From Persepolis to Isfahan: Safeguarding Cultural Heritage


Conference

16-18 January 2015

Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street
London W1G 7LP

Organised by

Iran Heritage Foundation and the Soudavar Memorial Foundation, with support from the British Institute of Persian Studies.

Description

This conference will focus on protecting the cultural heritage of Iran. As is well known cultural heritage worldwide is under threat, and from many countries there are stories of damage to monuments and archaeological sites allied to ongoing deterioration of cultural resources. At the moment the problem is particularly acute in Iraq and Syria, due to military activity and state-sponsored vandalism. Fortunately these problems do not exist in Iran, but nevertheless there is damage to monuments and archaeological sites caused for example by acid rain, sandstorms, earthquakes, floods, neglect, looting and development. The aim of this conference will be to review the extent of the damage, to raise awareness of the problem, to look at the framework within which protection is currently provided, to chart best practice worldwide, and suggest some practical measures to help and support Iranian colleagues.

Speakers will include:

  • Prof. Robert Hillenbrand (University of St Andrews) – keynote speaker
  • Dr Chahryar Adle (President of the International Scientific Committee, UNESCO; ICOMOS, Paris; and Tehran)
  • Dr Alireza Anisi (ICAR, Tehran)
  • Dr Sussan Babaie (Courtauld Institute of Art)
  • Dr Dariush Borbor (Tehran)
  • Dr Rémy Boucharlat (CNRS, Lyons)
  • Dr John Curtis (CEO, Iran Heritage Foundation)
  • Dr Hassan Fazeli (ICAR, Tehran)
  • Dr Wouter Henkelman (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris)
  • Prof. Jukka Jokilehto (ICCROM)
  • Mohammad Reza Kargar (Director of Iranian Museums)
  • Prof. Marisa Laurenzi Tabasso (Rome)
  • Prof. Roger Matthews (University of Reading)
  • Bijan Rouhani (Vice President of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness, ICORP)

There will also be a panel discussion involving:

  • Neil MacGregor (Director, British Museum)
  • Dr Martin Roth (Director, Victoria & Albert Museum)
  • Jon Snow (Journalist and newscaster)

Tickets & info

Early-bird: £80.00
Early-bird Student: £30.00
Early-bird price available until 14 December 2014

Standard full: £100.00
Standard student: £40.00

Book now

Friends of IHF discount available, join now.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque, please make it payable to ‘IHF’ and send this along with your contact details to:

IHF, 63 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LP

For any inquiries please contact astrid@iranheritage.org, Tel: 020 3651 2121

Please note this event will be filmed.

Iran Heritage Foundation Soudavar Memorial Foundation       British Institute of Persian Studies

XYZ is officially launching on : Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014


XYZ is back.
This time with an on-going programme.
XYZ?
Xtremely Young Zoroastrians is an initiative to encourage and foster religious, social and cultural awareness amongst the kids.
How?
XYZ groups will be set up area-wise, in Colaba, Tardeo, Byculla, Parel, Dadar, Bandra and Andheri. That is, each area (for eg. Byculla, will include Rustom Baug, Jer Baug, Mazgaon and buildings in the surrounding neighborhood) will form an XYZ group.
Who?
Zoroastrian kids between 5 -15 years (these are our XYZ) can enroll and be part of any group that is close to their house.
Every child will register online and pay an annual membership fee of Rs. 1,000/- to the designated volunteer of their group.
Those who had registered for the XYZ summer camp and XYZania must once again register online.
Others, too, are most welcome and can register online on www.xyzfoundation.net
Done? Next?
These XYZ groups will meet twice a month (Sunday mornings) to partake of various activities ranging from games to social service to religious knowledge to performing and literary arts, field trips and camps and the list is endless!
As in all organisations, this one too will have its own office bearers, who will be among the XYZs aiming to inculcate leadership qualities and along with it, commitment and responsibility.
When?
XYZ is officially launching on :
DATE: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
VENUE: Birla Matushri Sabhagar, Next to Bombay Hospital
TIME: 10:30am to 12:30pm
For any more information or clarifications, please feel free to contact:
Hoshaang – 9820683398
Shireen-9930609933
Visit www.xyzfoundation.net to remove all doubts and register!

Fire of VICTORY


Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

There was something special about that meeting with Dastur Nersoyang Dhaval. And one meeting was all it took for King Vajjada Deva to welcome and embrace yet another culture into the country.

“We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the Holy.”

[Inscription carved on the Sanjan Stambh, a memorial column erected in 1920 in Sanjan, Gujarat, to commemorate the arrival of Persian Zoroastrians in India]

Day 17, Month of July, AD 936, Royal Rajput Court, Nandhipuri, Present day Gujarat

High Priest Nersoyang Dhaval, standing at the forefront of his small group of people, glanced around him. The court of this Indian ruler might be small, but it was well-lit. It faced the east. Some people might complain about the sun hitting them right in the eyes each morning, but to him, after the endless misfortunes they had suffered, this seemed a good sign. He turned to the turbaned interpreter beside him. “Pray, what did you say His Highness was called?”

“The most illustrious King Vajjada Deva, of the Silahara dynasty,” the interpreter said. “Now, please stay silent; His Highness is presiding over a land dispute, and will take up your case very soon.”

East meets west

It proved to be a wait of ten minutes, when the king finished his business and the waiting priests moved forward. They must present a strange picture, Nersoyang Dhaval knew: taller than those of the Hind, fair-skinned and although they, the priests, wore long beards and shrouded themselves in white … any king might be forgiven for thinking they looked more like warriors rather than refugees. The priest took a look at the doubtful expression on the king’s usually good-humored countenance, and felt decidedly nervous. A very polite greeting, under the circumstances, wouldn’t be amiss.

“Great Jadi Rana of the benevolent Shahrayas,” he began, and paused as the court dissolved into murmurs, upon hearing the translated Persian. “I beg pardon, good king. We come from the far-flung lands in the north-eastern corner of the Persian Empire. We are unused to your tongue and may mispronounce your royal title, but we mean well.”

The king’s expression had relaxed during this speech and by this time, there was a faint smile on his face. “Welcome to my land, good priest. I have learnt something of your people during my youth. After all, our kingdoms have traded for centuries, yours and mine. That is why I consented to granting you an audience so quickly. Now, what is it that you wish?”

Nersoyang Dhaval drew a deep breath and shared a look with his people. “As knowledgeable as you are about our affairs, great Rana, you must also know that we escaped our lands, fearing war and the complete destruction of those who follow the Good Faith. Our people have left Persia in waves, and we found ourselves seeking refuge here, knowing of your own benevolence.” He paused. “We have wandered like nomads for years, Sire. My people are exhausted. I, Dastur Nersoyang Dhaval, High Priest, seek rest and a place to live, on their behalf.”

King Vajjada Deva treated them to a level stare. “This seems rather a tall order, good Dastur. I know only the barest essentials of your people, after all.”

“It shall be my pleasure to tell you more, great Rana,” the priest began. “Do not be nervous, for never shall any evil proceed from us in this land. We shall be the friends of all Hindustan and everywhere, scatter the heads of your foes. We are the worshippers of Yazdan, the One God. We have abandoned all we possessed and borne many hardships on the road. Houses and mansions and goods and chattels we have all forsaken. We revere the Sun and the Moon, and hold in honour, the Cow, Fire, and Water.” He went on, describing the basic tenets of Zoroastrianism, until the king held up a hand.

Contemplation and reconciliation

“I understand your woes, and respect your faith,” said the king. “But …” He paused, conferred with his ministers, and made a sign to a servant. As the Persian priests waited, nervously, the court aide brought forward an earthen pot, brimming with so much milk that some of it tipped over.

“This is the state of my kingdom now, good priest,” announced Vajjada Deva. “My land is full to overflowing with my own people. As sympathetic as I am to your plight, how can I make space for your numbers?”

Dastur Nersoyang Dhaval bent his head, lost in thought. Then, he dispatched one of his crew outside; when the messenger returned with something, he took it, and walked forward.

“Should your kingdom be full, Sire,” he began. “This is what we shall be.” And he poured the sugar in his palm, into the brimming milk, when it blended without a trace. “As sugar in milk, we shall add sweetness to your land.”

For a moment, there was stunned silence. Then, the king rose, smiling. “I see that we shall deal well together. You will be a worthy addition, and may establish your Fire Temple in my land. I bid you welcome.”

The court rang with applause.

“One more thing,” The king raised a hand. “What are we to call you?”

Dastur Nersoyang Dhaval bowed. “Once we were citizens of the Persian Empire. Once we lived in the beautiful Sanjan, in the Greater Khorasan. For all I know, we may never return. But we shall always be the people of Persia – and henceforth, we shall be the Parsis.”

Historical Note: The Parsi community settled in India and flourished over the centuries, establishing a Fire Temple in their new settlement Sanjan, named after their home in Persia. Today though their numbers are dwindling, they remain an integral part of India, contributing to science, industry, military and other fields. Some noted Parsis are Homi Bhabha, the physicist, Jamshedji Tata, the “Father of Indian Industry,” Field Marshal Maneckshaw, and numerous others. Thousands of years after their arrival in India, the event is still celebrated in Sanjan, Gujarat, in November.

 

The Hindu, November 27, 2014

PAVITHRA SRINIVASAN

A treasured Parsi legacy


Parsi women in Gara sarees

I still recall how extremely careful my Parsi friend would be when we all went out together for a special occasion and she was wearing a Gara saree. She would take great pains to walk, gently surveying the ground at every step, choose a seat away from food and drink, be constantly watchful of people around her — in case they spilled anything or stepped on her saree. “It is my grandmother’s Gara saree, and there are not too many of these kind around. And they don’t make them like this anymore,” she would explain.

Many, many years later, after I visited Udvada in Gujarat where you find Gara products of all kinds, met Parsi families on other occasions in Bengaluru and Hyderabad who showed me their exquisite Gara sarees, and also met a few kaarigars (embroiders or sareemakers) in Mumbai, I realised why my friend was almost paranoid about her saree’s safety. Gara sarees are truly precious!

Precious heirlooms

Gara embroidery sarees are family heirlooms and the ones with intricate handwork made on expensive fabric are stunningly beautiful. Richly colourful, artistically decorated with beautiful embroidery and delicately embellished, the finest among them, created decades ago, have become collector’s items. Especially, considering that the old style of creating Gara sarees has become rare in recent years.

The characteristic motifs of a Gara saree, which make it easy for you to identify one, are traditional Chinese designs. You will see figures of Chinese men and women in traditional attire and often depicted alongside their typical homesteads and rickshaws, and sometimes with accessories like fans, umbrellas and even musical instruments. Fishing scenes are also prominent in some fabrics.

Flowering vines, which often meander across the border or body of the saree, trees, bamboos, fruits, flowers, and plenty of birds and animals like the parrot, peacock and dragon are also some popular designs. Butterflies, either alone or hovering over flowers, are also depicted. You will find intricately woven pavilions and bridges besides pagodas and peonies, all along the border of the saree and on the pallu.

However, there are some sarees or fabrics that are profusely embroidered and the motifs are all over — covering almost the entire length and breadth. Such sarees with dense work are also heavy in weight. These highly-detailed sarees are also among the most expensive and coveted.

Purple, black and red are among the popular colours, or at least were, in the old-style ones, while pastel shades are also seen now. The dark colour background was used to highlight the beauty of the embroidery. Talking to the elders in a few Parsi families, we learnt that typical embroidery techniques were the satin stitch, long and short stitch as well as the popular seed-pearl stitch, also known as kha-kha.

Aruna Chandaraju, Bengaluru,Nov 30, 2014, DHNS:

DECCAN HERALD, Sunday 30 November 2014, News updated at 2:19 AM IST
Click Here for more

Parsis, dodos and other mysteries


Let me state at the very onset that I want Parsis to fight extinction for purely self ish reasons. It is very important to have three Parsis in your life: Your doctor, your jeweler and your lawyer since most Parsis are generally honest and conscientious by nature.And having them in your life can lead to a whole bunch of laughs because they are also notoriously eccentric.

This year I ordered my son’s birthday cake from Mrs Byramjee and when I told her that I’d be sending my driver to pick it up, she informed me, `Send a young driver only.’ My mind was filled with risqué thoughts of what this 80-year-old wanted to do with my driver and when I asked her, she snapped at me so I sent my 22-year-old cousin (since he is the youngest man I know with a driv ing license). When he got back he said that she pinched his cheek, gave him a toothless grin and sim ply handed the cake over. I am still trying to figure that one out. A few months ago I spotted our lovely Parsi assistant sitting at the lunch table rather despondently . I asked her what was wrong and she sighed and said, `I went on a date yesterday. We were at this nice restaurant when I sud denly remembered I had to tell boss about his morning meeting so I excused myself and sent a message. We ordered some wine, and boss’s new designer called saying he needed some measurements so I quickly gave him the collar size, waist etc. I had a sip of the wine and my date was talk ing about his mom, when I recalled that I had to send flowers from boss and you to Prabhu Deva so I did that as well. My phone rang again. It was Karan Johar -how could I not take the call?
So I took it, told him boss will call him right back and when I looked up, that silly boy had left’.

Today he sent me a message saying, `Tel leva ja`. These Parsi boys are very spoiled. Let them stay with their mama only . Any way his mother is very bossy and his sister, Behnoush is a little cracked, I would not be able to adjust.’ When I ask her how she knows all these details about his family she replies ` Of course I know, he is a cousin after all.’ Seeing the Jiyo Parsi ads in the last few weeks, I start asking my Parsi female friends why they think their community is vanishing. The answers vary from `Stop your boring questions’ to `Who will take care of my mother ­ she drives everyone else crazy’ to finally `69,000 Parsis are left, half are my own sex and out of the men, most are over 60 years old, where will I find a nice Parsi boy? If I marry a nonParsi, they won’t let my children come to the Agia ry and learn our ways. Obviously our numbers will dwindle. Who wants to deal with this, better to just work and think about all this later.’ Perhaps this is the integral answer to my query . In a complex situation, we tend to procrastinate and then it is simply too late; too late to find someone and too late to have children.

The Parsi community is slowly disappearing and we are soon going to miss everything that they contribute to the potluck dinner that India hosts every day. The charm, honesty and sheer humor that they bring to the table along with their dhansak and patrani macchi are pretty much irreplaceable.

After all which other community can make even dying sound funny by referring to it as `Wicket padi gayi’ Going out the way of a fallen wicket is inevitable for all of us, but going the way of the dodo…?

Liverpool brothers Kersi and Kayo Kadva are behind the award-winning Papadum Express


Two Liverpool inventors have brought their boyhood dream to life.

Brothers Kersi and Kayo Kadva’s impatience at waiting for papadums to cook in oil one at a time sparked an idea to quickly satisfy their cravings.

The Papadum Express was born — a specially designed and crafted microwave tray which can cook up to 10 papadums in a minute.

“We sat down one day and said, ‘there’s got to be an easier way to cook papadums faster’,” Mr Kadva said.

“To think how far we have come since that conversation in 2011 is amazing.”

The brothers took out two mortgages, sold a car, cashed in holiday pay and took out personal loans to secure patents world wide.

Now it seems to be paying off as more and more of their trays are being mailed out to fill online orders.

The pair has been recognised with a Sydney Design Award for the tray’s versatility and convenience.

Click Here for more

Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy 150th Death Anniversary Medical Scheme for Parsee Senior Citizens


Applications are once again invited from Parsi & Irani Zoroastrians residing in Mumbai. Pune, Udvada, Valsad, Naysari and Surat, who are above 65 years old (as on 1 January. 2015). and whose personal income is below Rs 1.50 lakhs per annum. Persons already enrolled and presently covered under this Scheme, and those who do not meet the above mentioned criteria need not apply.

After careful scrutiny and personal interviews, deserving persons shall be selected on the basis of age, income, family support, medical history, etc. Selected persons shall be entitled to receive reimbursement of medical expenses up to a maximum of Rupees Fifty thousand (Rs 50,000 per annum).

Application Forms may be collected (at Rs 20/- each) between – 31′ December 2014 (between 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. only) from any of the following centres

  1. Sir J J Charity Fund, Kalpataru Heritage, 5th Floor, 127, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai 400 001.

  2. Sir J J Agiary, 826, Dastur Meher Road, Pune 411 001. 3. Sir J J Dharamshala, Sea View Street, Udvada, 396 180,

  3. Sett R J J High School (Eng Med), Tithal Road, Valsad 396 001.

  4. Jamshed Baug, Sir J J Marg, Charpool, Naysari 396 445.

  5. Surat Parsi Punchayat, Dr J Lashkari Road, Shahpore, Surat 395 003.
    Application Forms, duly completed with all necessary supporting attachments, should be submitted by Courier / Registered Post to Sir J J Charity Fund, at the address mentioned (at Sr. No. 1) above, on or before 31st Jan. 2015.

Mumbai , 28th November 2014

Chairman, Sir J J Charity Fund

Zoroastrians must keep the fire ablaze


Funerals are the only constant for Zoroastrians in Pakistan. For a community of less than 1,800 — last recorded in 2006 in a research conducted by KE Eduljee — the announcement comes faithfully almost once every month. The timings are noted in chalk on a designated blackboard — one in almost every colony — and those who read it first pass on the information to others. The news of birth, on the other hand, comes with an element of surprise.

At the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress held in Mumbai in 2013, it was announced that the global population of Zoroastrians was less than 140,000, one-third of whom are aged above 60.

India, home to the largest Parsi population (Zoroastrians who fled to Iran in the seventh century AD after Muslims rose to power) has witnessed a decline from 114,000 Parsis in 1941 to 69,001 in 2001, according to their last fully published census.

Following this trend, the 2013 birth-and-death ratio among Indian Parsis was 735 deaths compared to an abysmal 174 births. While the decline in population has not been documented in Pakistan, evidence of shrinking numbers is indisputable.

The Saddar area in Karachi, which was once dotted with tea shops, bakeries and restaurants run by Zoroastrians, is now a shadow of the legacy many have left behind.

Even Parsi stalwarts, including the likes of Karachi’s first mayor Jamshed Nusserwanji Rustomji Mehta and the widely revered Ardeshir Cowasjee, who were once visible on the societal forefront, participating in politics and making notable contributions to cultural discourse, have gradually faded away.

To prevent the decline of possibly the world’s smallest religious community, in 1999 Unesco initiated the PARZOR (Parsi-Zoroastrian) project in India. This was to create awareness regarding dwindling numbers and to revive interest for the cause within the community, country and globally. The project has since become a catalyst for change with its biggest success being the launch of the Jiyo Parsi scheme in 2013.

An initiative of the Indian government, backed by the PARZOR Foundation and Bombay Parsi Panchayat, the programme primarily targets the community’s married couples, encouraging them to procreate, and provides financial support for fertility treatment, if needed. For families with an annual income of INR1,000,000 and below, the government has assured 100% financial assistance, which is slashed to half for families whose income falls within the bracket of INR1,500,000 to INR2,000,000. In total, a sum of INR100 million will be spent over a period of four years.

Click Here for the full story from The Tribune

XYZ is back.


XYZ is back.

This time with an on-going programme.

XYZ?
Xtremely Young Zoroastrians is an initiative to encourage and foster religious, social and cultural awareness amongst the kids.

How?
XYZ groups will be set up area-wise, in Colaba, Tardeo, Byculla, Parel, Dadar, Bandra and Andheri. That is, each area (for eg. Byculla, will include Rustom Baug, Jer Baug, Mazgaon and buildings in the surrounding neighborhood) will form an XYZ group.

Who?
Zoroastrian kids between 5 -15 years (these are our XYZ) can enroll and be part of any group that is close to their house.

Every child will register online and pay an annual membership fee of Rs. 1,000/- to the designated volunteer of their group.

Those who had registered for the XYZ summer camp and XYZania must once again register online.

Others, too, are most welcome and can register online onwww.xyzfoundation.net

Done? Next?
These XYZ groups will meet twice a month (Sunday mornings) to partake of various activities ranging from games to social service to religious knowledge to performing and literary arts, field trips and camps and the list is endless!

As in all organisations, this one too will have its own office bearers, who will be among the XYZs aiming to inculcate leadership qualities and along with it, commitment and responsibility.

When?
XYZ is officially launching on :

DATE: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

VENUE: Birla Matushri Sabhagar, Next to Bombay Hospital

TIME: 10:30am to 12:30pm

For any more information or clarifications, please feel free to contact:

Hoshaang – 9820683398
Shireen-9930609933

Visit www.xyzfoundation.net to remove all doubts and register!