We are happy to announce a Navroze Gift for the community from the Government. Jiyo Parsi would like to make you all know about the new features of the Second Phase Jiyo Parsi and request you to circulate the same to your Anjumans before Navroz. Taking into account the problems facing young couples and families the Ministry of Minority Affairs has kindly agreed to help us even more financially. While we are grateful that now the Medical reimbursement has increased and delivery charges are included in the medical package we also have support for :
I. Creche and Child Care
Senior Citizen Reimbursement For Child Care
Support for Elderly Dependants living with a Family
This will ensure all financial support to help increase our community numbers in the New Year.
We are enclosing Flyers wish a request that you send soft copies to your mailing list as well as print in colour and put than up at Agiaries, Anjumans and Baugh Notice Boards.
For your convenience, we are also enclosing the Forms as mentioned below in Gujarati and English: (please click on each link to download them)
These have been uploaded on our websites and will be also circulated on Social Media. A WhatsApp attachment is being sent in this mail so that the Navroz Gift to the community information goes viral.
Please download this onto your Anjuman Groups and circulate widely. Since the Health of the Community Component calls for a great deal of monitoring and liaison with the community. the Jiyo Mobed component will be handled now by the Athornan Mandal of the priesthood with the WZO Trust Funds Mobed Scheme. However, Jiyo Parsi will continue to share information with the priests about the new Schema under Jiyo Parsi- 2 at these Workshops.
Please note that as the three new components are a Pilot Scheme, it will he for a limited number of 100 applicants each and on a first come first serve basis. Therefore kindly urge your community members to apply as soon as possible.
Aban Marker-Kabraji Conferred Tamgha-i-Imtiaz Award by Pakistan Goverment
We are thrilled to share the news that our dear friend and mentor Aban Marker-Kabraji has been conferred the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz award.
Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence), is a state-recognized honour awarded by the State of Pakistan. It is one of the highest decoration given to any civilian in Pakistan based on their achievements. The award will be conferred by the President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain in the investiture ceremony on PAKISTAN DAY on March 23, 2018 in Islamabad.
This award is a clear testimony to Aban’s outstanding contribution and dedication to the cause of environmental protection, sustainable development and nature conservation.
Born in Bombay India, Aban grew up in the small quaint Parsi outpost of Quetta in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. Her initial years growing up in Quetta formed the basis of everything she has been doing inlife since. Today as one of top Pakistani environmentalist on the world stage, Aban
brings this deep sense of rootedness, an understanding of her roots, religion and philosophy into her professional role as the Regional Director, Asia of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Aban oversees the functioning of over 100 environmental initiatives in 24 countries. In her role at IUCN she has the privileged position where she can “influence a country’s work with being a politician”.
Since 2013 Aban has also been the co-chair of the Zoroastrian Return To Roots program where she bring her vast knowledge, expertise and connections in creating meaningful and life-transforming experiences for young Zoroastrians from all over the world through travel to India.
“Ses” is the most prominent auspicious symbol among Parsis. It is a round metallic tray of varied shapes and sizes, present at all times in a Parsi house, especially on auspicious occasions. The Ses for general occasions is a small one and the Ses for special occasions, like weddings and Navjotes, is a big one.
The Ses has a wonderful collection of auspicious items in it:
▪Divo : Symbolises light – to dispel darkness and evil.
▪Paro / Soparo : It is a conical metallic utensil in which patasha and/or rock sugar (khadi sakar) is kept. It is a modification of the Iranian kalleh ghand, a cone of rock sugar wrapped in green gold foil, embossed with a Farohar motif. It’s reminiscent of the conical sweets wrapped in green paper in Iran till this day. – Symbol of sweetness.
▪ Pigani: It is a small metallic utensil (wine glass shaped) with a lid in which Kanku (vermilion) is kept to put an auspicious red mark/tila on the forehead. The Parsis generally put a vertical mark on the forehead of a man and a round one on the forehead of the woman. The former signifies rays of the sun, the latter signifies the moon. Rice is placed on to the red mark to signify plenty.
▪ Gulabaz: It’s a metallic sprinkler-cum-container, which has rose water (Gulaab-jal) in it. In Iran it was used to sprinkle on guests while welcoming them and saying: Khush amadid or “welcome”.
▪ Miscellaneous items: Coconut (a symbol of resourcefulness and Utility), betel leaves (paan), betel nut (sopari), almonds (badaam), dried dates (khaarak), rice, (symbolising fertility and productivity) curd and fish (fresh fish or sweet meat in the shape of a fish)(for good luck). There can be water for purity; eggs – life-giving force; sugar crystals (khari saakar) -sweetness; rose petals – happiness; silver and gold coins – wealth and prosperity are also placed. A garland of fresh flowers is twisted around the ses. Nowadays, metallic replicas of some of the above things are placed in the Ses instead of real ones.
At the time of the Navjote and marriage, a special Ses is prepared. The tray is bigger, since a special set of clothes are kept, which differ for a boy and girl. If the Navjotee is a boy, then shirt, pant, dagli, socks and shoes are kept. If the Navjotee is a girl, a sari is kept. This sari will be most probably the first sari that the girl would wear when she grows up.
Rewind to March 2017 when you received the most adorable picture of Baby Zarathustra in your inbox/Whatsapp messenger app. Yes, we are referring to the same viral picture that you couldn’t resist forwarding to everyone on your contact list for Navroz last year.
We caught up with Delzin Choksey, who we previously introduced to you, as the artist and illustrator of that viral image, and learned that she has even bigger news to share this year.
Delzin — a California-based Zoroastrian entrepreneur — is excited to introduce her latest venture, “Color and Learn – My First Zoroastrian Coloring Book” to Zoroastrians all over the world.
Delzin originally set out on this project as a way to introduce her own daughter Zinaya to Zoroastrianism through an activity most children thoroughly enjoy—colouring. But in time she recognized the need to compile her illustrations into a book and to make it available to every Zoroastrian parent around the world.
“Color and Learn” is an eight-page colouring book, that aims to introduce children to our culture and traditions by highlighting basic Zarathushti symbols like the Sagan Ni Ses, Farohar, Atash, etc. Printed on 8″ x 11″ premium quality paper the book is great for crayons and holds up well even to watercolours. It provides many hours of fun and encourages our young bawas and bawis to recognize as well as identify with all things Zoroastrian. For all you Sunday School teachers, this book also makes a fantastic addition to Sunday School programs for young Zarathustis.
Already in its second print run, Delzin’s book is currently a best-seller for her studio Crispy Doodles with orders from Zoroastrian Sunday school programs across the United States. The Crispy Doodles online store also features cute frames for Baby Zarathushtra and other gift ideas like personalized inspirational canvases for kids rooms, an ABC coloring book and her highly popular Baby Ganesha frames.
Find her book and other products in India at: bit.ly/crispydoodlesindia and in the U.S. and the rest of the world at: bit.ly/crispydoodles
The Jamshedi Navroze starts from 20th March 2018 at sharp
45 minutes and
When Sun enters in Aries sign (Mesh Rashi) acc. to Sayan (western Astrology).
The Jamshedi Navroze day is celebrated by Mazdayasni Zarthosti in a very special way. It does not fall on any of the Zoroastrian Roj – Mah calendar which we follow for our other religious ceremonies.
The day commences with the advent of spring when Sun enters the sign Aries when it reaches the Nothern Vernal Equinox which occurs around 21st March.
On this particular day the Khurshed Yazad shines with its full glitter and glory and spreads its sunshine (roshni) on this Geti (earth) abundantly.
On this auspicious day the following prayer is recommended in praise of Khurshed Yazad and to get his bountiful blessings.
In Havan Geh :
3 times Khorshed Neyayesh,
1 Meher Neyayesh and
1 Vispa Humata
The above order makes one set of prayer.
Likewise one should pray 3 such sets in the same order.
This will end up in reciting 9 Khorshed Neyayesh, 3 Meher Neyayesh and 3 Vispa Humata prayers in Havan Geh.
In Rapithwan Geh: 3 Khorshed Neyayesh, 1 Meher Neyayesh
Two sets of prayers in Rapithwan Geh, maintaining the above order. That means in Rapithwan Geh one will recite 6 times Khorshed Neyayesh and 2 times Meher Neyayesh. It is important to note that in Rapithwan Geh the Vispa Humata prayer is NOT to be recited.
Note: However when Havan Geh is recited from Hormazd roj of mah Avan till the last Gatha (Vahishtoisht) instead of Rapithwan Geh, (Second Havan Geh) one should follow the prayer set given above for Havan Geh, but only 2 times, and NOT 3 times.
In Uzirin Geh :
3 Khorshed Neyayesh,
1 Meher Neyayesh
Only one set as prescribed above is to be recited in this Geh. Thus in Uzirin Geh one would recite 3 Khorshed Neyayesh and 1 Meher Neyayesh. No Vispa Humata prayer in Uzirin Geh.
This set of prayers in the three different Gehs is to be recited only once in a year. It is highly recommended to a true Zoroastrian to do so and get the benefit out of it.
Some forgotten prayers
In our Mazdayasni Daen there is a wealth of prayers out of which a wise person can select some.
Yazdaan Panah baad.
Modern-day Bollywood divas Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone have established themselves as an international stars and, time and again, earned the appreciation for it too. However, that stardom is an extension of what they enjoyed in Bollywood. Long before they made their forway into Hollywood, there were many other Indian actresses who tried their hands at acting in international films. Some gave memorable performances, while a few others made us question our fandom. In focus, today, is a pioneering woman, Persis Khambatta, who belongs to the former set of ladies who gave us performances to cherish.
Persis was a former Miss India and model, who became an international sensation in 1979. She created history by appearing in the popular sci-fi film Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Lieutenant Ilia. For her character, Persis went bald in real life – a big deal for women in the 1970s. And, let’s not forget, she was also the first Indian to present an award at the Academy Awards.
Born in a middle-class Parsi family in 1948 in Mumbai – then Bombay – Persis first came into the limelight at the age of 13, through her appearance in a soap brand commercial. It wasn’t intentional at all. It happened after a well-known photographer from the city took her candid pictures and used it for this campaign. Thereafter, she was offered a number of modelling assignments. The Indian beauty, then, went on be the second winner in the Femina Miss India beauty pageant in 1965. After this, in the mid-60s, Persis became the third Indian to participate in the Miss World pageant in Miami. As per news reports, during this time, she was even offered a Bond film, but the beauty queen turned down the offer as she had promised her mother that she’ll return home. Now, that was the first version of the story. A few other news reports say Persis wanted to explore the Hindi film industry and hence, she returned.
Around the late 60s, she debuted in the Hindi film industry with Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein in the role of a cabaret dancer. But, soon after, Persis left for London to make a career as she found this industry unprofessional and boring. She went on to become a popular model in Britain and even worked in a bunch of international films thereafter –The Wilby Conspiracy, Conduct Unbecoming, Warrior of the Lost World and Mega Force.
At the age of 29, she bagged the challenging role of Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for which she had to shave her head. Her courage and talent paid off and she earned a lot of appreciation for her character. It was after the film’s success that, in 1980, she got the opportunity to present an award at the Oscars and became the first Indian to present an award at the prestigious award ceremony.
Persis passed away in 1998 of cardiac arrest – five years after her last acting appearance, which was on an international TV show titled Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
Farhang Mehr, Professor Emeritus at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, has died. He was 94. Since retirement, he had moved permanently to California, where he died on March 4, 2018.
Dr. Farhang Mehr was a professor of international relations at what is now the Pardee School from 1981 to 1997, teaching courses on the international politics of oil and Iranian history. With law degrees from Tehran University and the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from the University of Southamption, Mehr made a stellar career in business as well as public affairs in his native Iran. Prior to the revolution in Iran he held high office in the National Iranian Oil Company, in the Ministry of Finance, and led the national insurance company.
Before coming to Boston University, Farhang Mehr had taught at Tehran and National Universities and at the Military Academy in Iran. He was also President of the University of Shiraz in Iran for eight years. He served Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Vice-Prime Minister and Acting Finance Minister, and represented Iran on OPEC’s Board of Governors for 5 years.
He was also active in the Zoroastrian community, writing books and giving lectures to acquaint the world with Iran’s oldest religion. He served as the President of the Zoroastrian Anjuman of Tehran for 12 years.
Houchang Chehabi, Professor of International Relations and History at the Pardee School, recalls that “although the revolutionary authorities initially reappointed him in 1979 [as President of the University of Shiraz], he became a victim of later purges and had to go into exile in 1981″ and his “appointment as a professor at Boston University allowed him to reconstitute his life.”
Prof. Mehr leaves behind his wife, Parichehr Naderi, and three children: Mehrdad, Mehran and Mitra. A biography of his life, Triumph Over Discrimination, by Lylah Alphonse, was published in 2000.
Why people keep coming back to this 140-year-old institution.
Old is gold: Darius Dorabjee at the restaurant’s kitchen. (Source: Arul Horizon)
At 10.30 on a Tuesday morning, when we land up at the Dorabjee & Sons Restaurant in Camp, Pune, Darius Dorabjee is in the kitchen fretting over the mutton biryani he has just made — he wants it quickly off the chulha lest it is overcooked. He is also shooting off instructions to the staff, who are moving the food from the oversized kitchen to the large pantry. Business begins at 11.30 am — as it has for the past 140 years.
His great-grandfather, Sorabjee Dorabjee, started the restaurant in 1878. Back then, the Pune Cantonment area had one place to eat out, El Moretos, an Italian restaurant and bar, meant only for British officers and their families. “It had a strictly no-Indians policy. My grandfather seized the opportunity. He took up three adjoining houses on rent and started a bun-maska and chai stall. Soon, customers demanded he open a restaurant. In those days, Poona’s moneyed class had no restaurant to go to. That’s how Dorabjee & Sons restaurant started. Since my great grandfather knew only how to make Parsi food and we had no cooks or help, the restaurant automatically started serving only Parsi food,” says Darius, the 47-year-old fourth-generation owner, or “working partner” as he puts it, since the family is quite big and all members are “shareholders” in the restaurant.
Back then, the family bought a house across the road, so the women of the family could grind masalas at home and sift the rice, while the men cooked in the restaurant. “The women still don’t cook, the men do the cooking. Our entire family eats all meals at the restaurant till today. See, that’s how good the women have it,” says Darius with a laugh.
Sometime in the 1950s, folding metal chairs and wooden tables were brought in — until then, patrons sat on the floor and ate. A photo of a young Bal Thackeray in his early teens eating at the restaurant, seated cross-legged on the floor with his family, is a reminder of that era. Today, marble-top tables and plastic chairs are used but that is probably the only change the restaurant has seen in the last one-and-a-half century. “We are pretty archaic in our ways and we are proud of it. Our customers love it, they ask us never to change. I am a lazy fellow, so I am happy to oblige,” says Darius.
The food is still cooked on chulhas and the masalas are still added by a family member. Darius, who has manned the kitchen since he was 15 (when he was asked by his late father, Marzaban, to work for pocket money), says there has never been a day when a family member wasn’t in the kitchen. The menu has withstood change as well — it ranges from chicken and mutton pulao or biryani to dhansak, salli boti, farcha (chicken fried in eggs) and akuri on toast for breakfast, and desserts like lagan nu custard. In fact, the restaurant remains one of the few places in Pune to serve Ardeshir raspberry soda drinks, a legacy fast fading out.
But the prices have changed. The menus of the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s still occupies pride of place on the “wall of fame” at the restaurant entry. The 1940s menu has mutton chilly fry priced at two annas, today it is Rs 250. Back then, the chicken items were priced double that of mutton, the latter used to be the “poor man’s food”.
“A young man once came in and said that his father, a retired defence officer, wanted to meet me. He had the 1940s menu, but he lived in Chandigarh and would give it only to me. So I packed food and went to meet him. He gave it to me and told me so many stories of his association with us,” recalls Darius.
Spend an hour at the restaurant and it’ll be clear that it is this “association” with regulars which is at the heart of Dorabjee & Sons. From 80-year-olds throwing birthdays for the grandchildren at the restaurant, to a 96-year-old customer bringing his 94-old-wife on a bi-weekly date, these are the stories that make the restaurant a true icon of the old city of Poona.
The Parsi Gate structure has two pillars of Malad stone with concrete pedestals.
Mumbai: The Parsi Gate, a heritage structure located just opposite Taraporewala Aquarium at Marine Drive, will soon be restored by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The place is used by Parsi people to offer prayers to water.
The Parsi Gate structure has two pillars of Malad stone with concrete pedestals having a height of 4.97 metres. There are stone steps, which have access to seashore, enabling people to enter the sea for offering prayers.
According to civic officials, the structure is in damaged condition with top portion of the pillars dislocated from its original position. The pedestal of concrete is also damaged at many places. Both the pillars are damaged and require repairs and extensive cleaning. The pavement is uneven and has to be replaced with basalt stone for its identification. The stone steps are also eroded due to sea waves.
“Since Parsi Gate is a heritage precinct, we had to take no-objection certificate from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee for its restoration. We have sought details about the historical significance of the structure from the Parsi community. A plaque of information will be installed at the place,” said a senior civic official.
Maneck Dastur, a prominent Parsi citizen, said, “The structure was constructed long time ago even before Marine Drive was built. The Parsi donors, who built it, kept a small space there to offer prayers. We were lobbying to restore the structure, but the BMC said it would do it on its own.”
Noshir Dadrawalla, another prominent Parsi, said, “The place has got historical significance as Parsi congregate here once in a year to offer prayers to water that is seen as a keeper of wisdom and knowledge from the Zoroastrian point of view. The prayers are offered during the ‘Festival of Ava,’ which is celebrated to revere divinity of water. The pillars there represent part of the ancient Persian architecture.”
The estimated cost of restoration of Parsi Gate is Rs 12.46 lakh. The scope of work include fixing the top portion of pillars in its original position by providing steel pin for binding, repairs to the fracture stone, cleaning of stone, applying protective coat to prevent deterioration of stone surface due to high humidity and laying basalt stone flooring to match with pillar and steps.