Category Archives: Galleries

Prayer Consciousness – Meher Amalsad


From Our Motherland Iran…

A Very Special And Beautifully Recited Healing TanDorosti Prayer Along With The Most Sacred Prayer Yatha Ahu And The Most Powerful Prayer Ashem Vohu.

Pray For Me As I Pray For You All

In the Spirit Of Healing, Pray And Share

With Love And Light
From Meher 🦋♥️🦋 


Rajiv Mehrotra has been a personal student of HH The Dalai Lama for more than thirty years & describes himself as “a most unworthy chela” of his. Till 2012 he was the host one of the country’s longest running, and most widely viewed talk shows on public Television, In Conversations. It was rated the most watched programme in its genre across all television channels in India. He was a familiar face on Indian television for more than 40 years. His books include The Mind of The Guru, The Spirit of The Muse, Understanding The Dalai Lama,The Essential Dalai Lama, Thakur – a biography of Sri Ramakrishna and Conversations with The Dalai Lama, on Life, Living and Happiness. In the 1970’s he was a student of Swami Ranganathananda, who was later President of The Ramakrishna Mission and later of the yoga icon BKS Iyengar. He serves as the Secretary & Founding Trustee of The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H.H. The Dalai Lama(established with the Noble Peace Prize) (; ManagingTrustee of The Public Service Broadcasting Trust (;and Chairman of The Media Foundation ( Rajiv Mehrotra has twice addressed plenary sessions at The World Economic Forum at Davos and was nominated a Global Leader for Tomorrow by them. He was a Judge of the Templeton Prize for Spirituality and serves on the Boards of several institutions. He works as an independent film maker, Producer & Commissioning editor. His films have won more than 170 international and forty national awards from the President of India. He was Chairman of the Jury for the awards during their 50th anniversary. RajivMehrotra lives in New Delhi with his wife Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath.

ELDP Project Highlight: Videography-based documentation of the language of Parsis in Gujarat and Maharashtra

Today on the ELAR blog, we are featuring ELDP grantee Anton Zykov’s project ‘Videography-based documentation of the language of Parsis in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Anton’s collection with ELAR focuses on Parsi Gujarati, an endangered language spoken exclusively by the Zoroastrian community living in India.

Conversation in the Vansda District. Photo taken by Anton Zykov.

Impact on community/speakers highlight:

The project and its coverage triggered a correspondence between community members about the need to revive the level of knowledge and social prestige of Parsi Gujarati and the cultural heritage (devotional songs, religious texts, etc.). This correspondence widely distributed between the influencers of the community (Parsi newspapers’ editors, communal authority leaders, respected individuals, etc.) contained, for example, a letter from notable Parsi historian (author of 42 published books) Marzban Gyara (dated June 13, 2019):

“I had the good fortune to learn to read, write and speak Gujarati in primary school at J. B. Vachha School at Dadar. At home we spoke Gujarati. From childhood I used to go to a library J. N. Petit Library at Mancherji Joshi Parsi Colony at Dadar. I attended religious class every Saturday for seven consecutive years conducted by Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly where we learnt devotional songs from 4 to 5 p.m. taught to us by Mrs. Banoobai Jehangirji Bulsara who played the harmonium and prayers, history of Iran and Shah Nameh stories from 5 to 6 pm. by Ervad Behramji Vimadalal. (…) A lot of our history, culture and religion is documented in Gujarati and a knowledge of Gujarati language is most useful. I would urge everyone to cultivate the ability to read, write and speak Gujarati which is our mother tongue after we came to India”.

Panthanki, the priest from Navsari. Photo taken by Anton Zykov.

Further, several younger community members, such as the project consultant Pinaz Sukheswala from Navsari and Shehzad Wadia from Surat (both in their mid-20s, a significant factor for a community with 60 as the median age) expressed their interest in the following up on the project.

Thirdly, the project’s host institution, UNESCO-affiliated Parsi Zoroastrian Heritage Project (PARZOR) has started a process of digitising its (predominantly English) library on Parsi-related subjects and expressed its interest in holding the access to the materials gathered in the course of my project. PARZOR also is interested in producing quality video-based materials primarily on unique Parsi arts and crafts, thus I am planning to donate the videography equipment to this institution in order to support the community in India.

Fourthly, the project impacted the community welfare not only in the linguistic dimension. During my stay in Navsari, upon the request of PARZOR, alongside with them I have accompanied the senior representative of the Union (i.e. Federal) Ministry of Minorities’ (MoM) representative on his visit to the town in order to consider the investment into restoration of notable Parsi venues, such as Dadabhai Naoroji’s (famous Parsi politician, entrepreneur and philanthropist, President of Indian Nation Congress, House of Commons MP) house or Bazme Jashan Roje Behram (community celebrations’ house). The Ministry’s representative asked for explanations concerning the ELDP project, which (i.e. the international interest toward Parsi cultural heritage) had a positive impact towards MoM’s decision to approve the restoration project.

Parsi Girls’ Orphanage in Surat. Photo taken by Anton Zykov.

Scientific highlight:

The Irani sub-dialect of the Parsi language is a yet undocumented linguistic phenomenon that was discovered in the course of the project. The 57 thousand-strong Parsi community has a substratum of so-called Iranis, Iranian Zoroastrians that migrated to (predominantly) Bombay from late 19th up to second half of the 20th century. The Iranis now constitute approximately five to seven thousand, stretching from the fourth to (rarely) the first generation of Iranians who live primarily in Mumbai, Pune and Dahanu.

This Iranis are mostly known due to their professions as café owners (so called Irani cafes) and chickoo (sapodilla) farmers. Although, they are described in English-language fiction such as the bestselling Shantaram by Australian Gregory David Roberts or Road to Dahanu by Canadian author Anosh Irani, academic research on this group is still very scarce. In a non-scholarly and non-fiction literature Iranis are mentioned by Gujarati-language Parsi Prakash and works on Sai Baba’s disciple Maher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani.

During the last two weeks of my fieldwork that were spent in Maharashtra (Mumbai and Dahanu) I have discovered multiple linguistic differences between the Parsi language and the Irani variety, including: 1. lexicon (originating from various sub-dialects of Gavruni or Zoroastrian Dari) 2. morpho-syntax (as an influence of Gavruni)

The Irani sub-dialect heavily borrows from Gavruni (Zoroastrian Dari) with the amount of borrowings decreasing with every further generation in India. The Irani group has also preserved rituals and religious customs significantly distinct from those practised by the Parsi, as well as their distinguished identity. For example, the fire temples (agyaris) in all Parsi communities feature a sign that prohibits entrance to non Parsi (sometimes non Parsi Zoroastrians), whereas in the places with significant Irani presence (the mentioned Mumbai, Pune and Dahanu) all of the worship sites are marked as restricted to “Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians”.

Owners of Parsi Paghri Worshipped by Swaminarayan Hindus in Surat. Photo taken by Anton Zykov.

Thanks, Anton!

By ELAR Archive|February 6, 2020

ELDP Project Highlight: Videography-based documentation of the language of Parsis in Gujarat and Maharashtra

Igniting passion for the country | Jimmy Mistry

Jimmy Mistry believes that there lies an inherent need to ignite passion and a feeling of patriotism amongst citizens of the country. Watch his full speech at TEDxBITSGoa of him sharing his “Youreka” moment.
Jimmy Mistry’s story is an inspiring one – that of a self-made man who made his life by the sheer force of perseverance and a strong foundation of ethics and values.

Zoroastrian winter festival begins in Iran’s Kurdistan province

People from many parts of Kurdistan gathered in the village of Hawraman Takht in western Iran on Friday for the start of the traditional winter festival of Pir Shalyar – a 700-year-old ceremony associated with Zoroastrianism.

Pirs are pilgrimage sites in the Zoroastrian faith – an ancient belief system that predates all the major monotheisms. Its influences can still be found in Kurdish, Persian, Yezidi, and even Hindu traditions, particularly the Nawroz spring celebration.

In Zoroastrian legend, a man named Pir Shalyar cured a sick princess after many physicians failed to help her. The princess’ father agreed to let Pir Shalyar marry his daughter in a ceremony held on the 40th day of winter.

The celebration takes place over a period of three weeks. In the first week, children distribute walnuts, telling people that the ceremony is coming.

At dawn on the Wednesday of the second week, children sing songs from the rooftops of their homes. After sunrise, cows and sheep are sacrificed. In the evening, people play the daf drum and pray.

On the final day of the celebration, bread shaped like the sun is made from wheat and walnuts and taken to the tomb of Pir in Iran’s Kurdistan province.


Photos by Nazm Manya

Click here for more pics from a fantastic gallery


A play on Nani Palkhivala

From the Tamil play ‘Dharaniyin Perumai’From the Tamil play ‘Dharaniyin Perumai’   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Dummies’ play brings on stage the remarkable personality of Nani Palkhivala

One of India’s most prominent economists and jurists was Nanabhoy ‘Nani’ Ardeshir Palkhivala. On his centenary birth anniversary (January 16), the Dummies Drama troupe inaugurated its new play, ‘Dharaniyin Perumai’ (translates to “The pride of the world”), a docu-drama of Nani Palkhivala (their second docu-drama play after ‘Vaayu’). The two-hour play, staged at Mylapore Fine Arts, covers several important aspects in Nani’s life, from his childhood till his seventies.

First, we are introduced to Nani’s family — his parents, brother and sister. Right from his childhood, Nani is shown to be a voracious reader of books. By the time he has become a young adult, Nani has earned a Master’s degree in English literature, and in the process, overcomes his stammer. Despite his initial aversion to law, Nani eventually enrols at the Government Law College in Bombay and becomes an excellent barrister, with his remarkable presentation skills and memory. He also authors The Law and Practice of Income Tax, which has since become a primary reference for the Indian Tax Code.

From the late 1950s, Nani becomes famous for his budget speeches and also for being a strong defender and protector of the Indian Constitution (including the famous 1973 case, when the Supreme Court of India ruled that Article 368 of the Constitution “does not enable Parliament to alter the basic structure or framework of the Constitution”). The play ends with Nani being conferred Padma Vibhushan.

With nearly 40 actors portraying different characters — including most of Dummies regulars — this is the largest crew the troupe has put together for a play. Lead actor Sridhar — who also supervised the set design — was all praise for the backstage crew. He also said that while Sreevathson gave instructions on acting, he did allow them freedom to use their own mannerisms and creativity. This is also the first time different actors have played the same character — Srijith, Prasanna and Sridhar portray Nani at various stages of his life. Although most of Dummies’ plays employ simple household settings, now and then they manage to impress the audience with extraordinary set pieces (as they did in ‘Hanuman’ and ‘Vaayu’). ‘Dharaniyin Perumai’ is yet another example where elaborate sets are used.

A play on Nani Palkhivala

The most challenging task in making a biopic or a docu-drama, according to this writer, is to decide what to present and in how much detail. Director Sreevathson has done a commendable job in depicting the life of Nani while covering most of the important events in his professional career, as well as giving enough time for key incidents in his personal life, especially the “rivalry” he had with Indira Gandhi (a sublime performance by Prema Sadasivam). Look out for some biting exchanges as the two face off in a battle of wits. Prema, who played Indira Gandhi, found it relatively easy to adjust to the role because she has portrayed the same character in ‘Vaayu’ as well, and being a lawyer by profession enabled her to be comfortable with all the technicalities. She also credited Sreevathson for giving her enough freedom to experiment with the body language and also for the way he maintained the right balance between sticking to the facts while also using imagination to make the tale exciting.

Sreevathson also maintains the right balance between sticking to the facts while also using creativity to make the tale exciting. The dialogue is a strength — with a touch of humour and occasional punchlines, which one would find in most of Dummies’ plays. Nani’s “Law must win, not lawyers” and “We’re not an underdeveloped country; we’re ruled by underdeveloped minds” would be two of my favourite quotes.

In an aside, Sreevathson said that he worked for nine months on the script, doing intense research. Being a fan of Nani after listening to his budget speeches in the mid-1980s, Sreevathson’s main aim was to inspire and create an awareness of this great personality among today’s generation through his play. “I hope that those who watch the play get intrigued enough to read about Nani on their own,” he said. He plans to make the play entirely in English and take it across India in the future.

‘Dharaniyin Perumai’ is certainly one of Dummies’ more ambitious projects, but the packed audience and their support indicate that it has paid off well. With an engaging script and brilliant performances by Prasanna and Sridhar, the play serves as a good source of entertainment while also being highly informative.

Kumaresh Ramakrishnan

« Older Entries