Monthly Archives: March 2011

Parsi Punchayet ban on priests quashed

The Bombay High Court on Friday quashed a ban on two priests imposed by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP). The High Court held that the Trust did not have powers to ban any ordained Parsi Zoroastrian priest from performing religious rites and ceremonies at the Towers of Silence and agiaries (fire temples). Allowing such wide rights (of excluding priests) would result in “a grave affront to basic human rights and dignity”.

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Kanga v BPP-HC Judgement- 11-3-11

Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

Weave of glory

At a time when the Parsi-Zoroastrian community records a drastic decrease in its population with every count, what’s the point of basking in its glorious past, a few cynical minds can always ask, but a balanced outlook will only appreciate the agenda behind “Parsi Panorama” a four-day festival celebrating different aspects of Parsi culture with a thrust on its textiles.

Dr. Shernaz H. Cama, Director of the UNESCO-Parzor Project, aimed at documenting different aspects of the community, tells you that the dwindling numbers are a reason to be concerned, but that can’t be interpreted as a void of traditions in the community. However small it may be in numbers — the last census conducted in 2001 put the Parsi population at 64,000 in India which is dropping by 10 per cent every year — Parsis remain a vibrant society, very proud of its heritage.

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Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies

I’ve only heard good things about this book — probably a good thing to add to our bookshelves!


Dinyar Patel

“The definitive book on Persian cooking: not just a recipe collection but a fond introduction to a culture and a fascinating cuisine.”

Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies
By Najmieh Batmanglij

Completely redesigned for today’s generation of cooks and food enthusiasts, the 25th Anniversary Edition of Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij (Mage; $54.95 640 pages); provides a treasure trove of recipes, along with an immersive cultural experience for those seeking to understand this ancient and timeless cuisine. This edition is a more user-friendly edition of the award-winning and critically acclaimed cookbook series which began in 1986. Food of Life provides 330 classical and regional Iranian recipes as well as an introduction to Persian art, history and culture. The book’s hundreds of full color photographs are intertwined with descriptions of ancient and modern Persian ceremonies, poetry, folktales, travelogue excerpts and anecdotes. The 2011 Edition of Food of Life is a labor of love. The book began in exile after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as a love letter to Batmanglij’s children. Today, as accomplished adults in their own fields, her two sons, Zal and Rostam, encouraged her to redesign the book for their generation.

NAJMIEH BATMANGLIJ, hailed as “the guru of Persian cuisine” by The Washington Post, has spent the past 30 years cooking, traveling, and adapting authentic Persian recipes to tastes and techniques in the West. Her book Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey was selected as “One of the 10 best vegetarian cookbooks of the year” by The New York Times; and her From Persia to Napa: Wine at the Persian Table won the Gourmand Cookbook Award for the world’s best wine history book of 2007. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and lives in Washington, DC, where she teaches Persian and Silk Road cooking, and consults with restaurants around the world. Her most recent book is Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year.