Monthly Archives: November 2010

How to light a correct ‘Divo’

Nearly all of us have, at some point in our lives, lit a Divo, either at home or on our visit to the Fire Temple. Many Parsis have a fascination for doing a Divo, either on a specific day or Roj, or at a particular place or Agiary. In our blind following of this important tradition, we often make serious mistakes which go against the basic laws of the Zarathushtrian faith.

It is necessary to say a few words about doing the Divo in the correct manner.

This article is in 3 parts and can be read by click the following links :

How to light a Divo – Part 1

How to light a Divo – Part 2

How to light a Divo – Part 3 

Courtesy : 

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

Pediatric medical camp

Bombay Parsi Punchayet announces the 1 st innovative dedicated Pediatric medical camp for our Parsi children, to provide better preventive healthcare. This camp is conducted with a visionary Lifestyle approach for Prevention of Lifestyle diseases in children to give them a healthy future and will be coordinated by the Lifestyle & Healthcare Expert Dr. Zinobia Madan.
The Pediatric Camp is planned at F S Parukh Dharamshalla, Khareghat Colony on 4th Dec 2010, and will commence at 9 am. This Pediatric medical
camp will cover the following specialities:-
General Medicine – ENT – Ophthalmic – Dental
Additionally, children who have not received prior vaccination and who are in need of being vaccinated will receive the benefit in this programme.
While the medical check-up is ongoing, for awareness of other children, an interesting health educational presentation by Dr. Zinobia Madan, on ”Lifestyle changes for a Healthy Future” which explains how diet, exercise & appropriate Lifestyle modifications in childhood can lead to healthy, long, active and productive life for these youngsters will be shown as the theme.
BPP is committed to the cause of community healthcare and towards this
cause, this camp has been organised. We expect your participation in large
numbers to make this effort of the BPP & the Medical Fraternity a great success.
Registration will be done between 9 A.M. & 12 Noon
on December 4, 2010 at F S Parukh Dharamshalla.

Udvada: The Land Controversy – 2

Dear Sir,

15 days

I’m sure you must have seen the MID  DAY  report, which was forwarded to me  by a  friend in Mumbai.

While  the report  is dated 15th November I was in Udwada on the 13th, just two days earlier, on perhaps my last pilgrimage to this Holiest of the Holy Zoroastrian Fire Temple. The IRANSHAH.  After  the prayers and  offerings were done , I was interested in finding out firsthand about the  problem related to commercialization of the land adjoining the IranShah about which I was  told just two weeks earlier in New  Delhi. What I found I would  like to share with you and your readers and maybe through your  columns arouse interest amongst our community about the real & present  danger of losing the sanctity of The Holiest of Holy Place of Worship on this Planet for the  Zoroastrians. This is what I found:-

The  Vada Dasturji  or the High Priest was away in  Mumbai where he now  lives. So chatting with the  Dustur in-charge and those  who sit  in the outer  room,  regarding what  was the current situation about the problem, one of them was kind enough in deputing this gentleman who is  kind  of a night watchman at IranShah, to show me to the  site.

I was given a ride on his  Vespa around the site,  where I took some pictures of the vast well maintained lands with mango and  coconut orchards and a  good sized  bungalow in their  midst.

This is the  gentleman in the picture with the  Vespa in front of the barricaded gate with the sign board that reads, “Nucleus Developers of  Lower Parel, Mumbai”.  The property is  well protected in with a barbed wire fence.  The Gate to the  property I was taken to was not more than 100 yards or so east of IRANSHAH and about the same or little more North from the  popular ASHISHVANG  HOTEL. It was  manned by 2 or more gruff looking men armed with “lathis”,(bamboo sticks).   At the far Eastern end of  this the partly orchard land  are the  bungalows of the IranShah Dasturji’s.

Google  Earth at 1100 ft elevation gives you a good idea of the proximity and lay out  of the  land and the Fire Temple  in UDWADA. The road over the small bridge inside the land is  clearly visible on Google and as  seen in the attached pictures.

When I talked with the owners/managers of the  Globe Hotel where  I stayed,  they seemed complacent, for they gave me an impression as if the  problem had  been resolved for good.

When I talked with the dastur of the Pundol Agiary next to the  Globe, he blamed the  Trustees of  IranShah for the  mess they had  created by selling the  land at a  throw away price some time ago,  as they wanted  funds for a school.

Continuing walking towards the Iran Shah came to the  first  house facing the  Fire Temple. Climbing the half a dozen steps leading to this house with the  joolow (swing), this used to be one place my late wife & I used to visit to buy most of the offerings to be made in IranShah during our pilgrimage. Such visits averaged once every two years and going back over  47 years. The lady  who managed  the mini stall knew Villy as a teenager they were good friends and this lady’s house  used to be a place for a cup of tea and fresh  bhakras, as well as a  place  to use the rest room after a long journey from Mumbai, Nargol or Valsad . However on Tuesday  there was an elderly gentleman supporting thick glasses minding the stall. While  purchasing the sukar & kathi,  I tried to start up a conversation with him about what was happening around and tried to find out how involved the resident Parsis were regarding this new threat. He said thing were quiet for now but who knows what is up the sleeve of the  developer. I was very  sad to hear  what  he said next.  That  his  wife who earlier managed the place had passed away, he had  seven brothers all of them gone, now he is the last  one left, praying and waiting for Ahura Mazda’s call anytime.

His talk sets me thinking. What happens to this old man’s  house which  bears a  plaque “DIN DASTUR HOUSE 1340 –1310”. Will some  non-Parsi buy it. Do we have a  listing of how many  Parsi houses are lying  locked unused or  for  sale.  Zoroastrians  from elsewhere may  be  interested in buying them or rebuilding them  as their  holiday  homes,  thus maintaining the Zoroastrian presence around the this   Mecca,  this St Peters, this Temple Mount, this Kedarnath, this  Holiest of  Holy Place of  Worship of the  Peace loving Zoroastrian. Where are the so called leaders of the  Community?

I wonder how many Parsi young men are left in Udwada. As the  ghost of  Yugoslavia emerges in my mind. Horrorific pictures of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in New Delhi go into fast  rewind in your mind’s eye. I shudder to think of another ethnic cleansing in Udwada,  will the rest of  the world  ever know about it?

A young couple  who were  purchasing Sukhar  out-side the  gate of Iranshah,  surprised me by calling out “Rusi Uncle, Oer Kochh Kay I am Khushnuma and this is  Noshir ,  Abu Dhabi, and Detroit IL,”  The Petition and Letter you emailed us we forwarded to the Chief Minister and to the  Minister for Minority Affairs as you had  suggested, what  is  happening now?   These were our dear young friends on my email list and whom we knew in Abu Dhabi some 25 years ago. Another dear old friend who was there in Udwada that day and personally confirmed rushing the  Petitions too, was Mahrukh  of Dubai & Melbourne  Australia.  Seems that  Zoroastrians  outside India were more concerned about the  Udwada  Problem than those at  home.

While in  Mumbai and prior to my visit to Udwada,  majority of the  people I talked with  were  under the impression that the matter had been resolved and there were sms messages and emails thanking Ahura Mazda for the quick resolution of the problem.

As if shell shocked I say to myself, “Somebody  has got to tell the community in India  that their euphoria is sadly misplaced and untimely, it is only the  first round and unless they don’t get  over their complacency, put their  petty differences aside,  stand up united as a Community  in large numbers and be  prepared to take the  matter to the  highest Court in the land, this Holiest of  Holy places of the  Zoroastrian may soon lose its sanctity for good.”

The stay order before the  Tribunal  expires on December 8th, when there is another Court hearing. The Advocate representing the IranShah case is not getting the  support he  requires ,  and it seems the so called elected leaders of the Community in India have been under the  Rip Van Winkles affect,  leaving the local aged Dasturs to take on the legal challenge.

The Minister  for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid hasn’t yet  agreed to see any Zoroastrian representative or even the  High Priest of  Udwada.

Mr.  Narinder Modi who was of great  help last month and the only official to take the issue seriously.  He went out of the way to extend his help but now it is said he is losing his patience  at the Community’s lethargy or complacency in the matter.

Through  your  columns may I request  your readers to voice their protests about the  commercialization and eventual industrialization  of the land  around  this our Holliest  of  Holy  Place of  Worship,  buy  addressing their  concerns to aforesaid Minister in New Delhi and to the  Environmental Groups in India complaining  of the Ecological Damage and  Destruction. Organizations like the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Gujrat  Pollution Control Board, Awaz Control.  And, through your columns  perhaps set off a  loud alarm to wake up some of those elected Rip Van Winkles.

Tandaroasti  & Yazdaan panaah Baad,

Rusi Sorabji
PS:  Just  heard early this morning ( Monday 22nd Nov ) Vada Dasturji is leaving for  AHMEDABAD

Courses offered by Nitte Group

The Bombay Parsi Punchayet takes pleasure in announcing the eligibility criteria and duration of Courses offered by Nitte Group, Mangalore.
Interested Candidates may refer to the following Websites: and for further details.

One hard copy of the Application made may be forwarded to:-

Mr. C. S. Panthaki
Senior Executive (Welfare)
Bombay Parsi Punchayet, 209, Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400001.

well in time, after making a direct Application as per Nitte Group requirements, along with the Examination Fees, where applicable.

Click Here for details of the courses, eligibility and procedures

Sanjan Day Report

Industrialist Areez Khambhata’s remark about allowing inter-caste marriage in Parsi community sparked protest in Sanjan day function held at Sanjan today.

Khambhata talked about allowing inter-caste marriage in his speech at Sanjan day function today, which immediately sparked protest, and several Parsis rushed to the stage to stop him speaking anything further. One Parsi gentleman tried to snatch away Khambhata’s microphone. The function was disturbed for some time. Almost all Parsis present in the function showed disagreement with Khambhata’s remark.

Click Here for the DNA Report

Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

Udvada: The Land Controversy

It’s a change of different sort, a not-so-nice one, where one of the world’s most ancient religions finds its nook of worship threatened. Parsi-Irani Zoroastrians in India and around the world have been a worried lot after 200 acres of lush agricultural land in the backyard of Udvada’s sacred fire temple were handed over to a private developer to set up industry. Shailesh Bhatia and photographer Ashish Rane visit the coastal hamlet in Gujarat to see a 1,250 year-old fire that’s survived Muslim invasion, seastorms and political turmoil, now wrestle with industrialisation

It’s not any old fire. It’s not even any old sacred fire. With a complex constitution that involves the blend of over 16 types of flames sourced from a potter’s kiln, a goldsmith’s furnace, a burning pyre, even lightening itself, the Pak Iranshah fire has been burning continuously, day and night, for over 1,250 years.

Click to read on…

Courtesy : Behram P Dhabhar

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship Program

Call for Applications: Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship Program
 The Council on Foreign Relations is seeking applications for the 2011-2012 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship Program.

Made possible by a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, the program seeks to stimulate the development of the next generation of thought leaders in nuclear security by offering younger scholars studying nuclear security issues the opportunity to spend twelve months at CFR offices in New York or Washington, DC, conducting policy-relevant research. Candidates must be junior (non-tenured) faculty, post-doctoral fellows, or pre-doctoral candidates from any discipline who are working on a nuclear security related issue. For more information, visit

The application deadline is December 15, 2010. If you are interested or would like to suggest candidates, please contact or 212.434.9489.
Council on Foreign Relations •
58 East 68th St •
New York,
NY 10065 5953 

Courtesy : Behram Pastakia

Sanjan Day

Two trains to stop at Sanjan in special arrangement on ‘Sanjan Day’

Sanjan, 17 November, 2010

Western Railway has given special stoppage of two scheduled trains Flying Rani(up) and Gujarat Express(down) at south Gujarat’s Sanjan railway station on 18th and 19th of November on the occasion of ‘Sanjan Day’, which is attended by thousands of Parsi community members from all over the world.

To commemorate the historic landing of the Parsis on the Indian soil at Sanjan, 1294 years ago, the Parsi residents of Sanjan will be celebrating Sanjan Day of this year on 18 November.

Located between Mumbai and Surat, Sanjan is a legendary place in the history of the Parsi community. When the Parsi’s first landed on the port of Sanjan, it was the kingdom of Jadi Rana. The King, apprehensive of tall, fair and warrior like foreigners sent a bowl full of milk, implying that there was no place for the Parsis in his kingdom. The leader and High Priest of Parsi community, Dastoor Neryosang Dhaval added sugar to the milk and sent the bowl back to the king. This action implied that just as sugar mixed with milk added taste and flavour to it, Parsi’s will mix with the local people and be an asset to the kingdom.

Sanjan Day is celebrated to remember the reverence and gratitude the noble Hindu king Jadi Rana who gave us shelter in his kingdom, Dastooran Neryosang Dhaval who led us here and our forefathers for their untold sacrifices to preserve our religion.

The Parsis will also celebrate the 90th anniversary of Memorial Column built to preserve the advent. Contact on local phone numbers: 2576229, or 2576459 for contributions to funds needed to run the Dharamshala and to preserve the Sanjan Memorial Column, beautification of the precincts and protection property.

Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

New Website – Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism (ARZ)

New Website – Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism (ARZ)

The only race that the Zarthushti Philosophy recognizes is the Human Race
The activities of ARZ are inspired by the teachings of the Holy Prophet Asho Zarathushtra.

ARZ’s goal and vision is to disseminate the true Zarthushti philosophy of Good Thoughts (Humata), Good Words (Hukhta) , and Good Deeds (Huvarashta).

This Divine Zarthushti Philosophy is not restricted to the members of a particular race. It is a philosophy for all mankind to imbibe.

This splendid Philosophy and Message is for the elevation and benefit of the entire human race. The only race that the Zarthushti philosophy recognizes is the Human Race.

Click Here for their new website

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