Just like other communities, Mumbai’s Zoroastrian or the Parsi community, as we lovingly know, has always been an integral part of the city. Frohar foundation has been organising the 2-day event “The Zoroastrian Saga” for quite many years now to share the knowledge of the Zoroastrian community, as not many of us know a lot about their origins and the importance of their religion.
ZUBIN MEHTA in a Persepolis Productions Inc & Oriental Heritage Trust Film
The Epic Film covers the 3500 years, from the time of the prophet Zarathushtra to the present day, tracing the history of Zoroastrians, Parsis (Parsees) of India
The first and only film to cover the philosophy and history of Zoroastrianism in a scholarly and dramatic way. This is an extraordinary journey; it will take you to places and times you may have only read about.!
Click Here for the brochure and then enjoy the movie!
To order the DVD, please write to email@example.com
Courtesy : Meherji Madan
Shazneen Arethna is one of the first female rock singers as part of the 90’s and early 2k’s brewing scene when the country was realizing the real potential of independent music in India. Her erstwhile band with a literal name “3 Guys and a Girl” consisted of her fronting the band with guitar player Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues, drummer Sidd Coutto and bassist Johan Pais. Arethna, has recently released her new single “Dance Alone” after a long hiatus and promises to bring back more music with an EP and going live. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
RSJ: It’s such a pleasure to see you back to singing and making music again! Where have you been and what have you been up to all these years?
SA: I’ve been working on to striking just the right balance between motherhood and my passion for singing. I have 2 wonderful daughters who capitalize on my time, but music has been a constant part of our lives. Live performances and studio sessions and song writing never really stopped, but releasing my own music, kinda took a back seat until now.
RSJ: You have seen the independent music scene change since 3 guys and a girl. What do you think about the current scenario!
SA: I think the indie scene is totally thriving right now. Our Indian Indie audience is more appreciative and receptive than it ever was. It’s such a pleasure to see numerous bands and acts emerging from every part of the country. They’re not afraid to experiment and merge genres. I think it’s a great time to be an Indie artist in India especially with music festivals mushrooming all over.
RSJ: Your cover of “intehaa ho gayi” got tweeted by Amitabh Bachchan! How come you did that cover?
SA: Chandresh Kudwa and I had worked together on a Bollywood gig recently where we did our own versions of Bollywood hits. We thought of putting something down in the studio, and that’s how our version of “Inteha Ho Gayi ” came to be. It turned out pretty well, as Amitabh Bachchan appreciated it and shared it on Social media as well.
RSJ: Tell us about the new single! What is your new music about? Tell us about the writing process. How did it start and what are the plans? Are you going live anytime soon?
SA: You know time has a wonderful way of showing what really matters. I’ve been writing songs for a long time, but never been brave enough to release them until now. Now at this point in my life, I feel the need to share my music. It’s probably the best way of expressing what music means to me, as a singer song-writer, singing straight from the heart, trusting my soul for direction. I decided to start by putting out an EP of 4 songs and when Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues came on board as producer, everything just fell into place. I knew my songs were in the best hands. With Nathan Thomas on bass and JJ on drums, Warren has spun his magic on my songs and i was delighted with the outcome. ‘Dance Alone’ is my first release from the EP. It’s a song that’s very close to my heart , it’s one of those songs that you write start to finish in the shortest time, and you have a good feeling about. It’s about living, loving, losing … and learning to live and love all over again. And yes! I’m definitely looking forward to performing live. I’ve put my heart and soul into it and would love for it to reach as many people as possible.
RSJ: You also are an active part of making the music video yourself. How did that happen? How come you took that role too?
SA: Since ‘Dance Alone’ was my song, I wanted to be involved in making the video. I was contemplating ideas for the video and shot some footage on my phone. One thing led to the other and finally ended up shooting and editing the entire video. Though there’s an overtly amateur vibe to it, there’s a rawness that I intended for. I have to admit thoroughly enjoying the process.
Watch & listen to Arethna’s “Dance Alone” below:
Nowruz Celebration on Canada’s CTV network !
Can you spot Boman Irani and Ratan Tata?
All pictures by Shantanu Das
About 206km north of Mumbai on the NH8 to Agra is the sleepy town of Udvada on Gujarat’s palm-fringed southwest coast. It is to Zoroastrians what Vatican City is to Catholics. The holiest of holies. Not the town itself as much as the Iranshah Atashbehram which stands monument-like at the heart of Udvada. It is one of the oldest and most important spiritual centres for Zoroastrians in the world. They are a fire-worshipping people. And the Iranshah is a fire temple. It is where the holy fire that was consecrated in 1742 when the Zoroastrians came to India to escape religious persecution in Persia is still burning. I understand that Zoroastrians living in Yezd and Homuz in Iran make pilgrimages to Udvada to pay homage at the Iranshah even today.
I visited Udvada one Navroze out of curiosity. Navroze is the dawn of the spring equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator, signifying the passage of winter and onset of summer. It always falls in March. This year the festival is being celebrated today, starting at 3.58 o’clock and 40 seconds. Not just by the Zoroastrians of India, but also those of the faith in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Udvada is a four-hour drive from Mumbai, most of it on appalling, bone-jarring roads. Finding a place to stay is easier. The pilgrims can choose from a number of inexpensive dharamshalas in the coastal town. These are all located in the Udvada village that is huddled around the Iranshah.
A lack of money and soul has reduced it to a decrepit pilgrim centre Zoroastrians visit only occasionally. But yet it has a certain charm…
I stayed at a friend’s bungalow on Udvada beach. It is a dirty beach with a dark and forbidding sea on whose waves, I am told, smugglers come riding at night with liquor from the duty free union territory of Daman a few nautical miles away. Udvada, like the rest of Gujarat, is under prohibition. But the Zoroastrians there down their Parsi pegs at night with grateful thanks to the friendly neighbourhood smuggler. If Narendra Modi did not change the prohibition rule when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat for two terms, he won’t do it now as Prime Minister. Visitors who are non-Zoroastrian and who do not enjoy local patronage like I did, can stay at Percy Sidhwa’s Globe Hotel, the Mek Hotel or Ashsisvang Hotel, all of which are simple and friendly.
The weekend I was there, Navroze fell on a Sunday. I explored the entire town the Saturday before in one hour flat. Udvada is in a sorry state of neglect. A lack of money and soul has reduced it to a decrepit pilgrim centre Zoroastrians visit only occasionally. But yet it has a certain charm, with its crumbling old houses. Some have been sold, others pulled down and replaced by modern structures that look incongruous in the old township with their modern, indifferent architecture. It appears nobody wants to stay in Udvada anymore. Except the old and original residents who have nowhere else to go. They are a quaint people whose children left them to go to colleges in cities and jobs abroad. And now their grandchildren come visiting Udvada like the rest of the Zoroastrians do, on an annual pilgrimage.
Click Here for an interesting essay with some exotic pics!
As I try extending to you the Zoroastrian New Year Greetings, The Earth is spinning towards the Spring Equinox, the Moment of NOWRUZ, an appropriate time to share with you, this link to a beautiful multimedia show on YouTube, “The Rites of Spring” created by Niloufar Talebi, that, I’m sure every Zarathushti would enjoy.
Though she starts of in Farsi, the explanation in English follows, 60 seconds later.
Have a blessed NOW RUZ.