Author Archives: yazdi

Mumbai: School for Parsi priests marks 100 years, struggles to stay afloat

The school estimates that it will be required to spend Rs 2 lakh per head for boarding, lodging and educating each student and has sought donations from both Parsis living in India as well as abroad, apart from corporates and organisations.

Dadar Athornan Institute has 25 students from classes I to X. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

In November, the city’s only school dedicated to training Parsi priests will complete a hundred years since its founding. Yet, just last month, it placed an appeal in the Parsi Times, a weekly newspaper, seeking funds to stay afloat.

The call for donations said, “The success and survival of our Zoroastrian community is directly linked to our religion and our priests (Mobeds). Training and introducing new Mobeds into the mainstream is very vital, for without erudite Mobeds, we only face the bleak future of the end of our religion and, consequently, our community.”

The Dadar Athornan Institute, as the school is called, currently has a batch of 25 students from classes I to X. The school estimates that it will be required to spend Rs 2 lakh per head for boarding, lodging and educating each student and has sought donations from both Parsis living in India as well as abroad, apart from corporates and organisations.

The institute, which is located in the leafy Parsi Colony in Dadar East, became operational on November 9, 1919, with the aim of imparting religious, scriptural and secular education to Parsi children and train them to become priests, free-of-cost. It was shut for a year between 1965 and 1966 when funds dried up, before the new management revived it.

On average, the Institute ordains three priests every year. However, after graduating, students first opt for a five-year-long formal college education and then take the decision of either becoming full-time priests at a fire temple, or following a different career path. “In the last 60-65 years, 20-25 per cent of our students have become full-time priests,” said Ramiyar Karanjia, who has been the institute’s principal for 25 years.

The institute provides its students with free education, food and housing and mainly relies on public donations to survive. “Our donations range from between Rs 10 and Rs 10 lakh,” said Karanjia.  While admitting boys, the institute only requires that they shouldn’t be older than 9-10 years. “Many of our previous students came from villages in Gujarat, but incomes of families have steadily increased and most Parsi parents living in rural areas can now afford better schools,” said Karanjia, adding that the number of students has been dwindling.

But the institute has adapted to these changing times by relaxing its rules. Where students were once required to wake up at 5.30 am, classes now begin for older students later in the morning, and in the afternoon for the younger ones. Students are also taken on outings, allowed to meet their parents more often and socialise more.

Written by Srinath Rao, Sanya Runwal



To all the

innocent victims

I offer my sincere condolences

As well deepest sympathies

Praying may there sweet

Innocent souls rest

In eternal peace


For all the survivors

it must be gut wrenching

Causing excruciating pain

Wondering when one shall

See there loved again?


I do hope you have

Learn’t your lesson

Shutting the blinds

As well as the drapes

And fencing us in

Does not bring peace

But hatred Racism

Discriminatory Bigotry instead


No amount of tears shed

Is going bring

The loved ones back

So, accept, tolerate

Treat people with respect

Understanding as well as dignity

In the end Peace can return

To  every community

All over the world

Whether it be a Hindu Muslim

Sikh Jewish  Ba’hai Christian or

A Zoroastrian one









Mumbai Muktad Diaries 2019

During the recent 10 day farvandian/muktad days I posted some observations on social media. Below is a compilation of all the posts. Many of the images were in black and white, but a lot of people requested I also post the color images. So in those cases I have posted both.

Batliwala Agiary, Tardeo, Mumbai


The muktad prayer days mean a lot of things to all Parsis. It’s the time to remember our dear departed, but also a time to treasure what we have with those we love and are around us.

To me, visiting my agiary for the prayers is like going back in time. The earliest memories of this beautiful agiary are of going there every morning with my mom to pray for my mamaijis muktad. Buying flowers for the vase and being allowed to go to the upper floor, I remember being awe struck at the beauty and Majesty of the space. A dozen and more priests praying, sandalwood fragrant in the air, flowers in beautiful vases all lined up on table after table made me realize that this was a once a year special time.

Today when I return to this place, not much has changed. It’s still the safe place it always was. The same familiar faces, many of them friends who I grew up with, praying as priests today, and everyone collectively sitting waiting for the prayers of their dear departed. But also sharing together the collective commonality that while we all grieve for those who have passed away we also acknowledge the spirit of those who we never knew but now do, as a vase with beautiful flowers on a marble table.

So as we seek blessings of our own loved ones we also are fortunate to receive the blessings of all the loved ones this agiary was home to, and are being prayed for these Muktad days.

Anjuman Atashbehram, Near Princess Street, Mumbai



One of the four #Atashbehram in #Mumbai, the Anjuman Atashbehram comes alive during Muktad. The entire upper floor is full of row upon row of muktad tables. The hum of priests praying and devotees joining in with their own prayers, makes for a fantastic aural experience. The scent of flowers and of sandalwood and loban (incense) makes one’s non visual senses come alive.

I’ve always wondered as to how our prayer ceremonies are not only visual in experience, but encompass all our senses. The prayers soothe the ears, the sandalwood smoke the nasal passage, the touch of the sandalwood to our fingers ….all of these make it a complete experience. Without any one of these, it would not be complete. The next time you go for Muktad prayers, notice for yourself.

Vaccha Gandhi Agiary, Hughes Road, Mumbai


Agiaries that are adjacent to or within Parsi colonies get more footfall than those that are not. It was the vision of our forefathers to build infrastructure in that manner. A classic example is the Vatcha Gandhi Agiary opposite the Kharegat Colony at Hughes Road in #Mumbai

Run by two generations and counting of the Dadachanji family, the agiary during Muktad is a beehive of activity. With just about standing room only you see a master class in choreographed movement as a senior Mobed through actions…a mere nod, a pointing of a finger in a direction or a slight tap on the shoulder of a devotee sets in motion a series of prayers. Hardly a word is spoken. The only thing one hears is the hum of prayers. And the touch of sandalwood. And the smell of flowers and loban.

These choreographed actions are honed over decades of practise and adaptation. The priests and the devotees seem to know their own roles and perform them to perfection.

And this differs from Agiary to Agiary. No two agaires do it the same way. But they all seem to do the same thing.

The fluidity of ritual practise has to be seen and observed to be appreciated.

And it cannot just be transplanted. As our faith spreads in the world to new lands and new diaspora emerge from the faithful of the old world settling in new places, these are the type of rituals that need to transcend oceans and continents.

Religion cannot be practised and sustained in a vacuum where prayers are the only thing. Traditions, practises, rituals…or as we call it Reeti Rivaaj are as integral as are the buildings that sustain and nurture them and make them possible. Nowhere so you see this orchestra play better and with more pomp than in Mumbai.

I feel blessed to be an active audience and participant in this year after year. May all these traditions far outlive me and the generations that follow.

Atha Jamyat Yatha Afrinami.

Continue reading this post by Arzan Wadia – on Parsi Khabar – Click Here


14th August, 2019
The World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) announced today that Global President, Edul Daver will speak at the UN 68th DGC NGO Civil Society Conference to be held in Salt Lake City from 26 to 28 August 2019

The title of his talk will be:
“Can entrepreneurship be the solution to creating a Global South South Model of Sustainable Development?”Close to 6000 individuals from 135 countries have registered for the UN Conference, which is being held for the first time in the USA. The UN is seeking inputs from civil society as it aims to reach its seventeen sustainable development goals by the year 2030.

Workshop Title:
A Global North-South-South Model of Sustainable Development …Read More

Panelists at the workshop will illustrate the example of the three decade success story of the Hospital for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Children in Nepal ( which has made a transformative difference in the lives of indigent children with musculoskeletal disorders in resource poor environments.

Education and innovation coupled with technical know how and a commitment to excellence are the hallmarks of this highly successful model of social entrepreneurship.

Collaboration for the workshop at the United Nations, comes from FEZANA ( RAD AID International ( and PARTNERS ASIA (

Several Zarathushtis from New Zealand, Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Orlando, Florida , Baltimore and Salt Lake City will be participating at the event.

WZCC: Building the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

WZCC has been created to facilitate networking, education, mentoring, enhance Trade & Commerce and to energize the Zarathushti entrepreneurial spirit and thus bring about economic prosperity worldwide. The Chamber recognizes that commerce and industry are major institutions of humankind and enterprises founded on the principles of Integrity and Industry are hallmarks throughout the world. The intermingling of history and commerce during the past two centuries is a constant reminder that an essential ingredient for prosperity is it’s entrepreneurial activities.

Yazdi Tantra
Vice President – WZCC

Behram Pastakia
Co-Chair, FEZANA UN NGO Committee Chair,
Zarathushti Youth Without Borders

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled.”

Please consider becoming a member by visiting or contacting your Region Director/Chapter Chair.

K. C. College-1988-B. Com. Batch – looking for Havovi & Pesi Wadia

Because of your help, we were able to reunite with 2 of our parsi friends.
We are still looking for 2 more parsi friends, they are Pesi Wadia and Havovi Wadia.
For your ready reference attached is the photo of our traditional day of 1987. In the photo Pesi and Havovi are 2nd and 4th from left.
We shall be thankful for your help in reuniting us with them.
Thanks & Regards,
Shailesh Jain <>
M – 92230 56285

Today is Pateti

Today is Pateti the day of Patet or repentance. The past is behind us and we can only accept where we were wrong and learn from it. We cannot wipe it off. But, the future is a clean slate ….Let us write our future with the pen of Asha (Truth, Righteousness and in sync with the Divine Order).

Parsee Gymkhana Cricket Team arrive in UK Sun 18th Aug 2019 to play for 1886 Trophy

Dear ZTFE Members & Well-wishers
On Sunday 18th August the Parsee Gymkhana Cricket Team will be arriving to the UK.  They will be playing a series of T20 cricket matches with local sides, culminating with a match at The Oval Cricket Ground on Friday 23rd August 2019 for the 1886 Trophy, photo pasted below. All the matches are FREE to watch. All are welcome! Your support is important.
ZTFE has been informed that a well known A listed Bollywood actor will be accompanying the Parsee Gymkhana Team.
This beautiful 1886 Trophy commemorating Parsee Pioneers of Cricket who visited United Kingdom in 1886
On Monday 19th August, the Parsees will be visiting The Lords Cricket Ground and later in the evening they will be playing in Chiswick, West London.
On Tuesday 20th August, the Parsees will be visiting the Houses of Parliament.
On Wednesday 21st August at 5pm, the Parsees will be playing at the Lurgashall Cricket Club, West Sussex.  Lurgashall is one of the most beautiful villages in the South of England, where cricket has been played prior to 1863. Witley train station is closest to Lurgashall Cricket Club.
On Thursday 22nd August – Khordad Sal, ZTFE will be inviting the Parsee Cricket Team to the Zortoastrian Centre for a Khordad Sal celebratory 4 course evening meal at the Zoroastrian Centre.  All are welcome! Kindly purchase tickets from the ZTFE Secretariat, phone 020 8866 0765.
On Friday 23rd August at 1pm, the Parsee XI will be playing at The Oval Cricket Ground, against the Charles Alcock XI for the 1886 Trophy. The Oval Cricket Ground is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Oval London Underground Station. The bus stop for 36 and 436 buses is just near the entrance of the The Oval Cricket Ground. Please contact Mrs Gul R Bilimoria by email on <> or phone 07951126391, if you are planning to attend the 1886 Trophy match.    
On Saturday 24th August the Parsee Gymkhana Team will depart for Mumbai.
Kindly inform those who are not accessible by email or not connected to the internet.
Yours sincerely
Malcolm M Deboo
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