Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Global Teenager Project

The Global Teenager project – A world class initiative children and youth, education for all – 
“Imagine how lively a classroom debate on immigration, rainforests or HIV/AIDS would be if teachers and pupils could link up with their peers in Ghana or Ecuador and get their opinions on the subject! Now, apply that thought to the school curriculum and you capture the essence of the Global Teenager project (GTP). The Global Teenager project enables classroom discussions to ‘go global’. It gives secondary schools a kick-start in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and it offers students a safe, structured environment in which to discuss global issues. It also provides them a strong basis in communication skills and valuable insights into other cultures. Finally, it livens up the whole teaching process as teachers incorporate new ideas and methods into their classes.”

Courtesy : Behram Pastakia

Highlights – World Zoroastrian Congress

Highlights of the 9th World Zoroastrian Congress in Dubai – Roshan Rivetna

For 4 days in December (28th – 31st), nearly 750 delegates from countries around the world converged at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Dubai, for the 9th World Zoroastrian Congress.

From the grand Opening Day, graced by dignitaries from the Government of Dubai, with glowing messages from Heads of State, Zarathushti world leaders and business luminaries, to the New Year’s eve Gala and Closing Ceremony when the lamp was lit by the Vada Dastur Khurshed Dastoor of Udvada, and passed on to BPP chair Mr. Dinshaw Mehta for the next World Congress, in India, delegates were amply entertained, illumined and inspired.

A new film and coffeetable book “Footprints on the Sands of Time”, an anthem, a logo and a Zoroastrian flag were released. There was a concurrent Exhibition of Zarathushti culture. A jashan preceded the Congress.

Leadership from all regions of the world participated: Dr. Esfandiar Ekhtiyari (MP, Iran), Tehran Anjuman President Dr. Rostam Khosravian, Mobed Dr. Ardeshir Khorshidian, BPP chair Dinshaw Mehta and trustees Khojeste Mistree, Armaity Tirandaz, Jimmy Mistry and Arnavaz Mistry, FEZANA President Bomi Patel and past presidents Firdosh Mehta, Dr. Dolly Dastoor and Rohinton Rivetna, and past ZTFE presidents Dorab Mistry and Paurush Jila. Delegates from the smaller pockets included Toxy Cowasjee (Pakistan), Russi Ghadiali (Singapore), Jal Shroff, Mr. Jokhi and Mr. Parekh (ZTF Hong Kong), Phil Madon (Australia), Micky Mistry (New Zealand) and of course, the hosts, Meher Bhesania and team from Dubai (pop 1500 Zoroastrians).  Several international organizations also participated: WZO (Chair Darayus Motivala and past Chair Sammy Bhiwandiwalla),  WAPIZ (Khojeste Mistree), WZCC (President Kersi Limathwala),  ZWIN (Dr. Zareen Araoz), and others.

Business icons — Lord Karan Billimoria (Cobra Beer), Pallonji Mistry (Shapurji Pallonji & Co.), Nadir Godrej (Godrej Industries), Jal Shroff (Fossil watches), Alayar Dabestani (business), Sam Balsara (Madison World) and other stalwarts from Dubai and around the world — lent their inspiration and financial sponsorships that enabled the lavish style of the Congress, which included: noted professional entertainers every evening – Boman Irani, Parizad Kolah-Marshall, singer Shayan, Hormazd Khambatta’s dance troupe and more;  Desert Safari and city/shopping tours; the daily Congress newspaper;  awards, plaques, gifts and door-prizes to delegates; three grand buffets daily and much more.

The Congress Awards were presented at a glittering ceremony.  Winners were: Rohinton M. Rivetna, USA (Outstanding Zarathushti),  Dinshaw Tamboly, India (Community Service), Zartoshty Brothers, Mehraban and (late) Feraydoon, USA (Outstanding Philanthropy), Minoo Homi Patel, UK (Engineering and Technology), Sooni Taraporevala USA/India (Performing Arts & Literature), and Dr. Farokh Udwadia, India (Medicine).  WZCC Awards were presented to: Firdosh Bhesania USA/Dubai (Outstanding Young Entrepreneur/Professional), Homai Daruwala, India (Outstanding Professional), and Umeed Kothawala (Outstanding Entrepreneur).  In the YLEP Awards, the Iranian youth team won first place, the North American and Indian teams won second place and the Dubai, Australia and UK teams tied for third place.

But alongside the glitz and glamour of the Congress, the days were packed with networking and business opportunities (WZCC), serious deliberations on community issues and development of several legacy programs, among them: YLEP, the Youth Leadership Enhancement Program for developing the next generation of Zarathushti leaders; “Vision 2010” developing a blueprint and goals for the community; and formalizing of the “Coming Together Roundtable”, the world regional leadership forum. Elected leaders of all four major regions consensually agreed to assume ownership of the CTR.  Previously elusive for many years, this “coming together” of the regional leadership at a common forum for dialogue and action, is certainly a watershed moment for the world Zarathushti community, and a legacy of no small proportions for the Dubai Congress.

All kudos go to Chair Meher Bhesania, and her talented team from Dubai and around the world,  for the orchestration of this Congress and for their vision to facilitate the Legacy projects.



by Polly Noshir Chenoy

(Dr. Chenoy belongs to the Department of English, Osmania University, Hyderabad.)

My mother’s contention is: “British gayan ne’ opre vadhare British thai gayan” (We have become more British after the British have left). This, she attributes mostly to the fact that the Parsis; especially the younger generation speak no other language except English and have no knowledge of any Indian language. But what is annoying and also rash, is the fact, that the Parsis feel superior to the other Indians on account of their mastery of the English language and tend to look down on those who cannot speak the language well. Whereas, it would help them immensely if they continued to learn their adopted mother tongue, Gujarati, as well as the language of the region in which they live.

Times today have changed greatly. Everyone lives in very competitive times, and therefore, the Parsis are seriously at a disadvantage not knowing the language of the region, nor their own mother tongue, Gujarati. They try to get by with a smattering of Hindustani with the local people and of course with their knowledge of English with the elite. But this kind of elitism must stop.

The attitude and the thinking of the Parsis needs to undergo a change as this change would benefit them both locally and nationally. It should be instilled in the young that the more languages they learn, the more advantageous it is for them. They should also be made to realise that assimilation is better than alienation and that they can no longer afford to live “marginal” lives.

In our family, we were first taught Gujarati at the Parsis School and we also learnt Urdu, the official language of the erstwhile Hyderabad State. We continued to learn Urdu, for instance, at the Convent where we studied. My indebtedness and gratitude to my parents is indeed great for their foresight and insistence that we also learn Gujarati. Otherwise, a wealth of knowledge concerning the history of our people and of the lives of eminent Parsis would have been lost to us.

But, the Anglicisation of the Parsis has a longer and deeper history and cannot be confined merely to the problem of our children speaking no other language except English.

Click to read on……  


Courtesy : Ruby Sanjana


Atash Behram Bouy Ceremony


All of us have at several times in our life witnessed the Bouy ceremony of an Atashbehram and most of us have also offered the Machhi to the holy Padshah saheb on several occasions. Though we are always awe struck with this intricate procedure at the time of change of geh, few of us actually understand the meaning and purpose of the Bouy ceremony and the whys and hows of the kriya. This article by late Jehangirji S. Chiniwala attempts to explain in detail this procedure. This article was printed in the Parsi Awaz in Gujarati from where it has been translated.

Click here to read this beautiful explanation of the Atash Behram Bouy Ceremony.


Courtesy : Behram P Dhabhar

Why is ‘Kusti’ to be done in all Gehs?

Why is ‘Kusti’ to be done in all Gehs?

How many of us have asked this question in our minds but not sought an explanation?

Behram P Dhabhar offers a simple answer :


On account of the malefic forces of Asere Tariki our Aipee is iunder constant bombardment and loses its lustre (Khoreh). This is why we perform the kusti ritual so as to keep our Aipee clean. The body emanates constant waste matter in terms of sweat, gases, etc, which also pollute the Aipee. A kusti done in one geh will last only for that time period since on change of the geh on account of Gashak, Asere Roshni gets interrupted and Asere Tariki becomes powerful. We therefore have to perform the new kusti on change of every geh and also after we answer the call of nature since the Aipee suffers contamination on emmission of waste matter.

Ushahin geh has the longest Gashak period of 100 minutes. Though for a normal zarathushtri kusti is allowed even in the Gashak period, prayers cannot be recited. It is permitted only after 2.30 am. The period from 3 am to sunrise is the most auspicious period for prayers since the Asere tatiki is virtually absent. I have noticed that if one prays during this period or either of the two Hoshbams, the concentration on prayers is maximum. When we pray in any of the daytime gehs, the mind tends to wander. This has been my expeirnce.


Centre will help Parsis to boost count

Vineeta Pandey / DNA

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 0:22 IST

Concerned about the dwindling Parsi population in the country, the ministry of minority affairs is trying to come up with a concoction to reverse the trend.


Minister Salman Khurshid said that they are soon going to meet Parsi leaders in Mumbai to figure out a plan to stop the extinction of the culturally rich community.

The current Parsi population in India is about 69,601 (33,949
males and 35,652 females) compared to 76,382 (37,736 males and 38,646 females) during the 1991 census. According to the 2001 census, the child-woman ratio, which is a key indicator of fertility, is 578 per 1,000 in India. Among the Parsis it was 85 per 1,000.

The 2001 census report called for an urgent intervention. The report said that fertility improvement initiatives rather than fertility control measures adopted by the community so far are possibly the need of the hour.

“It is expected that this loud and clear message from 2001 census awakens the country and the Parsi community from the deep slumber it is possibly in and have a beneficial effect,” it added.

The ministry, while making it clear about their no-interference policy in the religious and community matters, said they are working out plans which may include providing them financial help for healthcare. This support could also be for fertility-related treatments.

“Besides population, the Parsi community has been coming to the government with various other problem, including cremation, shortage of priests, property disputes, etc,” said Vivek Malhotra, secretary, ministry of minority affairs.

“There are also concerns about their children not getting admissions in schools and not enough people being left to take care of their properties.”

However, a few of the community members believe there is no reason to panic. “Our community is not destined to be obliterated from the face of earth,” said Khushru Panthaki, principal of MS Cama Athorna Institute.

“We have to encourage marriages within the community. Alien elements will destroy the genetic characteristic of our community.”

Ref : 

Courtesy : K.F.Keravala

« Older Entries Recent Entries »