Coming Together Roundtable – Annual Report 2008



Dear Friends and Members of the “Coming Together Roundtable”,

In our endeavor to keep the sprit of “Coming Together Roundtable” we have been working towards meeting with the goals set out in the last Roundtable held in Mumbai at the Mancherji Joshi Hall at the Dadar Athornan Madressa on January 15, 2008.

This report also consolidates the 6 monthly report sent earlier.

A quick review of the developments during the year 2008:

(1) Global networking – Yazdi Tantra.

(a) is constantly being updated which lists Zoroastrians            worldwide,  with the aim to connect all Zoroastrians with one another.     “” now has  more than 69,000 registrations and the list is  growing daily Any inputs towards the betterment and updation of the directory will be welcomed. Please add yourself and your family members to the directory. Glance at the listings of fellow Zoroastrians throughout the world.

(b)        Make available to Zarathushtis worldwide and/or source liturgical items, religious           artifacts, religious books, prayer books and other related items. A website blog has been setup and running. This blog is the largest aggregation  of Zarathushti / Zoroastrian –     Parsi / Irani websites / information available online. Several books and references shared by Dr. Homi Dhalla, Khojeste Mistree and  others, have been put up on the website, with more to come. Some interesting details about those NGOs who do not have their own websites have also been incorporated.   This site works with the aim of bringing ALL Zoroastrians across the world under one roof.

The proceedings of the Coming Together Round Table and the aim / purpose / workings of the Round Table can be found on the under the category “Round Table”

2 new Categories have been added to

Ø POLLS – Opinion Poll – One has been devised for Collective Giving – you are welcome to comment on the questions, and if you need any more questions. You are welcome to send suggestions for adding more Polls. The direct link is

Ø Collective Giving – Here we can collect requests for and offers for Donations. This becomes the Bulletin Board which can grow over a period of time.  The direct link is

(2) World Congress RFP [Request for Proposals]

– Rustom Kevala, Rohinton Rivetna, Firdosh Mehta, Behram Pastakia.

Finalize and implement the RFP so that the selection of the location and entity for the next world congress is smooth and orderly.

As agreed to during the third Coming Together session held on 15th January 2008, in Mumbai, a revised draft of the ‘Request For Proposals’ [RFP] to establish a transparent, equitable process for selection of the venue of the World Zoroastrian Congresses has been circulated.

Anexure Ia & Ib “Call for World Zoroastrians Congress Proposal & its attachment World Congress Guidelines”] p02a01a_call-for-world-zoroastrian-congress-proposals and p02a01b_worldcongressguidelines28jul08

The timeline established is to announce the venue for the 10th WZC one year in advance of the 9thWZC in Dubai, at the 4th Coming Together Roundtable in Houston, Texas on 30th December 2008.

Deadline for receiving applications for the 10thWZC was thirteen months before the Dubai congress {30th November 2008}. Respond to with proposals.

Proposals have been received from Australia, Iran, Mumbai and Singapore which are being evaluated so that the timeline established to announce the venue for the 10th WZC one year in advance of the 9thWZC in Dubai, at the 4th Coming Together Roundtable in Houston, Texas on 31st December 2008 is met.

(3) Interfaith and UN Programs – Behram Pastakia, Rohinton Rivetna, Homi Dhalla

(a)        Commendable work has been accomplished by the FEZANA UN-NGO team.

A six point report regarding the UN Programs has been presented by Behram Pastakia as detailed in Annexure II. p03a02_un-reports_behram-pastakia

(b)        Dr. Homi Dhalla’s report on the all-India conference for Religious harmony and             interfaith activities for the year 2008 organized and participated by him is touched   upon in the Annexure III.   p03a03_inter-faith-activities_by-drhomi-dhalla

( c) A dialogue has been initiated to orchestrate Zarathushti participation in the 2009            Parliament of World’s Religions in Melbourne. Perviz Dubash has been assigned by the Zoroastrian Association of  Victoria (ZAV) to head the effort. Call for papers expire at the end of February, 2009. The ZAV has put out a very beautiful poster (Refer   Annexure P3c p03c_pwr-brochure )    urging Zarathushtis to present the Gathas of Zarathushtra as the sacred wisdom of the world for guidance to resolve the questions the world faces today.   Other interfaith  topics may also be presented. Early bird registration also expire at the end of  February 2009. One may visit for more information

(4) Co-ordination of Welfare Programs worldwide – Dinshaw Tamboli

(a)        Preparation of a bulletin board for the listing and fulfillment of all welfare requests for  the use of Zarathushti welfare organizations worldwide.

Yazdi Tantra has setup the Bulletin Board which is integrated in the .  Refer to point 1 above.

(b)        Hold an annual convention of all Zarathushti welfare organizations.

With quite a few conventions being held this year there was no room to hold the  annual   convention of all Zarathushti welfare organizations. An effort will be made   next year. Possibility exists to discuss this at the World Zoroastrian Congress in   Dubai.

(5) Worldwide Service Programs – Behram Pastakia

(a) Youth exchange

(b) Operation Eyesight

(c) Organize Zarathushti Peace Corps

Remote Area Medical (RAM)

Volunteer opportunities on weekends:

RAM In The Media

Remote Area Medical has been featured in the national media a number of times in recent years. Most recently, we were featured on 60 Minutes in March

Media report on CBS 60 minutes is embedded here:

We are grateful to Porus Dadabhoy of Metropolitan Chicago , for bringing this information to our attention.

Operation Eyesight

A lot of work has been done and reported — see article in FEZANA Journal Summer 2008 issue Volume 22 no.2. page 72 [Colour advertisement from Dubai 9th World Zoroastrian Congress on the Operation Eyesight initiative] Annexure IVb p05a04b_operation-eyesight-dubai-2009 and the article on pages 93 and 94 of the same issue summarizing the work which has been done from the months before the 7th World Zoroastrian Congress in 1999 to the present, including the eye camps held in Mumbai and in Jamshedpur during the Thanksgiving week [November 2007] in association with the Lions Club. Annexure IVa. p05a04a_operation_eyesight

A new team has been put together and is headed for Colombia, South America during the Thanksgiving week {November 2008} under the leadership of Khush Bodhan from Northern California.

(6) Follow up and Coordination – Yazdi Tantra

(a)        A staff person has been appointed part time, to assist on the follow-up items.

(b)        The pledged contributions for meeting with the administration expenses have been          received from Mr.Dinshaw Tamboli (4 months), Mr. Rohinton Rivetna.,  Mr.Nagarwalla & Mr. Rustom Engineer. We thank them all for their generosity. The total amount collected so far, is Rs. 1,05,000/- and the total amount spent is  Rs. 91,000/- ( 4,000 pm staff + 5,000 pm administration expenses which includes   putting up the web site, maintaining it on daily basis, programming inputs as & when   required, planning & execution of bulletin board etc.)

The Audited copy of Receipts and Expenses are as in Annexure P6.  p06_roundtable-expenses-summary2008

It will be observed that the funds available are nearing depletion and we need to find ways & means to have continuous support for the same through some organizational commitments.

(7) Cultural Projects – Homi Dhalla

A seven point brief update on a few socio–cultural–educational activities undertaken by Dr. Homi Dhalla viz.

1.     DVD of Monajats

2.     Digitization of Important Books and Texts

3.     Book on “History of the Parsis of Navsari”

4.     Delhi Parsi Project

5.     Parsi Project

6.     Bahrot Caves

7.     A Film on Jehangir Sabavala

Refer to is Annexure V to read the full Report on the above.  p07a05_brief_updates_homi-dhalla

(8) Zarathushti Pravasi’s duties, rights and privileges – Behram Pastakia / Rohinton Rivetna.

Articulation of duties ———– (for review by the Roundtable in Houston)

Zarathushtis who have migrated from the mother countries of Iran, Pakistan and India represent a significant section of our worldwide community and can contribute significantly to the welfare and prosperity of our worldwide community.

Having enjoyed the largesse of the community it is their duty to contribute financially and in kind to the communities of Iran and India. It is suggested that they seek out opportunities to contribute such as: adopt an agiyari, support a Dharamsalla, set up programs for the youth in Iran,

It is also their right to have a voice in community affairs in Iran, Pakistan and Iran. It behooves the communities in Iran, Pakistan and India to consider how their voices may be heard. With rights comes responsibility on behalf of the Pravasis to collectively manage those rights.

It should also be the privilege of Zarathushtis living abroad to seek and obtain information in regard to maintenance of their interests in the mother countries and to that extent the mother countries need to set up central information clearing service for Zarathushtis living abroad.

(9) Network of mobeds – PRG & Behram Pastakia

(a) A global network of mobeds to be established with the aim: “To promote interaction of mobeds worldwide; mobeds assisting each other; exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Jimmy Rusi Mistry, Founder Trustee of the Parsi Resource Group (PRG) gives an account of all the Mobed Schemes, currently in place in India:

1. Cashless Insurance Mediclaim Policy

2. Pension for Mobeds

3. Mobeds’ Children Education Scheme

All the Schemes are fully funded by Jimmy Mistry, Donations are sought for their General Parsi Resource Group Community Schemes such as: For Youth, Restoration of Agiaries etc.

PRG is a Registered Charitable Trust under Section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax Act.

The detailed report on the above Mobed Schemes is in Annexure P9 p09_prg-mobed-schemes

Behram Pastakia : “To promote interaction of mobeds worldwide; mobeds assisting each other; exchange of thoughts and ideas.

The North American Mobeds Council was incorporated as a religious organization, under the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada on September 24th 1992 and was granted a tax exempt status by the Government of Canada, in 1993.

The newly launched web-site carries contact information of office holders, a list of mobeds in North America, summaries of past presentations at Seminars organized by the NAMC and more of interest to the priests and 20 laity of the Zarathushti community.

Thanks to our NAMC correspondent, Erv Soli Dastur of Sarasota, Florida, , for sharing this resource.

Ervad Soli P. Dastur’s note on the 2008 NAMC AGM meeting in Toronto, May 24-25, is attached in Annexure VI. p09a06_soli-dastur-report

(10) Network of Youth – Passing the Torch to the next generation – PRG

(a)        Establish a network of youth worldwide.

(b)        Promote holding of local and regional Next Generation conferences, for the       recognition of    challenges faced by the Next Generation.

(c )       Promote Next Generation to hold office, locally and regionally.

A list of Youth E Mail addresses have been received from Freyaz Shroff.

We are also approaching other organizations to obtain more E Mail addresses which will help in reaching out to a wider Youth audience.

The second NexGenNow conference was held at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia [Metropolitan Washington DC] from August 1st to 3rd 2008 organized and managed by Jim Engineer (Chicago), Mantreh Atashband (Toronto) Armaity Homavazir (Toronto), Farah Minwalla (Las Vegas/New York) and Nikan Khatibi(California/Kansas). A report will appear in the Fall 2008 issue Vol 22 No.3 of FEZANA Journal.

(11) Infrastructure Breakdown/Rebuild.

(a)        Identify key infrastructure breakdowns and research resources to repair and/or restore.

An article by Shernaaz Engineer entitled “Thoothi Agiary: Resplendent & Renovated”    tells us “The spanking new 149-year-old Thoothi Agiary, refurbished and redone by  the efforts of a committed Zarathushti family, is all aglow with the glory and grace of  Dadar   Ahura Mazda’s bounty, as every Agiary should be…”

The entire article with pictures of the renovated Agiyari may be viewed at    and is also attached in Annexure VII p11a07_thoothi-agiary

(b)        Identify infrastructure needs worldwide.

Updates awaited.

(12) Interfaith Marriages – Homi Dhalla

There are many dimensions of the issue of intermarriage which are dealt with by             Dr.Homi Dhalla in his lengthy paper entitled A brief study of Intermarriage in America with reference to the Parsi community which has been published in the  1251st. anniversary of the installation of the sacred  Iranshah Atash Behram – Bombay  1972. A brief summary of the pages following page 80 is as per Annexure P12 p12_interfaith-marriages

(13) Cultivation of the Ethic of Collective Giving 2% or more– Adi Vakharia

Propogate the idea of families worldwide giving 2% or more of gross income to Zarathushti causes.

At the third “Coming Together Round Table” in Mumbai this year, the attendants realized that in order to meet the financial goals of the community we should all enlist in “The Ethic of Collective Giving.”  We appeal to all Zarthusti Families worldwide to donate 2% or more of their gross income to any Zarthusti cause of their liking.  Other communities collect tithes from their adherents and their communities have prospered as a result.  Likewise, Zarthusti causes can enjoy such financial success with community members’ support.  Therefore we encourage you to join this worthy cause and agree to give whatever part of your income you can.  Charity and philanthropy is a proud tradition in the Zarthusti community.  Let’s reawaken our commitment to the ethic of collective giving that prior Zarthustis have exhibited.  Please sign your name to our petition which will be shortly put up on the and click on the link ‘Petitions’ on the left under ‘Select Category’.

In the meantime, you may visit the POLLS section at and poll your views.

Please forward this message to your friends to begin our Collective Giving and feel free to recommend whichever Zoroastrian Cause you all would like to contribute to.   Thank You!

Behram Pastakia reports :

The Coming Together Roundtable (CTR) serves as a place where best practices can be shared and initiatives taken by Zoroastrian individuals or organizations worldwide can be acknowledged and supported by those at the table. Toward this end, the attached document from the Zoroastrians in Boston, USA is forwarded. This idea was put on the table by Adi Vakharia of Dallas, Texas at the third Coming Together Roundtable in Mumbai in January 2008: Cultivating an ETHIC of collective giving.

Additionally, Jerry Kheradi, M.D., Chair of  FEZANA’s Funds and Finance Committee has endorsed the idea of collective giving, as discussed at the 3rd CTR, in his remarks in the Fall/September 2008 issue (Vol. 22. No.3 page 19), of FEZANA Journal.  This positive response from Dr Kheradi came out of discussions held on the sidelines of the 21st FEZANA AGM in Los Angeles, California in the spring of 2008.

Annexure P13 lays out the proposal of the modus operandi for the  p13_ethic-of-collective-giving

(14) Code of Civil Conduct/Civility – Er. Ramiyar Karanjia

Prepare and popularize through media a code of civil conduct for Zarathushtis interacting with other Zarathushtis.

Hamazor 1 – A follow up of ‘Coming Together’meet at London which was held at M.Joshi Hall, Madressa Annex on 08-01-2007. This wonderful write up in Annexure VIIIa p14a08a_hamazor-1-strenght-in-unity_by-drramiyar-karanjia explains to us the word and concept of “Hama Zor”.

Hamazor 2 – The Opening remarks presented by Erv Dr. Ramiyar Kananjia during the Coming Together ( 15th January -2008, Athornan Madressa Hall, Dadar Parsi Colony, Mumbai, India) may be read in the Annexure VIIIb. p14a08b_hamazor-2-comming-together-15jan08_opening-remarks-by-drramiyar-karanjia

A culmination of the wisdom imparted in the above annexures should form the basis for the “Code of Civil Conduct”.

A draft of the“Code of Civil Conduct” and the “Hamazor 3” have been received from Ervad Karanjia which shall be reviewed at the coming together roundtable in Houston.

(15) Establish local Mandals in Mumbai with a network- Faredoon Kapadia

(a)        Identify local operating Mandals in Mumbai and those that need to be set up.

(b)        Assist in establishment of new Mandals and set up a network of all Mandals in   Mumbai.

With the new Trustees of the BPP,  relationships are being re-established with the  Baug Committees for the development of core committees in the Baugs, to formally empower them with responsibilities to identify the various requirements of the needy  in terms of housing, medical, education, financial aids, etc.

A basic Name list of the Baughs & Colonies in Mumbai along with the list of  PRG Volunteers for each baugh, have been prepared and is available with us. The list  of Baughs is in the Annexure IX. p15a9_prg_list-of-baugs

(16) Education for Irani Zarathushti Youth in India – Khodayar Attaie and Dinshaw Tamboli

(a)        Identify available educational resources in India and pair with Zarathushti youth in Iran that come forward to avail of the opportunity.

An exchange of correspondences were entered into with Khodayar Attaie, with regards to the   Student’s Exchange program and were informed that Khodayar Attaie  is to have meetings with the students and come to a final list. However, there have been some stumbling blocks on the exchange program and is currently on hold.

(17) Announce the availability of worldwide service and invite inquiries.

Yazdi Tantra with the assistance of the part time staff Percis Dubash, may be contacted for the coordination and follow-up of activities. With the co-operation and inputs from other members of the “Coming Together Roundtable” they will also collate information and inquiries and endeavor to make it the center of the worldwide service.

It is observed that most of the members are not taking the opportunity to avail of the assistance of  the administrator Yazdi Tantra and the part time assistant Percis Dubash, for the coordination and follow-up of activities.

It is therefore requested that members of the “Coming Together Roundtable” keep the administrators informed on a regular basis on the development of the activities that they are involved with.

Their respective e mail addresses are : or and

(18) Promotion of Navroze (21st. March 2008) Celebration Worldwide.

A Petition addressed to the United Nations has been initiated by the Persian Cultural Center, San Diego, California – USA for the Inclusion of Navrouz – New Day on UN Calendars and is picking up momentum with almost 15,000/- signatories to the petition.

Details of the petition may be viewed at :

To read about FEZANA’s Initiative for NauRooz Celebrations around the World, refer to Annexure X p18a10_naurooz-celebrations-around-the-world

(19) LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS that need to be looked into for further discussions and actions :

To conclude the report, the following is a list of the issues brought to the notice by Firdosh Mehta as part of the “Coming Together Roundtable” from the point of view of how we can assist via FEZANA and via North American Donations etc.


– Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

– ParZor Foundation

– Gene Study Project

– Dastur Meherji Rana Library

– K. R. Cama Oriental Institute

– World Zarathushti Cultural Foundation

– Gujarat Literature Preservation

– Zoroastrian Directory.Com, Parsiana Yellow Pages

– Projects In Iran

– Parsi Resource Group

– Persepolis Fortification Tablets

– Religious Infrastructure

– Appeal from Delhi Parsi Anjuman, Patel Agiyari Mazagon Mumbai.

– Sadhana School For Autistic Students

– Farohar Foundation

– Other Community Projects

For extensions on the Project’s agenda refer to Annexure XI. p19a11_projects-for-further-review

Conclusion :

Our thanks go out to the continued efforts of the founder members Rohinton Rivetna, Behram Pastakia & Firdosh Mehta , who have followed-up on the various agenda and issues discussed. Our thanks go to the dynamic members on the move, without whose valued contributions, would have made this forum yet another audio based rather than action and achievement based.

With this, the 3rd. year of the  “Coming Together Roundtable” (CTR) ends and we are pleased to inform you that though the CTR is yet in its nascent stage, there has been a lot accomplished.

With the 4th. Coming Together Round Table scheduled on 31-12-08 in Houston, new agendas will be presented but since the CTR is an on going process, there can never be a time when one can say that the job is completed and the agenda closed. Yes dear friends, lets keep the spreading our wings and reaching out to the causes of our community and the world at large.

Of course, there is lots to do and much more to achieve, and with the active co-operation of the community we are sure to make greater strides in the coming years.

Thank you all !

Respectfully Submitted,

Percis Dubash

Administrator, Coming Together Roundtable


  • I want to post a topic for discussion: “The Problems and Challenges facing the Zoroastrian Youths and Entreprenuers and how we can collectively help them through a well planned and organized strategy”

  • Please send us a brief para to initiate the discussion and inviting suggestions / comments. We will be very happy to carry the same.

  • The prolem of helping and guidance to a huge number of young and family members who are arriving to the USA monthly as a refugees from Iran.
    Unless we establish an active networking organisations worldwide, we might lose them forever.

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