10th World Zoroastrian Congress – Mumbai


Dear all,

 

The 10th World Zoroastrian Congress will be held in Mumbai from 27thDecember to 30th December 2013. The last World Zoroastrian Congress was hosted by Dubai in December 2009, and India will be hosting this grand event after an interval of 23 years.

 

The Organising Committee of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress is making all efforts to make this event a spectacular and most unforgettable experience for all our delegates. We are sure you must be eagerly awaiting updates, so here’s everything to bring you up to speed:

 

THEME

The theme of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress is ‘Zoroastrianism in the 21st Century: Nurturing Growth and Affirming Identity’. The Zoroastrian community in the 21st century needs to grow not only in its numbers, but in its economic and social welfare index, in its entrepreneurship and its contribution to the communities in which it exists. With this growth, the community affirms its identity as a socially and economically progressive unit, recognised for its selfless altruism – in short, projecting the past into the future.

 

VENUE

The venue of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress is the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), a sophisticated and centrally located at Nariman Point in South Mumbai with a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea. NCPA is India’s foremost cultural establishment and the venue is, therefore, representative of the rich patronage it enjoys from Parsi and Iranian Zoroastrians.

 

HOTEL ACCOMMODATION

The Organising Committee is finalising a selection of the most suitable and convenient places to stay at for our outstation and foreign delegates. The choice of the hotels will be determined by its proximity to the venue and will suit different budgets. The details will be put up shortly on the website:www.wzcmumbai.com.

 

ONLINE REGISTRATION

The registration for the Congress will be happening shortly, as we are awaiting finalisation of the payment gateway to enable payment of delegate fees online. The details will be put up shortly on the website: www.wzcmumbai.com. We look forward to receiving a tremendous response from all of you and hope to make the Congress a success with your participation.

 

EXHIBITION AT NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART (NGMA), MUMBAI

The 10th World Zoroastrian Congress is proud to announce an exhibition as part of its cultural objective. ‘From Canton to Mumbai – The Story of Parsi Textiles’ intends to showcase Parsi and Iranian textiles and costumes, such asGara saris, Tanchoi saris, Jablas (loose blouse) and CoateesIjars (loose pantaloons), embroidered shawls, and traditional Zoroastrian costumes from the province of Yazd, Iran. These costumes were worn by immigrant Zoroastrians from Iran (popularly referred to as the Iranis in India) when they came to Bombay in the 19th Century. This exhibition will also showcase Canton of the 19th Century from where Parsi merchants purchased Garas and brought them to Bombay.

 

PROPOSED PROGRAMME OF THE WORLD ZOROASTRIAN CONGRESS

The Congress will put forward an approximate number of 50 sessions and panel discussions that will be addressed by eminent speakers and scholars from India and all over the world. The morning segment of the Congress will comprise keynote speakers and panellists addressing topics in consonance with the Congress theme: ‘Zoroastrianism in the 21st Century: Nurturing Growth and Affirming Identity’. The afternoons will be dedicated to breakout sessions, with experts speaking on topics as diverse as socio-religious issues; lessons from history; youth affairs; arts, theatre and law – aspects of community living; the correlation between rituals and religion; and a dedicated Iranian section. A more detailed programme schedule will be put up shortly on the website:www.wzcmumbai.com.

 

ALPAIWALLA MUSEUM

As a legacy of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress we have undertaken to restore and refurbish the Alpaiwalla Museum in Khareghat colony at Mumbai to its former glory. This will entail excessive refurbishment of the structure as well as interiors and creating display areas for more than 1,800 rare artifacts with the museum.

 

SPONSORSHIP

The Organising Committee is looking for well-meaning members of the community to come forward and support the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress. Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, Chairman, Serum Institute of India Ltd. is our main sponsor. The House of Godrej is an event sponsor. If you are interested in supporting the Congress through sponsorship, or if you know anyone else who might be interested in doing so, please email us onsponsorship@wzcmumbai.com.

 

On behalf of the Organising Committee, I look forward to welcoming you all to the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress, and do log on to www.wzcmumbai.comfor further updates.

 

 

Warm Regards,

Dinshaw Mehta

Chairman,

Bombay Parsi Punchayet

Vakhshoori Scholarship Recipients for school year 2012-2013


Vakhshoori Foundation announces sixteen Zarathushti Academic Scholarship winners for 2012-2013

  • Mr. Zubin Shroff: $10,000
    • Doctor of Science (SD) in Global Health Systems, Harvard University, School of Public Health
  • Mr. Artan Zandian: $4,000
    • Master of Environmental Design, University of Calgary (Canada)
  • Ms. Pardis Gheibi: $3,500
    • Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mr. Mehernush Shroff: $3,000
    • Master of Education, Lesley University
  • Ms. Mitra Mehrabani: $3,000
    • PhD of Civil Engineering/Environment, University Calgary (Cananda)
  • Mr. Anosh Daruwalla: $2,000
    • PhD of Electronic Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Zubin ShroffZubin Shroff is a fourth year doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health pursuing a Doctor of Science Degree at the Department of Global Health and Population focusing on Health System Development. He did his medical degree at the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University followed by a Masters in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is an Indian Zoroastrian and grew up in New Delhi, India where he frequently returns.
He has been associated with a number of organizations working in the public health field in South Asia and the rest of the world. He has worked as a consultant for the World Bank to examine ways to promote rural service among health workers in Cameroon. He was associated with the Public Health Foundation of India, where he helped conduct a large scale study to analyze ways to address problems of health worker retention in rural India. Prior to this he spent one summer in Dhaka, Bangladesh, working at BRAC, one of the largest NGOs in the world, trying to understand ways to scale up their health micro-insurance program and make it more attractive to underprivileged urban residents. He has received a number of prestigious scholarships and fellowships, including the Dillon Family Fellowship 2011-12 and the South Asia Initiative at Harvard Graduate Student Fellowship 2010-11. In his spare time he enjoys traveling and cooking.
He has been actively involved with the Zoroastrian community of Delhi since early childhood, being a founding member of the Farohar Program which aims to inculcate young Zoroastrians of Delhi with the values and teachings of the faith. His interest in and involvement with the Zoroastrian community, led him to take up research on one of the most pressing and divisive issues in the Indian Zoroastrian community, that of the role of intermarriage in the population decline of the Zoroastrian community of Mumbai, India .This study, which was co-authored with a professor of Demography at Harvard, was published in August 2011 in the prestigious Journal of Demographic Research.
After completing his doctorate, he hopes to return to India and work in the field of health system reform, focusing on India and the neighboring countries of South Asia. Rapid economic growth has given governments the opportunity to contemplate the creation of Universal Health Coverage Systems in the region, making this an interesting time to work on this issue. He is extremely thankful to the Vakhshoori Scholarship for its generosity in helping him achieve his educational goals.
Watch Zubin’s video by clicking here

Artan ZandianArtan Zandian is a first year Masters of Environmental Design (thesis) student at the University of Calgary, Canada. He did his undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Tehran where he graduated with highest honors and was granted to study masters’ program in Architectural Technology at the same school. Winning one international and four national architecture awards during his studies, and hosting 1st National Conference on Membrane Structures, and NCSS2011, are of his leadership experiences in academic life. Meanwhile he was voluntarily teaching Analytical Geometry at Firooz-Bahram high school for two years. He has also published an article about the architecture derived from Zoroaster’s philosophy in an international magazine. Beside the goal of obtaining PhD in academic life, he is wishing to be pioneer in designing sustainable neighborhoods for the new immigrant communities of Zoroastrian faith. Aside from academic achievements, he was a member of Zoroastrian Students Organization (ZSO). He had organized, designed and managed lots of annual events such as Jam-e-Janbakhtegan (International Sports Olympics), Camp for Zoroastrian teenagers, Manthra (annual competition for religious research and chanting of Gatha) beside major activities such as Zoroastrians’ Culture exhibition, Students appreciation, and so forth. He was a member of ZSO volleyball team and supervised the badminton committee in Jam-e-Janbakhtegan.
“Happiness is for the one who wants the happiness of others”, Zoroaster says. This is the key maxim in his personal life. He believes anyone persisting on this goal will easily become a real Zoroastrian, and the rest will come with the will of Ahuramazda. He believes that Zoroastrian youth have the strength to revive our community and hopes a brighter future for our faith.
Watch Artan’s video by clicking here

Pardis GheibiPardis Gheibi was born and brought up in Shiraz, Iran. She moved to America at the age of 11 with her family. She currently is a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, perusing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. As a high school student, Pardis founded and took on the role of the president of Westmont’s Society of Aspiring Women Engineers (WSAWE). The goal of this club was to involve females in the fields of science and engineering; this program was later on extended to include middle school students by launching and coordinating project EDGE (Engineering Design Graphics Excellence) as an after-school program that introduced students from low socioeconomic backgrounds to science and engineering in order to make STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) less esoteric to younger students. Pardis is also involved in the San Jose Zoroastrian community by helping with events such as celebrations, local talents shows, and theatrical plays. At the University of California, Berkeley, Pardis has been an active member of UC Berkeley’s LASA (Leadership Award Scholars Association) to promote leadership on the UC Berkeley campus. She is also an active member of Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) on and off the UC Berkeley campus. As one of her personal goals, she looks forward to helping merge the Indian and the Iranian Zoroastrian community even more than they are merged today in order to make our religious community stronger and more ambitious.
Watch Pardis’s video by clicking here

Mehernush ShroffMehernush Shroff was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and is currently a Master’s In Education student at Lesley University. He has been a lifelong member of the Zoroastrian Association of the Greater Boston Area (ZAGBA). In 2004, after graduating Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor in Business Administration, Mehernush worked in finance for 3 years in Charlotte, NC as well as in the Boston, MA area. He is now studying Elementary Education with the intent of becoming an Elementary School teacher who will serve large, diverse, urban communities. Aside from attending school, Mehernush is serving as a student teacher for the 2012-2013 academic school year. He also is engaged in several community service projects in his local community, such as the annual Brendan Grant Home Run 5K run. When he is not busy student teaching or attending classes, he is involved with ZAGBA’s youth group as well as with ZAGBA’s childrens’ classes. While Mehernush is looking forward to working with young people in the classroom, he hopes to one day serve as a principal of a school. His goal is to empower the next generation to gradually take ownership of the local community, whether tackling important issues in their town or within their Zoroastrian community. Mehernush intends to motivate and encourage youngsters to make small differences in their communities every day and hopes to inspire young people to take leadership roles in improving the impact a small religious community such as ours can have on their local community and beyond.
Watch Mehernush’s video by clicking here

Mitra MehrabaniMitra Mehrabani Zeinabad was born in London and raised in Iran in a Zoroastrian family. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology (Isfahan, Iran). Continuing her studies in the same field she was able to get her Master’s degree from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran, Iran) at 2011. After graduation, she received several admissions from Canadian universities. She is currently studying a Ph.D. in the Environmental Engineering program of University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). She loves her field of study as she believes that working in this field is in line with the law of Asha. As the law of Asha states that each Zoroastrian must keep the environment and the four cleansing elements (water, fire, air and soil) clean and is responsible for the universe and what happens in it.
She believes that moving from Iran to another country on her own, with a different culture has given her the strength of being independent and to be able to work and live with people with different cultures.
Mitra has also done volunteering work and been involved in the programs of the Zoroastrian Association of Alberta (ZAA) and is planning to get involved in the board of this association.
Currently, working on her leadership skills, Mitra is the VP Communication of a Student Union Club at the University of Calgary and is planning to strengthen her leadership skills which will help her throughout her journey to reach her goals. After receiving her Ph.D. degree, Mitra is hoping that she would be able to teach as a university professor and to pass on what she has learnt to the next generation and help them through their way to achieve their goals in life and provide a better environment for living.
Watch Mitra’s video by clicking here

Anosh DaruwallaAnosh Daruwalla was born in Mumbai, India and completed his bachelors’ degree in the Mumbai University in 2010. After that he came to the US for higher education where he joined Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue his MS and PhD. He is now currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the same institute. In India, Anosh helped the Parsi community in his hometown of Navi Mumbai by doing his bit to raise some money for the fire temple which was proposed to be built there. During his under graduation, he was actively involved in his college’s core committee which helped organize various events, both technical and cultural. Growing up in an environment where everyone either was looking to be a doctor or an engineer, he looked to pursue something different which even made use of his avid interest in music.
Whilst his stint in his masters’ degree, he was exposed to a completely different world altogether; consisting of people from all over the world and coping up with grad school. This helped him build himself as a stronger and patient individual in life and learnt a lot from the cultural exposure. Currently, he has just began his PhD degree and is working on integrated MEMS devices, specifically microspeakers, which help combine his engineering knowledge and his love for music. During his free time, he likes to lock himself away from the world and play the guitar.
Watch Anosh’s video by clicking here

Malcolm CooperMalcolm Cooper, a native of New Jersey, is a first year vocal performance masters student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Delaware. An accomplished young tenor, Malcolm has tackled musical projects of a wide variety, including choral, opera, art song, musical theatre, and a-cappella singing. As a soloist, he has sung everything from the standard repertoire of classical art song and arias, to challenging new works in avantgarde musical styles. While earning his music education degree at Delaware, he performed lead roles with the University of Delaware Opera Theatre, including “Alfred” in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and “Mayor Upfold” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. As a result, Malcolm is both a certified music teacher and an experienced soloist.
Malcolm is grateful that his singing has given him opportunities abroad. With the University of Delaware Chorale, Malcolm has performed in China, Spain, Germany, Hungary, and Greece, including performances for international choir competitions and global music conferences. In January 2012, Malcolm traveled to Chennai, India, where he recorded as the tenor soloist in Shanmuga Kavacham, by South Indian composer Ganesh B. Kumar. This groundbreaking grand choral work is set in the ancient Tamil language, but sung in the Western Classical style, making it the first work of its kind. Shanmuga Kavacham will be recorded with Maestro Stephan Weiler and his choir, Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, in Germany. Malcolm is extremely proud of the work done on this project, and hopes to pursue similar projects in the future around the globe.
Malcolm’s larger goals include living a responsible, happy life, dedicated to Good Words, Good Thoughts, and Good Deeds (or as Zoroastrians know them, Manashni, Gavashni, Kunashni.) It is in these three simple and elegant tenets that Malcolm has found strength in difficult times. He will continue serving the Zoroastrian community and society as a Mobedyar, and will teach prayer classes when the opportunity arises. More broadly, Malcolm is dedicated to lifelong learning, and hopes to foster growth in future generations through teaching and performing his music.
Watch Malcolm’s video by clicking here

Parmis BehmardiParmis Behmardi moved to Canada at a young age and has lived in the province of British Columbia since then. She currently studies at the University of Toronto and is in her final year of a Master of Information program specializing in Information Systems & Design and Knowledge & Information Management. Prior to attending graduate school, Parmis studied Political Science and Commerce at the University of British Columbia and graduated with distinction.
A strong believer in the values of community service, Parmis has always been committed to giving back to her Zoroastrian community. This has included serving as the past President of the Zoroastrian Youth of BC, assisting with the 5th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress, and serving as a community representative for different multicultural and multi-faith groups. Her academic endeavors have also been complemented by a variety of extracurricular activities and diverse professional experiences in the government, corporate, non-profit, and academic sectors.
Parmis credits her achievements to the support and encouragement of her amazing family and the kindness and generosity of fellow Zoroastrians. She hopes to follow in their footsteps and dedicate her time, skills, and knowledge to ensuring the betterment and progress of our community.
Watch Parmis’s video by clicking here

Anushay MistryAnushay Mistry was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her high school diploma in June 2010 and began her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in September 2010. She is currently majoring in Biology and Community Health, with a concentration in microbiology and global health. After receiving her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences she plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. This past fall semester, she studied abroad in Durban, South Africa and completed an internship at a rural hospital working in the pediatrics department as well as in the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis ward. While conducting this internship, she was also able to complete a paper based on her experiences that was then published in her study abroad program’s journal. Anushay is now finishing her third year at Tufts University and hopes to remain on the Dean’s List of her university, which she has been on since her second year at Tufts.
Aside from academics, Anushay also enjoys spending her time involved in various extracurricular activities at Tufts University. For the past year she has served on the Executive Board for two different global health organizations as well as the director of a tutoring program that provides public schools with tutors from the university. One of the organizations, called the Global Health Network, recently nominated her as one of the co-presidents for the upcoming semester and following academic year. Additionally, for the past two years, Anushay has interned in a laboratory at the Boston Children’s Hospital in association with the Harvard Immune Disease Institute. After meeting a fellow Zoroastrian student at her university, the two of them took an interest in re-initiating the Zoroastrians Students Association of Boston. This year they hope to gather all the Zoroastrian students in Boston and re-form the alliance through events such as dinners and celebrations in association with ZAGBA, the Zoroastrian Association of the Greater Boston Area.
Watch Anushy’s video by clicking here

Benafsha KapadiaBenafsha Kapadia moved to Vancouver with her family in 2002 and has since been an active youth leader in her school and community. She is currently enrolled in her third year Bachelors of Arts program in Simon Fraser University and looks forward to graduating with a degree in Political Science.
Even through her busy school schedule, Benafsha has always made time to actively engage and make a difference in the community. Benafsha has been part of several community-wide youth projects, conferences and social change initiatives.
Over the years of being a member of the Zoroastrian Society of British Columbia, Benafsha has been a very dedicated volunteer. She has been an assisting teacher for the Zoroastrian Study Classes for children and she is currently volunteering as Treasurer for the Zoroastrian Youth of British Columbia.
Benafsha was also the Events and Entertainment Coordinator for the 5th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress held in Vancouver in July 2011. She was responsible for planning and executing various events and entertainment activities for the congress, attended by over 550 Zoroastrian youth from all over the world from. As a result of the 5th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress, Benafsha felt she needed to do more to build a positive identity for Zoroastrian Youth in the Vancouver community. This is why Benafsha decided to recruit a youth group for the citizenU project, an anti-discrimination and youth leadership project initiated by City of Vancouver and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. As the Project Facilitator, she has been responsible for leading, training and motivating about twenty Zoroastrian youth through the various anti-discrimination and project development phases of the project. She has also worked hard to see the distinct groups of Parsee and Iranian Zoroastrian youth come together and build lasting connections and friendships. The project has also resulted in community building and inter-faith relations.
Over years of volunteering, Benafsha has learned the great importance of community engagement and youth leadership. As a proud Zoroastrian, she plans on continuing her contributions and work with the community to work towards bringing youth together in the coming years.
Watch Banafsha’s video by clicking here

Hooman AttaieHooman Attaie is a Zoroastrian from Iran who has now settled in Ohio. He migrated to the US in the year 2010 after getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from IRAN. For better prospects, he decided to pursue his studies in the US and got admitted to the Youngstown State University in Ohio during September, 2011 and at present he is studying his Master’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. His accomplishments at the University are many: He got High Scores and also gained great accomplishments like doing a project for re-designing the Lighting Systems in Audit Stall at General Motors. Right now he is working on a process improvement project at a chemical plant to decrease input and increase output of the Chemical Processes. He is also designing quality systems to meet customers’ needs. A student at Firooz Bahram School in Tehran, he developed love and talents in Mathematics and because of his in-depth knowledge in Mathematics, he chose Engineering as a field of studies at the University Level. During his college studies, he did a lot of internships in various Industrial Projects like participating in implanting preventive maintenance at Iran Khodro Company. He also redesigned and updated the MIS Systems for many small businesses.
During his stay in Iran he participated in various Zoroastrian Social Activities. He was a member of the Kanoon Daneshjooyane Zartoshti, where he served as a member in the Photographic Committee. He has an in-depth knowledge of the Gathas and Zoroastrian History. He plans to write a book on the History of Zoroastrians of Iran after Islam (English Version) to enlighten the current generation of youths who have little or no knowledge about history and religious beliefs. He strongly believes that the Zoroastrian Youths are the backbone of our Religion and if they have a good knowledge of History and Religion, they will be good practicing Zoroastrians who will be fully devoted and loyal to the Zoroastrian Religion.
Watch Hooman’s video by clicking here

Farina ChinoyFarina Chinoy is a 26-year old Zoroastrian currently doing her PhD at the Sofia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology/ITP). She was raised in India and went to school there. She moved to the United States after her Bachelor’s degree. She went to Cal State, Fullerton for her MS in Clinical Psychology.
She has been studying psychology for eight years now, covering various types of psychology. She has extensive experience in the field and has worked as a clinician and a researcher in India and in the U.S. In India, she worked as a counselor in a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center. In the U.S., she worked as a clinician (1) as an MFT Trainee conducting psychotherapy with girls who had criminal records at the Crittenton Residential Treatment facility and (2) as a psychotherapist at the Crittenton Community Counseling Center. She has also conducted various research projects at an Undergraduate and Graduate level in both countries. She has always been in good academic standing, consistently in the top 1-5% of her class. Her GPA for her B.A. was 3.83 and M.S. was 3.76. Apart from schoolwork, she has attended numerous seminars and conferences. During her Masters she was invited to serve as an expert panelist for a talk hosted by Kaplan on ‘How to do well on the GRE’.
After studying and working in conventional psychology for close to a decade she realized that something was missing and proceeded to find the answer in Transpersonal Psychology. Transpersonal Psychology is a new, cutting-edge, futuristic discipline that looks beyond the narrow, traditional focus of conventional psychology. It is an integrative/holistic and transformative psychology, which uses the world’s spiritual traditions as an integrating framework for Western psychology. In line with this, she intends to be an agent of change in the world, not only by informing intellect through discourse but also by raising consciousness. Specifically, her goals include presenting at conferences, teaching, writing journal articles and continuing research in many areas. She is also looking at how her work in this field may be applied to different work settings. Her personal goal involves continuing transformational work on herself, raising her own consciousness to help create transformation in others.
Watch Farina’s video by clicking here

Ferin YazdaniFerin Yazdani is currently a first year at the University of California Los Angeles pursuing her Bachelor of Science with a Psychobiology major and a minor in Spanish. She plans to further enhance her education by attending medical school in the future. As a first step toward this goal, she was one of two participants selected to take part in the prestigious Eve and Gene Medical Summer Program in 2012. During this internship she shadowed surgeons, specialists, and physicians at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Watching what actually happens in the hospital and observing doctors in practice was an incredibly eye-opening and rewarding experience that reinforced her passion in medicine. She is also part of a research team in the Molecular, Pharmacology, and Immunology department of UCLA where she studies the effects of a unique drug in counteracting the negative results of alcohol consumption, with a special emphasis on hangovers. The major benefit of the drug in the long run would be to prevent and control alcohol withdrawal diseases.
Besides excelling academically, Ferin is very committed to her Persian and Zoroastrian community. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and was raised there for more than half of her life. Thus she carries a strong sense of pride for the Zoroastrian and Iranian community that helped her transition to the American lifestyle when she moved to the United States in 2005. Consequently, she has and will continue to contribute to the community that has helped and supported her throughout her journey. For instance, she is a member of the Persian American Society for Health Advancement non-profit organization. She holds a position in the Health Education Committee where she focuses on informing and spreading health education among the Persian Community. Moreover, as a committed and active Zoroastrian, she consistently helps with the preparation of different cultural events and celebrations. She volunteered at her local Zoroastrian Center as a dance choreographer and teacher of a group of young girls. She prepared multiple traditional dances for the girls to perform during major Zoroastrian and Iranian events, such as Norouz and Jashne Mehregan. She works towards making Zoroastrianism more prominent in America by excelling both inside and outside of her religious and cultural community. The Vakhshoori scholarship will go a long way in helping her achieve that goal and for that she is very grateful.
Watch Ferin’s video by clicking here

Kaizad_PatelKaizad Patel is a second year Master of Environmental Studies (MES) student at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on earth sciences. He is a Graduate Research Assistant as part of the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory (LCZO) based in Puerto Rico. His current research involves analyzing soil samples to understand the genesis and distribution of various soil types across the research site.
Kaizad received his undergraduate education (Bachelor of Pharmacy) from the University of Mumbai, where he was also involved with a number of student organizations, notably the Indian Pharmaceutical Association – Students’ Forum (IPA-SF). He has been the Vice-Chairperson of the Maharashtra State Branch of the organization and has helped organize a number of student events, including public awareness and public health campaigns (AIDS, diabetes, tobacco, tuberculosis), technical seminars and symposia as well as inter-college cultural and sports festivals. He has been on the editorial board of student magazines and news-magazines at the state and national level as well.
Kaizad is keen on pursuing a Ph. D. on completion of his MES program. He hopes to gain experience with forest and soil science and apply that to the cycling of elements in the ecosystem.
Watch Kaizad’s video by clicking here

Karl KhambattaKarl Khambatta was born in Flushing, New York and was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He became a Navar at age nine and a Martab at age twelve from Patel Agiary in Mumbai, India. As a priest, Karl has performed two Navjote ceremonies and participated in several Jashan and Muktad prayers at the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York (ZAGNY). Karl began taking religious classes at ZAGNY as a child and has remained actively involved with ZAGNY ever since. For the past four years, Karl has taught Religion and Shah-Nameh Stories to students between the ages of nine and twelve. At the 2012 XVI North American Zarathushti Congress held in Rye, New York, Karl had the distinct privilege to give a presentation on the translation of the daily Kusti Prayers. This session was very well received by the audience members and has sparked the interest of many young Zoroastrians.
Karl graduated High School with High Honors and was involved in many extracurricular activities. As leader of Asian Festival, Karl spread Indian culture through dance at an annual benefit performance. As Co-President of Stock Market Club, Karl was able to share his knowledge and passion for the subject with his peers. Additionally, Karl was a member of the Debate Team, Federal Challenge Club, and Solar Cell Club at Ridgewood High School. Karl was highly active with his High School concert band and was a member of the Percussion Ensemble and Marching Band. Karl also served as Band Council Treasurer during his junior year. Following graduation from High School, Karl did a summer internship at Citigroup where he worked in the Deferred Tax Accounting group.
Karl is currently a freshman at Cornell University where he is studying Hotel Administration with a Concentration in Corporate Finance and Financial Consulting. At Cornell, Karl has joined several clubs and organizations including Cornell Hospitality Consulting, Cornell Behavioral Economic and Finance Organization and Cornell Aviation Society. Karl hopes to excel academically at Cornell and aspires to become a successful restaurateur by establishing restaurants in major cities across the country.
Lastly, Karl will always remain close to the Zoroastrian community in North America and will continue to proudly share his heritage with others while living his life according to the path of Asha.
Watch Karl’s video by clicking here

Nadia KharasNadia Kharas Mistry is currently a fourth year student in the naturopathic medical program at Bastyr University in Seattle. Her journey in search of purpose and passion has often taken her far from family and friends. She grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to the US in 1999 to attend the University of Texas at Dallas where she graduated with honors in computer science and psychology. In 2009, after 5 years in a successful corporate career she had the opportunity to follow her true passion and return to school to study medicine. When she is not in school she can be found enjoying cooking, yoga or exploring the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest (only when its sunny!).
Nadia was drawn to the study of naturopathic medicine for its unique ability to blend the science of medicine with the art of being a healer. Wellness is not the same as being symptom free, rather, it is a state of being in balance physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually that allows us to experience a sense of aliveness. As such, her vision is to create an integrative clinic where various medical practitioners come together and adopt a patient-centered model focusing on prevention, wellness, and education. She hopes to empower patients to improve their health and well-being using herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling.
Nadia is passionate about helping Naturopathic medicine enter mainstream healthcare so everyone has equal access to quality health care. She intends to utilize her practice as a basis for community outreach, to offer educational classes and workshops that make healthy and sustainable living accessible to all. In line with this goal she has worked at an integrative clinic serving Native American Indians and alongside a nurse at a day shelter for abused women and children. She is also a member of the alternative healthcare access campaign and has volunteered at the free clinic for homeless and transitional housing clients. She hopes that Nadia is grateful to her husband for encouraging her to pursue her calling and to her family for their constant support and encouragement. She thanks the Vakhshoori committee for their support in helping her achieve her goals.
Watch Nadia’s video by clicking here
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Wanted – Actresses for lead role


                           WANTED
Lead actress  and actress for a supporting role for an English Film to be released worldwide.
Age group 23 to 35 years.
The candidates must be willing to expose to the demands of the script.
Interested persons may apply to Mehernosh Kapadia –  mkfilms7@gmail.com with CV and photos

Renewals of Expired Leave & Licence Agreements ?


SHOULD ONE SIGN THE “RENEWALS” OF EXPIRED LEAVE & LICENCE AGREEMENTS AS DEMANDED BY THE BPP?

The trustees of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) are trying to browbeat the residents of Parsi Baugs under their control to “renew” leave and licence agreement which have expired years ago. Should the residents accede to the request and sign the agreement? No. Here’s why.

Before I come to the legal aspect, I would be worth recalling that some of the Trustees had stated in their election manifesto that they would convert the licencees to tenancies. They have forgotten their assurance on being elected to power. They only hold that the trustees have over the community is by virtue of their control over the vast housing properties of the BPP. Most of our unworthy BPP Trustee “Sahebs” have poured in good money on election campaigns, holding entertainment programmes and dinners, organizing transport, etc. etc., considering it a capital investment to reap the profits after becoming trustees – such profits being available only from the housing sector. Would any person who had honest intentions to serve the community pour in such money on elections campaign……?

Most of the present Trustees have not done anything for the community, except put it in poor light by their rowdy behaviour and fighting in public. They forget that they are there in a fiduciary capacity to serve the community by fulfilling the wishes of the founder trustees as embodied in the Trust Deed. They consider themselves trustee “sahebs” and demi gods and abuse their position by trying to brow beat the community and milk the trust. The trust deeds do not have any concept of giving accommodation on leave and licence basis; the objective is to provide accommodation to Parsis who cannot afford to buy their own accommodation. The pugree system and the huge deposits running into more than Rs.50 lakhs to crores goes against the very objective of the trust. Although the Parsi poplulation is dwindling, the housing shortage is becoming more acute, which makes it evident that something is wrong somewhere.

Now, adverting to the legal and moral aspects of “renewal” of expired leave and licence agreements. Firstly, a dead licence cannot be renewed; it would be a fresh licence on new terms and conditions. It would be unilateral and heavily loaded in favour of the BPP, jeopardizing the interests of the residents of the various baugs.

What is the present status of the resident who were originally given accommodation under leave and licence agreement? The licence period stated in the agreement has expired, but the allottee continues to reside in the flat and pay licence fees which are accepted by the BPP. Since the licensor continues to let the licencee occupy the premises after the expiry of the licence period and also accept the licence fee, what would it imply? It would mean that the intent of the licensor was to create the tenancy but by-pass the rent control legislation. The acceptance of the licence fees after the expiry of the licence period would act as an estoppel against the licensor, and hence the licensor would not be entitled to claim that the premises were given on leave and licence after the expiry of the licence period.

Supreme Court ruling on tenancy camouflaged under a Leave & Licence Agreement: It is to be noted that there is a Supreme Court judgement on the issue of camouflaging a tenancy under a Leave & Licence Agreement. (A copy of the judgement is attached hereto). In this judgement, the Supreme Court has come down heavily on licensors / landlords who attempt to scuttle the provisions of the Rent Control Legislation by camouflaging tenancies as licences. This judgement lays down that regardless of the nomenclature used, the court would see the true and real intent of the document to determine whether it is a genuine licence agreement or a camouflaged tenancy. If it is found that the Leave & Licence agreement has been executed merely to by-pass the Rent Control Act, the Court would consider it a tenancy disregarding the terminology used in the agreement.
[Judgement dated 22.03.2004 in Civil Appeal No.1548 of 1999 delivered by the Bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.C. Lahoti and Hon’ble Dr. Justice AR. Lakshmanan  in the case of C.M. Beena & Anr.  (Appellants) versus P.N. Ramachandra Rao (Respondent) – 
AIR 2004 SC 2103 = 2004 (3) ALD 108 SC = 2004 (3) SCC 595 = 2004 SCCL.COM 29]

Since the Trustees know that they are doing something that is not justified, they adopt the unethical modus operandi of “summoning” the resident to the BPP office without giving an inkling as to why he / she is being called; then take the person wait for hours together to exhaust him physically and mentally; and thereafter call in him into the committee room where he is surrounded and over-awed by the presence of all the trustees and other officials, who frighten and browbeat him to do what he is ordered to do. HENCE, ANYBODY BEING “SUMMONED” MUST SIMPLY NOT ATTEND THE BPP OFFICE.

– Jehangir Gai
  Wadia Building,
  598-A, Girgaon Road,
  Mumbai – 400002.

Cyrus Cylinder US Tour 2013


IHF America, in partnership with the British Museum and theArthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, is pleased to present the 2013 tour of the Cyrus Cylinder to the US, an historical first. The tour is hosted by five major museums across the country, and is officially underwritten and funded by IHF America in conjunction with sponsorships by a number of organizations, individual donors, and sponsors in each of the destination cities. In particular, the Los Angeles portion of the tour is generously sponsored by Farhang Foundation. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Click Here for CNN Segment with Christiane Amanpour on the Cyrus Cylinder

Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji

Parsi General Hospital – Good Show


This is just for information.

 

The state committee including officials from the health and sales tax departments and charity commissioners’ office scouted 49 city hospitals to check if they were adhering to the rules under the Bombay Public Trust (BPT) Act and norms of the Indigent Patient Fund (IPF) for poor patients. The committee, divided in 53 teams, found that 80% of the hospitals were violating provisions in both the cases.

 

Wadia Hospital ( govt hospital), Bombay Hospital and Cumbala Hill Hospital had less than 20% of the beds reserved for poor patients under the BPT Act. 

 

Only Parsi General Hospital had more than 20% of the beds reserved for poor patients. 

 

Ten hospitals had only made arrangements for poor patients.

 

As per the IPF, charitable hospitals have to transfer 2% of the total bill amount for the fund. Nine hospitals have not opened an IPF account including Bombay hospital, Hinduja hospital and Lilavati hospital. A few hospitals did not open the accounts but maintained registers.

 

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_80pct-hospitals-flout-public-trust-act-state-panel_1805001

 

 

Its time Parsis starting donating to their own assets that actually work rather than miracle men, babas, candles. Its time to give back to the agiaries, the parsi charities and our own. The hospital can improve if people use its services, the staff is very helpfull and the charity it is doing is magnificent

 

Pass this on to other zoroastrians as a proud zoroastrian.

 

Courtesy : Zaver Bomabehram

 

Cyrus Cylinder Tour in America


Do watch this video. It was live from the Sachler Gallery at the Gala opening Night of the Exhibition March 4th, 2013
CNN was there and boith neil McGregor adn Christiane Amanpour  were at the same table as Katayun Kapadia, FEZANA President  (special invitee)
We Zoroastrians should be proud of our Iranian heritage.

Christiane Amanpour on the Cyrus Cylinder

Click here to watch the Video

 

Courtesy : Nergish Jal

City of Mashhad Welcomes Iranian New Year


Norouz (Nowruz) in Persian means “New day”. It is the beginning of the year for the peoples of Iran (Greater Iran, including: Afghanistan, Arran (Republic of Azerbaijan) and Central Asian Republics). It begins precisely with the beginning of spring on vernal equinox (on March 20th this year).

Click Here for some more exotic pics …………

 

Ashdeen Lilaowala highlights Parsi Gara work at LFW


The Indian Textile Show that opened Day Four at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2013 began with Ashdeen Lilaowala, a graduate of the National Institute of Design Ahmedabad, who started his label “Ashdeen” specialising in ancient Oriental and Persian hand embroidery and is the author of the book “Threads of Continuity” on the complex Zoroastrian art of Kusti weaving.

Giving a totally contemporary look to the timeless Parsi Gara embroidery, Ashdeen Lilaowala revealed his expertise through the finely crafted ten garments.

While the colour story had strong black, white and red with dashes of silver embroidery; Ashdeen worked on rich fabrics like Dupion, organza, georgette, jacquard, satin and lace.

Click Here for the full story

Click Here for the slide show