ZOSTA AWARDS FUNCTION
Marzban J. Giara
(Seated L to R Mrs. Tehmina Damania, Silloo Commissariat, Jasmine Bhathena, Homi Ranina, Zarine Basla, Mrs. Zenobia Daroga, Mr. Justice Shiavax Vajifdar, Zarir Bhathena, Freny Mehta, Diana Marfatia and Navaz Sanjana.)
The 33rd annual prize distribution function was held at Allbless Baug on Saturday 2nd February 2013. Nearly 600 Parsis had gathered to honour 300 young students. Zoroastrian Student Teacher Association (ZOSTA) was formed 33 years ago in 1979. The function began with a jashan ceremony. Students of Alexandra School rendered the ZOSTA song specially composed for the occasion by their teacher Gulnar Tafti. It is indeed heartening to see so many bright young achievers being felicitated. The ZOSTA program booklet contains inspiring quotations, verses, the ZOSTA song and the Parsi anthem Chhaiye Hame Jarthosti.
Mrs. Navaz Sanjana, committee member of ZOSTA gave the welcome address and compered the function. She said: “Success is often defined as that transitory sensation of being admired. But when the applause dies down do not wrap yourself in the cosy cocoon of success. Be involved in mankind as the English poet John Donne said and develop empathy, sensitivity and compassion. India is a young nation and all power lies with the youth. Involvement can be in many ways like serving the community or supporting a worthy NGO and by judiciously using social media like Facebook for spreading awareness and garnering support for a just cause.”
Mrs. Zenobia Daroga, Chairperson, ZOSTA presented the report of ZOSTA activities for the year. These included a workshop on ‘Stress, anger and time management for senior school students, a Creative Writing competition, quiz competition, Group Talent Competition, celebration of Teacher’s Day, Dramatic competition, adventure camp. ZOSTA gives a platform to Parsi boys/girls to display their talents and follow the ZOSTA motto ‘Frashmi Aethrya’ (Progress Culturally).
Mr. Homi Ranina, Guest of Honour advised: “India is the nation of the future. Look for career opportunities in India. May today’s young achievers bring glory to our community and our country.”
Mr. Zarir Bhathena, Guest of Honour suggested: “Learn to focus on solutions. Give easy simple solutions to problems.”
Mrs. Zarine Basla, Hon. Secretary, ZOSTA introduced the Chief Guest Mr. Justice Shiavax Vajifdar, Judge of the Bombay High Court. Mr. Vajifdar in his address said: “It is an honour to be in the presence of 300 outstanding teachers and students. Our community is indebted to the managing committee of ZOSTA for their hard work, dedication and commitment. Our priests and teachers are not highly paid but they are highly respected. Our teachers help run our life’s race. Today we have better communication facilities e.g. mobile phones and e-mail. Time was when one had to spend several hours to book a trunk call. Your laptop is a library of books.” He counselled the achievers: “Get involved in public life – be it politics, bureaucracy, medicine, judiciary. Our country is desperate for talent and integrity. There is extremely wide scope in the public sector. Join the IAS, IFS, IPS. You may earn more working for a multinational company but you will be rendering great service to the nation by serving in the public sector. There is a tendency among young people to ignore their mother tongue and state language. Knowledge of the local language e.g. Marathi and Gujarati is very useful as government circulars often come in the local language. Justice Shahrukh Kathawalla is an outstanding judge who can read, speak and write Marathi.”
Each year ZOSTA recognises the scholastic achievements of Parsi Zoroastrian students who have secured high percentage of marks at school and college exams by presenting them trophies, certificates and cash awards. Mr. Justice Kathawalla this year gave a magnanimous donation of Rs.15,40,000/- towards Nawaz Jimi Kathawalla Awards as well as expenses of the baug and dinner to the invitees and awardees. Every year he also donates Rs.1 lakh in memory of his dear father late Jimi Kathawalla to the topper at HSC Science Examination for securing admission in medicine and engineering courses. Mr. Homi Ranina donated Rs.1,50,000/- towards cash prizes to be given to graduates and three Rotating Shields for the highest toppers at B.A., B.Sc., B.Com. exams. Mr. Zarir Bhathena donated Rs.1,00,000/- towards three 22 Carat Gold Medals awarded to the toppers of SSC, ICSE and HSC. Mrs. Bakhtawar M. Pardiwalla Rs.1,00,000/-, Mrs. Bapsy M. Daruwala Rs.50,000/-. Mrs. Freny Mehta and Miss Diana Marfatia called out the names of the achievers. Prizes were distributed by Justice Vajifdar, Homi Ranina, Zarir Bhathena, Mrs. Maharukh Noble. Over 300 awardees in 14 categories received handsome cash prizes and trophies and gold medals. As is usual the girls outnumbered the boys.