WZC – Day 2 Report

Day 02 of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress started bright and early at the NSCI complex in Worli, Mumbai.

About half of the 1250 delegates were at their seats when the first panel sat down to listen in on the panel discussion on how Zoroastrians practise their faith in the Diaspora. Dorab Mistry the moderator asked all the participants to be respectful of each others view. It’s then I realized that this would be an interesting session with the proverbial “fireworks” that everyone wanted to see.

Pervin Mistry the first speaker represents the orthodox traditional camp of the Parsi Zarathustis. Katayun Kapadia, FEZANA President was her usual lucid self as she laid out the practices followed by the largest diaspora, the one in North America. Bomi Patel spoke about some of the other initiatives that FEZANA follows. Sarosh Maneckshaw of Houston, USA gave a vague presentation on how the religion is practised in the diaspora with some very large generalizations about the community in the entire continent of North America. Parviz Varjavand represented the Iranian perspective on the panel. Malcolm Deboo gave us a History 101 of the ZTFE and the Zoroastrians in the UK.

Sadly what has now become a repetitive element at this Congress is that panel discussions turn rogue and panelists just talk about what they want and not what is being discussed. And the moderators are mostly helpless. I am not sure where the breakdown in communication lies. But surely the moderator would have communicated to the speakers, the general gist of the topic being discussed.

The next session saw a lecture by Darius Khambatta. He made an excellent case on how we need to change with the times.

This was followed by a session on ZYNG: Zoroastrian Youth of the Next Generation, the youth wing of BPP.

The next panel discussion was the first cohesive one of the Congress. A discussion ensued on the contribution of Parsis in the world of Media, Advertising and Cinema.

After another hearty lunch, the Panel on Philanthropy met up. Dinshaw Tamboly the powerhouse administrator of WZO and a giant amongst trust management in India spoke about the complete lack of collaboration of the various trusts. Khojeste extolled that the religion is for the Iranians only.

In a breakout session Yuhan Vevaina, the Zoroastrian scholar at Stanford and a good friend raised the very grave issue of the lack of scholarship in the religion at the University level, worldwide.

The last session of the day dealt with the population demographic studies by Roshan Rivetna. She walked the audience through the process of collecting numbers of the Zoroastrian populations from all parts of the world had various colleagues including Dolly Dastoor walk the audience through the process of how the census was conducted.

The evening entertainment by Shiamak Davar’s troupe was top-notch and brought to an end a long day at the Congress.

The individual speeches and lectures today raised the tempo of the Congress. Sadly the panel discussions left a lot to be desired.

As an aside, one issue that went totally unreported was the tweets by the President of Iran congratulating the Congress organizers. This surely has to be a first by the leader of an Islamic state.

Click Here for the full report by Arzan Wadia

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