NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies
Discussion Group – Zoroastrianism outside the Box
Sunday, January 23, 2022, at 2 pm Eastern, 11 am Pacific
Topic: Non-Zoroastrians’ names in Zoroastrian prayers?
Meeting ID: 822 5506 7379 Passcode: NAMCIZS
Could non-Zoroastrians’ names be recited in Zoroastrian prayers and rituals? Are there scriptural restrictions? Are Zoroastrians prohibited from offering prayers for their dearly departed non-Zoroastrian spouse or loved ones? Do meaning of prayers make it inappropriate? – Let us discuss.
Presenter: Ervad Poras Balsara
Ervad Poras T. Balsara is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has been actively serving the Zoroastrian community in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as a volunteer Mobed and in several other capacities.
This event is facilitated by the NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies to promote knowledge through free but respectful discussion and debate. The views and opinions expressed during this discussions are those of the presenter and participants and do not reflect the official policy or position of the NAMC.
For more information, please visit https:/namcmobeds.org/
Hon’ble Mr Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, Judge, Supreme Court of India, speaks on ‘Guardian Angel of Fundamental Rights’ at the Sixteenth Nani A. Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on 15 December, 2018.
An interesting talk by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
Awarded the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the OBE, Dr Tehemton Erach Udwadia is widely regarded as the father of laparoscopy in India. From 1951 as a medical student to the present day, he has not only witnessed first-hand the avalanche of surgical progress, but has also seen lives saved as a result of these advances, be it a disposable plastic syringe or a liver transplant.
In this, his memoirs, he painstakingly maps his journey from his student years through residency, research, surgical practice and surgical teaching with a view to sharing the lessons he has learnt. And what they can teach you.
More Than Just Surgery is a warm personal account of people, incidents, mentors, failures and absurdities against the backdrop of surgery. It is also an engrossing historical account through the eyes and hands of someone who has lived through the journey.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice on a plea that challenged the practice of ostracizing Parsi women who chose to marry persons outside the Parsi community. The High Court of Gujarat in the case of Goolrokh Gupta v. Burjor Pardiwala, infamously held that when a Parsi woman marries a non-Parsi person under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, she ceases to be a Parsi unless she obtains declaration from a competent court stating that she has continued to practice her religion even after marriage. Upon the challenge of this judgment by the petitioner, the Supreme Court tagged this case to the Sabarimala review petitions citing the similarity of issues, which then drew attention to the Zoroastrian practice of prohibiting the entry of women who chose to marry persons from other religious faiths into sacred institutions of the Parsi community. This blog post seeks to discuss the test of “essential religious practices” and is a critique of the judgment of the High Court of Gujarat.
Nani Ardeshir Palkhivala was born on January 16, 1920 in the Bombay Presidency of British India to a Parsi working-class family. He is arguably India’s greatest lawyer, and one of the greatest intellectuals of modern India. Palkhivala was admitted to the bar in 1946 and worked with the famed lawyer Sir Jamshedji Behramji Kanga in Bombay.
Palkhivala’s first contribution in a case of constitutional importance was in 1951: he assisted his senior Sir Noshirwan Engineer as a junior counsel in Nusserwanji Balsara vs. State of Bombay (1951). His first significant case before the Supreme Court came in 1954: State of Bombay vs. Bombay Education Society (1954), where the prime issue of contention was the interpretation of Articles 29(2) and 30 of the Indian Constitution. Articles 29 and 30 secure minority rights, which include educational and cultural opportunities. Considering the recent attacks on minorities in educational institutions, looking back at this judgment makes more sense than ever.
Article 29(1) safeguards all citizens who have a distinct language, script, or culture by guaranteeing their right to preserve it. A minority community has the right to preserve its language, script, or culture through educational institutions, as guaranteed by Article 30 of the Indian Constitution.
“Protection of minorities is the hallmark of a civilisation.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Palkhivala represented Barnes High School, an Anglo-Indian school. The school had challenged a circular issued by the then State of Bombay. The circular stated that “no primary or secondary school shall from the date of the order admit to a class where English is used as the medium of instruction any pupil other than a pupil belonging to a section of citizens the language of which is English namely, Anglo-Indians and citizens of non-Asiatic descent.” He argued that the impugned circular was an unwarranted and wanton encroachment on the liberty of the parents and guardians to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
Palkhivala also pointed out the salutary principle of imparting education through the medium of the pupil’s mother tongue should require that a pupil whose mother tongue is not English but is, say, Gujarati, be barred from enrolling in an Anglo-Indian School where the medium of instruction is English, but not from enrolling in a school where the medium of instruction is a regional language, say Konkani, which is not the pupil’s mother tongue.
The then-Attorney General, M.C. Setalvad, argued that Article 29(2) does not confer any fundamental right on all citizens in general but rather guarantees the rights of citizens of minority groups by stating that they must not be denied admission to educational institutions, and underlined the word “only” in Article 29(2). He argued that the impugned order did not deny entrance to any citizen solely on the basis of religion, race, caste, language, or any combination of these factors.
Palkhivala argued for almost 32 out of 66 days that the hearings went on for.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Palkhivala and Barnes High School. It held:
“Where … a minority like the Anglo Indian community, which is based, inter-alia, on religion and language has the fundamental right to conserve its language, script and culture under Article 29(1) and has the right to establish and administer educational institution of their choice under Article 30(1), surely then there must be implicit in the fundamental right, the right to impart instruction in their own institutions to children of their own community in their own language … Such being the fundamental right the police power of the state to determine the medium of instruction must yield to the fundamental right to the extent it is necessary to give effect to it and can not be permitted to run counter to it.”
Palkhivala engaged in some of India’s most critical constitutional battles, protecting, among other things, ordinary citizens’ fundamental rights. He had unsuccessfully challenged the government’s specious policy decision to nationalise banks in 1969. The Indian banking sector, according to one view, continues to suffer the consequences of bank nationalisation. Having said that, other significant victories followed, most notably Bennett Coleman & Co. & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors. (1972), in which he defended the Times of India newspaper’s proprietors from harassment by the union government, which sought to stifle dissenting views against the regime emerging in the newspaper. The Centre had imposed severe import limitations on newsprint as part of an effort to silence the press, which were overturned through Palkhivala’s advocacy before the Supreme Court.
“It was not Nani who spoke. It was divinity speaking through him.” – Justice H.R. Khanna
And of course, no discourse on Palkhivala is complete without the mention of arguably the most important case of his career, Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala (1973), which left a lasting impact on Indian Constitutional jurisprudence and polity. A full bench of 13 Supreme Court judges heard the case for about five months, making it one of the longest Supreme Court hearings. Palkhivala argued for almost 32 out of 66 days that the hearings went on for. It led to the Supreme Court interpreting the “Basic Structure” of the Indian Constitution.
Palkhivala’s service to the country was not limited to the courts. He was well-known for his annual Budget speeches, in which he critiqued India’s budget for the general public. From 1958 through 1994, he gave this speech every year after the budget was presented in Parliament. The Forum of Free Enterprise hosted the event. The address, which began at a hotel in Bombay, would one day be held in Mumbai’s packed Brabourne Stadium. He argued that the law should not only be understood by judges and lawyers, but also by the general public.
He argued that the law should not only be understood by judges and lawyers, but also by the general public.
“The Constitution was meant to impart such a momentum to the living spirit of the rule of law that democracy and civil liberty may survive in India beyond our own times and in the days when our place will know us no more.” – Nani Palkhivala
In this day and age, where human rights violations run rampant, and the State goes unaccountable, we need the spirit of Nani Palkhivala more than ever.
(Afreen Alam is a Delhi-based researcher and writer. She is a final year law student at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Shivansh Saxena is a student of law at the Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, IP University and a member of the Indian Civil Liberties Union. The views expressed are personal.)
‘The Good Mind – Nurturing Nature – A Zoroastrian Perspective of Sustainable Development for Progress Together’ (Number 1629 submission to the Parliament of World’s Religions)
Submitted by Mrs. Jerou RamMohan Panthaki (member ZTFE).
Much gratitude to Mr. Yazdi Tantra for making this recording, and to our Respected speakers for their kindness and dedication to sharing the message of Asho Zarathushtra and raising the awareness of the Zarathushti Daena with the World.
We aim to build Intellectual, Emotional, Ecological and Entrepreneurial progress.
Ervad Dr. Jehan Bagli will give an overview of what needs to be done to save Creation
Mrs. Jer Panthaki Rammohan will explain how breath and air are key and link us in a fellowship with each other and with Nature, and how this links to Energy and Transformation.
Mobed Zarrir Bhandara will explain some of the key elements of how the Faith cares for Ecology – particularly Plants and Animals.
Dr. Hanoze Santoke- a Professor focussing on Photo-degradation will explain how Science and Technology can be directly linked to some of the concepts of Ecology and the Faith.
Dr. Karishma is a Neuroscientist. She will introduce the mutualistic relationships between the Good Mind, Fellowship, emotional resilience, caring for Nature and each other, increasing innovation and wellbeing.
We share with the world a Zoroastrian Perspective on Sustainable Development for progress together which combines Scientific Progress, Spiritual Wisdom, Fellowship, Mutual Respect for All, Good Governance and Self-Regulation to make informed choices that are good for the Earth and Human Fellowship, Peace, Happiness and Harmony.
We build upon a webinar marking the World Environment Day with Scientists, Priests and Scholars. 30th May 2021 https://bit.ly/3yuwsQy
The speakers included Ervad Dr. Jehan Bagli (FEZANA, NAMC), Mobed Saheb Zarrir Bhandara (NAMC), Dr. Hanoz Santoke (FEZANA), and Dr.Karishma Koka (Ba Humata and ZTFE)
A 6 minute talk by Zerick Dastur at the Parliament of World Religions 2021 on Global Peace and Harmony.
The talk addresses the topic from the point of view of :
1. The Role of an established legal system protecting human rights and the rule of law,
2. The Responsibility of nations and the Indian example and
3. The Role played by organized religion : the philosophy of the Zoroastrian religion in promoting global peace and harmony.
The importance of education to combat ignorance and contributions of individuals across history are also discussed.
🚨 Registration is officially opened for the 2022 World Zoroastrian Congress!! We are expecting over 1000 Zoroastrians to attend – a rare chance to be surrounded by so many global Zarathushtis 🤩
🗽We will be ready to roll out the red carpet to all of you as we welcome you to New York City and the venue of the Congress.
✍️ On our registration portal you will find all the information you need to register yourselves and also book the hotel rooms that we have negotiated at an incredible discount. Take advantage of the early bird rates!
Register here: https://wzc2022.nyc/registration/
If you have any questions regarding registration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org