Monthly Archives: June 2017

Prof. Kaikhosrov Irani passes away

Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York (ZAGNY) announces with great sorrow that our beloved Prof. Kaikhosrov Irani (KD and Keku to his associates and close friends) passed away on June 29, 2017 at the age of 95.

Condolences may be sent to his niece Zarine Weil, and Zarine’s son Darius Weil,

At Prof. Irani’s request the funeral will be very simple and private, ZAGNY will have a memorial meeting at the Dar-e-Mehr, the date and time will be announced shortly.


By Dr. Lovji Cama


Kaikhosrov Dinshah Irani, born on May 1, 1922 in Bombay, India, was the eldest son of Dinshah Jijibhoy Irani and Banu Mithibai Sethna. He graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Bombay and obtaining a Law Degree from Bombay University. He met his future wife Piroja who was a fellow clerk in the law firm where they worked. He came to the United States and worked on the Manhattan Project at the Univ. of Chicago and then at the Princeton Institute of Physics, where he had the opportunity to have many interactions with Albert Einstein. So impressed was Einstein with him that he wrote a letter of recommendation for a teaching position in Philosophy at City College in New York which helped him to obtain the position. He returned to Bombay to marry Piroja.

Prof. Irani became Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York, after teaching there for 41 years. He was Chairman of the Department for nine years; and the Director, and Executive Director of the Program for the History and Philosophy of Science and was responsible for the development of the Program and its execution and teaching. He was also the Director of the Academy of Humanities and Sciences for 12 Years. He retired from teaching at the age of 90 and had a teaching record at City University in New York for 60 years. Here is a quote from one of his students: “Irani is an amazing professor; knows almost every major figure alive during his incredibly long lifetime; is lucid, precise, w/ fantastic memory. Be prepared for old, European pre-war teaching style. Take the class to learn, not to get a grade; he will not grade your work at all, but will give you a final grade from the gestalt or your performance.”

Among the awards he received, are: The City College citation for distinguished teaching in 1960, the Outstanding Teachers Award in 1984, the Award of the Society of Indian Academics in America in 1991, for service to the cause of Education. He also received the award for service to the cause of Zoroastrianism from the World Zoroastrian Organization in 1991. The Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America Lifetime Achievement Award, 1994. One of his greatest honors was the establishment of the K D. Irani Chair of Philosophy, at The City College of New York, through an anonymous contribution of $2,000,000, by one of his students in 1999.

His original field of teaching and research, was Philosophy of Science. Prof. Irani was one of those rare individuals whose unique background and interests allowed him to understand the works of both Albert Einstein and Emanuel Kant and to successfully apply this kind of knowledge to his chosen field of the Philosophy of Science. In the last thirty years he worked in the area of History and Philosophy of Ancient Thought — Religious, Moral, Mythic, and Technological. He was a contributor on the Seminar for Ancient Ethics, presenting a paper on the Dawn of Conscience. He applied these philosophical analyses to Zoroastrian Scriptures. His original analysis of forms of religiosity was applied to Zoroastrianism and the Indo-Iranian religions and the work was published in the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute Journal (1986) as part of the Government Fellowship Lectures in Bombay in 1981.

Prof Irani arrived in New York in 1947, long before ZAGNY. Over the long years of his association with ZAGNY and indeed the entire North American Zoroastrian community, he was our teacher and advisor and made us think what Zarathushtra really meant by our belief in Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. His wisdom and guidance benefited us all. His lectures on Zoroastrianism and Philosophy instructed and guided us to be good Zarthushtis. His standing within academia helped with the recognition of the Zarathushti religion in North America.

As a philosopher one may have expected him to be an ivory tower type. Far from this, he as a true Zoroastrian, involved himself in the life of the community. During 1993-95 Prof. Irani served as the President of ZAGNY and was on numerous Boards of ZAGNY. He arranged seminars and conferences under the ZAGNY umbrella. He also arranged the first and second Gatha Conferences held in the UK and Los Angeles and the first Yasht Conference in New Rochelle, NY. From the time of the inception of the Arbab Rustam Guiv Dar-e- Mehr in New York, Prof. Irani conducted classes for adults on the subject of Zoroastrianism. His common sense and ethical approach to problems helped him shed light on many complex problems that arise within the North American Zoroastrian community.

He has given lectures on Zoroastrianism throughout North America, Europe, India and Pakistan. His knowledge of Zoroastrianism, especially the Gathas, his wit and sense of humor, and his ability to fit the subject of Zoroastrianism in the broader field of Philosophy makes him an engaging speaker and a great teacher. Prof. Irani is a person of great honesty and integrity, he has a firm belief in the teachings of Zarathushtra and was dedicated to these teachings. He had often trouble reconciling the social practices of Zoroastrianism when they were in conflict with these teachings.

Prof. Irani’s academic standing and respect gave him the ability to successfully represent and explain Zoroastrianism convincingly at many interfaith meetings. He was a unique treasure to the Zoroastrian community. His connections into the academic world provided the community access to some of the best minds who work in the field of religion and Zoroastrianism in particular. We were indeed fortunate to have amidst us this great philosopher, teacher and friend of our community and one of its finest members.

Courtesy :  FEZANA

Pajama Sweets Launches Gourmet Persian Treats

They look as pretty as they taste.

On the tins are ornate designs, both inside and out, reminding me of the most intricate Persian miniatures or the crystal ewers in the Keir Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. They—and their contents—aren’t quite like anything we’ve had locally.

Pajama Sweets’ pistachio brittle, the first in a line slated to include other Iranian sweets, is made with butter treated in the ancient fashion so it becomes a delicacy with notes of caramelization, a flat wafer encrusted with pistachios, subtle with the aroma of saffron and just behind that, cardamom in a faint whisper. Wheat sprouts ground into flour are responsible for the brittle-toffee texture. It’s not too sweet, not at all sticky like peanut brittle—a far more rarified and subtle treat. I’m reminded of the tradition of pistachios so deep and salty they’re almost savory. This is the hallmark of Iranian pistachios, though these are from California, the saffron from Iran.

These sweets exist locally, but not ornamented and packaged this way and conceived as gifts. And these are marketed towards the American market as sweets to have with tea in the context of gift-giving.

Pajama Sweets’ founder, Daryush Parsi lived for a number of years in Europe, whence comes part of his interest in the tradition of small, beautiful sweets as gifts—a tradition also native to his parents’ homeland, Iran.

“In Tehran, I saw this, but to a much greater extent, where there was very frequent visiting of family and friends in people’s homes. It always included sweets and trays of hot tea…and various snacks and fruits … and nurturing closer bonds with each other, sharing views and news.”

Daryush is intrigued by the idea of encouraging this tradition, which resonates deeply with him. It’s something he’d like to bring to the U.S.

A New-York-based Iranian-American artist designed the packaging and logo. “We wanted to acknowledge the Persian origins of these sweets with the design, with the logo,” says Parsi. But he’s intent on not pigeon-holing his line as ethnic desserts. “We want to mainstream Persian sweets, so they become as American as egg rolls and nachos or sushi.”

He interviewed a number of Iranian-American confectioners and brittle-makers before partnering with an Iranian-American confectioner in California; future plans include adding pistachio nougat, honey brittle, and a chickpea cookie—a kind of dainty, tiny powdery, soft confection—to the line. Parsi aims to debut these before Thanksgiving, in time for gift-giving season.

His hope, ultimately, is broader—that his wares will spark eyes and palates, and perhaps, as a result, kindle a greater curiosity about the country and the culture behind them. “There’s been so much tensions in last few decades between the U.S. and Iran. We wanted to make something that everyone can come together around. Getting to know a country’s cuisine as an entrance to begin to understand another country’s culture.”

Felicitation of Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor of Udvada 

Here’s another opportunity for those who may not be in a position to attend the Dadarfunction on 2nd July. You may attend another function on 9th July at 10.30 a.m. at Albless Baug, when Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor of Udvada will also be felicitated on his appointment to the National Minorities Commission:

The Trustees & Managing Committee Members
The Bombay Zoroastrian Jashan Committee
Athornan Mandal
request the pleasure of your company at their Annual function when
Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor of Udvada
will be felicitated on his appointment to the National Minorities Commission.
The Annual Function (see programme below) will be followed by
a contributory Vegetarian Lunch (optional).
R.S.V.P.: Tel. No. : 22037699 before 2nd July, 2017.
1. Jashan at 10.30 a.m. followed by “‘Hum Bandagi”.
2. Welcome Address by Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor of Udvada.
3. Felicitation of Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor of Udvada by Er. Nadir A. Modi.
4. Keynote Address by Ervad Aspandiar Dadachanji on “Power & Benefits of Prayers”.
5. Vote of Thanks.
6. “Chhaiye Hame Zarthosti” and National Anthem.
7. Vegetarian Lunch. 

JEHANGIR: A Warrior Who Won The Race Against Time

A Novel by Dr. Roozan Bharucha & Dr. Sharmeen Mehta

JEHANGIR – A Warrior Who Won The Race Against Time is a story about a couple, Jehangir Patel and his wife Meher Patel. They have a son named Farzan Patel who does not have any interest in his responsibilities and his aims in life. It gets even worse when he marries Parinaz – his girlfriend and daughter of Homiyar Bhathena.
When Parinaz gets pregnant, Jehangir and Meher decide to make Farzan realise his responsibilities, as he will have to take care of his wife and children. They take drastic measures and throw Farzan and Parinaz out of the house, forcing them to stay on rent in their outhouse located in their garden. The force of this act becomes so heavy that Jehangir and Farzan stop talking to each other for a long time and Farzan starts hating his father.
Jehangir and Meher did all these things just to make Farzan responsible about life before something unusual happened to their family which they were hiding from Farzan. However, at last Farzan becomes successful in life and comes to know the truth that Jehangir and Meher were hiding from him. What Jehangir and Meher were hidinig from Farzan? What made Farzan responsible? What did Farzan do on coming to know the truth? To know this you need to read the story and experience each and every emotion, happiness and sadness that the characters undergo during their journey in life.


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New Book by Commodore Aspi Cawasji NM, VSM (Retd.)

BOOK RELEASE – Strategic Vision – 2030: Security and Development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 

Dear friends,

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that my book co-authored with Air Marshal PK Roy on “Strategic Vision – 2030: Security and Development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands has just been released at Delhi based military think tank United Services Institute (USI) and is available on Amazon.

Warm regards,

Commodore Aspi Cawasji NM, VSM (Retd)



Andaman & Nicobar Islands located over 1200 km to India’s East are nature’s bounty inherited by us during the process of our Independence. Located on the strategic Sea Lines of Communication connecting the Indian Ocean to the Asia-Pacific region and sitting at the entrance of the Malacca Straits, they provide India with strategic reach and could act as a launch pad in the geographical vicinity of South-East Asia. After prolonged neglect, the significance of these Islands is slowly dawning in Indian strategic calculations. Establishment of the first and the only operational Unified Andaman & Nicobar Command, controlling the assets of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard, is testimony to their growing strategic importance.


The islands have also faced a threat from unbridled and unplanned mismanagement of its ecological environment besides suffering a constant onslaught of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and marine poaching. It is therefore imperative that the natural strengths of these islands must remain the bedrock of developmental policies and strategies. The ecological richness and fragility, along with the strategic location of these islands demand adoption of a different approach towards their development instead of merely superimposing the mainland’s developmental policies. Whilst fast-tracking the pace of development, we need to be cautious that we do not damage the ecological and cultural heritage of these Islands.


Air Marshal PK Roy, with his background as the former Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Commandant of National Defence College of India and his associate research scholar Commodore Aspi Cawasji with his maritime domain expertise and his extensive experience in the Indian Ocean Region and on-ground knowledge of the islands have complemented each other’s capabilities in enriching the quality of research work. In this context, the book Strategic Vision – 2030: Security and Development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands has lucidly set out a way ahead and provided a set of policy recommendations for strategic development of these Islands.


The nuanced views of the research scholars on issues of geopolitical reality of the 21st century, the importance of these islands, and the contribution that these islands could make to the security of mainland India have been articulated transcendentally. The research initially provides an insight into the present global strategic environment focusing specially on the Indian Ocean Region, the Chinese ‘String of Pearls’ strategy as well as China’s ‘Malacca Dilemma’. It further brings out the strengths of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, their strategic significance and recommends a way ahead for their development. It finally suggests a set of comprehensive set of policy recommendations to be adopted by the government.


In what is viewed as the century of the Indo-Pacific region, strategic development of these islands could place India in a position to dominate this choke point of one of the busiest global sea lanes, or if need be, it places India in an advantageous position to exercise the possibility to disrupt the primary energy security artery of China and the entire Indo-Pacific region.

Hong Kong’s Parsi Stamp

Hong Kong’s Parsi stamp The fourth set of special stamps in the “Hong Kong Museums Collection” series issued by the Hongkong Post in December 2016 included “Zoroastrian Church, Causeway Bay” (pictured). Brought to our attention by Parsiana subscriber David Brock of Oregon, the HK $5 stamp is among the seven pencil drawings by Kong Kai-Ming. As detailed in Philatelic Link, the newsletter of the Hongkong Post Stamps, the Zoroastrian Church drawing was done in 1986, with three others, Airport Tunnel, Hung Horn; Kwun Tong MTR Station; and Wan Chai Tram Depot done in 1989; Argyle Street, Mong Kok in 1990, and CantonRoad and Stamp Sheetlet—Aberdeen in 1991. “Intaglio printing  (where the design is cut, scratched or etched into the printing surface with ink is supplied from below the surface of the plate) is used to highlight the meticulous detail of the original work,” states the newsletter.

A self taught artist, 85-year-old Kong  is known to be conversant with a wide range of mediums such as fountain pen and pencil sketching, watercolor, oil paint and printmaking, Having captured “numerous streetscapes, pieces of architecture and means of transport in Hong Kong in the finest detail, his compositions are not only works of art, but also records showing what Hong Kong looked like in the past,” notes Philatelic Link.

Courtesy : Parsiana, June 21 2017

Click Here to read more


Papeta Par Eedu

Meet Eedu. Eedu is delicious. Eedu mixes with everyone – potatoes, tomatoes, salli. Eedu understands. Eedu is not pricey. Be like Eedu.
Or try eating one.

We did, by ordered wholesome Papeta Par Eedu and other Parsi dishes from Billimoria’s Ghernu Bhonu. The month-old delivery service in Versova has a small sit-down space, and delivers across the city. We placed an order a day in advance (necessary for certain dishes) and awaited our Parsi feast.

Papeta Par Eedu (Rs 175), the traditional egg dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, is made simply with potatoes, tomatoes and spices. The version we received looked like a pancake gone wrong. But it made up in taste what it lacked in appearance – the spicy dish had a fried egg over a layer of potato, which had a nice char at the edges, and a tangy tomato sauce.

Mutton Dhansak Chawal
Mutton Dhansak Chawal

It was not surprising then that our other favourite dish from the meal also had egg. The Egg Pulao (Rs 350) had fluffy brown rice with lots of veggies (carrots, French beans) thrown in, and on top, lay two soft boiled eggs. We loved the hint of sweetness in the rice and the crunch from the vegetables, making for a wholesome dish that reminded us of Chindian fried rice.

The lady behind the food is Zenia Billimoria, and the design of her menu is much fun. There are pictures of the food, an illustration of the mind of a Bawa (filled with food), the definition of a Parsi peg, the above mentioned couplet on Eedu, and other fun facts about the community.

The menu offers snacks, pulao, Curry Chawal, Dhansak Chawal and a thali (Lagan Nu Patru). We opted for a mix of dishes both familiar and unfamiliar to us.

Egg Pulao
Egg Pulao

The Mutton Dhansak Chawal (Rs 450) had fragrant brown rice and creamy dhansak topped with a heap of coriander. We felt the dish had too much dal, which overpowered everything else, and the mutton was undercooked and tough. The meat shared the same fate in the Leelu Mutton (Rs 450), which the menu tells us, is her husband’s favourite. A fiery green curry and undercooked mutton meant this didn’t make it to our list of favourites.

Instead, we found solace in the creamy White Chicken (Rs 450), which had a stew-like consistency, warmth from almonds, and tender chunks of chicken. Our meal ended with Sev+Dahi (Rs 200), which married warm roasted vermicelli with cold and sweet dahi.

White Chicken
White Chicken

We love how Andheri is slowly becoming a hub for regional food, being served out of the kitchens of talented home chefs. While we liked Zenia’s food, the next time we hope for better-cooked mutton.

Time: 12.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Tuesdays closed) Delivery Across Mumbai (charges extra)
At: Shop 2, opposite Gwalior House, behind Seven Bungalow Garden, JP Road, Versova.
Call: 9930961698

By Joanna Lobo

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