Fifth Parliament of the World’s Religions
Fifth Parliament of the World’s Religions – Roshan Rivetna
Zarathushtis were well represented at the Fifth Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, December 3 – 9, 2009, with over 30 registered delegates (over 20 from Melbourne, 10 from USA, Canada, India, UK, Sydney and New Zealand) and more for the cultural events.
Recognized as the world’s first monotheistic faith, Zarathushtis had a prominent spot at the Opening Ceremonies. As the Symphony Orchestra filled the 5-000 seat stadium with the resounding sounds of “Thus Spake Zarathushtra” the Zoroastrian group of over 40, dressed in traditional daglis and gorgeous garas chanted Ashem Vohu and Yatha ahu Vairyo
Zarathushtis conducted two days of morning worship with a brief Jashan demonstration. Two Zoroastrian panel presentations were: “Zoroastrians: Their Imperative to be Bridge Builders by Dr. Dolly Dastoor, Perviz Dubash, Dr. Sam Kerr and Kayzad Namdarian, moderated by Arnavaz Chubb; and “Zoroastrianism: Its stewardship of All creation, the Animate and Inanimate” presented by Pervin Mistry, Rashna Ghadialy, Dr. Homi Dhalla and Homi Gandhi, moderated by Rohinton Rivetna. The other two presentations were:“The Many Faces of Peace” by Dr. Homi Dhalla and “The Zoroastrian Ethos of Compassion” presented by Dr. Homi Dhalla and Dr. Sam Kerr, an authority on Cyrus the Great. A highlight was the gala Community Night, organized off-site by the Zoroastrian Association of Victoria, ZAV. There are an estimated 400 – 500 Zoroastrians in Victoria.
A Zoroastrian Exhibit Booth was set up in the Exhibition Hall. The creative and talented ZAV team had designed wall-size posters and a full-size standing cut-out of Zarathushtra before an afargan with tea-light flames. The team of ZAV volunteers were kept busy showing ZAGNY’s video film on Zoroastrians, selling books, handing out flyers and talking about the religion with a constant stream of visitors.
Kudos to Rohinton Rivetna (founding trustee of the Parliament), Perviz Dubash and his team from the Zoroastrian Association of Victoria, and all the Zarathushti presenters and volunteers who came from near and far, to orchestrate a Zarathushti presence to be proud of, at this mega-event in Melbourne.