Mehlli Gobhai moves on…

Mehlli Gobhai (1931-2018): An artist who approached the work of painting like a campaign

He came to his canvas with no feelings of certainty about what he wanted, with no pretense that it was a willing ally in the act of creation.

We were sitting in a Charles Correa-designed house, looking out at five acres of “cultivated wilderness” and talking about death and painting.

“Perhaps that’s why we create,” Mehlli said. “Because death is certain. And because we can’t believe it will happen to us, we react as children might. We try and throw something at the bogeyman, to scare him away. That something is art.”

Mehlli Gobhai, who died on Thursday morning at 87, was one of my closest friends. He was the man who taught me to eat cheese that smelled different and lamented my lack of a drinking habit. He taught me to look at modern art, he taught me how to respect the sacred geometry of a Chola bronze. He taught me the correct way to tie my shoelaces and he taught me to shake out my shoes before I put them on in the country lest a scorpion had sought the acrid shelter of my footwear for the night.

He was one of the greatest of abstract expressionist painters we had, no, one of the greatest painters we had and he took his work seriously. So seriously in fact that he often waited for a painting to begin happening for months. And then there would be the first approach, the black thread taken from his mother’s sewing box. This would be pinned carefully to the canvas and then he would sit back and light a Gaulois and consider what had happened to space and time and him and us by this simple intervention. When it seemed as if this might be able to bear the burden of what he wanted to magic into being, he would begin the work of painting.

But it wasn’t work; it was a campaign. Mehlli Gobhai approached his canvas with no feelings of certainty about what he wanted, with no pretense that it was a willing ally in the act of creation. He would often speak of what he was doing in terms that were spiked with violence. “I must brutalise that section,” he would say. “I must rough that up a bit.”

The early years

Mehlli Gobhai was born into an India that was still under British rule and went to Bombay’s Saint Xavier’s High School and Saint Xavier’s College. He even started a degree in law before he moved on to join J Walter Thomson to work in the creative department. There, he drew some magnificent roughs for the Air India campaigns being managed by the legendary Bobby Kooka. Kooka looked at the roughs and declared they didn’t need any refining.

He moved for a while to England where he lived and studied in London before moving to New York, a city that suited him perfectly. It was rich, it was vibrant with energy. But there was also his home by the Arabian Sea, Bombay, with its dramaturgy of monsoon cloud and rain greys; and the foothills of the Himalayas where creeks ran muddy brown and a water snake lurked in the pond where he drew his water. There he earned his money by working on a series of children’s books that Speaking tiger will bring out soon translated in a variety of languages: Punjabi, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.

Finally, he returned home and it was when he was having his first show at Gallery 7 in 1985 that I met him. He kept encouraging me to buy the papier mache creations that Pushpamala N had produced. We next met in 1994 when Ranjit Hoskote curated “Hinged by Light” for Pundole Art Gallery. I was a mathematics tutor then and worked in the area around his home on Carmichael Road. I would often drop in for coffee and cheese and endless conversations about everything from whether naïve art could really be naïve to the mathematics of Carnatic music. In the background, a painting would be burning quietly, its colours rich and strange and interior…can a colour be interior? On a canvas? You have to look at a Mehlli Gobhai work to see how that can happen.

He began to come to the Poetry Circle, enjoying working with words and having them critiqued. I think now of how Tagore said that art was a release because there were no expectations. But Mehlli took his writing seriously. Whether it was an ode to Bombay or a catalogue essay for his good friend the artist Sheetal Gattani, he worked out what he wanted to say and then sat down to work on it.

Untitled, 2007. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy: Gallery Chemould
Untitled, 2007. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy: Gallery Chemould

A big thing

A few years ago, a stroke knocked him over. When I went to see him, I asked: “How does the other guy look?”

“Don’t make a big thing out of it,” he snarled. Making a big thing out of anything, even if it was a big thing like a stroke, was a cardinal sin in the Gobhai theology. But a few days later when he began to slur some words, we went to see a doctor. We were sent to a neurologist. Peripheral neuropathy, one of them said. It was a cruel thing this disease. It took his hands from him and then his feet. It took his work from him. He was the man who had once wondered if his skill at life drawing was making his line glib and so he had shifted to his left hand and found that drawing came just as easily. Now he could not work with precision. And if he could not do exactly what he wanted to do, if he could not control everything, everything, he was not going to do anything.

He stopped working.

And then he began to withdraw. Just a little. The long phone calls became shorter and then telegrammatic. His wide circle of friends, from postmasters upcountry to aspiring artists, from kindergarten school teachers to egg ladies, shrank and shrank until it was a man in front of a television set with the images playing on and on, the hysteria of news, the accretion of meaningless detail. I tried to slow things down. Sheetal Gattani tried. His brother Cavas, a midwife of ideas in the United States and now felled by a similar stroke, tried. His nephew Dinshaw tried. But without the ability to lob another work of art in the face of time, Mehlli was having none of it.

Going away

Ten days ago, he began to experience respiratory distress. He was admitted to hospital. He had been there before and come back in a day or two. This time he would not return.

Ranjit Hoskote, noted art critic and cultural theorist, said: “Had Mehlli’s career trajectory been managed differently, or had he belonged to a later generation that benefited from globalisation, he would undoubtedly have been acknowledged as a key figure in the history of global abstraction. His art was not derivative of Western exemplars. Rather, it stood its ground beside Rothko, Newman and the other masters of Abstract Expressionism. In the specific context of Indian abstraction, also, Mehlli was unique. He made no concessions to the phantoms of landscape, or to inherited symbolism, or to the evocation of retinal reality, to which some of his confreres in Indian abstraction remained wedded. He was proud to describe his art as a ‘non-objective’ art. And in the late phase of his work, he experimented boldly with blurring the line between painting and sculpture, to produce results that were neither and yet more expansive than both. I used to speak of these as ‘image-objects’. They remain among his most compelling work. While many (and careless) observers believed that his work remained more or less similar across the decades, the reverse is true.”

Hoskote explained: “Any consideration of his oeuvre demonstrates the clear shifts from one phase to the next, the emphasis on the incised line yielding to a devotion to the saturation of colour as palimpsest, this yielding in turn to a sculptural interest in edge and mass. Too many in the art world saw him as a genial eccentric. Too few saw the driven, inspired nature of his artistic explorations.”



Captain Grit, Nari Contractor

Najum Latif (L) and Nari Contractor (R)


Nariman Jamshedji Contractor was born on March 7, 1934 at Godhra Gujarat by accident. His pregnant mother was coming on a train from Dahod in Gujarat to Bombay for delivery when all of a sudden she went into labour. Contractor’s uncle was the driver of the train. He arranged medical assistance and dropped her at Godhra as an emergency case. His father owned a distillery and Nari grew up in Nasik.

 After playing successfully for Gujarat, Nari Contractor made his Test debut against New Zealand in the second Test at Bombay December 2-7, 1955, under Polly Umrigar. Contractor came in to bat at No.7 and was caught behind the wicket by Eric Peterie off Anthony MacGibbon for 16.

 In the second Test at Delhi, Contractor was asked to open the batting. He says “I was not to open, but Vinoo Mankad could not make it to Delhi for the Test. During the train journey at Matheran station Polly Umrigar, our captain, said to me, ‘If I ask you to open tomorrow, will you?’ Now Polly was my coach at St Xavier’s College Bombay at that time, so he knew me closely. I had batted well in the first match for my 16 runs, but had I failed again I could have been dropped.”

 Since Nari Contractor was still a newcomer to the international scene, he remembered a conversation with C. K. Nayudu just before the Test. The great Nayudu had asked Contractor why he did not open? Nari replied that it was because he usually came in at No.3. Nayudu then guided him by saying that if the opener was out first ball then the No.3 batsman became the opener. This helped Nari to make up his mind and he agreed to open in the Delhi Test.

 He opened with Vijay Mehra and scored a polished 62, before being caught and bowled by John Reid. He had now become an opener. He says “I was a stroke player in those days, but later on I became a very defensive player because I started opening the innings. Every ball is a ball which can get you out and every ball is a ball on which you can hit a boundary.”

 In the fourth Test at Calcutta, opening with Vinoo Mankad, he was bowled for 6 by Hayes in the first innings and was bowled again by Hayes for 61 in the second innings. In the final Test at Madras he was to bat at No.7 but his turn did not come as India won by an innings and 109 runs. He also appeared against Australia in the third Test at Calcutta Nov 2-6, 1956 and was lbw Richie Benaud for 22 in the first innings and was bowled for 20 by Ian Johnson in the second innings.

He next opened with Pankaj Roy against the West Indies in the first Test at Bombay Nov 28 to Dec 3, 1958. In the first innings he was caught by Atkinson off Hall for 0 and in the second innings was run out for 6. In the second Test at Kanpur, he was lbw Sobers 41 in the first innings and made 50 in the second innings and was bowled by J. Taylor. He was the highest scorer in both the innings. He failed in the third Test at Calcutta as he was out lbw, Ramadhin 4 in the first innings and was bowled by Roy Gilchrist for 6 in the second innings.

In the fourth Test at Madras, he batted at No.4 in the first innings and was run out for 22. He opened in the second innings and was caught behind the wicket by Gerry Alexander off Gilchrist for 3. Playing the final Test at Delhi February 6-11, 1959, Nari Contractor was lbw Wesley Hall 92 in the first innings and was run out for 4 in the second innings.

Contractor then went on tour of England under the captaincy of D. K. Gaekwad. He was out cheaply in the first Test at Nottingham for 15 and 0 to Greenhough and Statham. His great moment came in the second Test at Lord’s June 18-20, 1959 where he faced the fiercest pace attack of Fred Trueman, Brian Statham and Allan Moss. He scored 81 out of a team total of 168.

He scored a neat 56 in the second innings being caught by Barrington off Rhodes at Old Trafford in the fourth Test. He then appeared against Australia in December 1959. In the first Test at Delhi. He was bowled for 41 by Alan Davidson in the first innings and was caught by Favell off Benaud for 34 in the second innings. He rates his knock in the second innings of the second Test at Kanpur when he was caught by Neil Harvey off Davidson for 74 as the best innings he played because India won the test by 119 runs and Jasu Patel took 14 wickets for 124 runs.

Nari Contractor was appointed the 13th captain of India against the touring Pakistan team under Fazal Mahmood. At age 26 he was the youngest ever captain of India. Initially he was made captain for only two Tests but was retained for the rest of the series. He proved to be a cautious and sober captain. The series was a dull affair as none was willing to take risks for fear of losing.

In the first Test at Bombay December 2-7, 1960, Pankaj Roy and Nari Contractor opened the innings after 3 p.m. But before break there was a false joy when Fazal bowled Contractor with a no ball. Fazal bowled only two overs before tea and brought on Mohammed Farooq.  Nari was caught by Javed Burki off Mohammed Farooq for 62. Earlier he was hit by Farooq on his pads with such an impact that he started hobbling. This handicapped his strokes and he tried to hook Farooq without coming in line with the ball and Burki took the catch. Contractor had batted for 245 minutes with four 4s.

In the second Test at Kanpur he was bowled by Haseeb Ahsan for 47. Haseeb again got him at Calcutta in the third Test when Fazal caught him off his bowling for 12 in the second innings. In the first innings Intikhab Alam had bowled him for 25. In the fourth Test at Madras Nari was caught by Intikhab off Haseeb for 81. Haseeb had taken Contractor’s wicket four times on the tour and was quite disturbing. In the final Test at Delhi he was unlucky to miss his century when he was caught and bowled by Intikhab Alam for 92.

As India’s captain Contractor took a decision to change the fixed pattern of same players sharing rooms. He started rotating the pairs so they could come to know each other better. More than strategy, Contractor rates man management as a vital aspect of captaincy. He also introduced team meetings at the end of the day’s play to discuss performances including his own but he received poor response.

My first meeting with 5′-8″ tall Nari Contractor who had worked for Western Railways, State Bank of India Bombay, Tata and Mafatlal, was at his home in Cusrow Baug in Colaba Mumbai in 2007. He was polite, accommodating and cheerful. I also met his wife Dolly who was lovely and very hospitable.

Commenting on the 1960-61 Pakistan series Nari said “Because I had played a lot on the matting wickets I could play Fazal. Fazal Mahmood was a great bowler and a very out-going person but he was not the Fazal of 1952 who had toppled India at Lucknow. He could swing both ways but had no speed and had curtailed his run up to a mere trot. However the batsmen showed respect to his accuracy and he would have been more successful if he had been supported from the other end. I feel he should not have made the trip. He only showed the glimpses of his old self in the Calcutta test where Fazal took 5 for 26.

Mahmood Hussain was quick but his action sent telegrams of a clear message that an in swinger was on the way. He did not bowl close to the wickets and could be easily read. He was not formidable and not much of a threat. Fazal beat me four times in winning the toss. He would say ‘It is a Friday, I will not lose.’ He eventually lost the toss at Delhi, but it was a Thursday!.  Hasib Ahsan, Intikhab Alam and Nasimul Ghani were quite good.

Saeed Ahmed with his upright stance was an elegant stroke player. Hanif Mohammed was a great player but he had become Ramakant Desai’s bunny.

Contractor was again captain against Ted Dexter’s England team that toured India in 1961-62. He played only two notable innings. In the third Test at Delhi he was caught by Geoff Pullar of Tony Lock for 39 and in the fifth Test at Madras January 10-15, 1962 he was bowled by Bob Barber with a googly for 86 runs.

Nari Contractor led India on the West Indies tour of 1962. He lost the first two Tests to the West Indies in February. His own performance in the four innings was dismal. In the first Test at Port of Spain February 16-20, 1962 he was caught by Sobers off Hall for 10 in the first innings and was bowled for 6 by Wesley Hall in the second innings. In the second Test at Kingston, he was caught by Mendonca off Hall for 1 in the first innings and was bowled by Hall for 9 in the second innings.

In all his last four Test innings his wicket was taken by the fast bowler Wesley Hall. Before the third Test there was a side match against Barbados which originally Contractor had intended to miss but the squad’s injury problems forced him to play. When it was heard that Barbados had a mean hostile fast bowler Charlie Griffith to support the intimidating Wesley Hall, several Indian batsmen suddenly turned unfit for the match. Contractor decided to play.

A night before during a cocktail party the West Indies captain Frank Worrell warned Contractor about Charlie Griffith and advised that it would be better to get out than getting hurt

“As a superstition I never took the first strike and always batted at number two, but since Dilip Sardesai was opening for the first time I did not want to expose him in the one over before lunch. I took strike and faced the first six balls from Griffith and headed into the break relieved that Griffith in his only over had not seemed to be the beast we thought. As we walked back to the pavilion Sardesai turned to me and smiled. ‘Fast, my foot. He said.” Dilip Sardesai fell early to Hall for a duck in the first over after lunch and Rusi Surti joined his captain.

Griffith came on for the third over to Contractor and the first ball was short and whistled past the batsman’s nose. ‘My God, this is something’ I said to myself. ‘I thought maybe some lethargy had set in after lunch, so I did some spot running. The second ball was over the shoulder and I left it. The third was the same. The fourth ball I played was again shoulder height and Conrad Hunte fielding at short leg caught it on the half volley. Had he caught it, I would have been saved for it was the very next ball that hit me. When Griffith ran in to bowl the fifth ball, someone in the dressing room opened a window, which created a black square for me as there was no sight screen. I thought of moving away but I decided to play the delivery.

Eye witness Dicky Rutnagur wrote that Contractor got right behind the line to play the lifting ball. Wisden noted that ‘He could not judge the height to which it would fly and bent back from the waist in a desperate split second attempt to avoid it and was hit just above the right ear. Contractor did not duck into the ball. He got behind it to play it. He probably wanted to fend it away towards short leg.

Contractor slumped to his haunches, clutching his head. Within a minute he had started bleeding from his nose and ears.” Remembering the play Contractor said, “Earlier when Griffith was bowling at lightning speed and after the third ball of his over  Surti  shouted across the pitch to me ‘Skipper , he is chucking.”  I walked up to Surti and said, ‘You do not shout across the wicket like that. If you think he is chucking then tell the umpire.’ ‘That was playing on my mind too. My concentration was not there.

Meanwhile when he bowled and when I saw the ball it was right at my face and hit it at 90 degrees. The ball fell on my leg and I sat down with the support of my bat. I did not duck into the bouncer as Griffith wrote in his book. Soon I was bleeding from my noise and ears. I returned to the pavilion with the help of our manager Ghulam Ahmed and another person. Without their support I could not have made it to the pavilion on my own. I changed into a fresh set of clothes but the bleeding continued and I realised the injury was serious.”

Budhi Kunderan, who was not playing in the match was in the dressing room. He said, “We could hear the sound in the dressing room. Nari just stood up and initially thought nothing of it. We thought it was all right. But after a while he felt very uneasy. Suddenly Contractor started screaming loudly. At first the injury was not thought to be very serious, obviously he was in great pain. He was rushed in an ambulance to the hospital accompanied by Ghulam Ahmed and C. G. Borde.” An x-ray revealed a fractured skull and clotting of blood. Time was running out and Ghulam Ahmed took the crucial decision and allowed the emergency operation.

Sir Frank Worrell came to the hospital and donated his blood. So did Bapu Nadkarni, Borde, Umrigar and journalist K. N. Prabhu. The lights went off as the operation was in progress and it was thought to be a bad omen. Griffith too had come to the hospital and was visibly shaken. He kept muttering that he did not mean to hurt him, “It was just one of those accidents. God willing everything will be alright.”  Dr. Leacock, though was not a neurosurgeon but he kept the treatment going through the night and performed emergency surgery to reduce the clot on his brain till Dr. Ghourilal arrived from Port of Spain, Trinidad the next morning, as there was no early flight.

Contractor was throwing up and was losing movement of the left side of his body. A two hour operation was conducted. Contractor’s family was informed and his wife flew out to join him. For several days his life was in danger. Polly Umrigar was a constant companion at his bedside. Miraculously Contractor survived and the entire cricketing world heaved a sigh of relief but his cricket career was cut short at age 28. He says he owes his life to late Ghulam Ahmed who called the doctor that night when I had taken a turn for the worse. After three weeks he was flown back to India with his wife.

Nari Contractor says that he never thought he would play cricket again. It was Dr. Chandy at the Christian Medical College near Madras who gave him fresh hope after inserting a perforated steel mesh on his skull. Courage and humbleness personified Contractor returned to cricket.

Within a year he turned out for Maharashtra Chief Minister XI against Maharashtra Governor XI and scored 37 against a strong bowling attack.  In 1963-64 he played some games for the Defence Fund and did well. He was also opening for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy. West Indies fast bowlers Wesley Hall and Watson had come to India for coaching in 1964 and Contractor played them confidently. Four years later he made 152 in the Duleep Trophy and also scored 144 against East Zone.

Ironically in his final first class match he scored a century and 93 and retired in 1972. He made 2535 runs in the second half of his career. He said that “Cricket has given me everything but money. However he warns that this must not be construed in the negative. He has no regrets in playing in an era where you got paid Rupees 250 per Test compared to the lacs players get now.

Nari says that there are no regrets in his life except he never played for India again. When you play a game like cricket, injuries are bound to happen. A fast bowler can try to hit you at will but to get hit in the head like me is accidental and I do not hold anything against Griffith. Life has to go on. Every man has his setbacks but one should look ahead, not back. They played without helmets, chest guards, thigh pads and other protectors. They only placed towels on their thighs for protection. There were no limit on bouncers and beamers. As a left hand batsman and right arm medium pace bowler Contractor appeared in 31 Tests and scored 1611 runs with 108 as his top score. He appeared in 138 first class matches and scored 8611 runs with 176 his top score.

He took one wicket and held 18 catches in Tests. He took 26 wickets and held 72 catches in first class cricket. He was member of the Cyclists Club along with Rusi Surti, Farokh Engineer and Behram Irani. Contractor served as coach at the cricket academy at the Cricket Club of India where his philosophy was that “If you can make the player express his view point then half the job is done. The age gap between the coach(average age 60 plus) and the trainee (under 16) does not matter because the kids have respect for the elders and the transparency means that the unit gels well together.” He believes the best form of cricket is test cricket but T20 has taken over the world.

While he was coaching at the CCI there were some English schoolboys who had come for lessons. A 13 year old right handed boy was batting in the nets. Contractor was standing a little far and talking to someone. Suddenly he heard a loud crack and felt the ball hit his knee. The boy had played a reverse sweep. He asked him what was he doing like that? The boy replied that he just played a perfect reverse sweep! What can you say to that? How can you coach a 16 years old when they see reverse sweeps on the TV, Contractor asks! He has kept his humorous attitude towards life and in 1990 he intentionally made sure that the metal detector at Delhi airport beeped at the metal plate in his head and confused the security for a long time.

Contractor was awarded with the C. K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Cricket Board in 2007. I asked Nari Contractor if he could give something of his for the Lahore Gymkhana Museum. He replied, “When I got injured in the West Indies, even my kit bag was lost. The coats became small so I gave them away. Only one necktie is left which I intend to keep. He further said that “When Umrigar and Mankad applied for a benefit match they were asked to furnish with their preferences. Just imagine! Therefore, because of this reason, to this day I never applied.”

Commenting on the great players of his time he ranked Sir Garfield Sobers as the Bradman of Athletes. Peter May was the finest and most polished batsman and never even edged a single ball. He played every ball with the middle of his bat. He rates Rohan Kanhai an extra ordinary and under played great.

He rates Ted Dexter a great player for his powerful hits. Hanif Mohammed was a great batsman with a solid defence but he had so obviously become a bunny of Ramakant Desai. He thinks Vinoo Mankad of 1952 was the greatest all rounder of his era.

Polly Umrigar, he thought was a doubtful starter against pace. He rates Ian Botham very highly as a performer. In his opinion Imran Khan was the greatest cricketer of Pakistan. Contractor believes that although Sachin Tendulkar has more records than Sunil Gavaskar was a much greater cricketer and Sir Frank Worrell was the best captain who even advised his opposing team.

By Najum Latif


Planning for Kids and Children

Parliament Planning for Kids and Children This Time

Plant an Interfaith Garden

by Vicki Garlock


For the first time ever, the Parliament, in conjunction with Spiritual Playdate, is offering a kids’ program! The theme for the first-ever family festival in Toronto this November is “Plant an Interfaith Garden.” The event promises five days of joyful and engaging exploration for all who are young at heart. As Edwina Cowell, founder of Spiritual Playdate, put it, “The Parliament has never really done outreach to area families before. There are so many folks out there, especially those who care for or work with children, who are hungry for information on other religions. They are seeking a more inclusive approach to exploring faith and spirituality with kids, and the Parliament is the perfect place to dip a toe into the water.”

A stroll through the interfaith garden will reveal a huge variety of fun, age-appropriate, and always respectful, activities for kids and caregivers of all ages. You’ll find arts and crafts for kids, virtual reality activities for teens, hip-hop performances, yoga sessions, parenting workshops, a Friday night Family Shabbat, and even a Grandparents Day!

One of the most exciting features will be the roll-out of the newly-created World Religions Game – a unique learning experience that promotes religious literacy and a deeper appreciation for the various faith traditions found around the globe.

Clay and Paper Theater

 Photo: Clay and Paper Theater

Clay and Paper Theater and their giant puppets will definitely be a big draw. Started in 1994, Clay and Paper Theater is known for its cutting-edge, community-centered, diversity-embracing art form. They are a theater without walls – performing in parks, gardens, and other public spaces – in an effort to promote reflection and dialogue. The Parliament has commissioned a brand-new puppet show, “Golden,” that showcases the Golden Rule, so keep an eye out for those performances. The troupe’s signature over-sized masks and eye-catching stilt performances are sure to be a hit with all ages!

Beads on One String

 Dennis Warner offering his program during a Minnesota summer reading program – Photo: Cross Counties Connect

Each element of the family program has also been carefully considered to ensure inclusivity, the theme of this year’s Parliament. Dennis Warner’s “Beads on One String” project, which honors our universal connectedness and the power of diversity, is a perfect example. Originally published in 2004, Beads on One String began as a song, blossomed into a book, and has become a curriculum tool to address bullying and promote character education. It will be a busy couple of weeks for Dennis, who will perform every day the Interfaith Garden is open, after spending time visiting Toronto-area elementary schools!

Learning Patches

Another series of highlights will take place in the Festival’s Garden Center. Fun, interactive, and experiential Learning Patches will be hosted by both faith-specific and interfaith organizations. Kids can get their own Good Deed Pocket, build their own Altar, or walk through the fascinating Chestahedron to gain an enlightening glimpse into spiritual and faith practices from across the globe.

Spiritual Discovery Sessions

 Photo: Joint Base San Antonio

Additional opportunities will be available throughout the 5-day program. Kid-centered workshops will include “Real Life Superheroes” and “Cartooning from the Heart,” while programs like “Healing the Teenage Heart” and “Interfaith Leadership Training” will be geared to teens. Seminars on “Golden Rule Parenting” and “Raising Prejudice-Free Kids” will offer practical take-away strategies for parents and other caregivers, and workshops like “Restorative Practices/Circle-Keeping” will focus on classroom techniques for teachers. While many sessions have a particular target audience, other activities, like “Ability Yoga,” are intentionally inter-generational and aim to bring people of all ages together in one space.

A Few Logistics

The Interfaith Family Festival will be located in the Main Exhibit Hall and provide daily programming from Friday, Nov. 2 through Tuesday, Nov. 6. Adults must be registered for the Parliament before registering children. Click here for a list of pricing options and to register an adult. Then, click here to register one or more children. A full pass for kids age 6-12 is only $100. A weekend pass for kids age 6-12 is only $50! Single-day tickets and under-age-5 discounts are also available. There are still a few available slots for field trips and large group events, too, but space is limited, so sign up now!


 Photo: Parliament of the World’s Religions

As someone whose vocation centers on the interfaith education of kids, I am ecstatic about the Parliament providing physical space and valuable resources for this important endeavor. Furthermore, I hope the kids-and-family program becomes an ever-growing highlight of future Parliament gatherings. If we want to create a more compassionate, open-hearted, and understanding world, we need to start with kids. The Parliament’s Plant an Interfaith Garden initiative is an excellent place to start.

Header Photo: Max Pixel

Mumbai Samachar’s Hormusji Cama Appointed Chairman Of ABC

Hormusji N Cama, Director, Mumbai Samachar was unanimously elected as the Chairman of Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for the year 2018-2019. He was earlier the President of Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for two terms as well as Chairman of the Press Trust of India (PTI) & Media Research Users Council (MRUC). Hormusji Cama continues to be an active member on the Board of INS, PTI & MRUC till date. Madhukar Kamath, Chairman Emeritius, DDBMudra Pvt. Ltd. representing the Advertising Agency category on the Council was unanimously elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Bureau for the year 2018-2019. Members on the Bureau’s Council of Management for the year 2018-2019 are: Publishers Representatives

Hormusji N. Cama – The Bombay Samachar Pvt. Limited – Chairman
Devendra V. Darda – Lokmat Media Pvt. Ltd.- Hon. Secretary
Shailesh Gupta – Jagran Prakashan Ltd.
Debabrata Mukherjee – Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.
Chandan Majumdar – ABP Pvt. Ltd.
Raj Kumar Jain – Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Pratap G. Pawar – Sakal Papers Pvt. Ltd
Riyad Mathew – Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd.  Advertising Agencies Representatives

Madhukar Kamath – DDB Mudra Pvt. Ltd.- Deputy Chairman
Shashidhar Sinha – IPG Mediabrands – Hon. Treasurer
Srinivasan K Swamy – R K Swamy BBDO Pvt Ltd.
Sameer Singh – Group M Media India Pvt. Ltd. Advertisers Representatives

Mayank Pareek – Tata Motors Ltd.
Karunesh Bajaj – ITC Ltd. Secretariat

Hormuzd Masani – Secretary General

Ahmedabad Parsi community loses PORUS Jehangirji Karanjawala

Ahmedabad Parsi community lost one amongst their own a human being

It was a very sad day for Ahmedabad Parsi community on very important religious day – 5th Gatha, a day also called as “Pateti”, 16th August, that they lost one of their own dedicated, religious minded, true Seva Bhavi finest human being – PORUS – who died at the very young age of 54 and most importantly when he was associated with so many Trusts and Funds including an Educational institute at Ahmedabad.    

His tragic and sudden death stunned the community that many were not in a position to accept the reality of the news of his demise.   The love and affection that he carried amongst the community at Ahmedabad was so high that ALL the pre-determined fun, joy, eating programmes related to festivals and New Year and Khordadsal days were cancelled.  It was indeed a great shock within the community no one believe such a sudden and tragic death of Porus.   His funeral which had taken place on morning of the very first day of new year of the community, – Navroz -,  though the same day it rained heavily in Ahmedabad and may areas were flooded, most who loved him were there at the funeral.   Likewise people respected amd attended Sarosh nu patru as also Uthamna kriya.    

Differences are the opportunities to learn.   That was the principle he had accepted in his life.   He always valued his ethics and principles and stood by his convictions for which he was accounted as “Zero Tolerance” personality to allow wrong doing.    He had to scarify his own nomination for trusteeship of last APP – Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat election for the very reason that his ideas, ethics and principles were indeed not acceptable to many and to avoid clash which may take place at later period, he did not contest.  

He got entry into community welfare activities at very early age of 24 years and during last 30 years of his life he shouldered the responsibilities with various trusts and Funds and even educational institute as a Trustee, Committee member, Secretary, etc..   During his very active social activities in last 30 years, he held post of an Ex-General Secretary of PYLA – Parsi Youth League of Ahmedabad, as Ex-Committee member and Ex-Trustee of APP – Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, as Ex-President of FOZYA – Federation of Zorastrian Youth Association.   At the time of his death, he was on Board of Trustee of many Parsi Charitable Trusts, few to be remembered as Roda and Savaksha Mohudawala Charitable Trust, who are known by organising Annual Felicitation of Ahmedabad based Parsi humdins in different field and Christmas eve Joy and Fun for children every year.   Also a Trust Dhanjishaw and Manijeh Gamir Charitable trust, very well known by organising Republic Day Flag Hoisting event followed by a lavish Brunch.  Same trust who have renovated the Parsi Sanatorium, at Ahmedabad, which was managed by him to bring the very dilapidated structure into a solid structure by running day and out for placing orders for supplies for the construction, receiving the same at the site, utilizing the supplies for which ordered, etc., etc..   The inauguration session with Jashan and Dinner was also arranged of the renovated structure being part of the APP properties, was handed over to APP, which generates Rs.10 lacs as annual revenue.   Such was his wisdom, thinking and very selfless work attitude that has given great opportunities to Parsi Humdins in Ahmedabad.  He will equally be remembered of the event – Parsi and Zorastrian Matrimonial Meet – which will take place on 27th and 28th October, 2018 at Ahmedabad.

A condolence meeting was organized to pay respect to Porus Jehangirji Karanjawala by Parsi humdins at Sanatorium Hall on 25th August, 2018.  It started with Jashan kriya and then there were almost 19 different personalities spoke well and remembered Porus for his work and dedicated services rendered to the community in Ahmedabad.   Known personalities included – Kersi Jhanbux Shethna, ex-President of the APP, Dr. Armaity Firoj Davar ex-trustee of APP, Chairman of Parsi Montessori School, and many more to account.   The condolence meeting was arranged by two trusts jointly where he was very active, viz.. Mohudawala and Gamir trust.   Porus was well remembered of his free, frank and fearless personalities with total dedication to do better for the community, by his co-trustee in both the above named trust, Mr.Aspy Bharucha.   Whole condolence meeting was very well compared by Mr. Ariz Bokdawala who has shared many trusts and PYLA and FOZYA with Porus for very long time.      

Khushru Jijina, recognized as ‘CXO of the Year’

In yet another accolade received for consistent outperformance, Mr. Khushru Jijina, Managing Director, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance has been recognized as ‘CXO of the Year’ at the 10th Realty+ Conclave & Excellence Awards – West held in Mumbai. This award was presented to Mr. Jijina in recognition of his valuable contributions and achievements in the Indian Realty Sector.

Realty Plus Excellence Awards is a the platform which recognizes the contributions made in the Real Estate panorama by Individuals/Innovation, Developers, Interior Designers, Architects/Town Planners, State Governments, Property Advisors, IPCS/Brokers/Realtors, Real Estate Media – OOH/Digital/Print etc.

Appended is a quote from Mr. Khushru Jijina expressing his gratitude on receiving the award.

“I am honored to receive the ‘CXO of the year’ award by Realty Plus. This award is an affirmation of the impressive work done by each and every member of Piramal Capital & Housing Finance and I dedicate this award to my team that has worked relentlessly towards achieving great milestones.”  

WZCC-WE Program on Sat.15-09-2018

Dear All,

Join us for a very special evening filled with fun and interactions with “Mrs India She is India” Winners at an Interactive Workshop for Women Organized by ‘WE’ – Women Entrepreneurs’ Wing of WZCC.

Here’s your chance to learn how to make it big in the world of Business, Fashion and Glamour and yet be a Socially Responsible Citizen.

Spend time with Delnaz & Neha and get to know them and their views on Independent Women.

Limited seats available for this event so call right now to register!

Date: Saturday 15th September, 2018

Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Venue: YWCA, 18 Madam Cama Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400001.

Participation fee inclusive of tea and snacks is :

Rs. 350 /- for WZCC/WE Members and Rs. 400 /- for Non-Members


RSVP: Ms. Zarine Khan       022-23532522 / 96191 65444

Ms. Homai Mehta                           98208 26367

Ms. Behroze Daruwalla                      96192 01951



Hamaysht Ceremony

Hamaysht ceremony in Surat Atash Behram Saheb


Attached here is a brief explanation of the Hamayasht ceremony being performed in Surat. This ceremony has not been performed for several years and those who can go across to Surat or are the local residents there can consider themselves fortunate to witness such a one-off kriya.


The Hamayasht ceremony is a long-winded ceremony in the Zoroastrian religion similar to the “Mahayagna” of the Hindus. There are 2 types of Hamayasht ceremonies, the “Motti” Hamayasht and “Nani” Hamayasht. On enquiries with High priests and scholars it has been observed that this ceremony has not been performed in India since the past several years. This ceremony comprises of the Yazashne, Vendidad, Baaj and Afringan in reverence of the following Yazatas.


Dadar Ahuramazda.

Teshtar Tir Yazad.

Khorshed Yazad.

Meher Yazad.

Avan Ardivisur Banu.

Adar Yazad.

Khordad Ameshaspand.

Amardad Ameshaspand.

Asfandamard Ameshaspand.

Govad Yazad.

Sarosh Yazad.

Farokh Farvardin.(Arda Fravash).


The Surat D. N. Modi Atashbehram is a prominent fire temple for most Pav Mahal ceremonies. Just as the Iranshah Atashbehram at Udwada is popular as the King of fires, and Navsari is termed as “Dharam ni tekri” or Mantle of religion, so also Surat is the preferred place for all Pav Mahal ceremonies. With due permission of the High priest of Surat, Dastur Noshirwan Manchershah the “Motti” Hamayasht ceremony has already commenced on Shenshahi Roj Adar, Mah Dey, i.e. 26th May 2003.


As per the information collected from senior mobed sahebs of the Atashbehram, the “Nani” Hamayasht ceremony had been performed 40 years ago in the memory of Daulatbanoo Jehangirji Gheewala. The “Motti” Hamayasht which is now being performed will comprise of 144 Yazashne, 144 Vendidad, 144 Afringan and 144 Baaj with the kshnuman of each of the 12 fareshtas (Yazatas) listed above. The expenditure for this will run into lakhs of Rupees. This ceremony is being conducted by a chust Bombay based Zarathushtri by the name of Hoshang Bengali in memory of his dear departed wife Homai. This ceremony will last for 70 days ! The Hamayasht requires 5 pairs of Yaozdathregar mobeds with proper Bareshnum Nahn.


The Mobeds selected for this gigantic task are Ervad Farokh B. Turel, Ervad Noshir B. Turel, Ervad Nairyosang J. Turel, Ervad Faredun J. Turel, Ervad Harvespa A. Sanjana, Ervad Adil A. Sanjana, Ervad Dara J. Bharda, Ervad Zubin P. Rabadi, Ervad Burjor F. Aibara, Ervad Kobad J. Bharda, and Ervad Porus S. Zarolia. These mobeds will perform for 70 days continuously with all tarikats of purity.


We hope and are confident that with the performance of this gigantic religious ceremony our Parsi Zarathushtri brothers and sisters will once again live in happiness, peace, unity and unflinching faith towards our deen and wish that the blessings of all the fareshtas descend on us in plenty to eradicate ahrimanic influences now prevalent with the help of the strong manthravani that emanate from this ceremony.


The trustees of the Modi Atashbehram, Vada Dasturji Saheb of Surat, Naib Dasturji Saheb and the 10 yaozdathregar mobed sahibs performing the ceremony cordially invite one and all humdin of Surat and outside towns, cities, countries to witness this kriya and be fortunate enough to receive the blessings of all the fareshtas and Pak Dadar Ahuramazda.

Adil Sumariwalla felicitated

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Mr. Adil Sumariwalla, President of the Athletics Federation of India, being felicitated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji for the brilliant performance by the Indian athletes at the Asian Games recently held in Jakarta.

Out of 15 gold medals won by India, the Indian athletes won 7 Golds medals along with 10 Silver medals and 2 bronze medals.



The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust is pleased to provide an update as on September 06, 2018 on the work done so far, funds received.

The support that The WZO Trust are extending in collaboration with The Kinder Trust at Bangalore is minuscule when compared to the total welfare measures that have to be undertaken to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by the floods. However, both WZO Trust & Kinder Trust shall continue to do their bit in this massive humanitarian exercise.

As highways have been washed away it is still very difficult for vehicles to ply in the internal areas. Volunteers are trekking through inhospitable terrain carrying relief materials with them. Keeping these ground realities in mind, we have till date delivered two consignments comprising the following relief materials to the affected areas:

Ladies Jumpers,

Sarees & Blouse materials,

Ladies undergarments,

Ladies petticoats and nightwear.

Gents Jackets,

Gents & Boys underwear,

Assorted cleaning brushes,

Bleaching Powder,

Concentrated Phenyle.

Within the next few days it has been programmed to provide roof sheets and other cleaning & construction materials that will be required.

The Kerala Floods Relief appeal was first released by us on August 19, 2018. Since then we have received, as on September 05, 2018 donations amounting to Rs.22,51,392 from 118 donors. The WZO Trust extends its sincere gratitude to those who have contributed so generously towards this gargantuan exercise to alleviate human suffering.

However, much more needs to be done and funds continue to be required. We request Zoroastrians from all parts of the world to join us in our efforts to provide verified and trusted help to Kerala.

Donations by way of cheques made out in the name of The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust may be sent to our office at:

Hermes House, 3rd floor,

Mama Parmanand Marg,

Opera House,

Mumbai 400 004.

Direct remittances can also be made into our bank account:

Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank 

Branch: Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort, Mumbai 

Branch Address: D.B. House, H.S. Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400 001

Account Title: The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust 

Account Type: Savings


For donations within India: Account Number:400004259620019

For donations from overseas: Account Number:400004284180028

Donors making direct remittances are requested to let us have their addresses to enable us to send them our receipts. Donors from within India are requested to mention their PAN details.

Donations from within Indian citizens are subject to exemption under section 80G(5)(vi) of the Income Tax Act.

Overseas Donors may note that The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust is FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act) compliant and authorised to receive funds from overseas.

Dinshaw K Tamboly;