Category Archives: Books

A Peek Into The Institution That Birthed Tata Leaders – Tata Administrative Service

Here is an excerpt from the book:

JRD had been deeply influenced by John Peterson who had worked for the ICS (Indian Civil Service) before joining the Tatas. His own experience as an Executive Assistant to the Britisher planted the idea in JRD’s mind that the Tatas needed something that would be akin to an ‘ICS for the Tatas’.

A cadre-based system like the ICS, or the IAS as the service was renamed after Independence, appealed to JRD. He had spent his early years in France and had also served in the French Army. In French society, cadres had come to represent a kind of social reference point. Some cadres also had military antecedents, but their collective identity had jumped the divide from being purely professional to commanding social position and status.

In French society, cadres had become aspirational social groups and part of the French elite. Moreover, the social esteem enjoyed by cadres was not shallow, merely based on titles. Instead, it was linked to a rigorous education system; premier educational institutions (the ‘Grandes Écoles’ were able to attract the best students) and the most reputed companies, chose to come to these institutions to look for bright managers. Over time, a virtuous circle developed—the institutions would select the best students, and the best French companies would recruit them, leading to these Grandes Écoles becoming the destinations of choice for more young bright students.

The concept of a cadre-based administrative system has also been part of Indian society for thousands of years. Kautilya’s famous text, Arthashastra, talks about a large and complex bureaucracy as a remarkable feature of the governance structure within the Mauryan empire. This was a well-organized, hierarchical, and cadre-based administrative system, which allowed the government to regulate the economic life of the kingdom. It was hugely aspirational for the common people to be part of this elite cadre. Kautilya laid down guidelines and qualifications for people who could be part of this cadre. The cadre envisioned by JRD had features of both the French and the Indian systems. JRD and the Superior Staff Recruitment Committee proposed the recruitment of young people from the best universities around the world, including Oxbridge. The importance of choosing officers for the cadre from ‘good families’, with an appropriate work ethic and values, was emphasized.

The Committee’s desire to recruit from well-known universities was also linked to the fact that there were no management institutes in India in the 1950s. Most people started to work straight after their graduation and worked their way up the corporate ladder. But JRD was clear in his direction to the Committee. He was looking for future leaders— people who would not only grow in the Group to take on leadership positions but also individuals who would perpetuate the Tata values across the Group companies. JRD envisaged that the members of the Tata cadre would be encouraged to move between different Tata companies and functional areas before settling down in one company. JRD was also mindful of the fact that the IAS was the most aspirational civil services cadre in India. It drew the best and the brightest from across the country. IAS officers, immediately after their induction, were given positions of considerable responsibility and power, and regularly moved between various departments/ministries of the Government of India. Those selected were looked upon as men and women of caliber and integrity by others. The administrative framework was described by India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, as the ‘Steel Frame’ for governance in India.

By 1956, JRD had the recommendations of the Superior Staff Recruitment Committee before him, as well as the myriad inputs he had gleaned from a variety of sources in India, Britain, and France. He recognized the value of the equivalent of the ‘Steel Frame’—the Indian Administrative Service—represented for the Tata Group. The Tatas were not as complex or disparate as India, but JRD was convinced that the time had come for such a cadre to be put into place.

Buy this book at Amazon –


Ava Mehta’s New Book – Shahnameh for Kids

My name is Ava mehta and I am a book writer for Zoroastrian kids .
My book sales will help a cancer charity in the Uk where I reside as I myself have just battled stage three breast cancer. Thus the book although the Shahname for children also brings about the constant battle between Good and evil that we encounter daily in all our lives.
Many thanks
Ava Mehta


Orders and payments accepted now Please email:
Limited 1st edition hardback with silk bookmark £26.99 +p&p (Also available from Amazon U.K from October 2022 )

A donation from the sales of this book will go towards the fight against cancer (Cancer Research UK)


Tanaz Bhathena Wins Inaugural Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize

Tanaz Bhathena Wins Inaugural
Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize

The Inaugural Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize was announced at a glittering Award Ceremony at the 12th World Zoroastrian Congress 2022 in New York on Saturday July 2, 2022. The genesis for the Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize is under the sponsorship of the Zoroastrian Association of Houston and FEZANA Information Research Education System.This award is the first of its kind to be awarded once every two years to a Zoroastrian fiction writer.

Named after Bapsi Sidhwa, who lives in Houston, TX, the first recognized Zoroastrian writer with an international reputation, a precursor to representing Parsi literature.

We received entries from India, United Kingdom, Canada and the US and were judged by an independent panel of three recognized judges.

In the years to come we hope to widen the scope and recognize Zoroastrian authors in other fields of literature.

The winner of this award will receive a beautiful medal and a 2000 USD cash prize.

The winner of the Award is Tanaz Bhathena and the title of the book is ‘Hunted by the Sky’

Congratulations to Tanaz. Unfortunately she could not be present in person.

Her acceptance speech and the entire Award presentation can be viewed in the video below.

About Tanaz Bhathena

Tanaz Bhathena is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her books include Of Light and Shadow (forthcoming in 2023), Hunted by the Sky, which won the White Pine Award and the Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize, and The Beauty of the Moment, which won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her acclaimed debut, A Girl Like That, was named a Best Book of the Year by numerous outlets including The Globe and MailSeventeen, and The Times of India.  Her short stories have appeared in various publications including The HinduBlackbirdWitness, and Room. Born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada, Tanaz lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with her family.

Continue reading on

Want to know what new items have just arrived in the FIRES Library?

Go to our website and click on library catalog.

FEZANA Information, Research and Education System (FIRES) is a centralized collection of books, manuscripts, literature, magazines, and scholarly research materials in print and electronic form, primarily pertaining to Zarathushti faith, culture, and history.

FIRES was established in 2010, and is housed and managed by the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH) Library. It is accessible by all FEZANA Associations and individuals.

Through this quarterly newsletter we would like to update you of the various activities at FIRES right through the year. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome at

The Magicians of Mazda: Absorbing thriller with immense history lessons about Parsis

Ashwin Sanghi’s book is worth reading because it will enrich us with the history and philosophy of a great community on the verge of extinction but that deserves to live long for the sake of humanity

The Magicians of Mazda: Absorbing thriller with immense history lessons about Parsis

Photograph by Mazda Studios

Ashwin Sanghi has an extraordinary talent for bringing ancient wisdom alive with his thorough research, then whipping up a fast-paced thriller by blending facts with fiction. In his latest offering too, he doesn’t disappoint.

The most interesting and surprising is his choice of the Zoroastrian religion and its followers as the central theme of this thriller. Were it written by a Parsi, it might have been easier. But, for a Sanatani to take up this challenge is a tribute to his readiness to dive into unknown waters. One comes to know about one of the oldest religions of the world and its followers who have suffered worse persecution, genocide, and atrocities. After reading the book, one might wonder if they suffered more than many other races and communities. Only a few Parsis are left to tell their tale.

Hardly any Parsi is left in the land of her origin, Persia or Iran as it is known today. Not much is known about this great religion due to its antiquity and the nature of Parsis who treat their religion as an intensely private affair. They, like Hindus, haven’t cared to tell the world about their history of sustained persecution and holocaust. They have been with us for centuries and have contributed immensely to the progress of this nation much beyond their numbers. We lionise them but we don’t know them in a real sense.

Ashwin Sanghi fills up this huge gap in our knowledge and helps us understand their legacy. Being a total outsider, one is wonderstruck by the humongous and honest effort put in by him. I might say, it is an Indian’s tribute to his brethren who came all the way to escape their persecution. They not only became one with their land of adoption but also enriched it.

The Magicians of Mazda Absorbing thriller with immense history lessons about Parsis

Screenshot from

It is not a good idea to reveal the plot of a thriller. But, to give you a bare idea; the chief protagonist is the keeper of a relic that is as old as the Zoroastrian religion itself as he belongs to a priestly class of the community. He doesn’t know its importance till the intelligence networks from various countries come after him. He is a prodigious scientist who has created a wonder drug, so a pharma MNC is after him to get the details. Soon others are after him as they too smell the scent of the trail. So, for him it is a double whammy. He passes through a nightmarish situation, helped along by her devoted non-Parsi scholar wife who is a researcher of history. In this book the scenario shifts to Ayatollah’s Iran with strings being pulled from across the globe till the hero is finally flown out of hell with the help of Mossad and RAW. On the way, there are masters of espionage, unpredictable twists and turns and double-crosses — a hallmark of Sanghi’s writings.

For a change, this thriller flows a little easier as compared to the wild roller coaster ride of The Rosabell Line or The Vault of Vishnu. He delves deeper into the philosophical and historical side of storytelling here. The build-up to understanding the significance of Zoroastrian teachings, the horror faced by the Parsi community, exodus of a small number of Parsis to Bharat, repeat of the horrors they faced in their motherland due to renewed attack by Islamist zealot on them in Gujarat till the peaceful settlement, their hard-earned success, the hell faced by their brethren in Iran over centuries after having ruled a huge empire for nearly 400 years — all this is brought out vividly by the master storyteller.

It is worth every page that you turn over, to learn about them. One can’t help but note that just as Kashmiri Hindus had a brief 140 years of peace during Raja Ranjit Singh and Dogra rulers in Jammu and Kashmir after centuries of persecution, Parsis too enjoyed the spring of Pahlavi rule in Iran for a few decades. But, alas, both thought that spring would last; it didn’t.

The piece de resistance comes in the last section as the author exploits his key strength of finding the common threads between Zorastrian and Vedic texts and challenges us with his conclusions. Similarity between the ancient Avestan language and Sanskrit is brought alive by the dextrous pen of the author, and one is wonderstruck.

In one place, a character notes, “It is fashionable these days to ignore history in order to preserve the peace between faiths. And I am all for peace and interfaith understanding. But, that process must start with recognising what happened.  Forced conversions did happen, and destruction of Zoroastrian places of worship did happen. Redeployment of fire temples as mosques did happen. Identification of Zoroastrians as a polluted being, najiz, did happen…. Compulsory humiliation of those paying jizya did happen.”

Sounds ominously familiar. Lessons of history need to be learnt by all civil societies or they are in danger of being run over by uncivil brute forces, as it happened during the medieval period.

American historian Will Durant had aptly said, “The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilisation is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.” He might as well have been speaking about the Zoroastrian nation of Parsis.

This book is worth reading because it will enrich us with the history and philosophy of a great community on the verge of extinction but that deserves to live long for the sake of humanity. It is an absorbing thriller that has lessons for the current generation too. For, history repeats itself if we don’t learn from it.

The reviewer is a well-known author and writer. Views expressed are personal.

Ratan Sharda


Book Available on Amazon at

Adi Pocha Launches His Debut Novel “Behram’s Boat” Published By Leadstart

Mumbai: Author Adi Pocha released his debut fiction Novel “Behram’s Boat” published by Leadstart in Mumbai. Born into a show-biz family, (his father was a comedian, his mother a doctor and a singer, and his aunt is Usha Uthup) Adi Pocha started his writing career in 1984 as a copywriter in an advertising agency called Shilpi, after which he was hired by Lintas in 1985. Adi has a love for writing and that inspired him to write his Novel. The launch event witnessed the presence of Usha Uthup, Farhan Akhtar and other celebrities

“Behram’s Boat” is a funny, whimsical story of one eccentric, cranky old Parsi’s struggle to build a boat that will save his people. And bring meaning to his life.

“Behram’s Boat is a fascinating narrative of one eccentric old Parsi’s struggle to find meaning in life by attempting to accomplish a task destined to doom. We at Leadstart are proud to publish this book with a unique storyline,” says Swarup Nanda, Founder, and CEO, Leadstart.

When satellite TV was launched in India in 1992, Adi Pocha conceptualized and directed the immensely popular game show, “Saanp Seedi”. Then went on to create, write, direct and executive produce India’s first daily soap, “Shanti”. While he now runs his own corporate and documentary filmmaking company, he has always thought of writing as his first love. “It took me 5 years to write Behram’s Boat and another 10 years to get it published. It is my labour of love. And I hope that it touches the lives of even a few people in some way.” Adi Pocha said.

A book about Finding Purpose, “Behram’s Boat” tells the story of Behram Rustomjee, a 65-year-old eccentric Parsi, and reforming alcoholic, who feels he has one last chance at redeeming his hitherto not very noble life: By building a boat that will save his tribe, the Parsis, a people on the verge of extinction. He will build a ship of wood and sail, similar to those that carried his ancestors more than a thousand years ago when they fled from Persia. He will sail this vessel as his forefathers did, but the other way around, from India to Iran. And he will invite 50 young Parsi couples to voyage along with him… and fornicate like hell. In the hope that at the end of his epic journey many little Parsi children may be conceived and his race, his kind, his people, will be saved. Unfortunately, his grand idea, his one last shot at leaving something to mark his time on the planet, isn’t exactly well-received.

The book was highly praised at the launch by the guests for the hard work the author has put up in the work. The book is a must-read for everyone. “I read the book in one sitting! I started reading it in the evening and finished at 4 am! A fabulous book. Loved it.” says Prahlad Kakar, Ad Film Guru. “Behram’s Boat” traces the funny, whimsical, and fatally hopeless story of one man as he struggles to build his boat, to end his life on a note of significant achievement.

Ardeshir & Pirojsha Godrej – Pioneers of Success – Amar Chitra Katha

125 years ago, Ardeshir Godrej, a young man of 29 years, set up a small

factory in Lalbaug in Bombay to make locks – the first of its kind in India.

This was the humble origin, of what today has become a trusted household

name—‘Godrej’. The story of the Godrej family is a tale of courage, innovation

and entrepreneurship.

Ardeshir Burjorji Godrej dealt with personal tragedy and many

disappointments before finding his true calling – making complex mechanisms

for locks. He was an inventor, who looked up to nationalist leaders like

Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma

Gandhi. Infuriated by India’s impoverishment at the hands of the British, the

call to action of the Swadeshi Movement resonated deeply with him. After

successfully launching businesses in locks, safes, and soaps; his agile mind

never ceased to look for new products to prove that ‘Made in India’ quality

could not only meet, but exceed world class standards.

Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej was Ardeshir’s younger brother, who had a

penchant for numbers, and shared the same nationalist ideals as his sibling.

He expanded the business into steel furniture, typewriters, refrigerators,

forklift trucks, trucks and machine tools. Meticulous about quality, customer

satisfaction and worker’s welfare, his most notable achievement was the

transformation of the tiny hamlet of Vikhroli (a suburb in Mumbai) into a

thriving industrial township, renamed Pirojshanagar after his death in 1972.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

“ JOY, AWE AND TEARS – My association with Sargam” by Shireen Isal

I was delighted when, during my recent trip to Mumbai, Jane Borges from Mid-Day, offered to interview me.  I have just released “Joy, Awe and Tears”, an account of forty years of artists’ management in Europe and she offered me the opportunity to expound on precisely those joys, awe – and tears too – of what was, in total, a magical profession.

Please find below the Mid-Day article, for which I thank Jane very warmly.

The book is available: in India at ; in the UK at and in France and continental Europe at

Did you know about half-Parsis?

Did you know about the ‘fifty-fifty’ Parsis?

Turns the spotlight on a previously unexplored community in Mumbai

Published by Speaking Tiger, Half-Blood by Pronoti Datta is a shining new debut that announces the arrival of a bold, witty and intelligent writer in the spectrum of Indian fiction.

At first glance, nothing seems to be extraordinary about Maya, who is the protagonist of the novel. A 34-year old journalist, she is the adopted child of a Bengali couple who constantly seems to be swimming in the deep waters of an existential crisis (who isn’t?), and in an attempt to cope with said crisis, frequently resorts to smoking pot or hanging out with her latest boyfriend. And Maya’s story would have continued along this vein, had it not been for an intriguing box of inheritance that arrives for her one day – an inheritance that leads her to Burjor Elavia.

Born in Gujarat, Burjor Elavia is a ‘fifty-fifty’ or an Adhkhachru, which means that he is the illegitimate son of a Parsi man and a tribal woman. As an young-adult, he makes his way to the vibrant city of Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay), where he lives a life in the shadows – revelling in promiscuity and recklessness. As he journeys through life, he encounters other ‘fifty-fifty’s just like himself, all of whom are leading similar lives, trying to get through from one day to the next. In their colourful, sometimes moving life stories, Maya tries to trace her own beginnings and in the process, chalks out what her future might look like.

Despite addressing serious questions of community, belonging, womanhood and life, the charm of Half-Blood lies in how it manages to keep the tone light-hearted and simple throughout the book. A rare mix of entertaining and thought-provoking, the novel promises to be an enjoyable read from start to finish.

« Older Entries