Waiting for Jonathan Koshy: Book Talk with author Murzban Shroff


From the author of Breathless in Bombay comes an intensely engaging novel about life, family, friendship, and duty. In the heart of Pali Hill, the Beverly Hills of Mumbai, four friends await the arrival of Jonathan, a man “greatly appreciated for his wit, his effervescence, and his indignation,” a man exiled from his home state. Through their conversations, we learn of the tumultuous life of Jonathan – how he single-handedly breaks up a matka den, disarms a rioting mob, charms a recovery agent, evades arrest at a drug-ridden rave party, and brightens up the lives of sex workers and their children. Jonathan has a solution for every crisis that strikes others, but not for his own dysfunctional family life. It is left to life then to resolve matters for him.

Drawing on the terse intensity of a play, the sparkling wit of a stand-up comedy, and the insights of a thought-provoking novel, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy reflects the triumph of a spirit that refuses to let up on humor and quick thinking in the face of intense personal adversity. It is a book about friendship, perseverance, family obligations, and duty. Most importantly, about life’s late but redeeming powers.

“What a delicious irony sits at the heart of Murzban F. Shroff’s Waiting for Jonathan Koshy: the central character is almost larger than life, having done the things we all might dream of doing to serve others in desperate situations; but in his own life, for his own welfare, he is, in many ways powerless. By magnifying the heroic, Shroff unflinchingly portrays our human vulnerability. Waiting for Jonathan Koshy is a fascinating reading experience from a deeply skilled writer.” – Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize Winner

“Murzban Shroff’s kaleidoscopic image of Koshy’s passage through the complications of his journey offers a remarkably frank and revealing view of twenty-first century Indian life.” – Madison Smartt Bell, National Book Award Finalist.

About the Author

Murzban F. Shroff is a Mumbai-based writer. He has published his fiction with over fifty journals in the U.S. and UK. Six of the stories have won a Pushcart Prize nomination; one has been the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award. Shroff’s debut short story collection, BREATHLESS IN BOMBAY, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the best debut category from Europe and South Asia. It was rated by the Guardian as among the ten best Mumbai books. His novel, WAITING FOR JONATHAN KOSHY, was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. Shroff is a contributing editor to Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, a UK-based travel magazine. He can be contacted at murzbanfshroff@gmail.com

SAN FRANCISCO READING SCHEDULE:

1) Saturday 7 October, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Eastwind Books of Berkeley. Readings from Waiting for Jonathan Koshy (novel). 
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/waiting-for-jonathan-koshy-boo…

2) Tuesday 10 October, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Institute of South Asia Studies at UC Berkeley. Topic: From Diversity to Adversity: A Writer’s Journey Into the Unknown.
http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/csas.html…

3) Thursday 12 October, 7:00 – 8.30 p.m at Cobalt Homes Club House at Santa Clara. Launch of Waiting for Jonathan Koshy, a postmodern Mumbai-based novel.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-discussion-with-murzban-f…

4) Friday 13 October, 5.30 p.m – 8.30 p.m. at Book Passage, Corte Madera. Panel discussion with Dr. Debotri Dhar, Founder of The Hummingbird Global Writers’ Circle. Theme: Steep Hills.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/waiting-for-jonathan-koshy-book-talk-with-author-murzban-shroff-tickets-37467359882

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Yazdi Tantra – Global VP WZCC – Tour to USA


The need to connect is an overwhelming need for life itself. Personal, Social and Commercial connections enhance the very meaning of our being. More so, when our tiny community is thinly spread across the world, and, perhaps, losing its connections. Today there are probably more Zarathushtis living outside of India than in India. Our future as a community is interlinked with how well we remain connected and be of support to each other.

Yazdi is a firm believer that the internet will help unite the far-flung Zoroastrian community across the globe and towards that end, Yazdi has developed several Zoroastrian Websites. His talk will be a brief overview of these websites and how each one of us can utilize these websites to our advantage. It is about how we can revive our connections, go back to our roots, in terms of religion and culture, our institutions and also how to connect to the globally thriving, living diaspora across the world for personal, social and professional connections. Building upon the omnipotent power of the Internet, let us explore the possibilities and opportunities to make it possible for ourselves and also for our future generations.

Yazdi TantraYazdi Tantra is a Chartered Accountant by training, Computer Consultant by Profession, Entrepreneur Developer by hobby and Trainer in his leisure time. Yazdi writes a regular weekly column for Parsi Times, Mumbai, and a fortnightly column for MoneyLife on Android apps for efficiency at the workplace. He is currently Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the IT Committee of Zoroastrian Co-operative Bank Ltd. He is also the Global Vice President and Technical Chair of World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce. He runs a medium-sized Computer Company ON-LYNE for the last 24 years, developing websites, portals, payment gateways, sales and service of computer hardware.

Below is a brief itinerary of his talks during his US tour:

13 Oct., 2017
– Houston
Websites for Zoroastrians Worldwide & their Impact on the Current Zoroastrian Activities on Social Media Click for Program
15 Oct., 2017
– New York
Annual Erach Munshi Udvada Fundraiser and Memorial Lecture Click for Details
17 Oct., 2017
– Chicago
A Global vision for Zarathushti Worldwide Hosted by Roshan & Rohinton Rivetna
rivetna@aol.com
21 Oct., 2017 – Sunnyvale The Need To Connect, and How We Can Do It! Click for Details
22 Oct., 2017
– Los Angeles
How to make & revive our connections with other Zoroastrians worldwide through the Internet Click for Details
Edul Daver – WZCC Global President

Living Legend Award to Dr. Mahtab Bamji


In a communique, the IUNS said the award will be presented at its General Assembly to be held at the IUNS-ICN in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 18.

The IUNS Council presents Living Legend Awards to individual members of Adhering Bodies in good standing who are eighty (80) years or above, the communique from the Secretary General Catherine Geissler said.

The award is a recognition for those who have significantly contributed to the work of national nutrition society or regional organisation and contributed to the advancement of nutrition at national, regional and global level through professional activities such as research, teaching, services.

A former Director-grade scientist of the Hyderabad-based, National Institute of Nutrition, the 82-year old Bamji is associated with the Dangoriya Charitable Trust. She contributes to the efforts of the trust to help improve the nutrition and health status of poor farmers and villagers in Narsapuram on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Bamji is a honorary scientist of the Indian National Science Academy. She contributed to various national projects directed to reducing malnutrition and improving nutrition status during her long stint at NIN.

Somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/mahtab-bamji-to-get-living-legend-award/article9872203.ece

World’s First Octacore Quantum Processor for use in Medical Devices & Health Care Systems


PRESS RELEASE

SystemX Research Centre, California announces the official launch of the World’s First Octacore Quantum Processor for use in Medical Devices & Health Care Systems.

CALIFORNIA – 13 September 2017 – Dr. Roozan Bharucha’s sole handed innovation that
was heavily in conversation all over the Medical Industry has finally taken its major leap at

(L-R) QRoz QTO 6 Microprosessor, QRoz 120 Socket, Dr. Roozan Bharucha (The Innovator), Dr. Prachi Tejpal (The Presentor)

The SystemX Research Centre Press Meet, California with the announcement of the
launch of The World’s First Octacore Quantum Processor (6 Qbits) for usage in Medical
Devices and Health Care Systems.

Dr. Neel Weber, The Chief Technical Officer, SystemX Research Centre, California said, “The
World’s first Octacore Quantum Processor with 6 Qbits has been rigorously tested and
certified for safe usage in all kinds of medical devices and health care systems including the
ones which require implanting the device in the patient’s body. This Quantum Processor will
not be used with Personal Computers and Communication Equipment as its design and
specifications have been drafted for its use in Medical Devices and Health Care Systems. This
Quantum Processor has been named as QRoz QTO 6 where Roz stands for its innovation by
the sole handed efforts of our Hon. Research Scientist Dr. Roozan Bharucha, Q and QT stands
for Quantum Technology, O stands for Octacore Processing Technology and 6 stands for 6
QBits. Our next step will be to use this Quantum Chip in AI-Prosthetic Devices as
demonstrated earlier by using just 1.2 Qbit Quantum Single Core Chipsets and replacing them
prior to launch with this great awaited chipset assembly and soft code language.”
After the brief address of Dr. Neel Weber, the brief exploration of the processor and its
features was given by Dr. Prachi Tejpal, Senior Research Scientist & Expert Neurologist,
SystemX Research Centre. Shee said, “The new processor based on Quantum Technology
QRoz QTO 6 is the first of its kind High Frequency Quantum Core Signal Process Agent which
has 8 cores and each of that core has the capability to register data up to 6 QBits which is
beneficial for core to advanced High End Medical Devices or Health Care Systems.” To brief up
his proceedings, the following are the features of this advanced hi-tech processor assembly
designed for Health Care Equipments as laid down by SystemX Research Centre’s Senior
Research Scientist, Dr. Prachi Tejpal during their Press Meet in California:

Processor Technology: Quantum Core where each core is designed based on the
Quantum Mechanical & Electronic Technology and processed using hi – calibrated
Nano chips for stable and safe results and extra strong durability under adverse
conditions.

Cores (Subprocessors): 8 where each subprocessor or core is capable to handle 6
QBits of input – output data stream making it superfast and comparable to the
advanced processing ranges of the Super Computers.

Core Capacity: 6 QBits per Core where each core is capable to handle 6 QBits of input
– output data to be processed in 0.1 nanoseconds.

Chip Version: AI Ver 1.53E where 1.53E is the Artificial Intelligence database version
which handles various human body movements based on natural senses and nerve
reflexes in equivalent timings of a normal human movement.

Level: Artificial Intelligence Gradient 4 Version RBA 1.0 where AIG 4.0 version RBA 1.0
is the graphic intelligence factor replicated as per the normal pixel shade rating for
replicating the human muscular movement on the screen graphics using high quality
Advanced Quantum Dot THD Technology which is the world’s most clarity producing
image category.

Form Factor: Robotic (Embedded) where QRoz QTO 6 can be used in many embedded
robotic medical devices and health care systems due to its least dimensions and easy
configuration of pins.

Dimensions: 3.5 mm x 3 mm x 0.2 mm where QRoz QTO 6 is having the least
dimensions as of date for any robotic Quantum Chip along with toughened UV and
Laser coatings that make it rough and tough to bear any adverse conditions and
temperature.

Calculations: 7.2 Billion Calculations per second (BODMASS & Complex Arithmetic)
where it can calculate upto 7.2 Billion Calculations on an average per second which
involve BODMASS arithmetic complex or Complex Numbers and Quadratic Equation
solutions or both.

Intelligence Benchmark: 01.23 where Intelligence Benchmark is the benchmark
offered by World Electronic Federation for the self-intelligence capabilities of the
processor which is the highest till date to any AI chip.

ABOUT SYSTEMX RESEARCH CENTRE
SystemX Research Centre is the world’s Digital Innovation Centre which researches on
transforming medical systems with software defined machines and solutions that include high
end and precise quantum computing and artificial intelligence making them connected,
responsive and predictive. SystemX shares this innovative knowledge with medical industry
giants enabling them to form high quality medical instrumentation which works for the benefit
of the patients.

Contact
Ms. Shweta Pal
SystemX Research Centre – PR Department

About SystemX
SystemX Research Centre provides artificially intelligent and quantum computing based
transformational medical technologies and innovations that are used by the medical
instrumentation manufacturing industry to shape a new age of patient healthcare system.

PRESS RELEASE ID: SX1709013A

ABANS SUCCESS NOW A CASE STUDY AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL



Aban Pestonjee, founder chairperson of Abans, was invited to be interviewed by Prof. Geoffrey Jones, the faculty chair of Harvard Business School’s Business History Initiative, on the topic of ‘Creating Emerging Markets’. This is a singular honour not only for Mrs. Pestonjee and Abans but for Sri Lanka.

The Harvard Business School is the graduate business school of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, the US, and is one of the world’s most prestigious business schools from which global corporate leaders receive their MBAs and doctorates.

The two-hour-long video interview was a sit-down discussion between Prof. Jones and Mrs. Pestonjee and was conducted at the Sapphire Room of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. The full transcript of the interview will be kept in the archives of the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library and will become a part of the library’s Historical Collection and ‘Creating Emerging Markets’ website and will be available to students for research and case studies.

Abans…

The interview, which received comments of wide acclaim from those present at the recording, covered many topics such as ‘The process of innovation in the business’, ‘The acquisition of international technologies’, ‘The role of family’, ‘The issue of succession’, ‘The recruitment of professional management’, ‘Relationships with government, NGO’s and international organizations’, ‘Responsibility for society and natural environment’ and the ‘Challenges and opportunities of globalisation including globalizing brands’.

The phenomenal success of Abans from a small retail shop selling used home appliances to the market leader in electronics and household appliances with 30 independent companies in the diversified fields of business and services and a network of over 400 showrooms, dealers and service centres island-wide is a remarkable achievement.

Abans’ newest venture is the multibillion rupee Colombo City Centre, a mixed development project on Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Colombo 2 overlooking the picturesque Beira Lake. In keeping with their policy of always looking to introduce new technology to Sri Lanka, Abans has ventured into developing the first ever lifestyle mall and mixed development project, the likes of which are only found in highly developed countries like Dubai, the US and Singapore. The mall will feature attractions for tourists as well as locals who can come and spend an enjoyable day with their families.

Being an impressive piece of innovative architecture and engineering, the 48-storey lifestyle centre will feature a contemporary lifestyle retail mall, an upscale hotel operated by Next Hotels – the flagship brand of SilverNeedle Hospitality and opulent apartment residences.

The high-calibre retail mall will feature a range of global brands that will promise a never-before-seen shopping experience to Sri Lankans. The centre will also feature a six-screen multiplex with the best movies throughout the day, an international food court and various unique entertainment and leisure activities that will provide a radical take on how Sri Lankan families and tourists could spend the whole day relaxing and enjoying themselves.

http://www.ft.lk/front-page/Abans-success-now-a-case-study-at-Harvard-Business-School/44-640382

Parsis collect Rs 15 lakh in 7 days for man who lost limbs


After WZOT and this paper appeals donors to help 46-year-old who lost his legs in a train accident, Parsis come forward to foot medical bill and get him prosthetics

Aspi Sepoy

The Zoroastrian community across the world has opened its heart, and purse, for Aspi Sepoy, 46, who suffered an accident on September 15 when his legs got stuck in the gutter between the train and platform. Now that funds are in place, doctors treating Sepoy have identified a German firm that will be approached to make the prosthetic limbs for him.

Udvada station inGujarat, where the incident occurred, is known to have caused commuters injuries due to the wide gap between halting trains and the platform.

Less than a week after the World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust (WZOT) appealed to the Zoroastrian community across the world to help Sepoy, and mid-day published his story, generous donors came forward to raise Rs 15 lakh for the Navsari resident to get back on his feet. According to sources, of the Rs 15 lakh raised by WZOT, Rs 10 lakh will be used to procure a pair of prosthetic limbs.

Platform raising work on at Udvada station where the accident occurred on September 15Platform raising work on at Udvada station where the accident occurred on September 15

Generous community

Sepoy was working as caretaker of the Zoroastrian Information Centre in Udvada since it was established in 2008. On September 15, Sepoy was dragged into the gutter between platform and train when he tried to board a moving train at Udvada station. mid-day reported the incident in its September 20 edition, highlighting how he had lost both his legs in the accident.

On the same day, Dinshaw Tamboly, chairman of WZOT, appealed to the Parsi community via a letter, asking them to come forward and donate money to cover Sepoy’s hospital bills, as well as to contribute for prosthetic legs. This, coupled with the appeal mid-day published, ensured the news travelled wide.

 As of September 25, WZOT has raised around R15 lakh. Tamboly says more donations are expected over the next few days. “The Zoroastrian charity funds of Hong Kong and Macau, which are the wealthiest in the world, contributed R3 lakh for the cause, while WZOT contributed another Rs 2 lakh. The remaining sum came from individual donors. We are very fortunate to have community members respond so generously and within this short a period of time,” Tamboly told mid-day.

He said that excess funds would be used to set up a fixed deposit for Sepoy. “In the meantime, we are going to continue his salary while he is in hospital, and ensure that he has his job once he is back.”

Dinshaw TamboliDinshaw Tamboli

Prosthetic leg trial soon
Top orthopaedic surgeon Dr Jamshed Bunshah, who is treating Sepoy at Parsi General Hospital and conducted an above-the-knee amputation, said that his condition is stable. “Before we operated on him, he was running a high fever, but that is under control now,” said Dr Bunshah. Sepoy is expected to be kept under observation for three weeks. Once the wound has healed, Dr Bunshah will work on the prosthetics. He shared that German firm Endolite had been approached to make the prosthetics. “They make the best prosthetics in the world. Only once Sepoy has healed, will we examine and decide which type of limb will suit him best,” he said.

Speaking about the rehabilitation process that Sepoy is undergoing, Dr Bunshaw said, “If the wound heals within the next few weeks, we will begin with general strengthening exercises. But what we have to be careful about is that the infection does not persist after the prosthetic leg fitting is done.”

Tamboly said that Sepoy has been making good progress since the amputation, and his spirit is up. “He has accepted what happened and has moved on.”

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/udvada-museum-caretaker-to-get-german-prosthetic-limbs/18606161

VINTAGE RUSI


Vintage Rusi is a short film made for the 2005 kala Ghoda arts and street festival in Mumbai. With Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal , Bapu Malcolm and Beezan Charna in leading roles. It was directed by Ashok Salian, noted photographer and film maker.

Tata’s good ethics based on the Zoroastrian Principles of Righteousness


TATAs and Zoroastrians

David Landsman

APPG – All Parliamentary Party Group – for the promotion of Zoroastrianism in the UK. – at Parliament House chaired by Lord Karan Bilimoria. We have regular meetings there and recently we held one to do with their Ethical Principles in Business.

One of the invited guests was David Landsman who heads the Tata Sons offices in London.

He spoke of the Tata’s good ethics based on the Zoroastrian Principles of Righteousness, being Upright and Truthful. Followers of Good Words, Good Thoughts and Good deeds.

David spoke of how Tatas in India refuse to give bribes. Some time ago, Tatas refused to pay Rupees 55 crores bribe that was going into the pockets of individuals – not government or country. – and did not get the airline licence.

Morarji Desai sacked JRD Tata as the Chairman/Founder of Air India as he did not like JRD’s frankness.

In Bihar/Jamshedpur, the Chief Minister told Tatas that they are not contributing to any local projects. Jamshed Irani (of Tata Steels) responded to Lalu Prasad saying “give me a project, I will build it for you and gift it to the local community”. You know why? Because the bulk of money is taken by officials and only 10% is used for projects badly built. After great deliberation this was accepted.

Over 50% of Tata’s profits are used for charitable purposes including creating 12 Tata scholars every year – open to all Indians in all fields of technology, industry and professions.

Tatas refused the honour of naming Mumbai airport after JRD Tata without control or a say in its management and continuing bribery. This naming did not happen. We have lots of stories.

Generally Parsees are refrained from being asked for bribes as most Parsees refuse to bribe even if they are not successful in their ventures.

Billionaire Shapurji Pallonji (Mistry), the biggest and most renowned international contractors are awarded the most difficult projects in India as their end product is delivered within budget and in time – all based on Zoroastrian Ethics!

In spite of all these, Parsees in India lists 4 billionaires from the 50,000 Parsees in India. That does not include business empires such as Tatas and Wadias etc.

Parsee businesses contribute around 6% of the National Annual Turnover, yet they are not even 1% of the population.

The land of soma


Botanical clues show the shared heritage of the Rig Veda and the Avesta.

Soma is a celebrated plant in the RV as well as the AV where it is called haoma, later shortened to Hom in Pahalvi.

Theories about the homeland of the Aryans have been in news of late because of genetic studies. The theory that ascribes an indigenous origin to the Aryans can be shown to be untenable on very simple considerations based on a comparative study of the Rig Veda (RV) and the related Zoroastrian sacred text Avesta (AV). The Rig Vedic and Avestan languages are essentially the same, with very minor differences in grammar. They share a common vocabulary in the fields of mythology, ritual, culture, and religious practices. There are some phonetic differences but the changes take place according to well-defined rules (Sanskrit s into h, h into z). Ahura in AV (as in Ahura Mazda) is cognate with asura in RV with the same meaning, lord (asura as a demon is a later development.) Yama son of Vivasvan is known to AV. Nabhanedishta is a son of Manu in RV; it becomes a common noun in AV meaning “nearest in relation”.

The Avesta proper consists of three parts: Yasna, Visperad, and Vendidad. Yasna in turn includes 17 hymns, called Gathas, which are attributed to Zarathushtra himself and thus constitute the oldest parts of AV. He describes himself as a zaotar (hotr), while later texts call him athaurvan (atharvan).

Zarathushtra introduces some points of departure from the Rig Veda but does not repudiate the joint Indo-Iranian legacy. Deva and Indra become demons in AV, but Vrtrahana (slayer of Vrtra) who is identified with Indra in RV retains his position in AV as a god in his own right The Rig Vedic and the Avestan people both called themselves Arya, meaning noble. RV and AV are Aryan documents, and therefore need to be read together.

There are no dependable chronological clues in either the RV or the AV. But the common botanical information in them can be used to disceren geography. Soma, for example, is a celebrated plant in the RV as well as the AV where it is called haoma, later shortened to Hom in Pahalvi. A drink of the same name was squeezed from the plant for offering to the gods and for drinking. RV devotes a full mandala to soma, and the longest hymn in RV is addressed to it.

There is a striking similarity between the Vedic agnishtoma and the Zoroastrian haoma ceremony, both of which must therefore have originated in the common Indo-Iranian period. From the textual references we learn that soma/haoma was a scented leafless plant with long-jointed finger-like juicy stalks. Though the ritual was elaborate, the process itself was very simple. The stalks and shoots of the plant were crushed either between two stones or in mortar and pestle. The juice was collected, purified and drunk unfermented.

Yasna (10.10) mentions Haraiti Bareza as the soma habitat. Haraiti is identified with Mount Elburz, which earlier denoted the whole range of mountains extending from the Hindu Kush in the east to the Caucasus in the west. RV informs us that soma grew in the mountains. RV (9.46.1) calls soma parvatavrdh ( mountain grown). The Atharvaveda (3.21.10) calls the mountains somaprashtha ( carrying soma on their back). RV (10.34.1) uses the term soma maujavata, the soma from Mujavat, which according to Yaska’s Nirukta (9.8) was a mountain.
Soma was a common plant in the places where the Rig Vedic and Avestian people lived. In RV (8.80), a maiden, Apala by name, plucks Soma twigs by the wayside and chews them with the purpose of becoming attractive to men. Anyone who maltreats haoma is cursed to remain childless (Yasna 11.3). As if aware of this, in RV (8.31.5), husband and wife “with one accord” press out the soma juice, no doubt as a prelude to sexual intercourse. While there is continuity in the Zoroastrian soma ritual, there are clear signs that the Vedic people moved away from the soma habitat. In the Baudhyayana Shrautasutra (6.14) the Adhvaryu asks the seller if the soma came from Mujavat which obviously was still a source of supply. Katyayana Shrautasutra (10.9.30) talks of rationing soma. It enjoins the priests not to give it to a kshatriya or a vaishya even if available, but asks the priests to give them a substitute. Shatapatha Brahmana (4.5.10.2-6) lists the substitutes to be used in the ritual when soma is not available. In course of time, soma became a mythical plant even for medical texts. Sushruta Samhita (29.21-22) and Charaka Samhita (1.4-6) both believe that soma had 15 leaves which appeared one per day during the waxing moon (shuklapaksha) and dropoff one by one during the waning moon (krishnapaksha).

The Brahmana texts reverentially reserve the name soma for the original soma plant and talk of its substitutes. The reverence disappears in later times when the term soma, suffixed with lata or valli (meaning creeper) is applied to different local plants, which like the original soma are leafless.

There is a broad consensus among scholars that the ancient soma/haoma plant be identified with high-altitude varieties of ephedra which have a high alkaloid content. (ephedra grows in plains also but these varieties have no juice.) The botanical identification of soma is however not quite relevant for our present discussion.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that the Rig Vedic and the Avestan people had a common heritage and lived in close proximity to one another. Their joint habitat was the Somaland. Indian plains do not match the RV and AV description of Soma-growing areas. Even otherwise, if India were the Indo-Iranian homeland, it is the ancient Iranians who would have been looking for soma substitutes and not Indians. The conclusion is inescapable: Rigvedic people, like ancient Iranians, must have lived in mountainous areas where the soma plant grew.

Written by Rajesh Kochhar

The land of soma

15 Prominent Parsis


From JRD Tata to Sam Manekshaw, these 15 Parsis played a key role in shaping modern India

The Parsi community has been at the forefront of many social and economic reforms in India. Their history in India can be traced back to the 8th century when they migrated from Persia (Iran) to the Indian shores to avoid persecution from Arab conquests in their homeland. They are known for their adherence to Zoroastrian faith and are a very close-knit community. However, their numbers have dwindled over time and as per the latest estimate, there are nearly 69,000 Parsis in India. Despite being small in number, Parsis are the most economically sturdy and educated community in India. From being entrepreneurs and legal luminaries to serving in the army, Parsis are known to lead by example.

Here we have compiled a list of 15 of the most famous Parsis in India.

1) Fali S Nariman:

Indian Express

An eminent lawyer and constitutional scholar, Nariman had been a counsel in several high-profile cases. A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan (2007) and Padma Bhushan (1991), Nariman’s contribution to jurisprudence and public affairs is unmatched. Born in a Parsi Family, Nariman completed his BA in Economics and History from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and thereafter got his law degree from Government Law College in 1929. He also served as Additional Solicitor General of India from May 1972 to June 25, 1975, however, he quit the post upon declaration of Emergency.

2) Ratan Tata:

Indian Express

Perhaps, the most famous name from Parsi community, Tata was the Chairman of Tata Group, a global business giant, from 1991 to 2012. During his stint, the conglomerate’s revenues grew over 40 times, and profit over 50 times. His tenure also saw the acquisition of tea brand Tetley with Tata Tea, Jaguar Land Rover with Tata Motors and most notably steel giant Corus’s merger with Tata Steel. The 79-year-old was embroiled in a power tussle with Cyrus Mistry who was removed as the chairman of the group last year. Recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2008) and Padma Bhushan (2000), the business magnate continues to head Tata Group’s charitable trusts – Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust – and their allied trusts.

3) JRD Tata:

Indian Express

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata has the rare distinction of being the first licensed pilot of India. A pioneering entrepreneur in his own right, it was under his leadership that several firms emerged from the Tata Group, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Tea and Voltas. He is also the founder of India’s first Airlines Tata Airlines in 1932, which became Air India in 1946. His tenure as Tata Group chairman also saw the group’s assets growing from US$100 million to over US$5 billion. He was also associated with several social welfare initiatives. Under his guidance, Asia’s first Cancer Hospital – Tata Memorial Centre for Cancer, Research and Treatment – was established in 1941. He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, for his humanitarian endeavours.

4) Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw:

Indian Express

Manekshaw was the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. In his miltary career that spanned over four decades, he served the army in five wars beginning with World War II under the British Army. Born in Punjab to a Parsi family, his father was also an army man, having served in the British army in the first world war. He was selected as part of the first batch of cadets to attend Indian Military Academy in 1931. He was also the first military officer to attain the rank of Field Marshal. During his stint as COAS, he played a key role in preventing the implementation of reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the army.

5) Homi Bhabha

Homi Jehangir Bhabha hailed from an illustrious Parsi family of Mumbai. His father, Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha, was a well-known lawyer. Being a brilliant student, he attended Mumbai’s Elphinstone College at the age of 15. He then attended the Royal Institute of Science and moved to Cambridge University to pursue mechanical engineering and did extensive research on his favourite subject, Physics. He was instrumental in starting India’s nuclear programme. With help of JRD Tata, he played a major role in establishing the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.

6) Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore:

One of the bravest soldiers to serve in the Indian army, Tarapore was awarded the highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra for his valour and sacrifice in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. During the war, he was in command of the Poona Horse regiment which launched an attack on Phillora in the Sialkot sector, which was met with fierce armour charge by Pak army. His tank was hit several times, which left him wounded but the brave-heart refused to be evacuated. Inspired by his bravery, the regiment attacked the Pakistani armour and destroyed nearly sixty Pakistani Army tanks, suffering only nine tank casualties. Even when he achieved martyrdom, his regiment continued to defy the enemy.

7) Fali Homi Major:

Born on May 29, 1947, in a Parsi family, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major served as the 21st Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. In his distinguished career spanning nearly four decades, he worked in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. With a flying experience of 7,765 hours, Major oversaw several dangerous missions. His helicopter unit took part in operations in Siachen (world’s highest battlefield) and commanded a Mi-17 squadron during the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka, rescue mission of 11 tourists stranded in cable car among others.

 

8) Jamshetji Tata:

Born on March 3, 1839, Jamshetji is known as the grandfather of modern Indian Industry thanks to his business acumen and entrepreneur skills. He established India’s trade relations with England, America, Europe, China, and Japan. A visionary in his own right, he had four goals in life – starting an iron and steel company, a world-class learning institution, a grand hotel and setting up a hydro-electric plant. Of them, he only succeeded in building the Taj Mahal Hotel at Colaba (1903) during his lifetime. At that time, Taj was the only hotel in India to have electricity.

9) Rustom KS Gandhi:

Wiki

Vice Admiral Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Gandhi was not only a great soldier but also an able administrator. Born in 1924 in Jabalpur, Gandhi joined the Royal Navy with a permanent commission as an officer cadet on January 1, 1943. He has the distinction of being the only officer to have commanded ships in all naval wars fought by India. He played a decisive role in “Operation Vijay” of 1961 that saw the end of Portuguese rule in Goa. He was awarded Vir Chakra for his role in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. After his retirement, he served as the governor of Himachal Pradesh.

10) Feroze Gandhi:

Born into a Parsi family on September 12, 1912, in Bombay, Feroze was so inspired by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, that he changed the spelling of his surname from “Ghandy” to “Gandhi” after joining the Independence movement. Besides playing a key role in the freedom struggle, he is also said to be India’s first anti-corruption activist as he exposed the nexus between Congress government and business powerhouses. Feroze earned the title of ‘Giant Killer’ after he exposed how the then Finance Minister TT Krishnamachari helped business tycoon Haridas Mundhra to benefit from and manipulate stock markets.

11) Nanabhoy Palkhiwala:

Another stalwart of the Parsi community who was a prominent jurist and economist, he joined the bar in 1946 and quickly became famous as an eloquent and articulate barrister. Along with legendary Sir Jamshedji Behramji Kanga, he wrote The Law and Practice of Income Tax, which is still considered an authoritative work in commercial and tax law. He was one of the most ardent defenders of the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. When the Indira Gandhi government imposed import controls on newsprint in 1972 to stifle dissent, he argued in the Supreme Court that newsprint served more than just a general commodity.

12) SH Kapadia:

Another top legal luminary from Parsi community, Sarosh Homi Kapadia served as the thirty-eighth Chief Justice of India. He joined Bombay High court as an advocate in 1974. In 1991, he was appointed as an additional judge at Bombay High Court and in March 1993, he was appointed as a permanent judge. He became the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court in 2003 and soon was elevated as a judge of Supreme Court. He will perhaps be remembered for his most notable judgement that came in Vodfaone versus the Union of India, where he ruled that Indian revenue department did not have territorial jurisdiction to tax offshore transactions.

13) Soli Sorabjee:

Indian Express

The former Attorney-General of India and an eminent jurist, Soli Sorabjee is a strong proponent of civil liberties and protection of human rights. He was admitted to the bar in 1953 after completing his studies at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Government Law College. He was designated as a senior Supreme Court lawyer in 1971. He also served as Solicitor-General of India from 1977 to 1980. At present, he is the Chairman of Transparency International and Convenor of the Minority Rights Group.

14) Ardeshir Godrej:

Ardeshir Godrej firmly believed that freedom would remain a distant dream until India becomes self-reliant. Despite hailing from an affluent family, Ardeshir did not approach his father for a loan and arranged it from elsewhere. He began his business by starting manufacturing locks on May 7, 1897, in Lalbaug. Gradually, he expanded his business interest from security engineering to soaps to typewriters to white goods. Godrej became a household name in India, notching up a majority of the market share.

15) Polly Umrigar:

YouTube

Born on March 28, 1926, in Maharashtra’s Sholapur, Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar was a legendary cricketer who played from the late forties to the early sixties. He had then held the record of the Indian player with most Tests, most runs and most hundreds. In fact, his records stood from 1962 to 1978, only to be broken by little master Sunil Gavaskar. Cricketers from the Parsi community dominated the Indian cricket scene in the 50s and 60s. Cricketers like Phiroze Edulji Palia, Rustomji Jamshedji, Rusitomji Sheriyar Modi, Keki Khurshedji Tarapore, Nariman Jamshedji Contractor are some of the notable names.

http://www.inuth.com/india/from-jrd-tata-to-sam-manekshaw-these-15-parsis-played-a-key-role-in-shaping-modern-india/