Celebrating a Treasure: 140 Years of Meherjirana Library

Dear friends and colleagues,

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to participate in a conference entitled Celebrating a Treasure: 140 Years at the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library, Navsari. Since its inception in 1872, the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library in Navsari has continuously served the needs of the people of the city of Navsari, Gujarat, as well as the Zoroastrian and scholarly community in India and abroad. In recognition of its 140 years of service, and in celebration of the completion of a new annex and conference center in the library complex, the Librarian and Board of Trustees of the library, along with the UNESCO Parsi Zoroastrian project, eagerly request your participation in the conference.

Important Details:

Date: January 13-15, 2013
Venue: The First Dastoor Meherjirana Library, Navsari, Sir Dorab Tata Trust Annexe
Transportation: By coach from Mumbai to Navsari roundtrip.

Arrive in Navsari January 12, depart January 16.


Please RSVP here by July 30, even if you do not plan to attend.
150-word abstracts due to conference@meherjiranalibrary.com by August 15


About the Library:

The First Dastoor Meherjirana Library is home to one of the most important collections of manuscripts relating to the Zoroastrian religion in the world, consisting of more than 600 handwritten manuscripts and documents dating from the fourteenth century onward and written in the Avestan, Pahlavi, Pazand, Persian, Sanskrit, Gujarati, and Hindustani languages. The library is also home to more than 50,000 printed books, including rare collections of early Gujarati and Persian books as well as books relating to Oriental and Zoroastrian Studies, and more general subjects. This veritable treasure of knowledge is housed in a historic turn-of-the-century building replete with an important collection of Parsi portraiture and stained-glass windows. The construction of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust Annexe, inaugurated in 2009, has added modern facilities to the library, including an air-conditioned conference center with digital presentation facilities, apartments for visiting scholars, a book preservation laboratory, and study space for students. The library is equipped with wireless internet, and maintains its website at http://www.meherjiranalibrary.com/ .

Call for Papers:

The purpose of the conference is twofold. First, we hope that the conference will encourage scholars who have visited the Meherjirana in the past, as well as those who are interested in doing so, to gain experience at the library, to acquire an appreciation for its ongoing projects, and to forge and renew links with international and Indian scholars and community members. Second, the conference will foster an understanding of the current state of scholarship and raise awareness in Navsari and in India about the crucial importance of the research that is currently being undertaken around the world. As Navsari is known by Parsis in Gujarati as Dharamnī Ṭekrī “The Mountain of Religion,” we are happy to report that a number of members of the Zoroastrian priestly community have already agreed to participate in the conference, and we hope that many fruitful discussions and new friendships between scholars and religious practitioners will arise in the course of the proceedings of the conference.

Presentations at the conference will relate to the strengths of the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library’s collections. In particular, presentations relating to any period of Zoroastrian religious history, the history of Western India and the Parsi community, art and archaeology, and the field of manuscripts studies, book history, and library science, are strongly encouraged. Participants in the conference will be expected to give short, twenty-minute presentations on themes related to their research interests. These presentations should be in English and of interest to a general audience – for this reason, we urge scholars to present basic introductions to their subject rather than technical philological research. It is hoped that the papers can be published as a souvenir volume and may provide a useful resource for a public audience in India and abroad which is interested in learning more about these topics.

Conference Details:

The conference will be held over the course of three days, from January 13-15, 2013. Transportation for participants will be arranged to and from Mumbai. Accommodation for participants will be arranged through the conference. Meals will also be provided for the duration of the conference, and every attempt will be made to accommodate the dietary needs of the participants. Conference participants will be expected to arrange their own travel to Mumbai. Our conference staff will be available to answer questions and concerns regarding travel to and from India. Arrangements can be made for conference participants to view manuscripts and other materials from the library provided that they let us know beforehand what they would like to see. Please refer to the catalogues on the website for information on the collections.


We ask that you let us know whether you will be interested in attending the conference no later than July 15. Please fill out the registration form at http://www.meherjiranalibrary.com/conference/ even if you are not interested in attending. Scholars who are interested in attending will be sent instructions for paying registration fees. Abstracts of presentations should be sent to conference@meherjiranalibrary.com no later than August 15, 2013.


Registration fees for the conference, which include the cost of transportation to and from Navsari, as well as hotel and meals from January 12-16, 2013, will be as follows:


Foreign Scholars
Students: INR 20,000 (approximately USD 365 / EUR 290 / GBP 235)
Senior Scholars & Faculty: INR 22,500 (approximately USD 410 / EUR 325 / GBP 265)
Indian Scholars
Students and Faculty: INR 10,000
We truly hope that you will be able to join us in making this a successful conference, and to help us generate interest in the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library and its collections for generations to come. Visit http://www.meherjiranalibrary.com/conference/ to RSVP.



The First Dastoor Meherjirana Library Conference Committee

Katy Antia, Chairman, Board of Trustees, First Dastoor Meherjirana Library

Bharti Gandhi, Librarian, First Dastoor Meherjirana Library

Shernaz Cama, Professor, Delhi University. Executive Council, UNESCO Parsi-Zoroastrian Project
Daniel Sheffield, Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University
Dinyar Patel, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Harvard University
Celebrating a Treasure: 140 Years at the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library, Navsari
An International Conference, January 13-15, 2013
A Parzor-Meherjirana Initiative

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