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The Board of Trustees and Members of the Governing Body
THE K R CAMA ORIENTAL INSTITUTE
invite you to a lecture along with a power-point presentation
“‘Lost Worlds’: Parsi ‘Çultures’ And
Strongmen In Twentieth Century Bombay”
Dr Namrata Ganneri
Avabai Wadia Research Fellowship in memory of Phiroz Mehta
6 pm on Wednesday, 14th March 2018
in the Dr Sir J J Modi Memorial Hall of the Institute
136 Bombay Samachar Marg, Opposite Lion Gate, Fort,
Mumbai – 400 023
Dr Louiza Rodrigues
Professor, Department Of History,
Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Mumbai
Do join us for tea at 5.30 pm
Right of Admission Reserved
‘Lost Worlds’: Parsi ‘Cultures’ and strongmen in twentieth century Bombay
Parsi patronage as well as participation in most modern ‘organised’ sports is well- documented and discussed, but their participation in ‘physical culture movement’ remains obscure and under-investigated. The ‘Physical Culture Movement’ emanating from the North-Atlantic world consisted of various combinations of gymnastics, calisthenics, weight-lifting and dieting to develop muscular, healthy bodies and had adherents all over the world by the first few decades of the twentieth century. Consequently, ‘Physical Culture Homes’ or ‘Çultures’ were founded and physical culture became a craze amongst many Parsi men (and some women) in the city of Bombay.
This lecture traces the history of ‘Physical Culture Homes’ and some iconic strongmen and physical culturists who emerged from these institutes. Many of these men were ‘local heroes’ and are still alive in ‘community memory’ though their histories have not been recorded in any conventional historical archive. The lecture also retrieves traditions of Parsi involvement in ‘índigenous’ wrestling and allied sports and comments on continuities with older traditions of body-building. Finally, the lecture will also be an opportunity to showcase the wealth of material collected during interviews with elderly physical -culture enthusiasts and strongmen of the community.
The Alliance Française de Pune
Poona Music Society,
a concert called
“Gathas : Songs my father taught me.”
under the label of
Bonjour India 2017-18.
Thursday, 22nd February | 7 PM
Mazda Hall, Dastur Primary School, Camp
The Gathas are the prayers of Zoroastrianism, the monotheistic religion of Ancient Persia. These poems from philosopher and prophet Zarathustra date from about 3700 years. They are surprisingly modern, expressing the life, doubts and choices of a man. As there are no records of the way they were sung originnally, Franco-Iranian Ariana Vafadari composed every song according to radifs or oriental scales. It results in music that constantly vibrates between its Oriental mystic foundations and their matching Western opera. Ariana Vafadari and her musicians have a common trait, they unremittingly stretch musical boundaries. In perfect continuity with their cultural and musical backgrounds, they were trained by traditional Iranian, Ottoman and Moroccan music, jazz, Western classical music or opera, in their improvisations and the practice of their instruments, they travel freely from one world to the next.
This concert is organised in association with Poona Music Society.
The central province of Yazd is home to a large population of Iranian Zoroastrians. This past Tuesday, they celebrated the annual mid-winter feast “Jashn-e Sadeh” by preparing a large bonfire (also known as Adur-Jashan, or Feast of fire).
The annual festivity honors fire, the defeat of darkness/cold and signifies the coming of Spring.
Click Here for more pics
Whether it is the matter of globalization and social media growth or not, several celebrations and festivals which are originated from the West have permeated the Iranian calendar over recent years.
In all parts of the world, such events are rooted in ancient religious events, myths or lifestyle of people and Western ceremonies are not an exception.
However, Iran has one of the world’s richest civilizations boasting many events and celebrations similar to Western galas with nearly the same backstories.
Yet many of these ceremonies have fallen into oblivion and replaced with Western versions.
Valentine’s vs. Sepandarmazgan
In early February, the shop windows in Tehran and some other big cities nationwide turn to red color, reminding passersby of the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Many Iranians celebrate the day with big red teddies and red roses on February 14.
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.
Iran has one of the world’s richest civilizations boasting many events and celebrations similar to Western galas with nearly the same backstories. Yet many of these ceremonies have fallen into oblivion and replaced with Western versions.
Sepandarmazgan, an ancient Persian festival with Zoroastrian roots, is widely known as the Iranian Day of Love, which is celebrated on February 24.
This day is dedicated to Spenta Armaiti, the Amesha Spenta who is given the domain of “Earth”. The date of the festival as observed in the Sassanid era was on the 5th day of the month Spandarmad, the last month of Iranian calendar, Esfand, which is from February 20 to March 20.
The deity Spandarmad protected the Earth and the good, chaste and beneficent wife who loves her husband.
In recent years, many Iranians have taken steps to introduce Sepandarmazgan as a national replica for Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated ten days after its Western edition.
Christmas vs. Noruz
Christian Armenians in Iran celebrate Christmas each year in different parts of the country.
Some Christian neighborhoods offer Christmas sweets and ornaments days before Christmas.
However in recent years, confectionaries, photography studios and other stores offer Christmas packages to their customers and many non-Christians hold Christmas party and reunion.
- Noruz, the Iranian New Year Celebration, is annually held on March 21, worldwide by the Iranians, along with some other nations, as the beginning of the New Year.
The United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Noruz in 2010, describing it as a spring festival of Iranian origin, which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.
House cleaning and shopping, Haft Seen (a tabletop arrangement of seven symbolic items), visiting one another and Sizdebedar (last day of Noruz holidays spent outdoor in the nature) are some predominant rituals on the occasion of the event.
A photographic studio in Tehran offers decoration for Halloween – theme decoration
Halloween vs. harvest festivals
In the past, Halloween was a celebration Iranians watched just in movies. However, in recent years, it has been turned into a celebration for many Iranians.
They celebrate the event as a reunion in which foods and deserts made from pumpkin is served.
Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, which has roots in age-old European traditions.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Iranians in different regions celebrate harvest season in different ways.
Farmers all over Iran celebrate their harvest time which may vary based on the types of products.
Today we are more connected with people in all parts of the world more than any time in history, which has its own pros and cons.
If we are aware, maybe it turns into a chance for us to benefit from historical experiences of other nations but what is clear is that being a mere replica of others is not the way we should take.