Author Archives: yazdi

15th North American Zarathushti Congress


Tthe 15th North American  Zarathushti Congress is to be held from December 29-31, 2010 in Houston at The Intercontinental Hotel in the Galleria area. This is a biennial meeting, with an expected attendance of over 500 scholars, doctors, lawyers, technocrats, educationalists, businessmen from the U.S. and Canada as well as other parts of the world.  This Congress is organized by the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH) under the umbrella of the Federation of Zoroastrians in  North America..
The theme of the NAZC is “Preserve the past, Protect the present, and Perfect the future”. The three-day event includes a comprehensive program of workshops, seminars, presentations on religious identity in a diverse society, youth leadership, and community-building starting with an inaugural ceremony performed by Zoroastrian priests from North America. Highlights include exhibits, book launching, leadership awards, and cultural entertainment.  Confirmed speakers include noted scholars and community leaders from the U.S., Canada, England, and India.
As we are sure you already know, Zoroastrianism is the world’s oldest surviving monotheistic religion, predating — and influencing — Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.  It was once the state religion of the ancient Persian empires (including modern-day Iran and parts of the central Asian republics). Many scholars believe that the Biblical “three wise men from the East” that sought out the infant Jesus Christ were Zoroastrians from Persia.

This years Congress includes wonderful speakers and it is a great opportunity for Houston Chronicle readers to not only learn about the adherents of our ancient religion Zoroastrianism but also learn about how Zoroastrians network and contribute to the larger communities they live in. Keynote speaker Niaz Kasravi has decades of activism and is  an insightful and entertaining speaker. Other speakers are academic scholars, young entrepreneurs. The dynamics of intergenerational needs and concerns are a focus of the program. And there is evening entertainment that will trace the cultural heritage. I am attaching 2 flyers  which has details of the Featured Speakers and the program.

Attending the Congress may be a rare opportunity for you and your readers/viewers to learn about the Zoroastrians in their midst – their religion and culture, and the significant contributions they have historically made in the diverse host societies among whom they live. We have negotiated specially discounted room rates for conference delegates and the press, of only $89 + tax per night.

I look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to work with you if you choose to interview speakers or alternately to do a feature on our community.

Thank you for your time and coverage of an important event that I am sure will be of interest to your readers.

Thank you



Ms  Mani Surkari
Press Relations/North American Zarathushti Congress
Tel: 832-633-5466
Preserve the past, Protect the present, and Perfect the future.

NAZC 2010 – Featured Speakers and Program

NAZC 2010 – Featured Academic Speakers


Mumbai’s best Parsi meal

Crispy, meaty, coconutty, juicy, tangy … these three restaurants in Fort provide a flavorsome foray into the eclectic cuisine of India’s Parsi contingent :

Click on each of the photos to read more regarding each dish at CNNGo.


Mumbai’s best Parsi meal — Recommended: Ideal Corner’s mutton cutlet
Mumbai’s best Parsi meal — Recommended: Britannia’s bombil fry

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal — Recommended: Jimmy Boy’s saas ni machhi

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal — Winner: Ideal Corner’s patra ni machhi


Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

Zoroastrianism thrived among other faiths

Finding Religious Acceptance

In sixth century B.C., when the Zoroastrian king Cyrus the Great established the Persian empire, Zoroastrianism was the major religion of the empire. But he allowed his conquered subjects to continue following their native religions, thus introducing the principle of separation of church and state, which was generally followed for over a 1,000 years under successive Zoroastrian kings and queens.

When some Zoroastrians migrated to India, they assured the Hindu king who gave them refuge that they will not convert his subjects. For over 1,300 years the Parsis (Persians), as Zoroastrians are known in India, kept their promise and lived in harmony with other communities in the Indian subcontinent.

Click Here for the full story at IndiaCurrents

Dishoom: An Irani Cafe in London

Bombay’s old Irani cafes are dying a slow death, and the only people doing anything about it are in London
Irani cafes — of which Mumbai has less than 20 original examples left — have recently been the subject of various books, websites and documentaries such as “Inheritance of Loss,” all attempting to paint the fatalist portrait of a unique Bombay cafe culture in rapid decline.
By Amana Fontanella-Khan / CNN Go

Click Here for the full story

Courtesy : Roshan Pastakia

Christianity may have roots in Persian religion

From NorthWest Indiana TImes:
This Christmas season picture a peaceful, 2000-plus-year-old scene of the Zoroastrian priest Artaban standing on the balcony of his Persian home while gazing into a midnight blue sky. He views a bright star that was to herald the birth of the Messiah. He hastily sets off to join the other three Magi in a prearranged location to begin the journey to follow the star to Bethlehem.

Courtesy : Roshan Rivetna

Children of Intermarried Parsi Women

Dr. Homi Dhalla
The question about children of mixed marriages, i.e. between a non-Parsi father and a Parsi mother has been simmering for decades and even today it continues to remain as tangled as ever.
Being a neutral voice, I am neither an orthodox nor a reformist but a pragmatist. And I believe that in this discussion, questioning, criticism and dissent must be valued.

Click Here for the full article by Dr. Homi Dhalla

Conversion Allowed in Zoroastrianism ?

Navjote ceremony - The priest guides the child...

Image via Wikipedia

Acceptance / Conversion Allowed in Zoroastrianism

(Learned Religious Act of Vada Dasturji Jamaspasa)

The very learned, respected, religious & pious late Vada Dasturji Kaikhushroo Jamaspasa (Grandfather of the current Vada Dasturji K. M. Jamaspasa) of the Anjuman Atash Behram had converted a French lady (Suzanne) from Christianity to Zoroastrianism by performing her Navjote & had also solemnized her marriage with Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (parents of JRD Tata), as per the Zoroastrian rites in 1903.

Please note that the navjote ceremony for conversion of the French lady to Zoroastrianism was carried out not by any ordinary common priest BUT was performed by the Vada Dasturji Jamaspasa himself. This great Vada Dasturji is our current Vada Dasturji’s own grandfather. He was forthright, acted as per our scriptures & “Practiced what he Preached” and never succumbed to the undue pressure from the Talibans of our community.   da Dasturji Jamaspasa’s own grandfather.

The late Vada Dasturji Kaikhushroo Jamaspasa was a highly learned, religious & pious High Priest. This late noble Dasturji had done the right thing, as mentioned in our scriptures and had never cowed down to the pressure from the so-called orthodox. We salute him for taking a bold, fearless & right step. Earnestly wish if the current High Priests could take such a courageous stand, as mentioned in our holy scriptures.

Attached is the text letter addressed to the BPP by Vada Dasturji Kaikhusroo Jamaspasa, wherein he clearly states that “there is no bar in our religion, to accept non-Zoroastrian converts”. It was also published in Jame Jamshed & Mumbai Samachar some years back.

This letter was written to the BPP in 1903, that is cool 107 years back, and till date no one, either from the BPP or from the orthodox have been able to prove from our scriptures, that what Vada Dasturji Jamaspasa mentioned & stated in his letter was not correct.

Please forward this to as many as possible.


Ratan Unwalla

Opinion of Dasturji Jamaspji

Befriending the Bishops

The visit by the senior-most primate bishop of the worldwide Anglican community gave a fresh impetus to the Zoroastrians in UK.

“To the best of my knowledge it is the first time in the history of Christianity
and Zoroastrianism that an Archbishop of Canterbury has made an official
visit to a Zoroastrian place of worship,” remarked Malcolm Deboo, president of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) when welcoming Dr Rowan Williams, the 104th Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. “In
the light of this community I feel that I am touching some very great root of the religious inspiration of so many of the world religious faiths at this
present point in time,” remarked the Archbishop adding that “for a small community in size your contribution is great… It’s important in this
country to remember the smaller communities of faith; just as I have sometimes said, there is no such thing as a small church, only small Christians. Heart and vision is what matters.”

A report by Parinaz Gandhi reproduced with the kind permission of Parsiana Click Here for the full report

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