Author Archives: yazdi

Highlights – World Zoroastrian Congress

Highlights of the 9th World Zoroastrian Congress in Dubai – Roshan Rivetna

For 4 days in December (28th – 31st), nearly 750 delegates from countries around the world converged at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Dubai, for the 9th World Zoroastrian Congress.

From the grand Opening Day, graced by dignitaries from the Government of Dubai, with glowing messages from Heads of State, Zarathushti world leaders and business luminaries, to the New Year’s eve Gala and Closing Ceremony when the lamp was lit by the Vada Dastur Khurshed Dastoor of Udvada, and passed on to BPP chair Mr. Dinshaw Mehta for the next World Congress, in India, delegates were amply entertained, illumined and inspired.

A new film and coffeetable book “Footprints on the Sands of Time”, an anthem, a logo and a Zoroastrian flag were released. There was a concurrent Exhibition of Zarathushti culture. A jashan preceded the Congress.

Leadership from all regions of the world participated: Dr. Esfandiar Ekhtiyari (MP, Iran), Tehran Anjuman President Dr. Rostam Khosravian, Mobed Dr. Ardeshir Khorshidian, BPP chair Dinshaw Mehta and trustees Khojeste Mistree, Armaity Tirandaz, Jimmy Mistry and Arnavaz Mistry, FEZANA President Bomi Patel and past presidents Firdosh Mehta, Dr. Dolly Dastoor and Rohinton Rivetna, and past ZTFE presidents Dorab Mistry and Paurush Jila. Delegates from the smaller pockets included Toxy Cowasjee (Pakistan), Russi Ghadiali (Singapore), Jal Shroff, Mr. Jokhi and Mr. Parekh (ZTF Hong Kong), Phil Madon (Australia), Micky Mistry (New Zealand) and of course, the hosts, Meher Bhesania and team from Dubai (pop 1500 Zoroastrians).  Several international organizations also participated: WZO (Chair Darayus Motivala and past Chair Sammy Bhiwandiwalla),  WAPIZ (Khojeste Mistree), WZCC (President Kersi Limathwala),  ZWIN (Dr. Zareen Araoz), and others.

Business icons — Lord Karan Billimoria (Cobra Beer), Pallonji Mistry (Shapurji Pallonji & Co.), Nadir Godrej (Godrej Industries), Jal Shroff (Fossil watches), Alayar Dabestani (business), Sam Balsara (Madison World) and other stalwarts from Dubai and around the world — lent their inspiration and financial sponsorships that enabled the lavish style of the Congress, which included: noted professional entertainers every evening – Boman Irani, Parizad Kolah-Marshall, singer Shayan, Hormazd Khambatta’s dance troupe and more;  Desert Safari and city/shopping tours; the daily Congress newspaper;  awards, plaques, gifts and door-prizes to delegates; three grand buffets daily and much more.

The Congress Awards were presented at a glittering ceremony.  Winners were: Rohinton M. Rivetna, USA (Outstanding Zarathushti),  Dinshaw Tamboly, India (Community Service), Zartoshty Brothers, Mehraban and (late) Feraydoon, USA (Outstanding Philanthropy), Minoo Homi Patel, UK (Engineering and Technology), Sooni Taraporevala USA/India (Performing Arts & Literature), and Dr. Farokh Udwadia, India (Medicine).  WZCC Awards were presented to: Firdosh Bhesania USA/Dubai (Outstanding Young Entrepreneur/Professional), Homai Daruwala, India (Outstanding Professional), and Umeed Kothawala (Outstanding Entrepreneur).  In the YLEP Awards, the Iranian youth team won first place, the North American and Indian teams won second place and the Dubai, Australia and UK teams tied for third place.

But alongside the glitz and glamour of the Congress, the days were packed with networking and business opportunities (WZCC), serious deliberations on community issues and development of several legacy programs, among them: YLEP, the Youth Leadership Enhancement Program for developing the next generation of Zarathushti leaders; “Vision 2010” developing a blueprint and goals for the community; and formalizing of the “Coming Together Roundtable”, the world regional leadership forum. Elected leaders of all four major regions consensually agreed to assume ownership of the CTR.  Previously elusive for many years, this “coming together” of the regional leadership at a common forum for dialogue and action, is certainly a watershed moment for the world Zarathushti community, and a legacy of no small proportions for the Dubai Congress.

All kudos go to Chair Meher Bhesania, and her talented team from Dubai and around the world,  for the orchestration of this Congress and for their vision to facilitate the Legacy projects.

Europe Tour

UpperCrust Travels is a new division of India’s food, wine and travel magazine. Embark on a summer sojourn to Europe with UpperCrust Travels. We purposely keep our group numbers small (10 or 12 passengers at a time only) so that you can experience an enriching and unforgettable travel experience. We invite you to join-in and share with us your exploratory spirit and desire for an exciting and authentic travel experience as we travel for 20 days through 7 countries in Europe. Our aim is to give you a real cultural experience as we visit the beautiful historic and natural sights of Europe. Our affordable and personalised small group tours are designed to show you all the highlights of Europe with  some free time so that you can explore on your own. Meet the locals and dine in small local eateries in Europe. Enjoy our personalised service and care. Indulge yourself in a safe, fun and relaxed small group environment and share our passion in the journey. With UpperCrust Travels, you will experience a holiday in Europe planned to perfection.

Tour 1 : departure Fri 7th May / return Wed 26th May 2010.
Tour 2 : departure Fri 4th June / return Wed 23rd June 2010.

For more details contact Dickie H. Daruwalla on 93 222 348 19 or call at our office on 022 – 400 29 730.

Introduction to Persian Poetry

A very interesting article By: M. S. Tajar, Ph. D. Ed. D., Former Lecturer, University of the Philippines

Persian is probably the richest language of poetry in the world, not only for its un-equalled number of great poets like Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, Sa’di, Firdausi, Rumi, Attar, Nizami, Baba Taher, Jaami, etc. (whom, unfortunately, some foreighners mistook as Arabs just because they were Muslims and had “Arab” sounding names, as all Muslims do), but also for its un-matched volumes of Divans, as well.  For example, the Shahnamah of Firdausi (930 – 1020 A.D.) is three times larger than Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, combined, and more spectacular in its presentations; while Rumi’s “Mathnavi of Sufism” (1207 – 1273 A.D.) is still the best seller in the U.S.A. today, some 700 years after his death; and it is also the “All-time best seller” book of poetry in history!

(Note: Paul Coehlo of Brazil’s best selling book “The Alchemist” was inspired by Rumi’s poems.  Ref. BBC, Hardtalk, Extra.  August 20, 2005)

Click Here for the full article

Parsi Surnames

Read and enjoy
While most surnames in India reflect caste and lineage, the Parsis had a delightfully modern streak — having landed without caste, history and context, theyy created identities through professions and urban streets.

Our family moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) from Rawalpindi in 1947. We came as refugees but the family soon settled and by 1953 my father had restarted playing golf at the Willingdon Club. I was eight years old and would walk 18 holes with him every Saturday and Sunday. The three Parsi gentlemen who made up his regular four-ball were uncles Poonawala, Coorlawala and Colabawala. Very soon they had rechristened my father Pindiwala.

Uncle Colabawala did not live in Colaba but in a penthouse on Malabar Hill. May be his ancestors had lived in Colaba. I used to spend hours searching the telephone directory to find Parsi surnames and building up stories around their families.

There was prohibition in Bombay those days. So to get liquor you had to find Mr Dalal, who would introduce you
to Mr Daruwala, who in turn would get bottles delivered to your home by Mr Batliwala who would be accompanied by
Mr Sodawaterbottleopenerwalla (the longest Parsi surname I have come across).

Other surnames whose ancestors were in the beverages trade were Mr Fountainwala, Mr Ginwala, Mr Rumwala, Mr Sodawala and Mr Jhunjhunwala.

We used to have two delightful Siamese kittens in our flat and these were gifted to my mother by her friend Mrs Billimoria. My mother spent hours knitting cardigans for them, with wool she bought from the Unwala family.

My uncle ran the air force canteen in Cotton Green and his partner, yes you guessed it, was Mr Canteenwala. They had this fantastic cook, Mr Bhajiwala. Their mild and meek manager, Mr Jeejeebhoy, nodded his head and agreed with everything everybody said.

My grandfather was the Sheriff of Bombay. I think the first and only Sikh to hold this position. Being Sheriff it was only natural that he had Mr Bandookwala and Mr Golimarwala as his constant companions.

Grandfather had many Parsi friends who were in politics. There was this squeaky clean khadi-clad Mr Ghandy, and the not so clean Mr Kalaghandy — <who was invariably being hounded by Mr Kotwal. But he never left home without his friends
Mr Barrister, Mr Vakil, Mr Lawyer and their munshi Mr Mehnty.

My grandfather built Hotel Waldorf on Arthur Bunder Road in Colaba. So for this he naturally used the services of
Mr Contactor and Mr Mistry. He never went to the conservative moneylenders when short of money, but borrowed it from his Parsi friend Mr Readymoney.

Our neighbour and family physician was Dr Adi Doctor — he was only half a doctor. He lived withh his in laws Mr and Mrs Pochkhanawala. My sister swears they ate only poached eggs for breakfast.

I remember going to Dr Doctor’s sister’s wedding. She married Mr Screwala. What he did for a living, I do not know to this day. If you are in Mumbai maybe you can track him down in the yellow or pink pages.

Jokes apart, there is a lesson for all of us here: imagine if we could christen our politicians through democratic vote: Jinnahwalla, Nikarwalla, Icequeen, Motawalla! It would really be able to keep everyone in check, where individuals and media didn’t only control your public profile but also your public identity.

The Parsis have taught us that if you take serious interest in satire, you can change the world!

My name today is Comedymanifestowalla!
Courtesy : Cyrus Bulsara

United Nations: An Invitation to Participate

United Nations:  An Invitation to Participate

Zarathushtis worldwide interested in participating in activities at the United Nations, internationally, regionally, or locally are requested to contact Co-Chairs of FEZANA’s UN-NGO committee:

….. with a copy of their curriculum vitae and a letter of intent stating how they see themselves promoting the mission and vision of the United Nations in civil society.   Upcoming events include:

  • the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (see online opportunities below)
  • the Annual DPI/NGO conference which will be held in Melbourne, Australia 30th  August  to 1st  September 2010 on Global Health.

UNESCO: Online discussion on Gender equality, Education and Training – 10 January to 7 February 2010 As part of the debates and events commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is organizing a series of online discussions dedicated to specific critical areas of action related to gender equality. These discussions will contribute to the 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action at the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 1-12 March, 2010. The online discussions are designed to catalyze debate, to analyze progress and to provide an important interactive forum where perspectives, successful initiatives and information can be shared. UNESCO will be hosting the online discussion focusing on the theme of Gender equality, Education and Training from 10 January to 7 February. During these four weeks, discussions will be organized around a framework of thematic questions in order to stimulate debate between participants. (…)

UN offers online courses to boost cancer treatment

UN offers online courses to boost cancer treatment in developing nations

IAEA says making radiotherapy accessible is a key component in any comprehensive cancer control programme
5 January 2010 – To bridge the gap in developing countries where there is a shortage of cancer specialists, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has helped spearhead a web-based course on radiation oncology.

Radiotherapy plays a positive role in treating nearly half of all cancer patients, as cancer rates continue to climb in poorer nations. The course contains 80 training modules classified into eight different topics, and the materials are expected to complement the training that radiation oncologists receive through their formal education in their respective countries. This initiative is part of an IAEA programme involving 17 Member States in the Asia-Pacific region, and the material for the course – entitled “Applied Sciences of Oncology Distance Learning” – was developed by an Australian organization.

IRAN – Tracing Footprints Through Time

They say Books are the carriers of civilization.  Without books, history is silent, literature dump, science crippled and thought at a standstill.  Indeed, in books lie the soul and the articulate audible voice of the pas.  “Iran – Tracing Footprints Through Time” is an amazingly crisp, abundantly informative and awe inspiring travelogue penned by Natasha Viraf Deboo.  For the 19 years old author, it has bee a labour of love but for the reader, it is a work of art, both, in terms of content and aesthetic value.

For Zoroastrians, Iran is a spiritual motherland.  The author has captured within less than 90 pages the essence of her experience in this wonderful country during the year 2006.  she writes with the verve and breezy style of a teenager but tempered with profound depth, accuracy and maturity especially when dealing with facts of history and culture.

Read more

Zoroastrian Community of New Zealand

Zoroastrians living in New Zealand now number nearly 900, which is over 200 families. The major migration has taken effect post year 2001. Zoroastrians living in Auckland meet and have functions on a regular basis at community centres or school halls. Mainly for the children’s prayer classes and other Religious and Social functions. Unfortunately, because of restrictions and bookings by other groups, these meetings and functions have to be held at various locations. Religious ceremonies have to be restricted and community activities have to be limited to comply with the venue regulations. It is proposed that a community centre be established in Auckland. This will provide the Zoroastrian community in Auckland to have a permanent venue for their functions and get-togethers and provide a place for communal worship. Click Here to access the ZCT brochure.

Click Here to access the ZCT NewZealand Website

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