11th World Zoroastrian Congress, Perth 2018 – A Brief Report


The 11th World Zoroastrian Congress – Post Congress Report

A very big Thank You to all the delegates and speakers who flew into Perth, Australia from over 14 different countries to join the 11th World Zoroastrian Congress (11WZC) in the Astral Rooms, Crown Complex, exactly one week ago today.

A special note of thanks to all our generous donors and sponsors especially from Hongkong, India & Dubai, as well as to the team of global supporters and to our very own Team Australia – we truly appreciated your assistance and support in making this a fantastic and memorable event! The theme of the Congress Together, towards tomorrow, was embodied throughout the 3 wonderful days.

The official 11WZC photographs and videos of the presentations will be made available to all our delegates and those that would like a copy shortly, at cost. Please stay tuned, for more information on how this can be purchased, which will be sent out separately in the next few weeks.

Day 1 – Friday 1st June 2018:

The day began with a meeting of the Global Working Group (GWG) in the morning where many positive outcomes were recorded for the future of our global community.

At exactly 2.20 pm as per plans, the doors of the Astral ballrooms were opened to the delegates who were all dressed up in their traditional dress of saris and daglis and were greeted with a blast of the popular Zoroastrian song – Chaiye Hame Zarthosti. As the delegates settled in their chairs after meeting old friends, the Religious Khushali nu Jashan commenced at 2.30 pm sharp. It was led by Ervad Saheb Aspandiyaar Dadachanji and completed with the help of the other Ervads from Iran, France, USA, and of course Sydney & Perth.

After the Jashan, the Master of Ceremonies Zarine Commissariat, AfreedMistry and Farzana Khambatta took over and the Ervads were felicitated by our Congress Chairman Mr Firoz Pestonji, for their contribution to the community. Aspandiyar jee also gave a short speech informing the people of the importance of the Jashan ceremony. The chasni and fruits along with the Sev, Ravo & Malido which was made by Perth volunteers was served to delegates on their tables and an interactive audience participative session with icebreakers commenced.

After this we had the Traditional Welcome to Country with a dance performance by the Wadubah Dance Group of Perth which enthralled the delegates and kept them spellbound. Once the traditional open was completed we had a select few delegates marching in country wise, into the Astral room where they planted their country’s flag into the flowerpots at the front of the stage and stood to attention while their countries’ national anthem was being played. This was the first time a concept like this has ever been carried out at a Zoroastrian World Congress – where all 14 countries represented were given acknowledgment to portray how we, Zoroastrians are spread out all over the world but are linked together by our wonderful religion and ancient culture. Australia as host country came in last to a loud round of applause & led forward by young people and the future generation especially the Chairpersons grandchildren.

The Congress Chairman then gave a small speech and officially opened the Congress. He informed delegates of the background of the Congress and gave a quick rundown of the next few days of activities. This was followed by a display of messages from prominent global leaders flashed on the screen for the delegates. Shri Amit Mishra – the Consul General of India in Perth then gave his welcome speech. He enumerated the important role of the Zoroastrian community in India and was sure that globally too, Zoroastrians were making their contributions and their mark.

Next, the Global Zoroastrian leaders welcomed the delegates to Perth. This was followed by the welcome address of the Premier of Western Australia, Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, who personally welcomed all delegates to enjoy the West Australian hospitality and also introduced the first Zoroastrian MLA – Mr Yaz Mubarakai to the people. The Premier also presented a token of appreciation to all of our major donors and supporters of the Congress as well as launching the 11WZC Legacy Book on Zarathushtra. A short film and book launch of Life & Times of Zarathushtra followed, compiled by Meher Bhesania of Dubai.

All the local Australian volunteers were thanked and introduced on stage and then the evening’s entertainment line-up followed. All of the entertainment was heart thumping and each piece was a colorful and riveting – each performance from the youngsters surpassed all expectations. The evening kept going on with DJ and music from Zee Band of Houston who had specially flown in from the USA to entertain the delegates during all three evenings of the Congress. To finish the night everyone enjoyed the sumptuous and plentiful buffet dinner and dessert by the Crown Complex which was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

Day 2 – Saturday 2nd June 2018:

Day 2 began on schedule at 8.30 am with a Monajat performed by Mani Rao of USA. Followed by a short presentation on the film – Wings of Fire by Meherji Madan. After this, we had very captivating speeches and presentations by Yaz Mubarakai MLA from Jandakot, Dr Esfandiyar Ekhtiyari of Iran and Zoroastrian demographics from Roshan Rivetna of USA. For detailed information of programmes please refer to the website or souvenir book supplied.

After morning tea, the interesting topics and speakers continued and covered a vast range of topics from women empowerment – ‘Moving into the 21st Century’ led by Behroze Daruwala to Daraya Awat from Kurdistan to Berjis Desai and Khojeste Mistree who offered interesting viewpoints in their areas of expertise.  During the lunchtime break, we also had a magic show to dazzle our delegates while they enjoyed their meals.

After afternoon tea we had a young 18-year-old New Zealand entrepreneur and CEO Rishad Maneksha give us a presentation on how he and his team started a business converting scrap items into reusable items. A fascinating youth panel came next, led by Arzan Wadia – Vice President of FEZANA after which we had other dedicated youth leaders, speaking about futuristic foresight and offering future solutions to preserve Zoroastrianism by Radman Khorshidian (Iran) & Kobad Bhavnagri (Australia).

In the concurrent session room, delegates were able to listen to an interesting topic on the Gathas by Dr Meheravar Marzbani, followed by the World Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) panel of entrepreneurs led by Rustom Engineer of USA. Dr Mehran Sepheri presented a very intriguing topic of discussion on 1000 Points of light which was followed by a special presentation by Rati Wadi on the eminent Parsis which kept people enthralled. Mobed Kourush Niknam elaborated on the different groups of Zoroastrians worldwide & the Prophets insights into the behavior of the Youth.

The day ended with dinner and dancing on board a splendid Swan River Cruise which was organized by Aussie Perth Tours our Zoroastrian Tour Operators with live music by The Zee Band and a dance performed by Zenia Sunavala of Houston as well as Louisa Wood and Damaris –Australian Salsa World Champions. The dance floor was packed most evening and with regret, the cruise ended.  Ferrita was the 4th MC.

Day 3 – Sunday 3rd June 2018:

Day 3 also began on time at 8.30 am with a Gatha rendition by RashinJahangiri of Iran & Monajat by Mani Rao followed by a short presentation of a film on Australian Zoroastrians presented by the Melbourne Zoroastrians. We had the privilege of listening to non-Zoroastrian speakers of Australia who have done tremendous work being involved with our religion and culture. DrAlison Betts spoke of archaeological digs she is involved within the middle eastern regions and David Adams talked of his experiences and discoveries showing us his wonderful historical films. This was followed by Mr Yazdi Tantra who presented us the various means and the vast resources we have available to digitally connect to each other around the world.

After the tea break, Darya Awat spoke of her experiences again (due to public request) and was followed by Dinshaw Tamboly informing delegates of his philanthropy work in Gujarat. Sam Bulsara then presented to us the advantages of using marketing and media to build up a strong global community. Behram Pastakia moderated a panel of global leaders who explained to our delegates what their respective organizations stand for and a quick run through of their activities. The organizations included the GWG, FEZANA, WZCC, FAZA (Federation of Australian and New Zealand Associations) and ZTFE (Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe ).

Lunch was followed by Mr Rohinton Rivetna of USA who has been a backbone and visionary within our community, explaining to our delegates how our community can take a leading role in various interfaith movements globally. Malcolm Deboo of ZTFE then presented to us the in dept research which has been completed on various British Zoroastrian defense personnel during World War 1 period along with personal anecdotes of these leaders. This was followed by a truly inspiring panel session by the noteworthy Zoroastrian entrepreneurs led by Sam Bulsara.

Mr Xerxes Dastur spoke of prevailing Indian conditions, tax implications andentrepreneurship. He left his hectic BPP elections campaigning to be in Perth, as promised, to attend Congress to promote participation and togetherness. His gesture is commendable. Dr Keki Tureil was the final speaker for the day and he presented detailed and a thought-provoking session, about the brain and its enigma.

In the concurrent session room, we had a thought-provoking panel of the youth led by Farrokh Mistree of Oklahoma, which was followed by a very successful speed networking session for the youth and targeted at getting young Zoroastrian entrepreneurs talking and mingling together by Jehan Kotwal. Fariborz Rahnamoon followed this by a very fascinating presenting on the Gathas.

After the day of motivating and captivating speakers finished at 5.30pm the 11WZC Gala Event started with Congress awards hosted by Meher Bhesania, followed by an exciting dance by an Australian entrepreneur and previous young Australian of the year, Louisa Wood.

The Congress Chair then presented his vote of thanks and also presented tokens of appreciation to all the volunteers in Team Australia. Before the dancing and the dinner started the World Zoroastrian Trophy was officially passed over to Mr Astad Clubwala and Mr Homi Gandhi of USA who will hold the next, 12th World Zoroastrian Congress in 2022 in New York.

Team Australia 

11th World Zoroastrian Congress – Perth, Australia

 

 

Photos Courtesy : Sheroy A Irani

Day 1 @ 11th World Zoroastrian Congress Perth 1st June 2018

https://photos.app.goo.gl/lmbPmwLHT1oT7pwn2

Day 2 @ 11th World Zoroastrian Congress Perth 2nd June 2018

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1IG8ChaEXCKkAJA23

Day 3 @ 11th World Zoroastrian Congress Perth 3rd June 2018 – https://photos.app.goo.gl/pn603QIidnWX61Mi1

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2 Photos – 2 Navjotes in HongKong – Old Reminiscences


Photo # 1 1934
My two brothers’ Jal and Fram, had their Navjote  at the Parsi Club, Hongkong around 1934. The photo was taken on the roof of the “Parsee Club”, the original Zoroastrian Building in Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, completed in 1931 and was the center of Parsi social life in Hong Kong.
Notice the Fire Symbol  ( afrinagan). which was very prominent and seen from the roadside. Also the Parsees included their maid-servants (Amahs) in the photo. The guests include Parsees and non-Parsees.

Your readers may  recognize some of the the prominent Parsees of Hongkong, like the Pavris  the Shroffs, the Ruttonjees, the Dhabers, and others.

 Shapurjee Johki, Parekh, Jehangir and son Dhun Ruttonjee , Behram Tavadia, Jal Patel, Dhabars,Norshir Pavri, the Shroffs,Talatis, Dr. Karanjia, Vasania, and others.
The #2 photo was taken at my sister Shirin and I (Pesi (that’s me) Navjote, which took place in the Ballroom/Dining Hall on the 8th floor of  the Gloucester Hotel, Hongkong in 1947. The war in Hongkong was over in 1945, and strict food rationing was enforced.I guess all the Parsees wanting to celebrate the first  get together of all Hongkong Parsees must have pooled their food ration coupons for this occasion.
It was a Gala event decorations, drinks and dinner-dance. I doubt if any Parsee was left out or not invited.
Some of the same people that attended in the 1934 Navjote Ceremony are also in the 1947 photo.

The Mobeds or Dastoorjis names (of the 1935 Navjote) I do not have.But I’m sure there were none in the 1947 one too but our Hongkong Parsees like Nari Pavri and others who were qualified to perform Zoroastrian Ceremonies. { (I am seated on the floor 3rd from left). My two sisters are in the center.And behind her is my Mom. My Dad is center top row. }

Regards
Pesi Jehangir Mahuvawalla

Do You Know-What You Know? Khurshed Batliwala


Mr. Khurshed Batliwala emphasized on education as a means of knowledge and not employment. He also talked about doing things differently and having faith in our decisions even if they go against the flow. “Twenty five years ago no one had heard of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The whole world stood on the other side and said you are mad. I said yes, but I am happy. Be happy don’t compromise on that. You have dreams, you have visions, you have hopes don’t let people around you kill that for you. And that’s an idea worth spreading” With a postgraduate degree in Mathematics from I.I.T., Bombay, Khurshed Batliwala is a senior faculty at the Art of Living. Mr. Batliwala is a firm believer in the power of self-identified aspirations and this led him to follow an unconventional and challenging career path. He has been instrumental in designing the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!+) series that inspires the youth to break free from the shackles of society expectations and follow their dreams courageously. With this course he aims to propagate the vision of the Art of Living, which is to see a smile on every face on the planet. A blend of intellect and innocence, mind-blowing wit yet unconditional warmth, he continues to be a favourite among youth, and is committed to utilizing every moment of his time in enriching the lives of people around. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

ZFN Webinar – Applying to Graduate School in the US


Thanks to all those who participated in the above Webinar. Special thanks to Farrokh Mistree and Janet Allen who lucidly explained the details lucidly. All participants greatly benefited and expressed satisfaction at the takeaways from the session.

For the benefit of all, here is the recording of the session

And here is the presentation – Click Here to View

BOOMBOOM-BOOMALA


Only a Parsi can write a paean to the Bumla. “A Bombay Duck that never clucks. Eat him fresh or eat him dry; mum and dad they like him fried. Bombay Duck he’s worth a try.” Minocher Kava and his wife Naju composed this and the first Indi-Pop Hit, “Bumbumbumbum Bumbai Meri Hai”. Another hit in 1966, “Evening in Gay Maharashtra”, became an LGBT anthem in 2014 in the fight against Article 377.

Courtesy : Soonu Engineer