumar

After the Paris performance, the troupe will perform in Lisbon, Portugal, and then move on to Belgrade, before returning to India. Although he has been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1996) and the Padma Shri (2007), Deboo feels that the Indian classical dance community has sidelined him.

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Interpreting Tagore, a previous production

“Earlier, big venues such as these would invite only classical dancers, not contemporary folk. But now, the atmosphere is right internationally. After 47 years of dancing professionally, this feels good. My persistence has paid off. I’ve found success,” he ends.

Feathers in his cap
> Astad Deboo has performed at the Great Wall of China, with Pink Floyd in London, and at the 50th anniversary of the American Dance Festival.
> Pierre Cardin commissioned him to choreograph a dance for Maia Plissetskaia, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet.
> Deboo has performed before the royal families of Japan, Sweden, Bhutan and Thailand.
> He has also been a part of prestigious dance festivals in France.

By Shraddha Uchil | Mid-Day, 22-Sep-2016

Also read: Life and times of Astad Deboo

Udvada – A Photo Journey

Each visit to Udvada is a refreshing experience for the soul. This time, however, I thought I would capture the flavor of Udvada on camera, to share with those who have not been able to make it there for a while. I took a stroll one evening and entered a few houses the next evening. And this is what I got back to share. Savor the pics one by one, click on them to see the bigger picture and feel free to zoom in for greater detail. Each one is a delight. Copy them, share them, print them and enjoy them whichever way you would like to.

Most of the pics are on my basic Sony camera which is now 5 years old and shows no signs of retiring.

Let’s start with the roads. Most of the roads look deserted, with minimal traffic, but the noticeable difference is in the availability of autos at the Chowk. You will recognize them all. So here goes …….

Protect Our Heritage


As reported in Iran’s Amordad News of September 3, 2016 and an incident captured in a video, there has been an incident of defacement of a Fravahar symbol by a mullah in a from the wall of the Town Hall in the city of YAZD.  Iranian Zarathushtis (Zoroastrians) are collecting at least 10,000 signatures on their on-line petition to be submitted to the Iranian government to stop this kind of action.  I was informed about this by an Iranian Zarathushti who is in contact with fellow Zarathushtis in Iran.

Please visit   to see the on-line petition and add your name on it.

The government of Iran is sympathetic to it, and would like the request to come from Zoroastrians.
With the president of Iran in New York, we need to collect  as many signatures as possible and I urge you to do so personally  and disseminate to your network

I have signed the petition.   Please visit the website and check it out for  yourself

Please forward this to your family and friends after you have signed it.


Maneck Bhujwala

National Symposium on the Parsi Contribution to Literature & Culture


Yesterday (20 September 2016), I attended the National Symposium on the Parsi Contribution to Literature & Culture, hosted  by the Sahitya Akademi and the Department of English, University of Mumbai at the majestic Pherozeshah Mehta Bhavan at the Kalina Campus at  Mumbai University.

It was a veritable treat for the intellect – an intellectual feast. Such illustrious personalities and such positive vibrations throughout the day.

Starting with Gitanjali Chaterjee, Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, Pheroza Godrej for the inaugural. The day included speakers such  as Murzban Shroff, Keki Daruwalla, Arundhati Subramaniam, Shernaz  Cama, Nilufer Bharucha, Shobha Ghosh, Coomi Vevaina(in absentia), Cyrus Broacha, Pearl Pastakia, Novy Kapadia, Mala Pandurang and Kurush Dalal.

The language, the intellect, the erudition and the wealth of talent of the community in the literary field was just to be seen to be believed.  Makes all of us feel so proud. Here’s wishing we could organize more such events and  grow our stature

I will be posting some of the presentations made by the speakers – watch this space.

As one speaker remarked – there is much more to Parsipanu than fighting!!


For a Report by Rohinton Dadachanji in Jame Jamshed – Click Here