6th Annual Sports Day – Ontario Zoroastrians


 SPORTS DAY

Date:     Sunday, August 30, 2015
Time:     3pm (Prompt) for registration
Venue:   The Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation (OZCF),
located at 1187 Burnhamthorpe Road East Oakville, Ontario. Canada,    

Cost:      $5 per participant

Each participant will be given the following food around 5pm
2 x Hot dogs
2 x Chocolate cookies
1 x Bag of chips
1 x Bottle of water

 If you have any friends who would like to join, please let me know and I can put their names down.
You can invite school friends as well if you wish (but I need to know).

Events are:
– Running (sprints)
– Relays
– Sack race
– Sponge and bucket relay
– Egg & Spoon
– Tug of War
– Long Jump (maybe)
– Three legged races
– Soccer
– Hitting the baseball (distance-Maybe)

Sundays weather is meant to be great so do come out with the whole family, even if it is to spectate.

Contact Rumi Jasavala on:
Phone: 905 257 7864
or
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Journey from Persia to The-Hind


Written by The Bawa Guy

The cold breeze is blowing! The sky is getting red. Arrows are flying, shields are splintered, there came the Arabs and now began the downfall of the great Sassanian empire under the rule of King Yazdegerd III.

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Image: The Sasanian Empire

Until the Arab invasion and subsequent Muslim conquest, in the mid 7th century Persia (modern-day Iran) was a politically independent state, spanning from the Aegean Sea to the Indus River and dominated by a Zoroastrian majority. Zoroastrianism was the official state religion of four pre-Islamic Persian empires, the last being the Sassanian empire. The Arab invasion abruptly brought to an end the religious domination of Zoroastrianism in Persia and instituted Islam as the official religion of the state. When asked by Yazdegerd, about the reasons for the unwarranted Arab aggression against Persians, an Arab soldier replied, “Allah commanded us, by the mouth of His Prophet, to extend the dominion of Islam over all nations.” 

Coin

Image: Coin of King Yazdegerd III

There came the need to safeguard the religious faith and thus began the history of the great Journey, the journey from Persia to The-Hind (modern-day India).

The persecution of Zoroastrians led to the dispersion of the people “of good faith“, to Sanjan (Khorasan) in the mountains of Greater Khorasan in the northeast Persia, where they held shelter for a 100 years to protect the holy fire and the religion. The fear among the people grew as they would see the wrath of the Arabs invading the Persian towns one after the other. This led the Behdins and Dastoors to come up to a decision to flee to the ports of the town Hormuz in the Kerman province of Iran, leaving behind their lands and possessions they held for thousands of years. There they settled for 15 years until when they realized that their noble lineage is at a high risk. Thus, the time came to leave their mother land, the land of Zoroastrian dominance pre-invasion, Iran !!

Ancient_Khorasan_highlightedImage: The Greater Khorasan

Eight ships with 1000 Zoroastrians each on board set sail towards the mightyHind with their hearts filled with emotions of leaving the Persian realm behind. The ships sailed the sea under the leadership of Dastur Magawan Nariosang Dhawal. The ships anchored on the port of the island Div where the Zoroastrians held shelter for nineteen years. There they disembarked and made their homes on the land at their feet, until the astrologer once again sought their future. The aged Dastur peered into his charts and said, “O enlightened friends, Again we must depart and find another place which we can call our second home.” Hence, once again history repeated itself and the Zoroastrians set sail towards Gujarat in the Hind.

Route

Image: The Journey

The sea was silent and the moon was bright. The ships were on the way toGujarat in the middle of the sea, until they began to roll from side to side and the temperature dipped all of a sudden. Dark clouds obscured the moon. People on the ships got a sight of the heavy storm confronting them. A winnowing wind fermented and sighed, rippling the surface of the calm sea. There came the rain gushing with the waves banging to the ship. The prudent Dasturji along with his folks gathered and started chanting the prayer of “Yatha” and word to the mighty Bahram that they shall kindle an Atush Bahram once they land safely to the Hind. Within no time, the ruthless storm subsided miraculously. The glory of the prayer, which was known as the “Parsi-No-Thabaryo” got enchanted among the others on board.

Ships Sail

Image: Large ships sailing in the sea from Iran to Sanjan

The ships arrived on a port of a small town in Gujarat. A benevolent and magnanimous King was ruling there at that time, by name Jadav RanaDasturji approaching the ruler with a gift having uttered the words of benediction to him, requested: “Oh Maharaja! give us refuge and shelter in this city. We have come here a helpless lot, seeking your refuge, fleeing from the unabating persecution of the aliens.”  The Zoroastrians were welcomed by the King by presenting them a pot of milk filled up to the brim by the hands  of one of the Kings guard to signify that his kingdom was already full and could not accept refugees. Dasturji Dhawal responded by mixing a handful of sugar into the milk. The reply implied that “we are only a handful of people and we shall mix with your kingdom and sweeten it just like this sugar in the milk without having it spilled“.

Court of Jadav Rana

Image: Dastur Magawan Nariosang Dhawal in the court of King Jadav Rana

Impressed by Dasturjis’ response the King gave refuge to the Zoroastrians in his land which was soon named as Sanjan after the old abandoned land, Sanjan in the Greater Khorasan. King laid out a few conditions for granting sanctuary in his kingdom:

  • Hindu attire (sari) 
  • A “Tilak” on the forehead
  • Use of Gujarati language
  • Weddings to be performed at dusk
  • Respect all religions
  • Give up arms
  • Entrance to be decorated by colorful chalk designs
  • Patriotism

These conditions were agreed and the Parsi Zoroastrians settled in the great land of Hindustan since then. Dasturji pleaded for permission to establish an Atush Bahram. The request was accepted by the King and the Athsh Bahramwas setup by the name of “Iranshah” implying the King of Iran. Since then the glorious fire burns protecting the new realm of the Zoroastrian history.

sanjan stambh

Image: The Sanjan Stambh

References: Parsika volume 1 by Noshir Daboo, Extracts from History Of Holy Iranshah by Shapurji Kavasji Hodiwala, Qissa-e-Sanjan Online

https://thebawaguy.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/journey-from-persia-to-the-hind/

Jashan in the Baug


“Jashan in the Baug”

On June 21, 2015 the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation (OZCF), located on beautiful 10 acres of land, held a huge event of “Jashan in the Baug” on their premises at 1187 Burnhamthorpe Road East Oakville, Ontario. Canada,

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This event was specially organized to recognize the Mobeds who from many years have continued to provide religious services to the Zoroastrian community in North America and also to showcase the Arfarghanyu that has been donated from theZanzibar Agiary to the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation.

 This Arfarghanyu will eventually be housed in the OZCF Agiary.

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The event was held in a well decorated, two huge tents each 100 ft. by 40 ft. with beautiful flowers, tables and chairs set up on the well maintained grass.

The tents were fully packed by a sold-out crowd over 650 Zoroastrians. There was well organized parking guides who efficiently parked well over 330 cars.

 The day started off by 2 youths providing brief explanation of Jashan, religious songs by youths of our Religious Classes and welcome speech by the organizing committee Co-chairs Rumi Jasavala, Kermin Byramjee and the President of OZCF Mr. Percy Dastur.

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FEZANA President Katayun Kapadia and Vice President Homi Gandhi presenting the replica of Cyrus Cylinder from the 6th Century B.C.

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30 priests performing the Jashan (thanksgiving) prayers. A first time on the history of North America

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L to R – Councilor Tom Adams, FEZANA President Katayun Kapadia, Senior Priest Ervad Nozer Kotwal, ZSO President Bina Behboodi and OZCF President Percy Dastur.

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The Priests with the OZCF President

 

The Jashan was performed by 30 mobeds including young and old from Ontario Canada. It was amazing to hear 30 mobeds praying in sinc. It really was a historical moment for North America.

At the end of the Jashan there were speeches by Councillor Tom Adam of Oakville, Katayun Kapadia president of FEZANA, Bina Behbudi, president of ZSO and by the Mr. Percy Dastur, president of OZCF.

After the speeches the mobeds were presented with a beautiful glass award in the shape of a flame. All the Board members and the Jashan organizing committee members were also recognized. At the end of the speeches OZCF was presented with Cyrus’s Cylinder replica by Homi Gandhi, Vice Precedent of FEZANA.

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There was plenty of delicious Parsi food, fruits, dry fruits, malido, sev, dahi, ice-cream, cakes etc. donated by OZCF members which everyone enjoyed.

The crowd was entertained by young Zoroastrian girls and boys singing and dancing throughout the day on the stage and a live band with lovely music. At the end there was a final Raffle Draw which is a trip for two to South Africa.

The entire event was tele-cast all over the world. With the Blessings of Ahura Mazda the weather turned out to be sunny and cool and the day was well spent by the Zoroastrians. It will be a memorable day for a long time to come.

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All 7 Presidents of OZCF from 2002. The Past and the Present

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You may also check out another report here – > http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/niloufer-mavalvala/zoroastrian-community-feast-jashan_b_7679074.html

The Curious Case of the Missing Parsi


Perceived as a community of mostly affluent number-crunching entrepreneurs, ironically, the biggest anxiety gripping Parsis in India these days is their dwindling numbers.

“The birth rate of the Parsis has dropped dramatically to below replacement levels. In 2013, the last year we have data for, we had just 195 births in the entire country and 950 deaths. We are a community on the edge,” says Dr Shernaz Cama of the Parzor Foundation, Delhi, a community organization mandated by the UNESCO to preserve Parsi Zoroastrian heritage.

 

The numbers game
Reversing the population decline won’t be easy for the community. It will involve a change in social attitudes for sure, says Dinyar Patel, a historian and PhD candidate at Harvard University. Over the past few decades, many Parsis chose to have fewer or no children, rues Patel.

“There was little family pressure to marry. There is a strong body of data to show that the Parsi population in India is declining owing to low fertility. This isn’t because of any biological or medical problems; rather, it is because so many Parsis choose to not marry, or marry late, or have few or no children. As a result, the community’s total fertility rate may now be as low as 0.88, whereas a total fertility rate of 2.1 is needed for replacement,” says Patel.
According to Villoo Morawala Patell, managing director of Avesthagen, Bangalore, which is conducting a genomic studies of India’s Parsis, the appallingly low birth rate has been driven by the a cocktail of cultural issues within the community.

“The tradition of marrying only within the community resulted in large numbers of people remaining unmarried in the 70s and 80s. That was when the decline began. At that time it was taboo to even think of marrying outside the community,” says Morawala Patell.

The Parsi community’s self-imposed exclusiveness isn’t helping matters. Conversions are taboo, intermarriage with members of other faiths is frowned upon and non-Parsis are not allowed inside fire temples.

In the last few decades, many clusters of Parsis, particularly in larger cities of western India, began staying in secluded gated communities called Baugs, insulated from other ethnicities.

Click Here for the full detailed story

29th Annual Fundraiser for the B.D. Parsee General Hospital


Wednesday June 24, 2015

The 29th Annual Fundraiser for the B.D. Parsee General Hospital will commence with a Jashan this coming Saturday June 27th at 5;30 PM at the residence of Yasmin and Jamshed Ghadiali

The B.D. Petit Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai, India. BDPGH-skyview

Yasmin and Jamshed have been spearheading this effort for the last 29 years and it continues to grow and thrive under their stewardship.

Below is the appeal they sent out.

Dear friends,

Last year was our 28th Annual Fundraiser for The B. D. Petit Parsee General Hospital. Thanks to all of you we raised a total of $36,800 which was sent to the Hospital by wire transfer.  We also sent a sum of $600 for the Parsi Ambulance Division.

Our 29th annual fundraiser for the Hospital will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2015at our residence: 2686 Belcher Street, Baldwin, NY 11510-3937. We will start with a jashan at 6:00PM followed by dinner.

The funds, as always, are to be used specifically for distributing free and subsidized medications to the poor and needy Zoroastrians.  Every cent collected has been sent.

The Hospital is grateful to all of you for your generous donations.  It helps to give services to the poor in spite of accelerating health care costs. The Hospital writes that the cost of free medicines was Rs. 9,040,000 in 2012; free diagnostics and rehabilitation care cost another Rs 15,300,000.

Please send your donations made payable to ‘ZAGNY-Critical Assistance Fund’ and mention in the memo, “Parsee General Hospital” and mail it to our address given below.

You can also donate online with a credit or debit card on ZAGNY’s website at: https://zagny.org/contribute-to-zagny/

This appeal is sent once a year, but the fundraiser is open throughout the year.  Please communicate this appeal to all your friends and family.  Every donation irrespective of the amount is very important to the Hospital.

We sincerely thank all our Zoroastrian friends from USA and Canada for your tremendous support, encouragement, and generous donations for an extremely worthy cause—taking care of our sick and needy.

Sincerely,

Yasmin and Jamshed Ghadiali
2686 Belcher Street
Baldwin, NY 11510-3937
(516) 378-4516 or ghad  ( @  )optonline.net

7th Annual Cricket Dhansak


Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation
Date:  Sunday, June 28th, 2015
Cricket Start time: 12 Noon
Cricket finish time: 5.30pm
Dhansak Time: 6pm
Cost: $20 for both Cricket and Dhansak or Dhansak only

Please do let me know if you would like to take part in either Cricket or just the Dhansak.

Contact:
Rumi Jasavala on
or 905-257-7864
905-257-7864

Many Thanks

Rumi Jasavala

Radio Talk Show with Brigadier Behram and Zenobia Panthaki


Dear community members

Brigadier Behram Panthaki (Retired) and his wife Zenobia Panthaki who have written a coffee table book “Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, The Man and His Times” will be on a radio talk show called ‘Open Forum’, a live interactive program, on Saturday, June 27 from 4.20 pm to 5.00 pm CENTRAL TIME  to talk about the book.

During the show the Panthakis will talk about Sam Manekshaw’s character traits, honesty, humility, sense of humor, moral and professional courage, respect for men in uniform regardless of rank and the enigma that made up his personality.

This is a live show that Houston residents can tune into on channel AM 1480.

Outside of Houston, people can listen in on humtumradio.com.  Open Forum is interactive, so listeners can call in with their questions on 713-784-1480 when they open it up for Q&A.

Dolly Dastoor

FEZANA JOURNAL

 

Here are the audio files of the interview, courtesy Percy Master – enjoy !

 

This bawa is in town and here to stay


Parsi folks are known as Bawas across India and perhaps the world. These handful of folks in India and around the world are only proponents left of their fine & celebrated cuisine , mostly passed on from mother – daughter. South Bombay ( as it is still called ) or the Fort area of modern times is known for some of the best parsi food Mumbai has to offer ( and possibly across India ). Places like Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy , Britannia and Co, Leopold , Mondegar are the few last remaining traditionally Parsi – Irani cafes( and some others in Bandra – Jumjoji et al , though I haven’t personally been to it ).
When you go down from 550 in 1950’s to 15-20 in 2015, this dying breed / time capsule junta probably needs more than just survival – that is exactly where A D & Sabina Singh and their famed Soda Bottle Openerwala feature. As they put it – it is our tribute to the dying legacy of the wonderful chaotic, crowded, bustling, colorful, quirky, cluttered, eccentric and so real world of an Irani café. Our way of reviving the love for the edu ( egg ) and the disappearing race behind the cafes
Irani cafes still form an integral part of the Mumbai food culture something a lot of people from town or out of town want to be part of. The eccentric owners who are now much more of the attraction than the food sometimes, the tangentially different menu and “inexpensive” food all play an important role in the South Bombay culture fabric.
When an eatery offering some of the chosen best of all the Parsi Irani food offerings and Mumbai street food comes to town and when it’s an Olive venture  – awesomeness has to ensue.
Located on the Road 1, Jubilee Hills, Soda Bottle Openerwala or SBOW opens its 4th outlet across India after Delhi, Gurgaon, and Bangalore. It is a, if I am not mistaken 60 odd seater restaurant with all its quirks in place

 

More often than not, you will find a sizeable crowd outside – waiting. As you walk up to the restaurant, you will find the “B Merwans”, a Girgaum landmarks larger than life poster, a glass showcase , that also doubles up as the Irani bakery ,  that also dishes out some of the many childhood favs – poppins , orange candy et al. On one side, you will also see one katcha and striped pyjama and the cash counter otherwise known as the galla.
Chess board floor tiles , red checkered and crochet table cloths, coloured glass lamps, cuckoo clocks, brass tea kettles and dabbas, tin boxes, locks, old paraphernalia , a wall dedicated to the lineage and an overhead toy train track to keep you and your little one engrossed till the time your food gluttony takes over.
They also have a functional jukebox at the bar, for guzzlers to choose a selection of some of the best of the retro tracks it might belt out. While you might wonder what is the connection of the name and the food, there is a wall inside that is dedicated to Soda bottles and Rustom – SODABOTTLEOPENERWALA and his lineage – do check it out

 

SodaBottleOpenerWala serves a mix of classic Parsi dishes and some of the bests of Bombay street food. Although the term Bombay food excites me, I am there for the bawagiri .
Ive had the chicken farcha which is the original PFC – parsi fried chicken, Patrani macchi, the prawn patio, the kolmi fry and the berry pulao from the non veg section. While the macchi was small – thanks to it not being the season for it, it did remind me of the dish I’ve had in Mumbai and probably the first time I had it in Hyderabad. Ideally i’d like to have a bigger sized fish, but you can go wrong in so many ways with the dish so subtle , SBOW nailed that part except the size which I believe they are working on. The berry pulao different from the biryani, Hyderabad is used to and swears by , will need getting used to, but insufficient for a meal. The farcha is ideal bar food, for that most of their starters are.
From the drinks menu We ordered the Shikanjebin and the raspberry soda. I’ve liked both these drinks and have consumed atleast 2 per visit. These are different from the regular offerings and a crowd favourite.

 

 

From the drinks menu We ordered the Shikanjebin and the raspberry soda. I’ve liked both these drinks and have consumed atleast 2 per visit. These are different from the regular offerings and a crowd favorite.

I don’t choose to look at the vegetarian section that often, but with Yojana being eggetarian, somethings are inevitable.

We ordered the bharuchi paneer akuri and paav that night, my wife told me it’s like home food. While it might sound very pedestrian, reflecting that high quality of home food does need a pat on the back. The paav were very nice , may not be bohri stuff exactly but expecting it to reflect that taste as a expectation is wrong. SBOW is a cover band with its own tracks  , give them their due ..

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