Category Archives: History

National Geographic Magazine December 1905

I do not know whether you have seen this magazine before.( National Geographic Magazine December 1905 issue). It gives full information about Parsee-Community such as History, Immigration, Religious beliefs, culture , personal traits, Last rites etc and importance of fire temple, etc. This exhaustive write-up (30 pages ) is written by William Thomas Fee the then (1905) Consul General of USA at Mumbai. I am attaching this rare copy of magazine which is not only worth reading but also worth preserving.

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Ancient gypsum furniture discovered in fire temple central Iran

TEHRAN – Sets of gypsum furniture including an engraved table and chairs have recently been discovered during an archaeological excavation in central Iran.

Available evidence suggests the furniture was once used for traditional rituals during the Sassanid era (224-651), according to the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism.

A joint team of archaeologists from the universities of Isfahan, Tehran discovered the objects at a fire temple in Vigol, which is located approximately 10 km north of Aran-Bidgol near Kashan.

In many ways, Iran under Sassanian rule witnessed tremendous achievements of Persian civilization. Experts say that during the Sassanid era, the art and architecture of the nation experienced a general renaissance.

In that era, crafts such as metalwork and gem-engraving grew highly sophisticated, as scholarship was encouraged by the state; many works from both the East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the official language of the Sassanians.

Encyclopedia Britannica states that a revival of Iranian nationalism took place under the Sassanid rule. Zoroastrianism became the state religion, and at various times followers of other faiths suffered official persecution. The government was centralized, with provincial officials directly responsible to the throne, and roads, city building, and even agriculture were financed by the government.

The dynasty was destroyed by Arab invaders during a span from 637 to 651.

Aran-Bidgol is the gateway to Maranjab desert and caravansary, which also draws thousands of domestic travelers each year. The desert, which is a top destination for off-roaders, lead to salt lake from the north, Band-e Rig and Desert National Park from the east, Masileh Desert, Hoz-e sultan and Moreh Lakes from the west and eventually Aran and Bidgol from the south.

Situated in Isfahan province, the town is surrounded by desert from the north and east, and thus it has a typical climate of hot and dry in summer, cold and dry in winter, and very little rainfall during the year.

AFM

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/461549/Ancient-gypsum-furniture-discovered-in-fire-temple-central-Iran

Brigadier Furdoon Siavax Byramji Mehta: Pioneer of Indian Army Aviation Corps, not averse to risk

Named ‘Duck’ Mehta by his fellow officers after the fish Bombay Duck, the Brigadier who passed away in Mumbai on March 3, on his birthday, at the age of 101 years, had many firsts to his credit.

 

Brigadier Mehta (centre) was nicknamed ‘Duck’ by fellow officers after the fish Bombay Duck, because he came from Bombay. (Express Photo)

Not many would be able to keep their head and keep maneuvering an aircraft especially after an enemy bullet slices through their cap, taking with it a chunk of hair. For Brigadier Furdoon Siavax Byramji Mehta (retd), however, it was just another day at the front during the Second World War and something that couldn’t deter him from flying into enemy territory again.

Named ‘Duck’ Mehta by his fellow officers after the fish Bombay Duck, the Brigadier who passed away in Mumbai on March 3, on his birthday, at the age of 101 years, had many firsts to his credit.

He was the first Indian Artillery officer to wear the wings of the Air Observation Post (Air OP), now known as Army Aviation Corps. He was the only Indian Artillery officer to have served with the 656 Air OP Squadron of Royal Air Force (RAF) in Burma and Malaya in Second World War. He was also the first Indian Commanding Officer of 9 Parachute Field Regiment, a command which he took over in 1947 at the age of just 27 years.

Born on March 3, 1920, Mehta joined the Indian Military Academy in 1938 and graduated in April 1940. He was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery and participated in the Second World War between 1942 to 1945, both in the traditional artillery role and in Air OP pilot’s role.

As a Captain, he trained as a pilot at the No 2 Elementary Flying and Training School (EFTS) at Jodhpur, which was established by then Maharaja of Jodhpur, Umaid Singh. Mehta was posted to the 656 Air Op Squadron RAF in Arakans, Burma, and later on the central front, which comprised Imphal plains in India.

He also lost his way once, in February 1945, in the thick jungles trying to help an armoured regiment’s Colonel reconnoiter and risked crashing because he was flying without a compass. He decided to land an on airstrip, which still was still embedded with Japanese landmines marked with white crosses, because he needed fuel and a bearing to get back to an Advanced Landing Ground. Recounting the day in an article in the magazine ‘Freedom First’ some years ago, Brig Mehta said, “The Colonel asked me what the white crosses meant, so I said they were only mines and said I was going in for a landing. You should have seen his face!”.

Brig Mehta had a distinguished 29 year long career during which he also served as the Military Attache in Washington, USA from 1967 to 1969.

His military career saw him graduate from the Staff College in Quetta, now in Pakistan, in 1947, command a Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, becoming the Chief Instructor in Indian Military Academy in 1953, attending the Long Gunnery Staff Course (LGSC) at Larkhill Salisbury UK from 1955 to 1956, commanding 25 Artillery Brigade Rajouri in 1957 and 27 Artillery Brigade in Jalandhar in 1958, among other achievements.

The last wish of Brigadier FSB Mehta was that an Indian Army bugler should play ‘The Last Post’ at his funeral. A wish that was honoured by the Army’s Southern Command.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pioneer-of-indian-army-aviation-corps-not-averse-to-risk-7226094/

Saalgreh of Palia Street  Agiary, Surat

Today is the Saalgreh of Palia Street  Agiary, located in Surat, which is not only considered as one of the oldest, but also full of historical fragrances therein.
Jamshedji Zahiya belonged to a noble family, who was highly commited towards our Mazdayasni Zarthusti Din.
He was not having any child, so he always prayed to Paak Dadar Ahuramazda for its blessings and vowed to build an Agiary, if he was blessed with a child.
Well, one can also perceive why he was not having a child, as Paak Dadar Ahuramazda didn’t want to make Jamshedji see his child’s fate with such a disappointing end.
Anyway, prayers from the bottom of one’s heart, offered by a Din Parast Zarthosti can never be turned off, so was the case with Jamshedji too, whereby he was blessed with a son, who was named Homaji Jamshedji Zahiya.
Dae Mah Govad Roj is the death anniversary of a pious and saintly (Asho) person, Homa Jamshed Zaahiaa. The day is popularly remembered in his memory as Homajee Ni Baaj.
It is commemorated as a religious day in testimony to a life of absolute righteousness and truth.
An Agiyari in Palia Street in Nanpura, Surat is named after Jamshedji Zaahiaa, was built as a mark of commitment, thanking the ALMIGHTY.
His son, Homa was a victim of the unfortunate Kabiseh controversy which divided the community very bitterly and violently, around the middle of the 18th century.
Around that time, when the Parsees of India established contact with the Zarathushtis of Iran, they discovered that the Iranians followed a calendar that was one month ahead of theirs.
In 1745, a section of the Zarathushti community in Gujarat changed over their calendar and put it one month ahead, so as to confirm to what it was in Iran. They called themselves Kadimis or followers of the ancient practice.
Those who did not adopt the change called themselves the Shenshahis or those who followed the “Royal” traditional calendar.
This caused a severe rift in the Zarathushti community in India. For many years, marriage between the members of the two sects did not take place and often, bouts of violence were taken to the streets.
The controversy flared up rather seriously in Bharuch in 1782. A Kadimi lady who was pregnant falsely accused a pious an innocent Shehenshahi gentleman by the name of Homa Jamshed for kicking her and causing her to have a miscarriage.
Homa was first brought to trial before the Nawab of Bharuch and then to Bombay before the British court.
Homa pleaded his innocence but incensed by the Kabisseh controversy, a member of a Wadia family gave a false testimony as a witness against Homa.
Based on the witness’ false accusation, Homa was sentenced to death. He was hanged to death at the corner of Bazaargate in Fort, Bombay, on Mah Dae, Roj Govad 1152 Y.Z., 1783 A.D.
Before he was hanged, he declared that he was innocent of the charge brought against him and that his sentence was not just.
He is said to have declared, that the person who had leveled the false witness testimony against him would be found dead on the fourth day (Chahrum) after his death.
Reportedly, the person who gave the false witness testimony against Homa was found dead in his house on the Chahrum day of the martyr’s death.
To this day, devout Parsees observe Dae Mah Govad Roj as a solemn occasion for remembering this martyr of the tragic Kabiseh controversy.
Surprising to learn that the Agiary is currently owned (not managed) by Wadia trust in Mumbai, whether any links prevail with same Wadias who created this major mishap remains a question mark.
Dozens of efforts were undertaken, at several occasions for its closures, but out of the blue someone intervenes from no where and the Agiary keeps on glowing & growing. Most of them are neither from the same locality, nor from the same city, but how they come up to keep the Agiary move on, is amazing.
There are such powerful stories of its might that one gets astonished on its occurances. But the one who witnessed it are themselves very powerful in Din Parasti.”

Who are the Iranian People?

In a landmark study, a team of international researchers with unrestricted access to local populations and fossilized genetic material in Iran, led by scientists from the University of Cologne (Germany) and the University of Sydney (Australia), identified the genetic profile of the Iranian people and their genetic relationship with one another and the neighboring populations.

The research studied major (Persians, Azerbaijanis, and Kurds) and minor (Arabs, Balochis, and Persian Gulf Islanders) Iranian ethnic groups and 800 excavated fossilized specimens from individuals who lived in the Central Iranian region thousands of years ago.

 

Iranian populations are clustered with 4 separate groups: European, Turkic, Semitic, and South Asian (Pakistani)

 

The primary findings of the genome study: Iranian Persians and Kurds exhibit high in-group genetic variation which is larger than that of Germans in Western Europe. However, the entire gene pool has remained largely unchanged over the past 10,000 years.

Tuscans (TSI) share a substantial proportion of ancestry with Iranians, particularly those from the CIC. Explicit modeling of 0–15 migration events clearly shows the robustness of the close clustering of all Iranian groups, with Europeans always closest to the major Iranian groups (Persian, Kurd, and Azerbaijani).

 

 

Iranian Kurds have strong genetic overlap with Persians indicating a common background & little admixture. Persian Gulf Islanders repeatedly received an influx of groups from outside Iran. This is consistent with historical reports of ongoing sea trade over the past millennia.

Central Iranian Cluster (Persians) and North West cluster (Azerbaijanis) are genetically closer to Europeans than they’re to Balochis and PG Islanders. North East clusters (Turkmen) are closer to Turkic Central Asians than to CIC Iranians.

 

 

South Western clusters (Iranian Arabs and PG Islanders) are closer to the Semitic group of the Middle East. South Eastern clusters (Balochis) are genetically closer to Pakistani South Asians.

 

 

The Persian Zoroastrian exiles in coastal South Asia (Parsi) are genetically more closer to individuals (fossilized) who lived in the Central Iranian region more than 10,000 years ago than Iranians living in the Central Iranian cluster now. This probably makes them the most ancient specimen of Persian people!

by

https://afterwords.substack.com/p/who-are-the-iranian-people

Webinar – Timeless Zoroastrian Legacy

The need for human rights is now greater than ever. Many of you are aware of the greatest ancient Persian Dynasty-The Achaemenian dynasty -started by Cyrus the Great, followed by his successors Darius the great, Xerxes and Arta Xerxes. All of them are highly revered in the Hebrew Bible. They ruled as super powers, ruling 44 % of the world’s population, and have left an indelible, timeless Zoroastrian legacy on History and Civilization that has globally shaped world democracies, human rights, piety, and equality through History. They were millennia ahead as benevolent emperors. Their ancient administration, based on the highest Zoroastrian practices of Asha, have served as a foundation for constitutions across Europe and the United States.  

You know the deep and sad fissures within our community. We stand on burning platforms pelting pejoratives to our fellow humdins followed by social ostracization. I have witnessed this with sadness and concern having lived in the U.S. for the last forty years. It is no different in Mumbai and India.

 Recently, in one of our association meetings in California, our community youth voiced concern of relating Zoroastrian doctrine in simple terms to their college/school peers. This set me on a path of rich discovery of our great Zoroastrian legacy, which the Western Historians have utterly failed to highlight. Further, we as elders, have not been diligent enough in pointing out this Great Zoroastrian Legacy to our youth. For example, why is a Replica of Cyrus the Great Cylinder, the greatest icon of human freedom, displayed proudly in the United Nations Building in New York? Just that reference along with the notable references in the Bible is ample evidence to explain the Zoroastrian doctrine of noble deeds.

So come, let us share our timeless Zoroastrian legacy that really unites us much more than it divides us. I would earnestly request our precious and smart youth to watch these 3 discussions I will be sharing, with pride.

Fellow Zarathushtis “Proud to be a Parsi,” will really resonate with your soul. Especially our youth who will be inspired (hopefully) to carry on our torch into posterity.

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1st Discussion Presentation    

The Cyrus cylinder and Human Rights. Prophecies of Cyrus in the Bible.

  • With All Zoroastrian practices of Asha and virtues of Amesaspands
  • This presentation will discuss how Human rights was pioneered by Cyrus.
  • Cyrus Tablet
  • Cyrus was the “anointed one” by God
  • His prophecy was made in the Bible 150 years before he captured Babylon,
  • Set the Jewish slaves free and returned them to Jerusalem
  • Allowed Jews to practice their own religion.
  • Cyrus followed by rules of Darius, Xerxes and Arta Xerxes
  • Cyrus 23 times, Darius 25, Xerxes 14, and Arta Xerxes 11 times in the Bible.
  • Cyrus is also highly praised in sura verses of the KORAN as “Dhul Karnyan.”
  • Presentation ends how the Three Maggi’s (ancient high Zoroastrian priests)
  • Blessed Baby Jesus
Time: May 1, 2021 08:00 PM IST;  7:30 AM PST   8:00 PM IST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 822 9743 2586
Passcode: 720550
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SAM BILLIMORIA

My interest in our Daena started in 1984, after moving to the U.S by receiving a religious newsletter “The Mazdayesnie Connection” every two months from my religious mentor and teacher Sillloo Mehta. Soon, I started attending her religious weekend classes and my interest grew exponentially. These were greatly fortified by frequent visits of late Vada Dasturji K.N. Dastur who held 3-4 days religious “Master Camps” every two or three years.  He always stayed with Silloo. In 1993, I was able to get an audience with then U.S. congressman Ed Royce to provide him the evidence of copious mention of Cyrus the Great and The Achaemanian Dynasty in the Old Bible as the “anointed one of God,” pioneering the first Human rights in History. Based on that evidence the Hon. Congressman, after due process, was very pleased to issue a Proclamation which stated “The immense and timeless contribution of the Zoroastrian community to Human Rights, Democracy, History and Civilization.” He was also pleased to forward “The Dawn of consciousness,” a video made by Silloo, on basic understanding of the Zoroastrian religion, to the Library of Congress. It was readily accepted and placed in the Congress Library by the Chief Librarian. I was also appointed to the Hon. Congressman’s advisory sub-committee on Human rights and South-East Asia following the 9/11 tragedy in 2001.

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