It was a quiet evening, of an yet un-eventful day, the 23rd of July, 1922. Those were the days when Mumbai was still a cluster of the main city and the distant suburbs made up of small villages. In the hamlet of Marol, situated in the suburb of Andheri, Putlibai and her husband Ardeshir Merwanji Bharucha, along with their children, and Ardeshir’s brother, Darabsha, had just finished their dinner. They settled down in their sprawling mansion, called Shapur Baug, nested amongst many acres of verdant land covered with numerous trees and gardens.
The property had been acquired and built by their illustrious relative Sir Shapurji Bharucha, a self-made man and one of the leading stock brokers of his day, well known as the person who had gifted to charity, in those days of easy prices, the staggering sum of Rs. 25 lakhs. In admiration and recognition of this astounding charity, which was given for both Parsi as well as cosmopolitan purposes, the British Empire had knighted the gentleman.
An intensely devout and very traditional Parsi family, the Bharuchas, despite their great wealth and prosperity, never forgot their humble roots. The expansive mansion was built in such a way as to enable the easy practice of all the Tarikats of purity and ritual cleanliness of the faith. The family had also installed a small Atash Dadgah, which was kept burning perpetually and also kept on the estate a full time Priest to tend to the Fire and offer Boi at regular intervals. Of the many rooms in the mansion, one room had been specially set aside and was out of bounds for any non-Parsi or any non-family member. In this room, was kept a very heavy, fire-proof safe where the many riches of the family were stored. On top of this giant safe was kept a perpetually burning Divo along with a framed picture of Prophet Asho Zarathushtra. Next to the safe was also kept a photograph of Sir Shapurji Bharucha who had passed away recently. This room was cleaned and maintained only by the family members and no servant or non-Parsi was allowed to enter.
I am Gurpreet Kaur from Ranchi. My sister Ramnik Kaur is a research scholar doing Ph.D on topic “Contribution of Dina Mehta to Indian Writing in English”. Ms. Dina Mehta, a play writer from Parsi Community has written plays like Brides are not for Burning, Getting Away with Murder, Myth Maker, Tiger Tiger, A Sister Like You, novels like Mila in Love, And Some Take A Lover and many short stories. She won the first play writing competition sponsored by BBC for her play Brides Are Not For Burning in 1979. She wrote to highlight the problems of Indian Women focusing on issues like dowry, female foeticide, witchcrafting, child abuse, infertility blames and many such burning topics. Highly impressed by her work, we thought of writing thesis on her works and after much effort we could get few short stories and the play Brides are not for Burning. However we could not buy other plays and novels written by Ms. Dina Mehta even after our sincere efforts. The books are not published any more by the publishers. Ebook are not available. Amazon cancels the order. We want to request through your page if any member can help us with the novels and plays written by her, we shall ever remain obliged. We tried to search about her on Google but all in vain. We wish to talk to her or someone from her family in context of our research paper. Please help us with whatever information you can share about this gem of your community. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had recently read about
the passing away of Dasturji Jamaspasa and I felt quite sad, as I fondly recalled
having his presence during my Navar ceremony at Cama Baug in 1957. He was a scholar and a very soft spoken
gentleman. May his soul rest in eternal peace!
Soon after the demise
of Dasturji Jamaspasa, I learnt about the passing away of the Vada Dasturji of
the Navsari Atash Behram, Kaikhusru Navroji Dastur Meherjirana. Although I didn’t know him, the news of his
demise triggered in me a very gloomy picture of the future of our religion, just
simply realizing that the names of the Dasturjis that I grew up with are slowly
but surely departing from this world. Dasturji Kaikobad Dastoor and Dasturji Peshotan
Mirza of Iranshah, Dasturji Meherjirana of Navsari and Dasturji Minocher Homji
are but a few other names who will be remembered, if not for anything else, for
their integrity, religious knowledge, piety and simplicity. Dasturji Feroze Kotwal is another old guard
who has certainly made his mark as a scholar of our religion. May he be blessed with a long life!
In the present time, the
reformists of the Zarathushti religion all over the world, who simply for their
convenience and own agendas are bent upon destroying the religious tenets and
traditions that our ancestors have held on for centuries. One wonders in
skepticism about the coming new generation of Dasturjis – would their knowledge
base, piety and leadership qualities suffice to uphold the tenets of our
Cleanliness and purity
are crucial components embedded into our religion, and yet, one is bounded with
utmost grief to see the shocking upkeep of our religious institutions, mainly
our Agiaries. On my recent trip to
Mumbai, I visited Cama Baug Agiary which holds a special place in my heart –
the place where my Navjote, Navar and wedding ceremonies took place. It was nothing short of a painful experience
for me to see both, the outside and the inside of that Agiary completely
deteriorated. Once a pristine place to
worship is now just seen as an unclean structure called an Agiary. The total
lack of cleanliness was a pitiful sight to bear. I know there are other Agiaries with the same
sad state of affairs and maybe worse. It
remains incumbent on the management and the trustees of these Agiaries to take
full responsibility of this mess and not pretend that it is beyond their
Quite frankly, with my
observation of the Cama Baug Agiary, and knowing that Ervad Kaikhushru Rawji
has been the Panthaky for over two decades of that institution, I wasn’t much elated
when I first found out that he is replacing Dasturji Meherjirana of Navsari.
Notwithstanding my bias, I was very impressed when Dasturji Rawji made a
striking statement during his inauguration ceremony as the 18th
Dasturji of the Navsari Atash Behram. He said that a
Dastur’s rank is next to that of our Prophet Zarathushtra. He also
added that a Dastur is expected to provide leadership to the Parsi Zoroastrian
somehow exude a ray of hope for the orthodox Parsi Zarathushtis around the
globe, particularly when it is clear that the names of the Dasturjis of today can
hardly be said in the same breath as our Prophet, or for that matter, even next
to Him. Their leadership to the community and their passion to preserve our religion
the way it is supposed to, are at best quite debatable.
Dasturji Rawji be true to his comments? Will he have the courage to shun the
reformists, most of whom appear to possess the political and financial powers? Will he be able to stay away from any and all
temptations for his own personal gains? Will
he be a role model ready to defend the core requirements to be a pure Parsi
Zarathushti? Well, let time be the only
May Ahura Mazda guide the 18th Vada Dasturji of Navsari to follow strictly in His path, and may Dasturji Kaikhushru Rawji make a positive difference which is needed so desperately.
Zubin Karkaria, founder and CEO of VFS Global, was presented with the honour by Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland at the Indian Awards event held in the UK Houses of Parliament complex this week.
A leading Indian entrepreneur who heads the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions has been named a Global Game Changer at an awards ceremony in London. Zubin Karkaria, founder and CEO of VFS Global, was presented with the honour by Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland at the Indian Awards event held in the UK Houses of Parliament complex this week.
“While VFS Global has been working with UK Visas and Immigration since 2003 in supporting their vision and agenda across the world, I would also like to acknowledge the role of the travel industry in the continuous development of UK-India relations,” said Karkaria.
“Driving business excellence through continuous innovation and the highest levels of customer service have been at the core of VFS Global’s philosophy ever since we launched our company in 2001, and prestigious awards such as this one keep us motivated in our quest to constantly raise the bar,” said the CEO, who divides his time between Dubai, India and Europe.
The Indian Awards are organised annually by the India Business Group (IBG) advisory and consultancy. Its Global Game Changer honour acknowledges an individual, based anywhere in the world, for their outstanding contribution to globalising India in any particular field.
At ZTFE UK, A
Life Well Lived – A Marathon 8 hour Workshop on Zoroastrianism
By Bapsy Dastur
Mistree’s association with Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) is a long
standing one. A life member since the early 1980s, Khojeste has given talks at
ZTFE, beginning soon after completing his studies at Oxford University, where
he read for a degree in Oriental Studies and since then he has been a frquent
eight hour marathon workshop on Zoroastrianism, on Sunday, 2 June, 2019, attended by over a 100 participants, was a
runaway success and was probably the largest workshop ever held at ZTFE.
his articulation and a clear interpretation of the classical theology of the
faith, this time Khojeste surpassed himself. In a world torn by threats of war,
the agony of dispaced refugees and the flexing of muscles by powerful nations, the
title itself had special relevance, “ A
Life well Lived – Zoroastrian Values in Todays Word”; And his talk exhibited
the need to draw strength from one’s own value system and to believe that hope
and optimism isnt a bad thing, and can if promoted, enhance productively, life
as lived on earth. Khojeste conveyed this with remarkable alacrity, citing hope, optimism,
harmony and the discernment and appropriation of the Good, as the basis of
bringing about progress in the world, giving even non- Zoroastrians and
scholars, present at the workshop, a valid justification to uphold the
Zoroastrian rational for doing Good. He was reassuring, promising that a world
directed and dominated by Zoroastrian values can make the world a better place
to live in. His emphasis was on the “microcosm of the self”the need for the
inner being of a person to adopt Zoroastrian values and emerge as ‘ a Warrior
of Truth and Promoter of Peace’ .
narration of the Bundahishn, the creation of the world by Ahura Mazda, and the
antagonism of the Evil Spirit, transported those who attended, on a cosmic
journey, almost like an epic episode from Star Wars.
master story teller, he posited an advocacy of Zoroaroastrianism, taking the
participants from the birth of Zarathushtra and its many attendant legends,
through the time line of the Creation Story, the cosmic battle field in which
the forces of Good triumph over those of evil, the splendid moment of harmony,
when the 7 creations are created by Ahura Mazda and the ethicality of
Zarathushtra’s revealation in a period when right was defined by the unrestrained
exercise of brute power.
One was left with the feeling that enforcing the world of a rational wise and omniscient divine being, Ahura Mazda, on earth, and helping to perpetuate a Good world, as defined by the cosmology of the faith, is foundational to the understanding of Zoroastrianism and one that can be easily adapted by anyone. As one of the participants said you don’t have to be a Zorostrian to bring about these values and perpetuate this understanding of the world, as it should be, making it relevant today.
that in Zoroastrian thought, Knowledege and Wisdom eclipses power and its
surrogate use of force and every Zoroastrian has a role to play in extending
wisdom and enhancing knowledge to bring harmony into the world. The idea that,
the microcosmic adaptation of the Good brings about the perpetuation of Good in
the larger world, was an engulfing idea which reasonated with many participants.
advocated the Zoroastrian idea of charity by quoting the Denkard “ That a
generous person is most praiseworthy who seeks to become wealthy…and who gives
it to worthy people.”
discussed, ranged from the esoteric understanding of the Ashem and Yatha
prayers, to the sacred fire as a living being, fuelled by the breadth of Ahura
Mazda, to the complex ritual practices of the faith, reflecting the depth and
understanding of Khojeste’s command over the faith.
always say, where there are Parsis there is always food, and in the Zoroastrian
month of Dae, day of Bahram, 1388 Y (3 June 2019), it was appropriate that the
workshop held as it was, in the memory of Sheroo Framroze Darukhanawalla,
especially the lunch, with offerings of fragrant biryani, cashew chicken and rice
firni for desert, nourished the soul of Sheroo Darukhanawalla, a devout
Zoroastrian, as much as it did the participants of the workshop.