PARSI PAGHDIS AND PHETAS: ARMIN POONIWALLA


If there is one piece of our daily attire that has practically disappeared in the last century, it is headgear. And nowhere is it more noticeable, than the Parsis. Every single picture of Parsis right up to the early 1950’s saw the men with headgear. Mostly the paghdi or pheta adorned the crown of every respectable Parsi gentleman. Sadly that concept today is completely lost. Headgear is now worn only on major ceremonial occasions like navjotes or weddings. And that too mostly by the immediate family.

A few years ago, one of the last Pheta makers passed away. Or so one thought….more on that later.

Burjorji Mistry who lived above Kala Niketan on Queens Road, Marine Lines; Mumbai was a pheta maker of repute. Sadly he did not pass on his craft to someone.

But Burjorji was not the only Mistry when it came to phetas and paghdis. There was the legendary Dinshaw B. Mistry who also made phetas and pagdis that still survive today and have become family heirlooms that get passed on from generation to generation.

As was widely thought of at the time of Burjorji’s passing away, the art of pheta making still continues.

 

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In a two part series Parsi Khabar will feature the two ladies who are keeping the flag flying and making phetas (and pagdis) today.

contact-arminAt a recent summer barbeque party at a friends home in New Jersey, my dear friend Jasmin Kotwal introduces me to some friends of hers who were visiting from India. And she casually mentions that the friend also makes pagdis and phetas. This friend turns out to be Armin Pooniwalla. I was fascinated to meet Armin and more importantly thrilled to know that there was someone who makes phetas in this day and age. Armin most vehemently told me she does, and I had to sheepishly accept my ignorance, and thank her for continuing the amazing craft of pheta making.

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On Armin’s website, she writes

imageThe Paghdi is a majestic looking headgear worn by the Zoroastrians at the time of their wedding and other social events. The groom wears white trousers with traditional Iranian overcoat called “Dagli” also white in color and carries a shawl over his arm. On his head he wears traditional Parsi “Paghdi” or “Pheta”. In ancient times the Paghdi was also worn by boys after their Navjote Ceremony.

This ancient heritage of wearing the Paghdi is followed by most of the well known members of Zoroastrian families like Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy, Pirojsha Godrej, Jamsetjee Nassewanji Tata, Jamsetjee Bomanjee Wadia, Dadabhoy Navrojee and others.

I learned this dying art of making the Paghdi to revive our traditional ancient heritage of wearing it. The Paghdi is made on a mould with different types of materials such as cardboard, cotton, cotton silk etc. They are made in black and maroon color for wedding and in red color for Navjot boys.

For keeping the Paghdi in a good condition it should be always kept wrapped in a mulmul cloth or sadra and put in an inverted position in the box.

Armin’s contact is

Armin F. Pooniwalla
12 Gulnar Bldg, Ground Floor, Hill Road
Bandra (West), Mumbai 400 050

Phone : +91 22 26423026
Mobile : +91 9819968419

Email : pooniarmi@gmail.com

Website: http://parsipaghdi.com

Courtesy :  Arzan Wadia – Parsi Khabar

Hong Kong’s Parsi Stamp


Hong Kong’s Parsi stamp The fourth set of special stamps in the “Hong Kong Museums Collection” series issued by the Hongkong Post in December 2016 included “Zoroastrian Church, Causeway Bay” (pictured). Brought to our attention by Parsiana subscriber David Brock of Oregon, the HK $5 stamp is among the seven pencil drawings by Kong Kai-Ming. As detailed in Philatelic Link, the newsletter of the Hongkong Post Stamps, the Zoroastrian Church drawing was done in 1986, with three others, Airport Tunnel, Hung Horn; Kwun Tong MTR Station; and Wan Chai Tram Depot done in 1989; Argyle Street, Mong Kok in 1990, and CantonRoad and Stamp Sheetlet—Aberdeen in 1991. “Intaglio printing  (where the design is cut, scratched or etched into the printing surface with ink is supplied from below the surface of the plate) is used to highlight the meticulous detail of the original work,” states the newsletter.

A self taught artist, 85-year-old Kong  is known to be conversant with a wide range of mediums such as fountain pen and pencil sketching, watercolor, oil paint and printmaking, Having captured “numerous streetscapes, pieces of architecture and means of transport in Hong Kong in the finest detail, his compositions are not only works of art, but also records showing what Hong Kong looked like in the past,” notes Philatelic Link.

Courtesy : Parsiana, June 21 2017

Click Here to read more

The Zoroastrian Saga | Mumbai Live


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.

On Wings of Fire


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 webteam@on-lyne.com

Courtesy : Meherji Madan

Shazneen Arethna – Dance Alone


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:

 

http://rsjonline.com/buzz/shazneen-arethna-releases-new-single-dance-alone-listen-.html