Saalgreh of Palia Street Agiary, Surat
Today is the Saalgreh of Palia Street Agiary, located in Surat, which is not only considered as one of the oldest, but also full of historical fragrances therein.
Jamshedji Zahiya belonged to a noble family, who was highly commited towards our Mazdayasni Zarthusti Din.
He was not having any child, so he always prayed to Paak Dadar Ahuramazda for its blessings and vowed to build an Agiary, if he was blessed with a child.
Well, one can also perceive why he was not having a child, as Paak Dadar Ahuramazda didn’t want to make Jamshedji see his child’s fate with such a disappointing end.
Anyway, prayers from the bottom of one’s heart, offered by a Din Parast Zarthosti can never be turned off, so was the case with Jamshedji too, whereby he was blessed with a son, who was named Homaji Jamshedji Zahiya.
Dae Mah Govad Roj is the death anniversary of a pious and saintly (Asho) person, Homa Jamshed Zaahiaa. The day is popularly remembered in his memory as Homajee Ni Baaj.
It is commemorated as a religious day in testimony to a life of absolute righteousness and truth.
An Agiyari in Palia Street in Nanpura, Surat is named after Jamshedji Zaahiaa, was built as a mark of commitment, thanking the ALMIGHTY.
His son, Homa was a victim of the unfortunate Kabiseh controversy which divided the community very bitterly and violently, around the middle of the 18th century.
Around that time, when the Parsees of India established contact with the Zarathushtis of Iran, they discovered that the Iranians followed a calendar that was one month ahead of theirs.
In 1745, a section of the Zarathushti community in Gujarat changed over their calendar and put it one month ahead, so as to confirm to what it was in Iran. They called themselves Kadimis or followers of the ancient practice.
Those who did not adopt the change called themselves the Shenshahis or those who followed the “Royal” traditional calendar.
This caused a severe rift in the Zarathushti community in India. For many years, marriage between the members of the two sects did not take place and often, bouts of violence were taken to the streets.
The controversy flared up rather seriously in Bharuch in 1782. A Kadimi lady who was pregnant falsely accused a pious an innocent Shehenshahi gentleman by the name of Homa Jamshed for kicking her and causing her to have a miscarriage.
Homa was first brought to trial before the Nawab of Bharuch and then to Bombay before the British court.
Homa pleaded his innocence but incensed by the Kabisseh controversy, a member of a Wadia family gave a false testimony as a witness against Homa.
Based on the witness’ false accusation, Homa was sentenced to death. He was hanged to death at the corner of Bazaargate in Fort, Bombay, on Mah Dae, Roj Govad 1152 Y.Z., 1783 A.D.
Before he was hanged, he declared that he was innocent of the charge brought against him and that his sentence was not just.
He is said to have declared, that the person who had leveled the false witness testimony against him would be found dead on the fourth day (Chahrum) after his death.
Reportedly, the person who gave the false witness testimony against Homa was found dead in his house on the Chahrum day of the martyr’s death.
To this day, devout Parsees observe Dae Mah Govad Roj as a solemn occasion for remembering this martyr of the tragic Kabiseh controversy.
Surprising to learn that the Agiary is currently owned (not managed) by Wadia trust in Mumbai, whether any links prevail with same Wadias who created this major mishap remains a question mark.
Dozens of efforts were undertaken, at several occasions for its closures, but out of the blue someone intervenes from no where and the Agiary keeps on glowing & growing. Most of them are neither from the same locality, nor from the same city, but how they come up to keep the Agiary move on, is amazing.
There are such powerful stories of its might that one gets astonished on its occurances. But the one who witnessed it are themselves very powerful in Din Parasti.”