As you maybe aware, numerous festivals are celebrated across India on religious grounds; but only a handful commemorating or celebrating places. With this in mind we the natives of Dahanu (in the Northern Konkan) kick started our very own annual festival back in 2013.
Scheduled for the 6th and 7th of February, 2016 (Sat-Sun), The Chikoo Festival highlights all what Dahanu is about- its forested hills, pristine beaches and the world famous Chikoo orchards. This two day long carnival on Bordi beach will showcase troops of local dancers and will offer workshops in Warli painting, basket weaving, kite making and also snake catching. A flea market selling local produce should spoil visitors with choice while food-stalls offering local delicacies will leave ones taste-buds tingling. Tourists can participate in the local treasure hunt (exploring the town), or opt for a farm safari. They can also party post Sundown at the hill-top Yo-Yo Bash. Once the weekend ends, Dahanu should see visitors off with baskets of Chikoos, Star-fruits, Grape-Fruits and bucket loads of memories to cherish.
Dahanu-Bordi is located 280 kms from Pune and 150 kms from Mumbai, accessible both by road and rail. Being a non-profit initiative, there is no entry fee however individual activities are chargeable in order to cover costs. For further details please visit- www.chikoofestival.com . The itinerary of the same is annexed with this mail. Looking forward to seeing you and your loved ones.
On behalf of Team Chikoo Fest,
Co Convener, INTACH Dahanu Chapter.
When people think of Parsis or Parsi food, they automatically think of Fort. And, I don’t blame them. The proliferation of restaurants in the area, be it Ideal Corner, Military Cafe or supposedly the Queen’s favourite, Brittannia is reason enough to think that Bawas love Fort.
However, much like the best place to see endangered species is in their natural habitat, the best place to get your fix of all things Parsi is in fact, not Fort, but Grant Road! Named after Sir Robert Grant, the Governor of Mumbai in 1835, Grant Road is home to almost seven Parsi colonies and an equal amount of Parsi fire temples too. Thanks to this, Grant Road offers much more Parsi food options than just dhansak and berry pulao. Here are my 5 favourite things to eat at Grant Road and why you should try them too.
Chicken Pattice at PAC
The Parsi Amelioration Committee stall or what is better known as PAC is a small store that is very easy to miss. Yet, it’s one that none of my family would dare miss going to should we be in the area – after all there is always space for some chicken pattice! Made in house, the chicken pattice at PAC is redolent of the Parsi fascination with the British. The thin crumbly pastry and the filling are both made in house and such is the demand for these pattice at teatime that a fresh batch of 100 will simply disappear before your eyes! Started as an establishment that provided work to older Parsis, PAC also sells a variety of lesser-known snacks such as chapat, a kind of crepe; Kumas, the less popular brother of the mawa cake and badam (almond) pak amongst others.
Russian pattice at Belgaum Ghee Depot
Started in 1943, Belgaum Ghee Depot was named so because they just sold ghee. With the proliferation of supermarkets, the demand for ghee went down, and so 25 years ago, they also started selling a range of snacks, thankfully some that are completely different to those available at PAC. My favourite here is another style of pattice, the Russian chicken pattice. Named so because the white filling is akin to the ‘white Russian skin’, the pattice is basically mashed potato stuffed with cheese, chicken and white sauce. The size is massive and one is easily a lunch on the go!
Brun pav maska at B Merwan
Few things in life can rival a hot cup of tea. And things get even better when you can dip a buttery slice of crusty bread into said tea. One of Mumbai’s oldest Irani bakeries, B Merwan was opened in 1914 and is renowned for its mawa cakes that usually get sold out before morning peak time traffic. However, while the crowds fight over the cake I recommend that you indulge in their freshly-baked brun that comes heavily buttered with Amul with a cup of the extra sweet tea. Head there with a newspaper tucked into your arm and there can be no better way to start your day.
I’ll be the first to admit that falooda is more Parsi than watermelon sherbet. Despite that, watermelon sherbet, especially this particular cart in the Alibhoy Premji Lane, which has been around for 60+ years is a must visit! Picture the summer heat of Mumbai sweltering down your back. Now imagine a tall glass filled with a sweet sherbet mixed with generous chunks of watermelon and ice cooling your fingers. And, if that’s not enough to convince you then let me tell you that three generations, my grandfather, dad and me all grew up on a Sunday diet of this sherbet accompanied with our heaped plate of mutton dhansak – there is no better combo than this!
Akoori at By The Way
I had written previously about how bhurji is the evil cousin of akoori, and if you’d like to see why then you need to head to By The Way, which is right at the Nana Chowk Junction. Run by the Seva Sadan Society, this small restaurant was recently renovated and they serve the best Bharuchi akoori at Grant Road. Mop up the creamy nutty akoori for breakfast along with a hot cup of tea and feel your troubles melt away. For those of you that still can’t think of Parsi food without an image of dhansak popping into your head, By The Way does a mean dhansak too.
On a mission to spread happiness through Dhansak and other Parsi delicacies, Perzen Patel is theBawi Bride.
Hyderabad lad Kynan Chenai had found himself another mad zeal — buffing up his torso to look like Indian Arnie was crossed with Hercules.
You’d think there was nothing more macho than slinging a shotgun on the shoulder and sauntering onto an outdoor range, coolly demolishing some clay birds. But a few years ago, Hyderabad lad Kynan Chenai had found himself another mad zeal — buffing up his torso to look like Indian Arnie was crossed with Hercules. A gym fiend while spluttering out of his teens, Kynan was addicted to the cross-fit regime and unwilling to stop beefing up, until the long stock of the gun drilled sense into the youngster.
Those ripping shoulders have made way for a lighter lither frame that makes shooting a gun far easier — and the trap shooter, more agile in his bearing and far more flexible in his thinking, rose to the challenge of winning India its 10th quota position during the Asian Olympic qualifiers on Thursday. “He was totally mad about training in the gym,” says long-time mentor Mansher Singh, who recalls how ultimately the realisation came from the youngster himself that his bulky shoulders were coming in the way of quick reflexes and spinning of the upper torso to trap down targets. Kynan shot 120 (a series of 22, 25, 23, 25, 25 / each out of 25) in qualification to make the six-man final, and then tied with three others on a score of 12 after the first 15 shots to pick one of the four quotas available.
The 25-year-old would miss the bronze against Kuwaiti Tala Al-Rashidi, but prop up spirits on a day when Olympians Vijay Kumar and Manavjit Sandhu (23, 22, 25, 25, 23 for 118 / 125) just couldn’t leap high enough to steal the quota on a luckless day.
AS PART OF THE 60TH COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN (CSW)
NEW YORK, January 13, 2016 – FEZANA will be participating at the 60th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
Tanya Bharda, Ayesha Dumasia, Homi Gandhi, Farhad Malegam, Nurelle Mehta, Adina Mistry, Behram Pastakia, Delna Weil and Shekufeh Zonji from FEZANA will be representing the Zoroastrians at the UN. The group will be presenting a panel discussion titled, “The Role of Women in Culture, Government Activity and the Economic Market in sustainable development.”
The rights and capabilities of half the world’s population (women) cannot be ignored considering global gender inequality which leads to the lack of women in decision-making positions. The workshop will discuss solutions to these problems to ensure a sustainable future not only for women but people worldwide. The workshop will also cover the role of governments in reforming the system from within and creating an environment within which inclusive and sustainable growth is experienced for women as well as the nation state.
The panel discussion details are:
Date: Monday, March 14th, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: CUNY Graduate Centre, Room 2, 365 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Parsis need reservations in educational institutes: chairman, Bombay Parsi Punchayet
Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) is the world’s largest Parsi-Zoroastrian institution. It administers affairs of the Parsi Irani Zoroastrian community. Geetanjali Minhas spoke to its newly elected chairman, Yazdi Desai, on the Jiyo Parsi Scheme and other matters that bother this unique community.
Late marriages, marrying outside the community, not marrying at all are the three main reasons for falling numbers. I think these problems are common in all educated civilisations where people want to be financially sound before getting married and having children. Especially if women of this community get educated they want to pursue a career, postponing marriage. By and large the more a woman is educated; she is more likely to produce fewer children. Some youngsters feel that marriage is an additional responsibility and a big change in one’s life.
Most of our girls and boys live with their parents, lead good lives, have financial support, domestic help and can pursue their careers. They wonder why they should get married. It is difficult to pursuade them to get married. The problem gets magnified because the Parsis are already a small community.
Udvada Samast Anjuman was proud to co-host the ‘Iranshah Udvada Utsav’ (IUU) with Foundation for Development of Udvada (FDU). Going by responses gathered from all over the world, IUU held on 25th to 27th December 2015, was undoubtedly a stupendous success.
Over the past few weeks, post the Iranshah Udvada Utsav, various write ups, comments and views, both positive as also negative, have appeared in various print & social media channels about hosting of the Utsav. Some have been very encouraging, heart warming, providing suggestions for improvement and some downright negative, discouraging and personally attacking and defaming the IUU, Udvada Anjuman and our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor.
It is a well known fact that the IUU has received adulation from most quarters, it has resulted in Udvada being poised for infrastructure development and progress that will be of immense benefit to all those who are fortunate to reside and visit Udvada. We shall provide some information on the benefits that shall accrue to Udvada later in this communiqué. However, before we enumerate these benefits, it is essential that we inform the community at large about negative politics that a few from our community have indulged in, post the conclusion of the IUU.
In all communities and societies, there are some individuals with holier than thou mindsets who perceive their word to be the final word on how others should conduct themselves in all walks of life. Our community too has its fair share of individuals who have narrow visions and revel in fomenting discord. These disgruntled elements see a hidden agenda in everything. Their efforts are always to foist their views on everything under the sun and should their views not be adhered to, they are at their vituperative best in criticising and maligning those who have not complied with their viewpoints.
Over the past many years, we have experienced a few individuals/groups, who have made it their mission to malign our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor in any and every positive initiative that he has taken for Iranshah & Udvada.
This same group of individuals, who have been ventilating their negative views about IUU in the media, both published and social, are well known to have a personal animus against our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor ever since the FDU was established around 2004. They misguided the community even then as they are doing now. We may add that the FDU has never sought to influence or interfere with the working of our Udvada Anjuman.
Lest such disgruntled individuals misconstrue our silence to be an acceptance of their misguided and mischievous statements, Udvada Samast Anjuman has decided to issue this one and only statement for the information of the community.
Our forefathers, members of the Nine Athornan Families, have over centuries and generations, often at a great sacrifice, have been willingly doing ‘khidmat’ of Shreeji Pak Iranshah with all the necessary ritualistic discipline, maintaining the sanctity and purity of the holy fire and the precinct of Iranshah, which has been continued by us of the present generation and we shall ensure the same will be continued by our future generations.
We put to rest once and for all the controversy created by the speech given by Mr. Darius Khambata. It has already been stated that Mr. Khambata was expressing his personal views, with which our Anjuman & Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor are not in agreement. Neither our Anjuman nor our Dasturjis, Dasturji Khurshed & Dasturji Peshotan have ever encouraged conversion or mixed marriages in any form whatsoever.
The canard spread by these disgruntled elements that other Dasturjis were not invited for the IUU is absolutely false. Dasturji JamaspAsa, Dasturji Kotwal & Dasturji Mirza were not present at the IUU due to their prior commitments (performing Navjote / Wedding ceremonies in Mumbai). It may be noted that Dasturji Kotwal & Dasturji Mirza have, along with Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, willingly contributed learned and informative articles in the souvenir released at IUU. As regards to Dasturji Meherjirana of Navsari, keeping in mind his ill health, it was thought best not to inconvenience him with a visit to Udvada. It must also be mentioned that many members of the Nine Athornan Families of the Udvada Anjuman attended and participated on all the three days of the IUU, thus nailing the mischievous and misleading comments of those who were antagonistic to the holding of the IUU.
It was amusing to read the frequent comments of Ervad Yazdi Unwalla deriding the IUU and Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor. Though being part of the Udvada Anjuman, he has not contributed an iota towards Iranshah nor Udvada and has the audacity and temerity to comment against our Anjuman and our Dasturji only displays his prejudice against the Anjuman and our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor.
Er. Marzban Hathiram, has recently written an article ‘Sleepless Nights In Udvada’, in which he has mentioned that if a poll by secret ballot was conducted solely of members of the Anjuman, the result would serve as a jolt for both the Dasturjis. All that we can say about Er. Hathiram is that, he himself needs to first introspect before endeavouring to make sanctimonious statements about our Shreeji Pak Iranshah and our Anjuman or trying to drive a wedge between our Anjuman and both our Dasturjis by recalling and remembering what in the first place caused him to leave his Panthak at the Behram Baug Agyari, and come and settle in Udvada for which we do not even need to conduct a poll by secret ballot. Let the healer first heal himself before trying to heal others.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Yazdi Desai, the present chairman of Bombay Parsi Punchayet, sought to issue a loose statement to the media without first verifying the details and facts with either the Anjuman or Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor. It would have been proper had he done so.
Some individuals have commented that rather than organising a mega event such as IUU, the funds should have been more fruitfully utilised for the welfare of underprivileged Zoroastrians at Udvada. Those holding this view point will do well to note that our Anjuman takes good care of the welfare & medical aid of all their practising & retired Mobeds, Goranis, widows of late Mobeds, helpers at the Iranshah and those that carry out duties in other various capacities in the Udvada gaam.
We urge the 185 year old publication, Jam-e-Jamshed and our Parsi journalists reporting in the cosmopolitan media, to act more professional and responsible and to verify the facts either with our Anjuman or our Dasturjis before reporting inflammatory, fabricated and false propaganda just to sensationalise the issue at the cost of the dignity and reputation of our own community.
By holding the IUU at Udvada, we, the khidmatgars of Iranshah, did not find anything that was incorrect, harmful, amiss or detrimental to our Shreeji Pak Iranshah and its precincts.
In all the ridiculous noise and din created post the Utsav, the fact that hosting the Iranshah Udvada Utsav brought about a lot of POSITIVES for the community, in general and Udvada village in particular, has been lost sight of. We wish to take this opportunity to highlight the tangible benefits that have accrued and share them with the community at large.
The fact that around 4000 Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians from all over India and other parts of the world attended the IUU and participated with enthusiasm and vigour is illustrative of its success.
The below mentioned points are illustrative of the positive results achieved by the IUU: –
It is the formation of FDU and the efforts of our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor that has been instrumental in getting funds allocated and disbursed to carry out infrastructure development in Udvada.
There are now proper roads across Udvada village, more so around the Iranshah, to avoid congestion near its entrance.
A parking lot has been assigned specifically for the devotees visiting the Iranshah.
Regular supply of electricity is now available and CCTVs are being installed for the safety of our residents.
A local police station is to be established and regular police patrolling to be done in the village.
Refurbishment of the Zoroastrian Information Centre and Dasturji Kayoji Mirza Hall & Library will be undertaken from the funds sanctioned specifically for these purposes, as was announced by Mr. Saurabh Patel, Minister, Gujarat State, at the inauguration of the IUU.
Construction of a Persian Gate, from funds sanctioned by the Government, will shortly be undertaken at the entrance of Udvada village (near Doongerwadi) as was also announced by Mr. Saurabh Patel, Minister, Gujarat State, at the inauguration of the IUU.
Planning for the construction of a concrete wall structure to stop ingress of seawater into our village shores is being done.
Most importantly, Udvada gaam and our Iranshah was saved from the clutches of some individuals who had planned to build an industrial-cum-residential zone on a large stretch of 160 acres of land close to the vicinity of Iranshah Atash Beheram, due to the timely intervention of Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, who took up this matter with the concerned government officials at Gandhinagar and the then Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.
Instructions issued to the local authorities by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Union Minister, and Mr. Saurabh Patel, Minister, Gujarat State, to halt further construction of high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Iranshah will be invaluable to preserve the sanctity of Iranshah and Udvada.
We are confident that FDU & our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor shall continue to work with the concerned authorities to follow-up and get the above benefits officially documented and implemented.
Udvada Samast Anjuman takes the opportunity, to once again make it explicitly clear to one and all, that it has never interfered in the affairs of other Anjumans / Associations and in turn shall brook no interference in our affairs. It is the bounden duty of our Anjuman to protect and preserve the sanctity of Iranshah & Udvada, which we have done over the centuries and are perfectly capable and committed to do so, now and in future.
To our detractors, we reiterate that Udvada Samast Anjuman and our Dasturjis are not answerable to any outside agencies or small pressure groups and shall not respond to any further communications with regards to our Anjuman or any of our Dasturjis.
Before concluding, the Udvada Samast Anjuman extends its whole-hearted gratitude to our Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor and Team IUU for the hard work put in by them to successfully organise the mega event and assures them of their continued support in future editions of IUU at Udvada that are intended to be held at regular intervals.
We conclude with a prayer and a hope that peace, good sense and serenity may prevail in our community!
Unanimously approved by all the committee members.
For & On Behalf Of Udvada Samast Anjuman,
Copies of communiqué sent to:
Kahaan, 9, and Kabir, 7, add their mite to a 3,000-year-old faith
My grandsons had their Navjote ceremony last Saturday, initiating them into Zoroastrianism. Getting two little boys to sit still and memorise a set of prayers in an ancient language difficult to pronounce let alone understand seemed uphill, but they did it in two months. The significance of the Navjote had been dinned into them, and the elaborate secular preparations must have helped make them take the learning seriously. But surely race memory played its part? Those ancient chants and challenging diphthongs deeply embedded in their DNA stirred to fluent life on their little tongues. They got so comfortable towards the end that they were rapping out the prayers.
The Navjote itself was a pre-sunset ceremony amidst the benign trees of a lovely little fire temple serenely holding its own against the besieging concrete. Kahaan and Kabir, were given the ritual bath. Looking uncharacteristically angelic in their satin pyjamas and velvet slippers and topis, they stepped on to the orchid-bedecked stage. They recited the prayers flawlessly – and, to our relief, reverentially. Priests ceremonially invested them with the white mull shirt of purity, the sadra, and wound the sacred kusti thrice round their waists girding them for the battle for good thoughts, words and deeds, our two little boys entered the 3,000-year-old faith of their forebears. It was emotional overload.
Their father beamed. Their mother was overcome. And i looked upon her with gratitude. Akshata isn’t Parsi, but she’d done everything to prepare her sons to enter a faith that doesn’t accept her. Thankful as I was that Kahaan and Kabir can be Parsi-Zoroastrians because their Dad is, I thought of the intermarried Parsi women whose children are barred from our fold. They would add the desperately sought numbers; meaningful ones for it’s the mother who teaches the nuances of cultural identity.
Now this discrimination could end, but perversely. The high priests recently stated that all intermarriage is disallowed, and none of such offspring are acceptable. In claiming to save Zoroastrianism, the ultra orthodox cannot be allowed cavalierly to kill an enlightened religion – one which tells us to ‘make your own choices using your beautiful God-given mind’.
- Bachi Karkaria
ZOROASTRIAN VOICES WANTED FOR FILM FESTIVAL.
The Parzor Film Festival is looking for short films from the perspective of the Young Zoroastrian Diaspora.
Films can explore on any aspect or perspective that is relevant to someone from the Zoroastrian Diaspora (Iranian or South Asian). We are looking for all voices and perspectives from the diaspora.
Each film represents a voice to share important insights and educate others on the Zoroastrian community, and discover common bonds of solidarity. These most importantly, are reflective of the lesser known pieces of knowledge of the community and an endeavour to emerge away from the cliché as has been represented in popular culture.
The Film Festival plans to be held for two months (April-May) at the India International Centre, New Delhi as part of The Everlasting Flame — a larger exhibition on Zoroastrian heritage and culture .http://unescoparzor.com/the-everlasting-flame-programme/
Questions or submissions to be directed to: Mahtab Irani – firstname.lastname@example.org