Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Real Composer of “Chhaiye Hame Zarthosti”

False! The Parsi Anthem “Chhaiye Ame Jarthosti” was not composed from the “Music of the Third Riech”, as being spread recently many by eMail. 

The music maestro who composed the Parsi anthem Chhaiye Ame Jarthosti to the tune of ‘Good Bye My Blue Bell’ was composed by Firoz Rustomji Batliwalla, in his life time before his death in the year 1912. The Nazis must have borrowed the tune for their song much later.

How many of us know that Firoz also composed the popular songs such as ‘Khudavind O Khavind’,‘Saras sau thee kharo rahebar’, and many such ‘Bhale lidho janm jagpar’.

He was born in 1846 at Navsari. He studied at Elphinstone College. He served as a cashier in G.I.P. Railway. He used to sing and teach music in various public societies. From childhood his hobby was to compose Gujarati poems and songs.

Rahnumae Mazdayasnan Sabha organised a competition in 1893 for composing devotional hymns in simple Gujarati language. This competition was won by Firoz and his lyrics were published by the Sabha in 1894. He had also prepared a book of Indian ragas with staff notation according to western music.

He prepared several music books such as ‘Firozi Gayan’ and ‘‘Sarode Avestani notation tatha Jarthosti Bandagio’  and Sarode Paak Daamani ane Sitame Minar – tragic story of two Parsi ladies who in order to save their honour sacrificed their lives at the Rajabai Tower, Mumbai.

Sarode Avesta is a collection of devotional hymns in Gujarati giving the meanings of most of our daily prayers Ashem Vohu,  Yatha Ahu Vairyo, Kemna Mazda, Hormuzd Khodae, Jasme Avanghe Mazda, Sarosh Baj, Ahmai Raescha,  Hazangarem, Jasme Avanghe Mazda, Kerfe Mozd, Dinno Kalmo, Doa Tandorosti, five gehs, five niyaeshes,Namaskars. etc.

When he composed Sarode Avesta he went to Dasturji Peshotan Sanjana who was very pleased on hearing these songs.
Firoz also rendered these devotional hymns before audiences in Poona.
Late Sardar Dastur Kaikobad and his cousin Khan Bahadur Dastur Meherji expressed their desire to teach these hymns in their schools.

Vistasp Bulsara, the famous music maestro along with Dhunnawaz Indorewalla produced a gramophone record of these lyrics. These songs are now available on an audio CD titled Zoroastrian Hymns.

Firoz used to teach music in Parsi schools and compose songs for public functions. He earned great fame by rendering his songs at public functions in the presence of Viceroys and Governors.

Gayan Uttejak Mandali’ started by Kaikhushru Navroji Kabraji in 1870 conferred honorary life membership on him on 23rd November 1889 in appreciation of his valuable services. He also served as its secretary for some time.

He presented a collection of his books to this Mandali. He composed songs for plays and himself used to sing and play the tunes which were well appreciated.
He was a most humble and well respected person. He devoted his whole life to teaching music in schools. Innumerable grandmas, mothers and daughters sang these songs in Parsi homes and spread joy.

He was the son of Rustomji Cowasji Batliwalla and father of Kaikhashru Firozshah Batliwalla. He passed away at age 66 on Khordad Sal day Roz 6 Khordad Mah 1 Farvardin 1282 Yezdezerdi 17th September 1912 A.C.

Parsis flock to programs of film music but are unaware of their own rich musical heritage.
A song becomes a hit because it is played over and over again.
Unfortunately today at many Parsi functions only a few lines of Chhaiye Ame Jarthosti are sung and not the entire anthem of five verses.
Let us in this centenary year of the Kavi sing the entire anthem in full as also his devotional hymns and usher in joy and happiness in our homes and our surroundings.



Your website  posting of Feb.13 wrongly attributes inputs to Gev Narielvala and Rusi Sorabji. The posting is verbatim from my article on Kavi Firoz Batliwalla which originally appeared in Jame Jamshed in October 2012.
Kindly issue a clarification.
Marzban Giara

A guide to our prayers

The intention of publishing this book is to provide necessary guidance to the fellow Zorastrians who may not be knowing the various do’s and don’ts of our prayers.
From the feedback that I received about the Gujarati version of the book I realised that there is enough enthusiasm and desire to know about our prayers. However, language was the barrier as many young and some old people too unfortunately cannot read Gujarati.
It is said that a man who does not read is no better than a man who cannot. However in this case, even the people wanting to read and know more about our prayers could not do so because of the language problem.
With a view to help this group who could get the benefit out of my book, I have ventured into this project to bring out an English edition of the original book written in Gujarati called “Bandagi Maate Jaroori Margadarshan” now called “A guide to our Prayers”. To avoid confusion and for the sake of simplification the timings of different Gahs are changed in this book from local time to Indian Standard Time. Some minor desirable changes are also made in this book.
It is my sincere request particularly to the young generation that they should try and learn our mother tongue Gujarati, for the simple reason that they are missing the real taste of the cake. Though we have lost a vast treasure of our religious literature, we still have enough that we can read, understand, digest and put into practice. But most of it is in Gujarati and therefore your attempt to learn this language will not go waste.
With this few words I wish the readers a very pleasant, meaningful and thoughtful reading.
Amen.

Tehmurasp Shawaksha Pardiwala

Click Here for this informative booklet

The Meherjirana Library in Gujarat

The Meherjirana Library in Gujarat is one of the most important centres in the world for the study of Zoroastrianism and Parsi history. Dinyar Patel takes a peek into its illustrious past and what it stands for today.

I never saw such a fine collection in a small town,” declared the French orientalist James Darmesteter after surveying the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library in Navsari, Gujarat, in 1887. Nearly 140 years after it first opened its doors, the Meherjirana Library remains one of the most important centres in the world for the study of Zoroastrianism and Parsi history. And it continues to draw visitors from far and wide. Earlier this month, from January 12-15, the library hosted about a hundred people — including scholars from the US, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan — for a special conference to celebrate some very important changes here.

Click here to continue reading the article “A Small-Town Wonder” feetured in ‘The Hindu’ news paper.

Courtesy : K F Keravala

Remote Villagers Speak in Sassanid Language

 Remote Villagers Speak in Sassanid Language After 2,000 Years

(click above for article with pictures)

Following the recognition of 903 Sassanid words in the language of Maymand residents, experts have concluded the language of these people has barely changed since 2,000 years ago, mainly because of the isolation of their helmet after the Arab invasion in the seventh century.

 

Experts working with the renovation project of the village have managed to recognize and categorize these words after conversing with the secluded people. “Some of these words are purely Persian and free of Arabic influences,” said Farhnaz Firozehchian, linguist in charge of the word recognition plan, citing such examples as “Fal” for “Dastmal” (handkerchief) and “Pa-Cheragh” for a special lantern burning animal fat.

 

Maymand is a village in Kerman Province, south of Iran and its inhabitants live in cave-like houses dug into mountains.

 

Click for Further reading:

 

Courtesy : K F Keravala