For over two decades, the ZTFE has been lobbying the UK Government to include a Zoroastrian representative as part of the faiths and belief groups at the annual National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph, Whitehall, on Sunday closest to 11th November.

I am glad to report that on Wednesday 17th October, the UK Government website, link below, reported that Zoroastrians will be represented from this year on Sunday 11th November 2018, being the centenary of the WWI Armistice.

This breaking news was reported in the press, including the The Times, Wednesday 17th October 2018, on page 25, as attached. Also the Business Standard in India, as pasted below.

It should be noted that this happy outcome would not have been possible without the relentless campaigning of our patron Lord Karan F Bilimoria CBE on behalf of our community. We must recognise and record our thanks!

Also our gratitude to the Faith Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), for pursuing this matter with his counterpart at the Department of Culture, Sports and Media (DCMS).

Best wishes

Malcolm Deboo
President – ZTFE

Click Here for the link to the UK Government Website


Trains to halt at Sanjan Station



In order to facilitate members of Parsi community to attend the celebration of their Historic Annual Sanjan Day, Western Railway will provide stoppage of 2 minutes to Train No. 22953/22954 Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Gujarat Express and Train No. 12921/12922 Mumbai Central – Surat Flying Ranee Superfast Express at Sanjan railway station on Friday, 16th November, 2018 for one day only.

CPRO, Western Railway forwarded by Mehernosh Fitter +919892301884🌹🙏

GWG – Mobed Welfare Scheme

Global Working Group (GWG)

Proposed Scheme for Welfare of Senior Citizen Mobeds


The Global Working Group (GWG), at their annual meetings, have decided to extend financial support to Mobeds, who having catered to the spiritual needs of the community, unfortunately in their old age continue to subsist in economically challenged circumstances.

The Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have taken the initiative and successfully managed to convince a foreign based corporate to commit financial support for this proposal.

It has been decided by GWG – ZCK HK, to extend financial support to:

  1. Economically challenged Mobed Couples and Mobeds who are single or widowed, 60 years and over whose total income is less than Rs.50,000 per month.
  2. Economically challenged widows of Mobeds, 60 years and over whose total income is less than Rs. 25,000 per month.

The WZO Trust Funds have been requested to compile a Pan India list of Mobeds who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above and are interested in receiving support, which will be disbursed on a quarterly basis.

Interested applicants will need to make available two passport size photographs, and should it be thought necessary, to make available bank pass books and other relevant documents for verification.

As the intent is to launch the proposed scheme from the quarter Jan / March 2019 onwards, Mobed couples, single or widowed Mobeds and widows of Mobeds, meeting the eligibility criteria and interested in receiving the support may please write immediately mentioning age, income, attach two photographs of each applicant and send the same to the address below, no later than November 30, 2018:

The WZO Trust Funds,
C-1, Hermes House,
Mama Parmanand Marg,
Opera House,
Mumbai 400 004.

In Memory Of A Parsi Philanthropist


Located in Karachi, Jamshed Road was established in 1922. Stretching between M.A. Jinnah Road and Jail Road, most of the houses that once stood on Jamshed Road have been demolished and replaced by high-rise apartment complexes and commercial enterprises, such as auto repair workshops, banks and grocery stores.

Jamshed Road is named after Jamshed Nusserwanjee, a prominent Parsi philanthropist of his time. Fondly known as ‘the Builder of Modern Karachi’ Nusserwanjee was the first mayor of Karachi and the president of Karachi Municipality where he served for 12 years and transformed the city into a great and important metropolis. He also developed a first cooperative housing society (known as Jamshed Quarters) which is located there, catering to the city’s growing middle class. What is more is that he was a close friend of Mr Jinnah.

Jamshed 2As you drive down Jamshed Road, you will see remnants of small houses built in classic British colonial architecture. Not only that, once you step off the road, you will see quarter-like houses that were once used by the officers and government employees in the Raj period, one of them is known as 1865, which according to the residents, was used as a storage place for arms and ammunition by the British army .

jamshed-1.jpgJamshed Road is home to a string of desi cuisine, which offers biryani, haleem, nihari as well as samosas and pakorays. A few bakeries are also located there for lovers of all things sweet. Recreational avenues are limited to a few parks. However, if you go to the adjacent M.A. Jinnah Road there you will find several parks, educational institutions, healthcare facilities as well as shopping and recreational avenues, in addition to the well-known iconic Quaid’s mausoleum, Islamia College and TDF Ghar.

Although traffic, hustle bustle and rapid commercialisation can take its toll, Jamshed Road still retains its old-world charm.



Irreplaceable Parsi community of Jamshedpur

The relationship of the Parsi community with the steel city can be dated back to the days when the city was just in its cradle. Tata Steel plant was set up in 1907 and the first group of Parsis arrived in the city around 1908.

With the setting up of the steel plant in Jamshedpur, a large number of Parsis moved to the city and till today have remained an integral part of it.

The first group of Parsis to arrive in the city was Ratansha Rustom Modi, Ratan Barucha and Jamshed Dastur. The trio was working at Hotel Taj in Mumbai, when Sir Dorabji Tata, first chairman of Tata Steel himself appointed them to serve at Tata Steel (then Tisco).

When Ratansha Rustom Modi, Ratan Barucha and Jamshed Dastur arrived they used to stay at tent houses built at Sakchi. The area where today Jamshedpur Eye Hospital is located used to be place where tents were built for residence of the workers.

“The first group of Parsis that arrived in the city used to stay in tents. When my grandfather arrived Ratansha Rustom Modi arrived the area around Sakchi was basically jungles. People used to travel in groups only. But as the company progressed the city also started developing and the community played key role in the progress. The Parsis share a rich long legacy with the Steel City,” recalled Dicky Mody.

Mody, who retired from Tata Steel as head, management development said that his grandfather was first Indian head of the stores department at Tata Steel. He is the third generation to serve in the company. During the 1930s the G-Town Area in Bistupur was a hub of the Parsi community. Senior members of the community in the city recall the days when Parsis dominated a major part of the Tisco quarters from N-road to Q- road in Bistupur. Those were the days when there were over 3,000 Parsees in the city, but today the number has come down to a mere 200 to 250.

Eighty-one year-old KC Wadia said that the members of Parsi community feel proud of their rich legacy. He said that the Parsis from Surat, Navsari, Billimora and Mumbai came and settled here. They have preserved their culture and tradition and Fire Temple is the best example.

“The past two decades have brought about a major change in the demographic pattern of the community in the city. Children started moving out for higher education, and post marriages started settling in metros. However, though few families are left here but still we are proud of our culture and heritage,” he said.

Today, most of the younger lot, born and brought up in Jamshedpur, either live abroad or have moved to Mumbai. The city has a number of Parsi ladies who are serving as leading educationists in the city.

A random survey in the city reveals that most of the Parsis are either retired or in the teaching profession. And those who have stayed back are either working with the Tata group or are here due to business interests in the city.

The community has been central to Jamshedpur’s history and development for over a century. In fact, the Parsi community has been shaping the course of the city.

““In our city (Jamshedpur) the members of the community are left in few numbers since many members have settled in metros or abroad. There was a time when the community was in large number but the times have changed and younger generation is keen for greener pastures.

Though we are less in number but we still follow Zorastrian way of life that believes in “good thoughts, good words, and good deeds,” noted another member of the community who wished not to be quoted.

Sunday, 14 October 2018 | Parvinder Bhatia | Jamshedpur


World Egg Day: What the eeda? Understanding the Parsi love for eggs

From tomato per eeda to fried kera per eeda, we try to analyse the unending love affair which Parsis have with eggs.


A Parsi dish prepared with mangoes and eggs at Soda Bottle Opener Wala. (Source: sbowindia/Instagram)

Eggs play a starring role not just in Parsi cuisine, but in Parsi customs too. In Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel, The Crow Eaters when a newlywed Parsi couple enters their house, a number of rituals are performed and in what is a prominent step, the mother of the bride breaks a raw egg on the floor after circling a silver tray around the girl’s head seven times. Not just at weddings, “a similar practice is performed during Diwali too. An egg is drawn around the main door or entrance to the house” says Kainaz Contractor of Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu. “The use of eggs in a wedding and navjote celebration is mainly to ward off bad luck, calamity or the evil eye and to bring good luck.”

But has it always been the case, or is the Parsi obsession with eggs a recent phenomenon?

Turns out, this egg mania finds its roots in ancient Iran. According to Contractor, “in ancient Iran and in the entire Caucasian region, eggs were seen as a symbol of fertility and new life”, which is the reason behind eggs becoming a key part of Parsi cuisine.

As a practice integral to their customs, Parsis are supposed to observe abstinence on the eleventh month of the Parsi year, Bahman, when they do not eat meat – yet, eggs are allowed at this time. “The month of Bahman is the equivalent of the Christian Lent. Zoroastrians abstain from eating meat. Since vegetables were limited in variety and availability, fish and eggs became the mainstays of the month.” Even if vegetables have long surpassed these limitations with respect to both availability and variety, eggs never left the Parsi plate.

Contractor also believes that from a culinary point of view, eggs are a major part of Parsi cuisine because they are “very strong believers that any dish can be made better with eggs, especially vegetables, making it more appealing to children and hardcore meat lovers. In fact, one of the signature starters at our joint is a crisp-fried egg topped on spicy kheema pao and egg and cheese balls with mashed potatoes and spring onion.”

However, culinary anthropologist Kurush Dalal feels that the very concept of associating Parsi cuisine with (mostly) eggs is what is a classic case of “overgeneralisation”. “Eggs are well packaged and have a good protein content. That is why they find their place in Parsi food. It is nothing new. It is an absolute misconception that Parsis break an egg into almost everything. You will never find eggs in Dhansak or Patra ni Machi”, he explains.

Written by Priyanjana Roy Das

Click here for the original article in Indian Express

Tata Group history is also the history of Indian industry

The history of a behemoth that is also the history of Indian industry


T.R. Doongaji hails from Nagpur, the place where Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata started his first venture, Empress Mills, in 1877. When he was around six years old, Doongaji’s cousin would take him to the fire temple where, before entering, he would ask him to touch his head to a bust of “the founder” placed on a pedestal. “I did what he asked me to,” says Doongaji. “Today, I realise that my entire identity is this name.” A J.N. Tata scholar, he spent 52 years (42 in executive capacity) with Tata Group and was managing director in three group companies.

Article by Rachna Tyagi | TNN

A few years ago, some politicians in Nagpur wanted to rename the convocation hall of Nagpur University, the J.N. Tata Hall, to a local leader’s name. A friend from Nagpur called Doongaji, asking if he knew about it. Doongaji dug into the Tata Central Archives to see how the hall was given the name. “We found that the Empress Mills Nagpur had contributed to the funding of the hall, and we had the complete record. We recently won that case in the High Court. I will not allow anybody doing anything with Tata’s name or property,” says the proud Parsi.

Few companies command this kind of loyalty from its people. And, Doongaji attributes it to the leadership of Tata Group. “Between the founder and Cyrus [Mistry], there have been four chairmen—three were knighted and one is a Bharat Ratna,” says Doongaji. “How many groups can claim that quality of leadership?”

It all started when Jamsetji bought a ten-acre piece of marshy land from the Nagpur king and set up Empress Mills. (It was registered in Bombay in 1874 as Central India Spinning, Weaving and Manufacturing Company Limited. Jamsetji had started a trading company in 1868.)

Jamsetji did not want his employees to work in the squalid conditions that he had seen in Lancashire’s cotton mills. So, at Empress Mills, he ensured proper ventilation and had an apparatus installed for humidifying air. Sprinklers were installed to reduce damage by accidental fires. He also set up a provident fund scheme, the first of its kind in India, and an accident compensation fund.

When Jamsetji returned to Bombay, he had made enough money and he turned his attention to purchasing property. Soon, he became one of the wealthiest men in the country. He then began investing in the industrial future of India and drew up plans for many ambitious projects.


The first family: (Standing from left) Jamsetji Tata’s younger son Ratan, Jamsetji and Ratan’s wife; (sitting from left) Jamsetji’s wife Hirabai, Dorabji’s wife Meherbai and Dorabji.

During a visit to the US, at the behest of industrialist George Westinghouse, Jamsetji saw the hydroelectric project at the Niagara Falls. Jamsetji had been planning a hydroelectric project in India and the visit firmed up the decision. In the Lonavala and Khandala areas of the Western Ghats, which gets one of the heaviest rainfalls in the world and has the right kind of soil, valleys and slopes, he began the work for the Tata Hydroelectric Supply Company. Gigantic pipes forced water to the foot of the mountain at Khopoli, where at the power house, it would be converted into electrical energy. This project turned out be a game-changer, as it provided electricity to the growing city of Bombay.

Tata Hydroelectric Supply Company was registered as a public concern on November 7, 1910, and it commissioned the project on February 11, 1915, when Lord Willingdon, the governor of Bombay, inaugurated it. “Today, the major chunk of our power is being supplied to industries, hospitals and residences,” says Rajesh G. Naik, head of operations and maintenance, Tata Power. The total capacity of the plant is 447mw.

A big attraction at the project is the 14-acre garden in Lonavala. Jamsetji had a keen interest in gardens, and he brought home plants and seeds from all over the world. When the steel plant at Jamshedpur was being constructed, he wrote a detailed letter to his son, Dorabji, on the fast-growing variety of trees that he wanted him to plant on the site. Said Vivek Vishwasrao, head of biodiversity at Tata Power: “We fall in the northern part of the Western Ghats which is a major bio-diversity hotspot. Some of the species of plants, animals and birds found here are not found anywhere in the world.” Similarly, the beautiful Tata Baug, built in 1891 on 22 acres in Navsari, is maintained by Dr Rohinton Avari, who has a doctoral degree in landscape horticulture.

Jamsetji was an “omnivorous reader”, and a fan of Dickens and Thackeray. “He was fond of driving, a good judge of horseflesh, and duly proud of his well-bred Arabs, English Hackneys or Hungarians, and of his smart turnout. At times he enjoyed sailing and boating, and entertaining his friends at picnic parties,” writes Frank Harris in his book Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata: A Chronicle of His Life.

When it comes to ‘firsts’, however, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata’s achievements stand out. From obtaining India’s first pilot’s licence to starting the first cancer hospital in the country, J.R.D. Tata sowed the seeds for a better India. His father, R.D. Tata, was a nephew of Jamsetji’s mother, and his mother, Suzanne Briere, a French citizen. He was born in Paris and spent his childhood in France. After his father’s death, he succeeded him to become a director of Tata Sons at the age of 22.

J.R.D. became Tata Sons chairman in 1938, at the age of 34. The group had 14 companies then. When he stepped down in 1991, there were 95. But his contributions went well beyond Tata Group and its businesses. For instance, he helped Homi Bhabha set up India’s atomic energy programme. Then he helped Homi Bhabha’s brother Jamshed Bhabha set up the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai.


Matter of loyalty: T.R. Doongaji | Janak Bhat

The brightest star among the companies that J.R.D. started was Tata Airlines (which later became Air India), as it quickly earned a global reputation as one of the finest carriers. “J.R.D. would always say that Air India was his first love, and I would hope that he would say that Tata Steel was his second,” says J.J. Irani, former managing director of Tata Steel. “He would laugh at that, but he never gave me an answer.”

Irani says J.R.D. was parsimonious. “Even though he was at the helm of the Tata Group for 53 years, he never owned a personal plane,” he says. “The house he stayed in was not his own; it was rented.”

“J.R.D. was a man of principles,” says Irani. “One day he came to office looking glum, and at lunch he said, ‘I’ve lost my pen set. I was very attached to it.’ I made a note of it. A few days later, I was in London, and I dug it out, bought it and on my return gave it to him. His first impression was that of great happiness. ‘Yes, exactly like mine,’ he said. Then I saw his expression changing. ‘No, Jamshed, this would be breaking my principle of accepting gifts from officers,’ he said. I said, ‘But, no one would know.’ And he said something very important, ‘Yes, I know you won’t tell anybody, but I would know, and that’s not acceptable to me.’ He returned it to me. I still have it.”

J.R.D. worked through empowerment, and was a master delegator. “He created stalwarts like [Sumant] Moolgaokar, [Russi] Mody, [Ajit] Kerkar and [Darbari] Seth,” says Doongaji. “He operated through empowering people.”

Ratan Naval Tata, who took over from J.R.D. in 1991, had an entirely different task at hand. “Liberalisation suddenly happened when Ratan Tata took over, and Tata holding in Tata Steel was just four per cent. Ratan had the task of protecting it. So, again, consolidation had to happen. He actually insulated us from becoming sitting ducks for takeovers. It was a big task, and he has achieved that,” says Doongaji.

It is said that many of Ratan Tata’s business moves were not just cold, calculated decisions. “He is a person who uses his right brain a lot,” says R. Gopalakrishnan, author & corporate adviser at Mindworks and a former Tata employee. “Most managers are trained to use their left brain, to be logical, analytical and nobody uses only his left or his right brain. Artists and musicians are trained to use their right brain. Ratan Tata had an unusual combination, I found, where he would allow enough play for his intuition. Maybe coming out of his personality or his training in architecture.”

Ratan Tata spearheaded the group’s global pursuits. It was not just the big-bang purchases like Jaguar-Land Rover or Corus Steel, but also a well-thought-out expansion leveraging the group’s strengths. Tata Chemicals, for instance, had been in the business of salt and soda ash for decades. Then a time came when it was felt that it should start looking for markets other than India. “At that point of time, Ratan Tata had the view that we could be in counter-cyclical products or in counter-cyclical markets; all markets do not go into a downturn at the same time,” says R. Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals. “And, the second view was that if India was going to be open, everybody was going to come in. We were strong enough in India; are we not going to go and address them? Are we just going to be sitting here?”


Ratan Tata | Amey Mansabdar

Tata Chemicals’ strategy was to link the lowest-cost production centre in the world with the most attractive market through the best supply chain. Today, Tata Chemicals’ biggest operation is in Wyoming, US. “It is two and a half million tonnes of naturally mined soda ash. It is a brilliant acquisition which has played out very well for the company; it has been profitable from day one and continues to pay us dividends,” says Mukundan.

One of Tata Group’s biggest investments in India has been the Rs 25,000 crore steel plant in Kalinganagar in Odisha. It is nothing less than a new beginning for the steel giant. “With 3,000 acres of land, we are expanding from three million to eight million tonnes, and we can easily double that if we have the appetite, the money and the balance sheet,” says T.V. Narendran, CEO and managing director, Tata Steel. “It will be one of the most efficient steel plants in the world once we have completed the expansion at eight million tonnes.”

Tata’s future, however, is expected to be less dependent on the traditional businesses; but even the future businesses will be dependent on the Tata brand. “In the aerospace industry, credibility, quality and dependability are extremely crucial, and there is very strong resistance to move from one supplier to another because these things are critical,” says Banmali Agrawala, president (infrastructure, defence and aerospace), about how it got to do business with the likes of Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. “So, it is not just cost; there is a whole ecosystem of trust that goes with it. I think we have built that over the last seven years, and in many cases, we are now the single-source suppliers to many of the global OEMs.” Recently, for instance, Boeing was very happy that Tata delivered an order for the fuselage for the Apache helicopters ahead of schedule.

Agrawala says Ratan Tata is a rockstar. He recalls an incident when they were travelling together and talking about planes. “He knows a lot about planes,” says Agrawala. “He educated me about what kind of fighter aircraft featured in the movie Top Gun. I would ask him, how can you make out and he would say, ‘Look at this particular feature, and that’s how you make it out’.” He says Ratan’s mild demeanour is not to be mistaken for weakness. “If we are bidding for a project, we have got to win; if we are trying to buy something, we need to end up buying it; and we better not fail,” says Agrawala.

Guenter Butschek, who had a long career at Mercedes-Benz and a shorter one at Airbus, visited India in 2015 on Diwali week. He loved it, and concluded that if he got a job offer, he and his wife would be “ready for incredible India”. He got many offers, and it was Tata Motors that attracted his attention. He joined the company in 2016, and quickly realised that it had lost a little bit of track and market share in the past few years, and there was “some work required in order to stop the bleeding, to turn the company around and to get it back to its old glory”. “You cannot continuously bleed as a company while trying to reach this higher purpose as far as community is concerned,” he says.

Butschek was amazed at the unique corporate culture at Tata. “The most striking part is Tata’s culturally embedded commitment to the community,” he says. “To say that I am working for a company which is a huge economic powerhouse—but at the same time, a powerhouse as far as nation building and the community support is concerned—made it a very attractive offering.”

Butschek has a clear plan for Tata Motors. “The first quarter [of the next fiscal] is when you will be seeing the Harrier [compact SUV], in its five-seater version, on the road as a diesel version, and in September you are going to see the seven-seater. The premium hatch 45X, which has attracted the attention of many, is going to be in the market in the second half of the first quarter.”

Tata’s 150 years of existence has been the history of Indian industry. And there is only one reason it continues to be as relevant. “The first word associated with Tata is trust,” says Doongaji. “It is the most trusted name. In any country, what is the most important thing that makes you trustworthy? Currency.” Jamsetji Tata is the only businessman to appear on the currency of a country. “You will have Washington or Lincoln, but you will not find a businessman,” he says. “On his 175th birth anniversary, the government of India released a 0100 coin and a 05 coin with Jamsetji Tata’s face on it. What does it say? Epitome of trust, that’s us.


Only travel world to market Pakistan: Jimmy Engineer

LAHORE: Internationally -renowned artist, social crusader and peace activist Jimmy Engineer on Tuesday said that the sole purpose behind his goodwill tours of different countries and displaying his creative art is to tell the world that Pakistan has great people, great culture and great artists.

He said that displaying his artwork in foreign countries carries a message as lots of people do not know about Pakistan and this is the best way to convey the message.

Jimmy said this while delivering a talk about his life, art and Pakistan during the display of his creative work while interacting with visitors at his talk in Ontario. The event was organised by his cousin Neely Engineer and was a great success as hundreds of community members including Pakistan’s Consul General Imran Siddique, members of the Canadian parliament and councillors also showed up.

Jimmy said he wears four hats. He is a social worker, an artist, a human rights worker and a peace activist. “As an artist, I am an idealistic person, as a social worker I have to be very compassionate as I have to help the people, as a human rights activist I have to fight for the people’s rights so, I have to be aggressive and as a peace activist I have to talk about peace,” he said.

According to a message received here, Jimmy highly praised those who visited the venue of the exhibition to view his paintings. The visitors included Senator Salma Ataullah Jan, MP Iqra Khalid, MPP Khalid Rasheed, Consul General of Turkey in Canada Erdeniz, Flato Developments Inc President Shakir Rehmatullah, Canada-Pakistan Business Council President Samir Dossal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mindshare Workspace Mississauga Robert Martellaci and Ontario Zoroastrian President Neville Patrawala.

The artwork displayed in the exhibition, which has since concluded after running successfully for more than a week. It depicted not just colours of Pakistani culture but also the suffering of a person in need. Some of the artwork took onlookers to the countryside and paintings of the Mughal architecture.


Mission Safeer-Thirty Seven Days to Freedom

The documentary “Mission Safeer-Thirty Seven Days to Freedom” is the a true story of cargo ship Motor Vessel Safeer. (M. V. Safeer)
To its misfortune, Safeer docked in Kuwait and was unloading its cargo of rice, when Saddam Hussein, the then president of Iraq, declared war on Kuwait.
Though Safeer was registered in Panama, its owners and 26 crew members, were Indians. One of the owners was Capt Viraf R Kekobad.
Saddam declared, that all Indians were free to leave Kuwait,
as India had good relations with Iraq that time.
It was a mammoth task for the Indian government to get over 176,000 Indian expatriates out of a country, that had just been attacked.
Some left the country by crossing borders, some were airlifted by Air India planes and 722 Indians by ship,the only ship that was allowed to leave Kuwait, the M. V Safeer.
This 45 minute documentary is the story of the refugees,the crew, the owners and the Indian government who made this journey to freedom- possible.
It is also the story of heroism and teamwork.
Do watch this documentary on YouTube:

THE DOCUMENTARY A true story of heroism by the ship’s crew who faced tremendous odds in face of adversity and eventually managed to sail out of war torn region of Kuwait, with 722 Indians expatriates which included 265 women …

Related article https://zoroastrians.net/2018/03/08/captain-viraf-kekobad/

Thirty-seven days to freedom – Frontline