Moolla Ni Kapad Ni Dukaan


Moolla Ni Kapad Ni Dukaan (Moolla’s Cloth Shop)

From Time Out MUMBAI

N D Moolla and Sons is the kind of shop you crane your neck to look into. And it’s not just the intricately carved chess sets at the entrance, the old wooden cabinets lining the walls or the scent of sandalwood wafting out of the store. Its appeal lies in the fact that it probably looks the same as it did in 1931 when the owners relocated to this spot because of rental woes. If some of the objects displayed seem unfamiliar to non-Parsis that’s only because the store prides itself on stocking every conceivable item a Zoroastrian will need from birth to death. This includes the shiav or funerary offering of garments, explained proprietor Noshir Darabsha Moolla, whose grandfather set up the store in 1893.

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Curtesy :  Jehangir Bisney

ZAF Newsletter – Zor & More


Dear ZAF: We are very pleased to bring you issue #3-2012 of our Newsletter Zor & More.  The publication is made possible by a generous and kind well-wishing member of ZAF and many other gracious contributors of goodwill messages.  We are grateful for your generosity and hearty support. 
We are sure you will see not only the happenings in the community in Florida but we wish to especially draw your attention to a section on the highlights of the latest happenings at the 16th North American Zarathushti Congress held earlier this month in N.Y.  It is our attempt to bring you the latest happenings, trends, issues (such as the declining/increasing  numbers, Zarathushti identity, age of Navjote, intermarriages, Iran, povertyetc.) and thinking on part of the community at-large in North America since most of you were not at the Congress.  A few photos are also included to give you a glimpse of the proceedings and the entertainment.  We wish you happy reading and all the best in the New Year.
Sincerely,  Jahanbux Daruwala (President –  ZAF Board)
The index of the issue is as follows:

Pg.                               In this Issue

5.     Muktaad in South Florida  

6.     N. American Census & Opinions at XVI Congress  

6.     ZAF Saal Mubarak – New Year Celebration   

7.     ZATAMBAY & Orlando News, by Ervad Soli Dastur  

8.     Z-Club Children’s News, by Aban Kavasmaneck

8.     ZAF Community News: 

                8. The Stork Arrives at Bharucha’s

                8. Relocation of F & P Sarkari Family

                8. Appeal from Marathon Runner; Perry Unwalla

                9. Our Condolences for Loved Ones of South Florida

                9. A Message from ZAF to Sikh Community

9.     N. Amer. Z. Religious Tele-Class, by Ervad Soli Dastur

 

10-15.                       BEYOND FLORIDA

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE XVI NORTH AMERICAN

ZARATHUSHTI CONGRESS, August 2-5, 2012, NY

 

16.  ZAF Calendar of Events (Sept-Dec, 2012)

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Times Scholars


WE ARE LOOKING FOR INDIA’S BRIGHTEST MINDS !
‘Times Scholars’ is an initiative to recognize and reward the brightestyoung minds in the country.

 

We invite class 12th students from all over the country to apply for the programme by filling out a simple form on our website. The students will be shortlisted based on information given by them in the form, and the shortlisted candidates will go through the next levels of testing. We have experts supporting us in the initiative who will help us choose the top 20 Times Scholars on the basis of qualities like reasoning ability, aptitude, knowledge, future vision etc.

We will then undertake the task of providing the best of guidance and mentorship to these scholars in their fields of interest, enabling them understand and adopt a thinking-reasoning model of learning that will help them excel in whatever career option they choose for themselves. We will also be giving each of them cash scholarships worth Rs. 5 Lakh, over a period of 4 years of their graduation.

We hope and believe that these young scholars we are equipping today will be the ones making the history of India tomorrow.

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SHREE MAHUVA PARSI ANJUMAN


SHREE MAHUVA PARSI ANJUMAN

AN APPEAL FOR DONATIONS

We have an Agiyari and a Community Hall (Manekwadi) at MAHUVA. Both were established in 1910 A. D. due to munificent donation of Late Shri Ardeshir B. Patel (Patel Agiyari, Andheri, Mumbai). As per the lastest audit report, our Anjuman has a Balance Fund Rs. 3,40,000/- +  Rs 54,000/- as per Kathi Fund and the Annual Expenditure is approx. Rs 1,50,000/-. Manekwadi is rented on daily basis and the income generated is utilized to maintain our Agiyari which is the only one in the whole Mahuva Taluka. The estimated cost of the Manekwadi renovation is Rs. Twenty Lakhs and uptil now Rs. Eight Lakhs have been collected by the Anjuman. We intend to start the renovation work in the near future and therefore, we appeal to our devout Hamdins and Trust Funds to donate for the noble cause.
Kindly send Cheque / DD in favour of “Shree Mahuva Parsi Anjuman” HOSI G. BAJINA, President Mahuva Parsi Anjuman At & Post Mahuva, Dist. Surat- 394250 Mobile: 09924122122

ATASH PADSHA of Fire Temple in Aden


This was a very special journey, on a very special mission. Flying on board the chartered Air-India plane was a very special and important entity… 
“Lhotse”, Air-India’s Boeing 707 began taxiing on the tarmac and as the big aeroplane lost touch with the ground and became airborne, chants of Yatha Ahu Vairyo rent the aircraft. For this was a very special journey, on a very special mission. Flying on board the chartered plane was a very very special and important entity – Atash-e-Adaran.

This, then, is the story of a very important and almost miraculous chapter in the history of the Zarthustis. An event which took place in the lifetime of most of us. Join us as we ‘fly’ down to the Red Sea port of Aden, situated on the Arabian peninsula. Welcome aboard the ‘Lhotse’.

Parsees have always been adventurous and enterprising and many have gone to distant shores to seek their fortunes and wealth and, in a number of cases, settled abroad. In a few places they even built Fire Temples to cater to the religious and spiritual needs of the Parsee community settled on these foreign shores, as for example, in Aden. 


Parsee Fire Temple – Aden 1886 – 1976

Aden, in those days, was a thriving trading post, a free port like Singapore. Located at a strategic point on the Arabian peninsula, it was the port ships passed through on their East to West – West to East journeys, via the Suez Canal. Aden had a large number of Parsees – around 1300 – and in the year 1883 they built an agiary there where the consecrated Atash was of Adaran grade. This agiary was built by the Cowasjee Dinshaw family who were in the business of shipping. This family also built a mosque for the local Mohamedan population which is known as the Cowasji Masjid and is still in use in Aden. There also used to be a Dokhma in Aden for the use of the Parsees. 
In 1967, the British left Yemen and South Yemen turned into a communist country. Aden soon lost its prime position as an important trading post on both sides of the Suez. Business declined and a number of foreigners working there and contributing to its economy started leaving, too. So did the Parsees, many of them who had almost settled there. They moved back to India or to other places like U.K, Canada, etc.
With the advent of communism, the agiary, dokhma and their funds, etc. all became state property. With all the Parsees set to leave Aden, who would take care of the Atash? That’s when Cowasjee Dinshaw, the great grandson of Cowasjee Dinshaw who had built the agiary and dokhma in Aden in the century, decided that he would not let the Holy Atash, which had sustained and nurtured the community in this land away from home, just die away as the one at Zanzibar had. 
Cowasjee Dinshaw firmly believed that this Atash had miraculous powers. During the fight for ousting the British from Yemen, in spite of all the bombings and destruction all around, the Agiary as never touched even by a splinter, leave alone the various bombs that were exploding all around it. Ultimately, in 1967, the British left Yemen and the communists came to power. Soon, changes began even in the business community and one by one foreigners started moving out of Aden. Now with the impending withdrawal of the Parsees from this ancient Islamic and new communist state, what was to happen to our Holy Fire? 
For various reasons, the fire couldn’t be established in a Daremeher in Iran nor as a House of Worship in London. Ultimately, India was decided upon. It took a lot of persuasion from the Indian Foreign Ministry, Y. B. Chavan and even Mrs. Indira Gandhi personally, to make the South Yemeni government finally agree to let the Parsees move the Holy Atash to India. In a meeting of the Non Aligned Nations held in Colombo, Y B. Chavan personally met the Head of the South Yemeni government who was also present and once again pressed the case for the release of the Holy Atash to India. At last, the South Yemeni Government agreed and, indeed, it was a moment of joy and relief for the Parsees of Aden. The condition was that it would have to be moved out at midnight. This was agreed to by Mr. Dinshaw. 
But much more of trials and tribulations had to be passed through – almost like a test through fire itself. Further permission had to be taken that the Holy Atash would not be viewed by any non-Zarthustis which, too, was granted very reluctantly by the then South Yemeni government, after a lot of persuasion on the part of our Foreign Ministry. 
No sooner was this news known, then a fresh controversy broke out in the community, back home in India. There was a lot of debate on how the Holy Atash could be transported. Cowasjee Dinshaw approached Field Marshal Sam Manecksha to chalk out the best land route to transport the Holy Fire. Manecksha drew up a route, but that meant passing through Mecca and Medina, the holiest cities of Islam. Now, this would not have been possible since no non-Muslims are allowed to even enter these two cities. 
Also, from the Zarthusti theological and religious point of view, transport through land routes was ruled out as there is an injunction in the Denkard on carrying the Holy Fire over wide expanse of waters, and since one would have to cross a number of rivers, this would create a major difficulty. For the same reason the sea route was discounted. This was partly because the sea contains a lot of pollutants, like discharge from the ships, freighters, and so on. 
So, what other avenue was left but to fly the Holy Fire over to India? Have you heard of carrying fire in an aircraft? From the point of security, that was a highly dangerous thing to do. It could result in the loss of not only the aircraft, but also the people escorting the fire. Yet as the concerned people thought about and debated on these issues, the more it became clear that this was the only way to transport the Atash. Thus the decision was taken to fly it to Bombay. 
Air India was contacted. Air India agreed to provide an aircraft on a charter basis. This was a Boeing 707. Air India by then had begun inducting 747s, the giant Jumbos into its fleet. Now even an airline started by a Parsee does not routinely fly Fire – that, too, consecrated and of the Adaran grade. To transport this very special ‘passenger’ it was essential that purity and some religious injunctions be observed. 
One of the first amongst these was that only Parsee Zarthustis be on board the aircraft. Thus Air India began the exercise of identifying only Parsee crew who would escort the Holy Fire. Capt. Sam Pedder was contacted and nominated for this religious adventure. For this, he was required to fly a few 707s of Indian Airlines to clock-in some more hours for flying a Boeing 707 as he had by now graduated onto the 747 Jumbo Jets, giants of the skies. 
The Engineering department of Air India, under the supervision of their then Deputy Director of Engineering, Mr. N. S. Mistry, prepared a special urn to carry the Holy Fire in. They also made a big box which would hold the urn. These were made of aluminium and other metals. 
The configuration of the First Class section in the special Aircraft – ‘Lhotse’ – had to be changed to accommodate the box containing the urn which would be carrying the fire. 
Soon it was time for the Holy Fire to leave the shores of Aden where it had provided its light and protection, its blessings and goodwill to the faithful. 
Just on the eve of the departure an unexpected problem arose. The police commissioner of Aden, who was a Muslim-turned communist, informed the remaining few Parsees who were looking after the Fire that he would be coming over the next day to personally inspect the Fire and the urn and the box that would be carrying it. No amount of entreaties that the Holy Fire could not be subjected to the gaze of a non-Zarthusti seemed to have any effect on him. The fact that permission was obtained that the Fire would not be viewed by any non-Zarthusti did not cut much ice with this person, who insisted on his demand on the grounds that the big box should not be used for purposes of smuggling! 
He announced that he would be there when the Fire was being moved out and the Fire be kept ready for his inspection or else he would not give the permission to move it out of the agiary premises. Imagine the state of mind of the four-five Parsees left behind. Here they were trying their best to protect the Fire to ensure its survival and journey to India and here was a thunderbolt from a man who seemed unsympathetic and stubborn. Would the sanctity of the Atash be preserved after it was ‘inspected’ by a non-Zarthusti? After all, there are esoteric reasons why this is forbidden. 
The Parsees prayed to Ahura Mazda, to the Prophet Zarathustra. They prayed to the Holy Fire itself and asked to be delivered from this impending catastrophe. At midnight there was a knock on the door of the agiary. The Parsees looked at each other with dismay and anguish. So the commissioner had come to defile our cherished Atash Padsha, they cried. 
The door was opened with a heavy heart. Out on the steps stood a person and he had brought some news. The commissioner had just died most unexpectedly! The Holy Atash was now safe from the eyes of those who need not gaze at it. 
Soon afterwards, in a convoy the Atash was taken to the airport. The aircraft had just arrived from Bombay and the engines were not even switched off. No non-Zarthusti touched the aircraft. The aircraft had been sanctified with well-water and taro. Cowasjee Dinshaw was aboard the same with the Head Priest of Udwada, Dastoorjee Kekobad Phirozjee, who had provided a lot of religious advice on the whole exercise and, of course, his moral support. There were five other priests on board, too, including a Godrej employee Mr. Rusy Mory. As soon as ‘Lhotse’ landed, two mobeds holding British citizenship rushed to the Agiary. By then Dasturjee Minocher Manecksha who had tended the Fire for many years at the Aden Agiary had offered Boi to the Fire in the Ushahin Geh, for the last time in Aden. From there the Atash was brought in its new container in a convoy to the airport. Apavi was built to ensure the sanctity of the Atash Padsha. The Yemeni government had provided motorcycle escort to the entourage.
The Holy Fire was carried onto the aircraft. In a few minutes, the aircraft the engines of which were never switched off even after its long journey from Bombay, was taxiing and was soon airborne. History was made as live fire was carried in an aircraft, otherwise a very dangerous thing to do. As the aircraft took off, the Yemeni officials gave it a 21-gun salute, the sounds of which were heard all over Aden. This truly signified an end of an era for Aden. The all-Parsee crew as well as the other Parsee escorts kept on chanting prayers. 
The mobeds who were accompanying the Holy Fire did the Padyab Kushti, Atash Niyaesh and other prayers. They often opened the box to offer sandalwood to ensure that the fire was still glowing and had not died out. They did this with regard to all due ceremonies and by reciting the necessary prayers. Opening the container and feeding sandalwood to the fire at the height of 30,000 feet was, indeed, a very dangerous thing to do, as any flames escaping out could lead to a major explosion in mid-air due to the highly pressurized cabin conditions. Yet, every time, they opened the box to look at the Fire, they found it resting quietly, just glowing softly and serenely, almost as if enjoying the unique journey. 
After flying for almost four hours, the aircraft landed at the Santa Cruz airport, Bombay, at around 7.00 a.m. The airport was chock-a-block with Parsees who had come to receive their Holy Atash from across the seas. With due respects, the box was slowly taken down the steps. A pavi was built around the container and Yatha Ahu Vairyo was chanted, ceremoniously. Dasturjee touched the ground of Mother Earth in thanksgiving for a safe journey and with a prayer on his lips opened the box. Lo and behold, the Fire that was resting silently by just glowing softly while in midair, now leaped a few feet, as if in sheer ecstasy. 
The Flames of Faith danced and swirled as they came in touch with the atmosphere of Mother India – the land that has been home to its devotees (the Zarthustis and the Hindus) since centuries. Here in the land that has been home to the largest number of the world’s great religions, the Holy Atash Padsha from Aden at last felt at home – secure and safe. 
The Atash Padsha was now taken to the Soonawalla Agiary at Mahim in a special luxury bus for being ‘rested’ for a few hours. This was taken under police escort. The Atash was offered Machi and Boi for the Havan Geh, and later in the Rapithwan Geh, too. The Mahim agiary was packed with hundreds of ordinary Parsee-Zarthustis who had come to pay their respects to the Atash Padsha. Around 01.30 at noon, once again the Holy Fire was taken on board the special bus and this time the second phase of this historical journey commenced… to the Adenwalla Agiary at Lonavala in the hills of the Western ghats. This is where the Atash would be enthroned. 
A pavi had been created around the bus and a chain attached to it to maintain contact always with the earth. In an absolutely unprecedented move, the Bombay to Pune highway, one of the busiest land routes in the country on which Lonavala is situated, was closed to all traffic upto Lonavala from Bombay. A motorcycle escort was once again provided by the government of Maharashtra to the convoy. A number of Parsees followed the same in eight buses plus many went along in their own cars and vehicles (around 60-70 automobiles) and the route was lined with cheering Parsees, praying and expressing their gratitude to the Lord for the safe passage of the Holy Fire. 
On 14th November, 1976, Roj Behram, Mah Khordad, Yz 1346, the Atash Padsha which was first consecrated in Aden in the year 1883 in the Adenwalla Agiary at Aden in Yemen, arrived at its new home, the Adenwalla Agiary at Lonavala, India. 


The Adenwalla Agiary at Lonavala

With due ceremonies and prayers (Machi and Boi ceremonies in the Ujiren Geh) the Atash Padsha was installed in the specially created sanctum sanctorum next to that of the original Atash Padsha of the Lonavala agiary (which is of the Dadgah grade). A jashan for thanksgiving was later conducted in the evening. Once again, the agiary was full of devotees and the atmosphere was one of great joy and devotion.’ 
The costs and expenses which ran into lakhs of rupees for the complete operation were borne by Mr. Cowasjee Dinshaw and his wife, personally. When this writer enquired with him what was the sum spent he very modestly declined to mention the figure. Such humility and modesty is so rare and thus praiseworthy especially in the times we live in today. 
Today, both the Atash Padsha blaze forth in joyous glory. The Atash from Aden stands testimony to those brave souls who consecrated the Fire in a foreign land and had the foresight and courage to bring it to safety when times became difficult. The radiant flames of this Atash bear testimony to the miracles that the Lord keeps creating, strengthening the faith of the faithful and reinforcing the message of hope, courage, devotion, faith and perseverance. 
The story of bringing over the Holy Atash from Aden to Lonavala is a true story, little known and heard but it has many lessons for us all. It all happened just twenty-two years ago! It is part of our history. The Iranians of old were not known for recording their history. This is, therefore, just a small and humble attempt to do so, so that this story of devotion and courage is not forgotten and also that we keep learning from history and not become victims of being ignorant of our past. 
 

A quiet billionaire


By Rajesh Kurup 

Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, 82, is the world’s most reclusive billionaire. For a man with an estimated wealth of almost $10 billion (Rs 55,000 crore), he is surprisingly invisible, rarely seen or heard in the public space. One of India’s most successful and powerful businessmen, he controls a construction empire that operates across India, West Asia and Africa. He, along with his sons, also controls an 18.5 per cent stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100 billion (Rs 550,000 crore) Tata Group, making the Mistrys the largest individual shareholders in India’s most diversified business conglomerate. He is called, with a mixture of awe and curiosity, the Phantom at Bombay House, the headquarters of the Tata Group, in Mumbai. His younger son, Cyrus Mistry, 43, will control the group when Chairman Ratan Tata exits in December.

Construction magnate Pallonji is an Irish citizen, by virtue of marriage to an Irish woman, but he lives mostly in India, in his sea-facing Walkeshwar bungalow in Mumbai. In 2012, Forbes estimated his wealth to be $9.7 billion (Rs 53,350 crore), making him the wealthiest person of Parsi descent as well as the richest Irishman in the world. Much of that wealth comes from his shareholding in the Tata Group, says Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group of Companies. Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC, recalls how the Mistrys first acquired shares in the Tata Group. “Pallonji’s father built factories for Tata Motors and Tata Steel. The Tatas had no money to pay for them so they gave him shares instead,” he says. Pallonji slowly consolidated his family’s shareholding in subsequent years by buying out shares of Tata family members who wanted to exit the business.

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Tracing Dadabhai Naoroji’s Descendants


I would like to ask readers for assistance in helping trace any descendants of Dadabhai Naoroji.

At the moment, I do not know much about Naoroji’s descendants through his daughters, Shirin Dadina and Maki Dadina.  I know that Maki and Homi had at least two sons, one of whom was an AH Dadina, who was still alive in 1970, when he wrote a letter to Parsi Avaz (I thank Ervad Marzban Hathiram for bringing this to my attention). They were made navars in 1915 in memory of their grandmother, Gulbai. Unfortunately, this is all I know of any possible Naoroji grandchildren through his two daughters. Maki (who was trained in England as a doctor) and Homi lived with Naoroji at Versova until his death and Shirin and Fram spent some years in Karachi, most likely returning to Bombay thereafter.Dadabhai Naoroji, who was married to Gulbai Shroff (b. 1829?) at an early age, had three children: Ardeshir (1859-1893), who married Virbai Dadina; Shirin, who married Fram Dadina; and Manekbai or Maki (b. 1868), who married Homi Dadina. We know that Ardeshir and his wife had eight children: Perin (Captain), Nurgis (Captain), Kershasp, Jalejar or Jal, Gosi, Meherbanoo or Meher, Sarosh, and Khorshed. Sadly, none of Naoroji’s grandchildren had any children themselves, and therefore this branch of Naoroji’s family went extinct.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could supply me more information on these two branches of the Naoroji/Dadina families, as well as any other relations of Dadabhai Naoroji. I hope to construct a Naoroji family tree building on what RB Paymaster sketched in his book, A Farman of Emperor Jehangir Given to Dr Dadabhai Naoroji’s Ancestors Three Centuries ago and a Short History of His Dordi Family of Navsari, published in 1925. I would also welcome any information from Dordi family members who can trace ancestry to Naoroji.

I can be contacted at dinyar.patel@gmail.com.

Many thanks,

Dinyar Patel

The man for whom Ratan Tata holds the door open: RM Lala


Over the decades, Lala’s books have chronicled the incredible history of the Tatas, India’s oldest and perhaps most respected business family. Thanks to his proximity to the Tatas, these books have put on record this legacy for coming generations. When I started working on the feature on the Tata trusts (cover story of Forbes India’s 17th August 2012 issue), two of those books—The Heartbeat of a Trust and The Creation of Wealth—were my starting points in gathering information, and they also helped me break the ice with Lala.

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