Category Archives: Education

Ervad Jehan Bagli on University of Toronto FEZANA Professorship Opportunity

Sent on behalf of Fezana

For several years, our own Ervad Jehan Bagli and the FEZANA team has worked hard to establish an academic program for advanced studies and research in the Zoroastrian religion, and ancient Iranian languages of our texts in order to perpetuate them and keep from becoming extinct. This will offer students an opportunity to pursue advanced studies in Zoroastrianism, understand and translate the ancient languages, and will increase awareness of Zoroastrianism worldwide.

In 2018 FEZANA set up a scholastic committee to evaluate all proposals and options received for establishing an Institute of Zoroastrian Studies in North America. The committee unanimously recommended the University of Toronto’s (UOT) proposal. After further discussions, FEZANA received in May 2019 a proposal from the UOT to establish a Professorship of Zoroastrian studies. Under this proposal, UOT will create the position in perpetuity with an investment by FEZANA of US $1.5 million, to be matched by UOT funding of CAN $1.5 million.

UOT has a stated objective “to become a leader in Zoroastrian studies in North America”, and seeks to add to the present faculty of Iranian studies to teach courses on Zoroastrianism.

The Zoroastrian Studies program will be maintained in perpetuity and administered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern studies, Faculty of Arts and Science. It aspires “to permanently offer advanced training in [Avesta and Pahlavi] languages of the Zoroastrian scriptures and sacred texts. The aim is “to prepare a new generation of rigorously trained scholars who are dedicated to original research in primary Zoroastrian texts.”

As a Zoroastrian, I invite you to consider this very exciting proposal and donate before Nowruz 2020. To make your tax deductible contribution, visit and select the category: UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP.

If you prefer to mail a check, please make it out to “FEZANA” and in the memo indicate “UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP” and mail to: Rooky Fitter, FEZANA Treasurer, P O BOX 266, Sunset Beach, CA 90742.

CANADIAN DONORS: To Donate online, please click on “Donate” on the website of Zoroastrian Society of Ontario

To Donate by cheque, please use the special form provided in the ZSO “News” section of the ZSO website.

Friends, we need to act quickly as UOT’s offer for matching funds will expire on April 30, 2020.

Let’s not miss this opportunity if we are serious about promoting research in our ancient languages, texts, culture, traditions, etc. so that the world community is enlightened and our youth is empowered to continue to work with pride for generations to come.



Atha Zamyad, Yatha Afrinami

Homi D Gandhi

President, FEZANA

Japan Career Fair

If you are interested in working in Japan, please read on…. 
Japan is considered to be one of the most advanced countries in the world today, technologically and economically.
But in this rich and prosperous country, there is a shortage of young people. * There are millions of jobs, many scholarships available for young people in the age group of 18 to 35 in Japan. * But for that you need to be a graduate and at least learn the Japanese language.
Large Japanese companies like India, Sony, Canon, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Toyota, Toshiba, Fujitsu also give preference to young people who know Japanese. Therefore, there are good jobs available to young people of not only Japan but also to all those who speak Japanese.
With this in mind, a special seminar on “Japanese Language and Career”  has been organized on behalf of  Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Social and Educational Research Institute  for young people to know about career opportunities in Japanese and related fields. At this seminar, experts will present important guidance on the Japanese language and careers in Japan.
Program: “Japanese Language and Career Opportunities in Japan
Date: February 2, 2020,  11 am.
Location: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Cultural Bhavan, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Park, Sector-9, Behind the Shabari Hotel, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Organizer: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Social and Educational Research Institute, Vashi.
Courtesy : Armene Modi

Grant opportunity for cultural preservation: First Aid to Documentary Heritage Under Threat

Grant opportunity to preserve documentary heritage (manuscripts, rare books, archives, and other kinds of written records).  

Photo (C) Fundacion Conservartecuador, grantee of the second round of the call for proposals



The Prince Claus Fund (Netherlands) and the Whiting Foundation (New York) are currently accepting proposals for their joint “First Aid to Documentary Heritage Under Threat” program. The program awards grants averaging €15,000 for projects to conserve threatened documentary cultural heritage in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. During this cycle, Prince Claus and Whiting are encouraging applications from Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Central Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. The final deadline for statements of interest, which Prince Claus and Whiting will accept in either English, French, or Spanish, is January 10, 2020. They will evaluate applications on a rolling basis until then.

Visit the program website at

Fali Chothia Scholarships

The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust is accepting applications for its 29th annual scholarship awards. Scholarships are open to Zoroastrian students in North America enrolled in four-year or graduate-level programs. Awards are based on financial need, academic achievement, extracurricular activity and community service. They are given as outright gifts or no- and low-interest loans.

The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust was established in 1988 under the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington, Inc. (ZAMWI). The Trust provides scholarships to deserving Zoroastrian students enrolled in universities in North America, regardless of their country of origin. Applications may be downloaded from:

Scholarships for University of Oklahoma

ZOROASTRIAN FACULTY NETWORK in collaboration with R. D. SETHNA SCHOLARSHIP FUND invites Applications from Indian Zoroastrian students for grant of Loan Scholarships for the next academic year starting August 2020 for a two years Master’s Program in Engineering culminating in a Doctorate Degree.
The first Scholar would be admitted to the University of Oklahoma, USA provided he/she meets with the criteria of the University and the Selection Committee. The Scholar will be under the mentorship of Professor Farrokh Mistree in the areas of mechanical engineering, industrial engineering or data sciences.
The Scholar would be selected after an intense interview, scrutiny and will be mentored based on their academic performance, constructive service to the Zoroastrian community in the past and their spirit of selflessness to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they touch.
The selected candidate will be guided for further funding from other Charitable Trusts / Organizations.
The Scholar would be expected to pay back the scholarship grant in a reasonable period after graduation such that the monies can be utilized for other such scholars.
Applications may be submitted online at not later than 15th October 2019.

First in 215 yrs, woman to helm Asiatic Society

Balaporia holds a General Certificate of Education from Oxford (Photo by Raju Shinde)

For the first time in its 215-year-old history, a woman has been appointed as the president of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.
The announcement of 77-year-old Vispi Balaporia’s appointment was made on Saturday after she reportedly won 107 of 163 votes.

Elections for the head post of the historical institution are held every three years and a person can serve only two terms.
The daughter of Shavax Lal, who worked as secretary to Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, Balaporia retired as the Head of the Department of English, and vice-principal of Jai Hind College. Currently, she is a visiting faculty at the BMM Department of Jai Hind College.
Talking to Mirror, the acclaimed academician stressed on the importance of ensuring the completion of ongoing projects and generating funds.
“Several projects depend on the generosity of donors; such as the conservation of old and rare books, as well as a large collection of old maps that require restoration. Experts who undertake such specialised work need to be paid. Then, there are infrastructural improvements as well, for which plans are ready, but permissions have to be obtained and funding sought.”

Click Here for the full story in Mumbai Mirror

Alka Dhupkar – Mumbai Mirror

Patuck Polytechnic Trust chairman Adil Patuck: 60% of our students are from families with no formal education

Adil Patuck – Chairman

Mumbai-based Patuck Polytechnic Trust offers dual-medium schooling, along with technical training that has options of college education. The institution focuses in enhancing the skill levels of eligible people from the economically weaker session of the society thus creating growth possibilities. Adil Patuck, Chairman of the institution, delves into the Trust philosophy and elaborates on the vision of bringing in the much needed change, in a chat with Pankaj Joshi.

We believe in preserving the environment. So, we have our own composting facilities. The solar power module generates 60-75 units a day, which covers 15 per cent of the campus usage. We are currently working with the BMC in the area of disaster management.

Edited excerpts:

Can you elaborate on the formation of the trust?
Patuck Polytechnic Trust is in its 87th year. It was founded by my great-uncle, Rustamba Patuck. He was a textile merchant who for long time was based out of Manchester. In the latter part of his life, he came back to India with the desire to serve the society. He did not believe in doles in any form. His aim was to give a sustained dignified life to people, and concentrated on improving the skill sets. The technical school concept was not so common in those days. People would normally aspire for desk jobs. But he wanted to make them work according to their skills. The Trust was formed in 1932 and the Technical Institute began in 1936 with just nine students. Unfortunately, he expired in the very same year.

Till late 80s, our student strength would be in the range of 300 and between standard 8-11. The objective was to give better and integrated education to those who completed their seventh grade in Municipal schools (the maximum education provided by those schools). We aimed at inculcating dignity of labour, and entrepreneurship. Students from our institute directly secured an apprentice in workshops. Some would pursue further technical studies and a few have even become entrepreneurs.

In the early 90s, Maganbhai Gala, a builder donated a building to the trust. Thanks to him, with this additional space, we have embarked on the next level of growth. Now we offer education from nursery till graduation. At present, we are in the process of obtaining permission for post-graduate education in commerce.

What is the current student strength?
Our student strength adds up to more than 4,000 currently. Nursery and pre-primary strength is 360, and primary session has 470 students. In the secondary segment (English medium) is 660 and in vernacular 560. Our junior college has three streams—science with 330 students, commerce with 480 students and the vocational stream has around 300.

For B.Com stream, there are about 850 students and another 90 in the specialised banking/ insurance course of B.Com. Our BMS strength is around 160. In all this, we get government aid for vernacular school; the science and technical streams of junior college. For the M.Com, the university stipulated strength is 60 seats, which we expect to reach in two-three years of operation.

What are the facilities being offered in the campus?
The campus is spread across three acres and has a built-up area of 60,000 square feet. Today, the classes are held between 7 am to 6 pm. We plan to conduct the proposed post graduate classes between 6 pm and 9 pm. All our classrooms are smart classes. We adopted the smart class philosophy six-seven years ago, and we are among one of the few schools in Mumbai to do so. We have a reading room of 1,000 sq feet, and has multiple laboratories – apart from physics, chemistry and biology labs. We have facility catering to electronics, electrical equipment, mechanical activity, automobiles, building maintenance etc. A workshop with lathe machine and even a CNC machine is also part of our facility. We have an auditorium with a seating capacity up to 500.

We believe in preserving the environment. So, we have our own composting facilities which generate the manure for our garden. The solar power module generates 60-75 units a day, which covers 15 per cent of the campus usage. We are currently working with the BMC in the area of disaster management, one of the very few to do so.

Patuck Polytechnic Trust chairman Adil Patuck: 60% of our students are from families with no formal education

Can you elaborate on the student profile?
As you are aware, our students are from the economically weaker segment. The estimate is that 60 per cent of students are from families where no one has had formal education. Therefore, you can guess the enormity of courage they took and the kind of challenge they face at home while persuading education. With a heart brimming with happiness we watch these students securing higher marks and the result is 90 per cent and above in SSC
(Std X).  Though the vernacular and technical stream students come directly from Municipal schools, it is proud to note that we have 90 per cent results in these category as well.

What is your staff strength?
The total staff strength is 185, of which teaching staff is around 130, where nursery has eight, primary nine and secondary 32 in the aggregate. Our junior college has 20 teaching staff in science, 12 in commerce and 17 in the vocational stream. The senior college teaching staff is around 28. In addition, we have 56 support staff across non-teaching functions. In the two decades since we have broadened our education portfolio, we have had around 5,000 placements across different areas – technical workshops, medical laboratories, auto workshops, and maintenance units. As entrepreneurs, some of our students have been spectacularly successful.

BVS Parsi High School celebrates its 160th anniversary

KARACHI: The Bai Virbaijee Soparivala (BVS) Parsi High School celebrated its 160 years with prayers and a grand Milad on Thursday.

The BVS Parsi High School was founded in 1859 by Seth Shapurji Hormusji Soparivala and his family in a small Parsi Balakshala housed in the residence of Dadabhoy Palonji Paymaster. But as the school-going community increased, it outgrew the building. In 1869, Seth Shapurji lost his beloved wife, Bai Virbaiji. In May 1870 Seth Shapurji, who had been so far the greatest benefactor of the school, donated Rs10,000 on the condition that the school be named the Parsi Virbaiji School.

This school for Parsi children, shifted to the present school building on Abdullah Haroon Road in 1905. After the subcontinent’s partition in 1947, the school’s then principal Behram Rustomji opened its doors for the very first time to non-Parsis on the request of the Quaid-i-Azam. Today, Muslim students are in a majority here.

Now Muslim students outnumber the others in the institution set up for Parsi children

There were separate special morning prayers held for the students and teachers who followed the Zoroastrian religion and the Muslim, Christian and Hindu religions. In the school’s assembly area there were the boys attending the Milad in their crisp white shalwar kameez and matching prayer caps.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Meanwhile the boys on stage started with a recitation from the Holy Quran followed by Hamd, Naat and several speeches throwing light on the various aspects of Prophet Mohammad’s (Peace Be Upon Him) character and way of life such as ‘The Prophet as a Teacher’, ‘The Prophet as a Father’ and lectures about the bad habit of talking behind people’s backs and the importance of honesty.

Uzair Ahmed, an old Virbaijeeite, who happened to have the most beautiful of voices, and who passed out of the school a few years ago returned to present a few Hamd and Naat before two teachers — Shabana and Sania Saleem — took over.

The master of ceremonies, young Zaigham Abbas of class five, really impressed here with his confidence. Later, at the conclusion on the milad, he led the prayers as well.

Finally, Kermin Parakh, principal of BVS Parsi High School, joked that it was amazing that even though the school had turned 160 years old no one here looked that old. She also spoke about the old Virbaijeeite Uzair and teased him for having grown a little beard and mustache now. “I still remember how you mesmerised us with your angelic voice in class one,” she said before asking everyone to join her in prayer for the school’s, the city’s and country’s prosperity.

“We have children here following separate religions but we are all united for the same cause. May we always stay united,” she said before asking the school band to play the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Congratulations’ followed by the school song for which everyone stood up in respect of the noble organisation.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2019

Shazia Hasan

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