Parsi in Next Iron Chef Redemption


I’m glad to let you know that my brother Jehangir Mehta has successfully navigated four challenges (one per week) on the Next Iron Chef Redemption that started airing on Sundays at 9.00 p.m. EST on the Food Network. However we really need people to vote for him. One can cast ten votes per day from multiple devices.

The link for voting is:

Firoza Mehta



The Cyrus Cylinder travels to the US

‘First declaration of human rights’ to tour five cities in the
United States

The British Museum  announces that one of its most iconic objects, the Cyrus Cylinder, will tour to five major museum venues in the United States in 2013. This will be the first time this object has been seen in the US and the tour is supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation.
The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most famous objects to have survived from the ancient world. The Cylinder was inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform (cuneiform is the earliest form of writing) on the orders of the Persian King Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC) after he captured Babylon in 539 BC. It is often referred to as the first bill of human rights as it appears to encourage freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire and to allow deported people to return to their homelands. It was found in Babylon in modern Iraq in 1879 during a British Museum excavation and has been on display ever since.
The Cyrus Cylinder is truly an object of world heritage, produced for a Persian king in Iraq and seen and studied for over 130 years in the British Museum. It is valued by people all around the world as a symbol of tolerance and respect for different peoples and different faiths, so much so that a copy of the cylinder is on display in the United Nations building in New York. The Museum has previously lent the Cylinder to the National Museum of Iran in 2010 – 2011 where it was seen by over one million people. This tour will provide the first opportunity for a wide US audience to engage with this unique object of world importance.
The Cylinder will travel with an exhibition of 16 objects under the title ‘The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia’. The exhibition shows the innovations initiated by Persian rule in the Ancient Near East (550 BC-331 BC). The Persian Empire was then the largest the world had known. It had a huge impact on the ancient world, introducing changes in terms of ethical behaviour as witnessed in the proclamation on the Cyrus Cylinder. A gold plaque from the Oxus Treasure with the representation of a priest shows the spread of the Zoroastrian religion at this time. Persian kings also introduced a new writing system, Old Persian cuneiform, as seen on part of a column base from Hamadan, and on the famous seal of Darius (522-486 BC). They also developed new forms of luxury goods including beautifully decorated gold and silver bowls and sumptuous gold bracelets featuring fantastic animal shapes, some of them from the Oxus Treasure.
Click Here for the full details

Further information on the Cyrus Cylinder:

The Cylinder is 22.86cm in length, is barrel-shaped and is made of baked clay. It is inscribed all the way round with a proclamation in cuneiform script. Originally it was inscribed and buried in the foundations of a wall after Cyrus the Great, the Persian Emperor, captured Babylon in 539 BC. The cylinder is written in Babylonian cuneiform by a Babylonian scribe. It records that aided by the god Marduk Cyrus captured Babylon without a struggle, restored shrines dedicated to different gods, and repatriated deported peoples who had been brought to Babylon. The text does not mention specific religious groups but it is thought that the Jews were amongst the peoples deported by Nebuchadnezzar (the previous ruler of Babylon) who were now allowed to return home. The Bible reports that the deported Jews returned from Babylon at this time and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. Indeed Cyrus is revered in the Hebrew Bible because of the qualities of tolerance and respect enshrined in the cylinder proclamation. These were enlightened acts, rare in antiquity.
In 2010 the British Museum discovered two fragments of tablet in its extensive collection of cuneiform tablets which had also been found in 19th century British Museum excavations in or near Babylon. These fragments were identified by experts at the Museum as being inscribed with parts of the same text as the Cylinder but do not belong to it. They show that the text of the Cylinder was probably a proclamation that was widely distributed across the Persian Empire.


For further information contact Hannah Boulton on +44 207 323 8522/
Notes to editors

Tour dates

Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.,
9 March – 28 April 2013
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
3 May – 14 June 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
20 June – 4 August 2013
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco,
9 August – 22 September 2013
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles,
2 October – 2 December 2013
US press contacts:

Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C: Allison Peck, Acting Head, Public Affairs and Marketing,, 202.633.0447
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Mary Haus, Marketing and Communications Director, Amy Lowman, Publicist, 713.639.7554
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Elyse Topalian Vice President for Communications. 212-570-3951
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco: Tim Hallman, Director of Communications, 415.581.3712
J.Paul Getty Museum: John A. Giurini, Assistant Director for Public Affairs. 310.440.6573
Iran Heritage Foundation is the leading supporter of Iranian studies in the UK. It promotes academic research through fellowships, grants, scholarships and publications. In association with museums and leading institutions, the IHF organises exhibitions and convenes conferences on the history and contemporary culture of Iran. IHF America, launched in 2012 as a US based non-profit organisation, administers a number of grants to North American institutions and is the core funder of the tour of the Cyrus Cylinder.

Courtesy : Behram Pastakia

FEZANA Bulletin for November 2012

Attached please find the FEZANA Bulletin for November 2012.

Please feel free to forward it to your family and friends.

All the FEZANA Bulletins are available on-line at Bulletin Archives –

You can subscribe for a free copy of the FEZANA Bulletin by adding your e-mail address at

Best Wishes

Katayun Kapadia
FEZANA – President



ZAGNY Newsletter: Congress Special Edition

Dear All, 

This is a special edition of our newsletter which gives a comprehensive summary of the congress.

A lot of effort went into publishing this.  Gev  and I want to thank the efforts of those mentioned below who worked very hard on putting this out. 
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
Ferzin Patel 
The issue is put together by Dilshad Marolia, Mrinalini Nair and Arzan Sam Wadia.
Special thanks to the regular editors Nina Mistry (Jt. Secretary ZAGNY) and Sheroo Kanga (Secretary ZAGNY) for their advise and support.
The ZAGNY Board also takes this opportunity to wish everyone in our community a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Emirates Parsees Gahambar Celebration

Come Festive Season and we have reason to celebrate.  Every year in December, United Arab Emirates Parsees organise a Get Together Lunch, a Typical Parsi Gahambar.  This event is sponsored by the generous family of Mr. & Mrs. Freddy Sidhwa.  They have been sponsoring the Gahambar and other Parsee Events in United Arab Emirates for past many years.  May Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda Bless Mr. & Mrs. Freddy Sidhwa & Family.

Gahambars are considered as Gifts of Pak Ahura Mazda. It is our religious duty to celebrate the six sacred Gahambars which are seasonal as well as cosmological, and are liturgical ceremonies dedicated to Ahura Mazda and all His Yazads. Parsi-Irani Zarathushtis continue to celebrate the Gahambars which are offered to Ahura Mazda as Thanksgiving for His Bounties.
Besides other celebrations and activities of Emirates Parsees,  we eagerly await the Gahambar in December every year when attendance of our brethren is more.  Food is cooked and catered mainly by certain Parsis except for a few items that are procured separately.  Everything is organized in an orderly and disciplined manner, thanks to the Committee Members and the support of Volunteers.
Needless to say that Gahambar Food is always delicious mostly consisting of Carrot Raisin Pickle, Rotlis, Cutlets, Sali Chicken, Mutton Pulav Dal, Ice-Cream and Soft Drinks.  Raffle Draws are also held during the Gahambar with various attractive Prizes to win.
We look forward to this enjoyable Emirates Parsees Gahambar in December 2012.
Best Regards,
Neville Sorabji Gandhi

Zarathushti Culture reflected in Cuisine !

Diverse Cusines:
Eat, Live, Pray – A celebration of Zarathushti Culture and Cuisine
Edited by Farishta Murzban Dinshaw,Toronto, Canada

Besides prayer, food is the greatest bond that binds and brings Zarathushtis together. Whether we live to eat or eat to live, food and all that goes with it, from the preparation to consumption, is an integral part of our culture and way of life as Zarathushtis. From lavish celebratory feasts to solemn liturgical rituals, food and the enjoyment of Ahura Mazda’s bounty surely defines the Zarathushti ethos more than anything else. Zarathushti philosophy and theology may be cogitated in ivory towers, but it is in the family kitchen that a big part of our culture and traditions have been kept alive.
To the Zarathushtis of the Diaspora, memories of home are often linked to food and returns to the motherland almost always involve gastronomic indulgences that are long remembered despite or because of the sometimes violent protestations of the digestive tract. We live in times when coronary conditions, diabetes and other insidious lifestyle diseases threaten to stand between the Zarathushti and the enjoyment of their culinary birthright. Or so we are given to understand. Our forebears however were celebrated for their longevity and vigor. What was their secret? Come, let us sniff and savor our way through the delights of our Zarathushti culinary heritage and discover how and why we nourish our minds, bodies and souls.

Click Here for the wonderful culinary delight from FEZANA !

Khurshid Mistry wins National Road Race – 10 KMS

Masters Athletics of Maharashtra had organised the Masters National Road Races on November 25, 2012 at Thane. Around 500 athletes from various states of the country participated in the Nationals.

Ms Khurshid Mistry represented the State of Maharashtra and has won the 10 kms National Road Race in 2nd position. She completed 10 kms in 52 minutes.

This time the competition was tough for her because she was running under the age group of 30+ which was much lower than her age category.

This is her second achievement in long distance running this year. In January 2012 she had won the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012- Half Marathon under the Veteran Category. She completed 21 kms in 1hour 53 minutes and secured 3rd position (2nd Indian women in the category). Thereafter in the month of March 2012 she won 3 Gold Medals in State Level Meet for 100mts, 200mts and 400 mts sprints.

Ms Khurshid Mistry is basically a Sprinter who has won a number of accolades in 100 mts, 200mts and 400mts in various competitions in State, National and International level during the last four years. Recently she has also started running the Marathon.

She daily trains under her coach Mr Dinanath Maurya at Priya Darshini Park. She is working as an Associate Vice President at UTI Mutual Fund.

Regarding her achievement Khurshid said,”When I have to run the Marathon, at least three months before the event I need to stop my speed training and start long distance endurance training. The transition is not simple and requires a lot of hard work and self motivation”



In association with Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, THE HINDU invites applications for scholarships for technical training in JAPAN. The number of scholarships will be three. The terms and conditions are as follows:

1. Candidates who must be Indian Citizens, should not have completed 30 years of age on 31-03-2013 and should be in possession of the minimum Degree of B.E., or B.Sc. (Engg.) or its equivalent from any recognized University. Candidates who have already had practical experience in the branches for which training is proposed to be given, will be given preference. Candidates with at least one year’s professional experience need apply. Those who were interviewed in previous years for the Scholarships need not apply again.

2. The scholarships are tenable in Japan for principally six months commencing about July 2013. Trainees may have general training in one of the following product fields of Hitachi Ltd., (Hitachi) for example (1) IT Solutions and Services (2) Thermal Power (3) Power Generation Plant & Power Grid Control Systems Engineering 4) Rail Systems and 5) Transportation Control System Engineering, being subject to the convenience of each of Hitachi’s establishments. During the training, there will be special emphasis on environment-related and energy-saving technologies.

3. Trainees shall be during their training. under the supervision and direction of Hitachi, which has full discretion on scope, mode, duration and place of establishment of their training. Training will not be available in the R&D activities of Hitachi. They will be subject to the rules and regulations and the discipline of the establishment to which they are posted.

4. Selected trainees will be provided with return Economy Class air passage, Arrangements will also be made for free Boarding and Lodging for trainees in Japan and to defray all expenses for travelling in Japan which may be considered necessary for their training. In addition, each trainee will be paid a monthly fixed allowance to cover his personal expenses.

5. Parents or Guardians of selected candidates shall guarantee their good conduct and shall undertake to pay for their repatriation should their conduct be found unsatisfactory by Hitachi Ltd., or any public authority in Japan or in case the selected candidates desire to discontinue their studies in Japan for any reason whatsoever during the period of their scholarship.

6. Applications should be made in duplicate in the forms available on payment of Rs.5/- from the offices of THE HINDU given below. Chennai :

859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennai- 600 002, or the Branch Offices at New Delhi : 3rd Floor, PTI Building, 4, Parliament Street, New Delhi – 110 001. Kolkatta : LMJ Chambers, I Floor, 15C, Hemanta Basu Sarani, Kolkata – 700 001. Mumbai : Kasturi Buildings, Jamshedji Tata Road, Mumbai – 400 020. Coimbatore : 19 & 20, A.T.T. Colony, Lit Road, Coimbatore – 641 018. Madurai : 147/2A, Eighty Feet Road. K.K. Nagar, Madurai – 625 020. Tiruchirapalli : Chennai Bye -Pass Road (NH 45), Senthanneerpuram, Tiruchirapalli – 620 004. Puducherry : 135, I floor, Mission Street, Puducherry – 605 001. Hyderabad : 6-3-879 & 879B, Begumpet Public Road, Hyderabad – 500 016. Visakhapatnam : 50-19-9, T.P.T Colony, Seethammadhara, Visakhapatnam – 530 013. Vijayawada : 55-1.4, 100 Feet Road, Industrial Estate. Auto Nagar, Vijayawada – 520 007. Bangalore : 19 & 21, Bhagwan Mahaveer Road, (Infantry Road). Bangalore – 560 001. Mangalore : 23-9-65511, Jeppu. Mangalore • 575 001. Hubli : Kalburgi Katwe Identity. Bannai Gida Stop, Green Garden, Gokul Road, Hubli – 580 030.. Kochi : NH Bye – Pass Road, Vytilla Junction, Kochi – 682 019. Thiruvananthapuram : T.C. No.36/1946(1), Airport Road, Vallakadavu.Thiruvananthapuram – 695 008 Kozhikode : I Floor, ‘Shazz’, Near Saradha Hospital. Kannur Road, Kozhikode – 673 006.

7. Completed forms should reach THE HINDU, 859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennal • 600 002, superscribed “THE HINDU – HITACHI TRAINING SCHEME”, before December 31 2012.

Worldwide Zarathushti demographics study by FEZANA

(Revision 3, Oct 28, 2012, including results from the 2011 Iran census.)
In commemoration of its 25th anniversary, FEZANA undertook a demographic study of Zarathushtis around the world.  The 2012 data was compared with a similar study in 2004 [FEZANA Journal, Winter 2004].  Some very significant (and rather alarming) observations were noted.

  • The estimated Zarathushti world population has declined by11.0%, weighted largely by declines in Iran (- 37.5%), India (-12.4%, note: estimated data was used, pending official census results) and Pakistan (-21.0%).  Gains in the Diaspora countries, primarily USA (+32.5%), Canada (+7.5%), New Zealand (+36.8%) and Singapore (+129.6%) do not compensate for these losses.

  • The situation in India is exacerbated by the high ratio of deaths to births.  In Mumbai, this ratio has increased from 303 deaths per 100 births in 1992, to 741 deaths per 100 births in 2011.  Over the past two decades (1992 – 2011) there were only3,456 births and a five times larger number of 17,715 deaths in Mumbai!

  • Over the last two decades, there has been an upward trend in intermarriages as reported in Parsiana for Mumbai (from 20.5% in 1992 to 38.9% in 2011) and in FEZANA Journal for North America (from 23.7% in 1991 to approx. 60% in 2011.

  • On the optional survey questions about offspring of mixed marriages and conversions to/from the Zoroastrian faith, few responses were received (only from a few North American states/provinces, and not from any other country).  While not statistically significant, the data does indicate a disturbing number of children of mixed marriages and more so, their next generation, not following the Zarathushti religion.

Disclaimer. While every effort has been made in good faith to seek out reliable sources, this compilation is not an official, statistically correct census.  The raw data is presented, as received, to get a flavor of the Zarathushti world. We leave it to the professionals to analyze the data, and determine its credibility and level of confidence.

Addressing the issues.  In India the decline has been attributed primarily to low fertility rates; the leadership is aware and taking measures to address those issues.  In the Diaspora communities, while there is population growth, indications are towards subtle decline due to assimilation and intermarriages;  we urge community leaders to initiate measures to keep future generations within the fold.  We appeal to the worldwide leadership to take cognizance of these disturbing trends, implement actions to address the issues unique to each country, and work together towards a worldwide Zarathushti renaissance.

These results were presented (along with an early history of Zarathushtis in North America) by Roshan Rivetna at the Congress in New York in August 2012.  The powerpoint presentation and the paper “The Zarathushti World – a Demographic Picture by Roshan Rivetna” (Revision 3, dated Oct 28, 2012, now updated to include 2011 Iran Census results) can be viewed at  For information contact FEZANA Administrator Zenobia Damania at


Click Here for the powerpoint presentation made at the World Zoroastrian Congress in December 2013

Ardeshir Cowasjee is no more

Renowned columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee has passed away after prolonged ailment; may his soul rest in peace!

The veteran writer was suffering from chest illness and had been admitted in a Karachi hospital’s intensive care unit for the past 12 days. He died at the age of 86 on Saturday.

Known for his sarcastic yet insightful style of writing, Cowasjee was born into a well-known Parsi family of Karachi in 1926. The young Cowasjee attended the Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School and graduated from DJ Science College.

Later, he joined his father’s business, the Cowasjee Group, and married Nancy Dinshaw in 1953. Former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed him managing director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in 1973.

Cowasjee’s journey to world of journalism started with writing of letters to the editor of a leading English newspaper, eventually he came to be known as one of the most seasoned columnists of the country.

His well-researched and hard-hitting columns graced the Dawn newspaper for more two decades (from 1988 to 2011) wherein he fearlessly exposed corruption, nepotism and incompetence in different local, provincial and national governments.

Click Here for the full story

Click Here for one more