Category Archives: Latest

Tribute to Er. Aspandiar Dadachanji

The passing away of Ervad Apandiar Dadachanji is a tragic loss for the Parsi Zoroastrian community.
He was an authority in matters of Zoroastrian higher liturgical ceremonies and had himself performed several Vendidad and Nirangdin ceremonies.
He guided and led the shifting of the Holy Fire at Tavri near Navsari to Godrej Baug in Mumbai.
Under his guidance and supervision several young boys including from overseas have been initiated as Navar and Maratab.
He was a spiritual mentor to many. He would guide both priests and laity in matters of religious observances without being pedantic.
He was gentle, soft spoken and kind to all.
Above all he was witty and had a great sense of humor. He was also fond of cricket and going on long drives.
I was privileged and blessed to know him closely and personally. He had accompanied me and my dear friend Coovershah Mehta of SVG Pune on several tours to Iran. His presence among the pilgrims had a serene and spiritual effect on all including fellow Zoroastrians residing in Iran. In the bus he would patiently answer queries on what to pray and how to live a pious Zoroastrian life. In fact when Coovershah and I met him recently, which happened to be his Roj Birthday, he expressed a desire to visit Iran one more time. Zoroastrian religious texts say the soul goes to the other word via the Albroze mountain range in Northern Iran. He will now travel to Iran in spirit.
With his flowing white beard and radiant face, he exuded rare piety and simply being in his presence was humbling and awe inspiring.
May his pious soul progress in the spiritual world and continue to bless us all.
Noshir H Dadrawala

Audio Book – The Story of the Zoroastrians: An Historical Perspective

I am writing to introduce you to my Audio Book – The Story of the Zoroastrians: An Historical Perspective – that is now available on my website www.rashnawriter.com
The story of the Zoroastrians is such an integral part of Iranian civilization that one cannot understand one without the other. The Audio Book is an historical overview. It takes as its starting point the Zoroastrian dynasties of the Achaemenids, Parthians and the Sasanians when Iran was a superpower. It then progresses to the Arab invasion of the Iranian Empire and the Islamization of Iran and the diminishing Zoroastrian population. This leads onto the subject of the survival of Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism in Iran governed by Muslim dynasties; and the experiences of Zoroastrians into the 20th century. The final sections include the Parsi migration and settlement in India and the community’s interactions with the British and its’ place on the sub-continent post-independence.
The duration of the Audio Book is 8 hours and 10 minutes. When you visit the website, and to ensure the best listening experience, please follow the instructions to make sure you have the correct audio book reader.
In addition to the Audio Book, the .zip file contains:
Table of Contents
Bibliography
Time Line
Glossary
Maps
For your convenience, you may download them directly from here itself:

Map of the Persian Empire

Map of Modern Iran

I would recommend you print these pdfs and the maps; keep them handy and refer to them while listening. For ease of listening, the Table of Contents lists the start time of each section. As you would expect, you can pause and start at any point in the recording.
Please feel free to introduce the website and the Audio Book to friends, family and anyone you feel may be interested in the subject.
It is my hope that you may find the re-telling helpful, and in its audio format, you can keep and return to the Story of the Zoroastrians.
You may download the audio file here and hear it with iTunes or VLC player:
Rashna Writer

Rashna Writer is a political scientist. She commenced her career as a Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; went on to become a Contributing Editor of the Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook; Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. Subsequently, she was Head of Global Risks for a strategic risk consultancy in the UK, where she specialized in advising Lloyds of London syndicates specialty insurance underwriters on war, political and terrorism risks. She was a senior advisor to some European companies. She occasionally contributed on CNBC, Bloomberg and Reuters television on strategic risk issues.

Rashna pursued a parallel career in academia. She is the author of Contemporary Zoroastrians: An Unstructured Nation (1994); co-author, with Shahrokh Shahrokh of The Memoirs of Keikhosrow Shahrokh (1994), and author of The Reshaping of Iran from Zoroastrian to Muslim (2013), and the audio book The Story of the Zoroastrians: An Historical Perspective (2021). She has lectured on ancient Iranian history at Birbeck College (London) and Richmond College (London); was a Research Assistant at Manchester University where she undertook work on the Zoroastrian community in the United Kingdom. Between 2008 and 2019, she was Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University, where she lectured on Zoroastrianism in Ancient and Modern Worlds. She has participated at international conferences and lectured in the UK, USA and the Indian sub-continent on Iranian history.

Among her awards were a Commonwealth Scholarship (1973), and a Fellowship of the British Institute of Persian Studies (1988/89). She was a member of the National Employment Panel: 2006-2007, commissioned by Britain’s then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, before his elevation to the office of Prime Minister.

Rashna Writer holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics in International Relations.

ZTFE Webinar – Knowledge-Evaluation-Action

Dear ONES,

We express our gratitude to our kind speakers and their teams for all the good work they have achieved.

Since this dialogue is aimed to highlight all the concepts that the Faiths guide us regarding Progressing Together with Each Other and With Nature Sustainably – it includes concepts from the COP 26 meeting and the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

This meeting is strategically positioned between the Parliament of the World’s Religions and COP26 under UK Presidency with friends of COP from different countries

Please click here to join the symposium using the passcode: harmony 

Please share this email with all in your network to build the network of good thoughts, good words and good action.

Gratitude also to the President of the ZTFE Mr. Malcolm M. Deboo for his kind support and leadership of this event.

Respectfully,

Karishma.

To join click on the poster below or the full link underneath 

 

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Sunday: 24 October 2021   (4pm UK, 8am PST, 11am EST, 8.30pm India)

Please click here to join the zoom session which is beingco-hosted with Yazdi Tantra

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89741489904?pwd=SUw3ajVOZWlYUi8zczlkZVQrZSs3dz09

Passcode: harmony

Symposium hosted by the
Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe

Towards COP 26

Titled ‘Knowledge – Evaluation – Action’  – for  Progressing Together Sustainably in Peace and Harmony (with each other and Nature)

to further Inter-Faith sharing and Inter-Generational dialogue with a Multi-disciplinary approach.

Sunday: 24 October 2021   (4pm UK, 8am PST, 11am EST, 8.30pm India)

Please click here to join the zoom session which is being co-hosted with Yazdi Tantra

 https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89741489904?pwd=SUw3ajVOZWlYUi8zczlkZVQrZSs3dz09

Passcode: harmony

AIMS:

  1. We aim to discuss Sustainable Ecology involving people’s interactions with Nature and with each other
  2. to share the wisdom of the Senior and the promise of the future generation from each Faith
  3. promote dialogue between Scientists, Medical Professionals, people of all Faiths (and none),Educators, technologists, those in Governance and Law, Transport, Energy Transformation and the Community.

We acknowledge the idea as understood from all Faiths and Philosophies– that we have the responsibility through making good responsible choices (individually and collectively) towards sustainably progressing forward together while building Peace, Harmony, trust and well-being.

We give recognition to the challenges faced and sacrifices made by the core-workers – (including in the NHS, in the Legal System, essential services and all other services) especially during COVID-19 and give gratitude for the same.

We aim to discuss a JOINT VISION to understand, appreciate and value the wisdom we have in different Faiths and different domains of Knowledge and how those concepts can be applied together in line with the 17 United Nations Sustainable development Goals.

With much respect and gratitude

Mr. Malcolm M. Deboo (ZTFE President) and

Dr. Karishma Koka (Founder of the Webinar Symposium) +44 7988613437, +44 208 3469760

  1. Keynote speech for 25 minutes by Rashneh Pardiwala (PhD) followed by question answer session
  2. Inter-Generational sharing by Panellists representing each of the Faiths on vision from their background/experience for up to four minutes (Elders) or three minutes (Younger) on

‘What does your Faith guide regarding the significance of a multi-dimentional approach to evaluating choices for resource-sharing and progressing together sustainably.

3. ‘Invitees’ will share for two minutes information on a collaborative  Project  towards any aspect of ‘Resource Sharing, Nurturing each other and Nature’.

4. Dialogue and sharing of thoughts and question answer session between all present

Zoroastrian Voices at the Parliament of World’s Religions 2021

This weekend the 2021 Parliament of World’s Religions will be held completely virtually. Over 48 hours, there will be hundreds of presentations viewed by thousands of attendees who have registered and signed up.

As in past PoWR, FEZANA has taken the lead in organizing representation of Zoroastrian voices at the Parliament.

You can view a complete list of all presentations/talks/seminars/workshops and pleneries by Zoroastrians on the FEZANA website.

Note the date and time per your interest and log in to watch.

You do need to register to be a participant. Registration is still open.

Details and Full Schedule herehttps://fezana.org/powr-2021/

Zoroastrian Event Schedule at PoWR 2021

SAMAK THE AYYAR by Jordan Mechner and Freydoon Rassouli – Farhang Connect

Farhang Foundation was proud to welcome authors FREYDOON RASSOULI and JORDAN MECHNER to this latest edition of #FarhangConnect to talk about their latest collaboration on the first ever English translation of SAMAK THE AYYAR, A TALE OF ANCIENT PERSIA for Columbia University Press. The adventures of Samak, a trickster-warrior hero of ancient Iran’s thousand-year-old oral storytelling tradition, are beloved in Iran. Samak is an “ayyar,” a warrior who comes from the common people and embodies the ideals of loyalty, selflessness, and honor—a figure that recalls samurai, ronin, and knights yet is distinctive to Persian legend. Translated from the original Persian by Freydoon Rassouli and adapted by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, this timeless masterwork can now be enjoyed by English-speaking readers. A thrilling and suspenseful saga, Samak the Ayyar also offers a vivid portrait of Persia a thousand years ago. About Freydoon Rassouli Freydoon Rassouli is an artist, author, and translator whose books include Fusionart, Rumi Revealed, and The Book of Creativity. His artworks have been exhibited widely, and he painted two major street murals in Venice, California, and downtown Los Angeles. About Jordan Mechner Jordan Mechner is a New York Times best-selling author, screenwriter, graphic novelist, and game designer. He is the creator of Prince of Persia, one of the world’s most successful video game franchises, which he also adapted as a feature film. His books include the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Templar (2013). Take advantage of a special 20% discount on the book by visiting us at https://farhang.org/farhang-connect/s… Learn more about #FarhangConnect and watch all our current free episodes at: https://farhang.org/connect

Our Very Own Episode 5 – Wings

Mazda Multimedia is pleased to present for your viewing pleasure the Fifth Episode of “Our Very Own” Series.
This episode tells us about how 3 teenagers along with their organising committee came together to host events which took the community by surprise and today its one of the biggest and most elaborate sporting and cultural event in the community.

Mahtab Bamji —Multiple prestigious awards winning nutritionist who loves social work

Her walk is sprightly, her voice comes through as firm, but is caring and her commitment and contribution to nutrition studies and the health of the downtrodden is solid. Meet, Dr Mahtab Sohrab Bamji, former Director-Grade Scientist of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, bestowed with the Living Legend of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) recognition in 2017.

The Secretary General, Catherine Geissler, said the award is recognition for those who have significantly contributed to the work of national nutrition society or regional organisation and to the advancement of nutrition at national, regional and global level through professional activities such as research, teaching and services.

As she completes 87 today, Dr Bamji, a spinster, continues to pack her energy and time into social service and health care through the Dangoria Charitable Trust in Hyderabad. It has a hospital in City and operations in Narsapur, on the outskirts of the city in Medak district of Telangana State. She is passionate about her field based work with the poor, especially women and children and farmers, tending to their health and nutrition support.

A workaholic and person of frugal habits, Dr Bamji lives in a compact apartment near the busy RTC X Roads. She has made Hyderabad her home. Having come to join the NIN in 1965, she has spent over half a century, being active in the scientific circles, social work and also the MARCH, (Medically Aware and Responsible Citizens of Hyderabad) started by the late Dr PM Bhargava, C Dayakar Reddy, Dr Kakarla Subba Rao etc. in the 1990s.

Dr Bamji hails from a Parsi family of Bombay. She is among the dwindling numbers of the community in Hyderabad, which after Mumbai and Gujarat hosts the largest number. Among the well known Parsis from Hyderabad that I have known are Dr P M Lentin (94), formerly of the Osmania Medical College and Hospital; fitness expert, Zareer Patel, Lord Karan Billimoria of the Cobra Beer fame, Naushir Mehta (Cricketer) and Rohinton Behramsha, an electronics expert and the owner of Chermas.

NIN, Bamji and their contributions

In the male dominated world of Indian Science, Dr Bamji, has carved a name for herself with outstanding contributions in nutrition and leadership. During the long innings at the NIN (1965-94), she rose to become Director Grade Scientist. She has been listed among the all time top women scientists of India by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) recently.

Dr Bamji did her graduation in Chemistry,  post-graduation in Biochemistry and PhD in biochemistry (1961) from the Bombay University. She moved to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. During 1962-65, she was in the USA as post-doctoral Fellow/Research Associate at Tufts University Boston and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

In a way Dr Bamji is one of the protégé’s of Dr C Gopalan, considered the doyen of Nutrition Science in India. Among others were Dr Vinodini Reddy, Dr Kamala Krishnaswamy (both became Directors of NIN) and Dr Prema Ramachandran.

A biochemist by training, Dr Bamji has made significant contributions in the field of nutritional biochemistry, particularly, towards the understanding of the aetiology of B vitamins deficiencies, development of tests for assessing vitamin nutrition status as well as for estimating the incidence of B-vita

mins deficiency and its daily requirement in the community.

In addition, her work centred on interactions between nutrition and drugs such as contraceptive steroids, and identification of Carnitine as a vitamin. She has published 100 papers, written several book chapters, reviews, popular articles and reports and edited a very popular textbook on human nutrition.

I first met Dr Bamji as a young Reporter of the PTI in Hyderabad during the mid 1980s. As scientist at the NIN she was easily accessible and explained her research work well. The Institute, under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had a good number of young researchers, especially women for whom she was not just a motivator but also a guardian for some.

Distinctly recollect one occasion when I reported a story on the troubles facing the Institute’s lab animal house facility. Dr Bamji was quite forthcoming though upset with what had happened. Interestingly, this facility later produced ‘Sumo rats’ in the lab, which proved to be useful in research related to diabetes, under an Indo-US project. Around 2005, the Animal Facility boasted of a few hundred such Obese, Sumo rats, along with other animals for experiments.

Association with Dangoriya Charitable Trust

Post retirement in 1994 she has been associated with the Dangoriya Trust, a well known charitable organisation run by Dr Devyani. Dr Bamji holds the ICMR Emeritus Scientist position as well as the Honorary Scientist of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).

She has been trying to evolve models for improving health, food, and nutrition and environment security in villages of Medak district, Telangana State, through scientific and technological interventions. With the Trust and support of scientific departments a food processing-cum-training centre has been established to prevent wastage of farm produce for nutrition security and women’s livelihood too.

 

Cause of women in science & science popularisation

Dr Bamji has been a vocal proponent of greater involvement of women in the sciences. She chaired the DST and DBT committees on Science and Technology for Women; chaired the INSA Committee on Science Career for Indian Women and was the Chairperson of the National Task Force for Women in Science during 2006-2009.

At the same time she was deeply involved in popularisation of science through an active role in organisations such as Indian Women Scientists Association and Jana Vignana Vedika.

She co-chaired the Health Panel for Vision 2020, one of the 17 areas identified by A P J Abdul Kalam, former India President in the Vision 2020 documents brought out by the TIFAC (Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council) un 1995. They were intended to transform India from a developing to a developed nation.

Dr Bamji was a Member of Planning Commission 10th and 11th plan working groups and Steering

Committee for Science and Technology 11th plan; She also served on the INSA Council (1993-95) and Vice President during 2009-2011.

The tireless and effective interventions of the Trust that started transforming the quality of life of the villagers attracted the attention of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which presented the national award for Development of women through science and technology.

“Our focus over the years has been on the different aspects of nutrition security — food (crop diversification using green methods of farming, backyard poultry, food processing), environment, health care, livelihood through a holistic approach,” says Dr Bamji with a sense of pride and confidence.

Awards and recognition

Dr Bamji received 21 awards and honours that include: Patwardhan Prize (1973); BC Guha Memorial Lecture Award (1987) and Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Lecture (1998) of INSA; Srikantia Memorial Oration Award (1999); National Award for Woman Scientist (2000) and;  CV Rama

n Medal of INSA (2005).

Scientific research in the country even today does not attract many women. Exceptions like Dr Manju Sharma, who became Secretary of Dept of Biotechnology apart very few women, have reached the top echelons. The Indian Council of Medical Research was led by Dr Soumya Swaminathan, who now is the Chief Scientist at the WHO & the Secretary, DBT is Dr Renu Swarup.

Indian science requires more youngsters, especially women to power it into the future. At present information technology and computer sciences rule.  The science, in general as a career comes a distant second. The contributions and zeal of Dr Bamji should be an inspiration.

Somasekhar Mulugu, former Associate Editor & Chief of Bureau of The Hindu BusinessLine,

 is a well-known political, business and science writer and analyst based in Hyderabad.

https://www.siasat.com/mahtab-bamji-multiple-prestigious-awards-winning-nutritionist-who-loves-social-work-2202643/

Parsi community calls on govt to preserve cemetery in Rawalpindi

Illegal sale of land and encroachers have reduced centuries old #ParsiCemetery in Rawalpindi to half its area, says former lawmaker Isphanyar Bhandara, calling on the Punjab government to declare it a heritage site.

 

By Rehan Piracha – https://voicepk.net/2021/09/parsi-community-calls-on-govt-to-preserve-cemetery-in-rawalpindi/


LAHORE

A former lawmaker from the Parsi minority community has called on the Punjab government to protect the community’s 150-year old cemetery in Rawalpindi from land grab and declare it a national heritage site.

The Parsi cemetery on the Murree Road in Rawalpindi has been eclipsed by the New Jewellery Market, Isphanyar Bhandara, president of Parsi Union of Rawalpindi, tells Voicepk.net in an exclusive interview.

“The cemetery is built on a scenic and beautiful place but unfortunately it has been reduced to less than half its area in the last two decades,” Bhandara says. The Parsi cemetery had an area of 25 Kanals but illegal sale of land and encroachment has reduced the graveyard’s total area to 7 to 8 Kanals now, he adds. A grave of Behram Jee Hormas Jee Boca, who died in 1860, is also part of the cemetery. Bhandara’s late father MP Bhandara, also a former lawmaker, is buried here.

The former lawmaker laments that a former office-bearer of the Parsi Union illegally had illegally sold off half of the cemetery’s land in 2005. According to him, land earmarked for a graveyard cannot be sold or utilized for another purpose without the permission of the Auqaf Department.

In addition, the cemetery is facing threats of further encroachment of land from residents of neighbouring buildings. “Our neighbours who should respect sanctity of the Parsi graveyard are instead trying to encroach upon one-and-half Kanals of open land earmarked for future graves of the Parsi community members,” he says. These residents have built windows on the side of the cemetery and trying to turn the open space into a passage way, he explains.

Bhandara says the Parsi union has gone to court to prevent further encroachment on the land belonging to the cemetery. “It’s unfortunate that the Parsi community is forced to approach courts to protect their property from neighbours who should have helped preserve the legacy of their minority brethren,” he adds.

Asked whether he had approached concerned government officials and ministers for the preservation of the cemetery, Bhandara says the union had expressed their concerns to all the quarters in the country but no response or action has been taken yet. Responding to a question about lodging a complaint to the National Commission for Minorities, Bhandara calls the commission a toothless and cosmetic body, adding that he was a member on the previous commission.

“The National Commission for Minorities can do nothing to protect rights of the minorities and even the rulings from the Supreme Court are of no effect in this regard,” he adds. Unless, the station house officer of a police station regards that it is his duty to protect and safeguard lives and properties of the minority communities, no directives will have an effect, he points out.

According to the marble plaque at the gate of the cemetery, the Parsi graveyard was built in the 1890s. “This cemetery, together with the buildings and compound wall, was erected to perpetuate the memory of the late Seth Jahangiriji Framji Jussawala and Seth Jamasji Hormasji Bogha – both Rawalpindi Parsi merchants – by their respective grandsons, Seth Dorabji Cowasji Jussawala and Seth Nasarwanji Jehangiriji Bogha Shahshai in the month of Tir 1367, January 1898, ” reads the inscription on the plaque.

Talking about the colonial-style red mortar building in the cemetery, Bhandara says, the beautiful single-storey structure is designated for the last rites of community members. “Prayers for the deceased as well as their last rites are performed in the building,” he adds.

Bhandara called on the Punjab government to declare the Parsi cemetery in Rawalpindi a site of cultural heritage in order to preserve and protect the landmark from land grabbers and encroachment. “I’m making this demand to the provincial government and the city’s deputy commissioner so that the legacy of the Parsi community is preserved and recognised,” he adds.

The former lawmaker says it is high time that the government ensured the protection of lives, properties and communal worship places of the minority communities. He pointed out that the Parsi population in Pakistan has dwindled to 800 citizens from over 5000 at the time of partition. “Presently, there are a handful of Parsi families in Rawalpindi,” he says.

Bhandara says the brain drain and exodus of minority communities from Pakistan is linked with a lack of economic opportunities and insecurity in the country. “It’s not only the Hindus and Parsis who have emigrated but thousands of engineers, doctors, and IT professionals have gone abroad to seek better opportunities,” he concludes.

 

New Book – War of the Tribes – Darius C Modi

Journey of the first book
(War of the Tribes)
They never asked to be plucked from their homes. But destiny was something they could not avoid. Somehow, they found each other. After that, it was all about building the team that would be competent enough to stand up to sorcery, deceit, pure brutality and worse.
From the small houses of the teenagers’ families, to the wild and untamed forests of Lasgalan, this team faced the worst obstacles they could ever imagine: despair, betrayal, physical pain, psychological breakdown, animalistic experiences, to name a few. Being kept together for a short while, only to be taken apart and put back together. This group learns the meaning of what they truly are, and whether they like it or not, they have to forget what they knew about themselves, to better Lasgalan. They must get to working together quickly, or else they face fates worse than death.
Brace yourselves. This is a journey you would not want to take. So begins the journey of these teenagers.

The author, Darius C. Modi, is (at the time of writing) a St. Xavier’s college student from Kolkata, India, who loves fiction and is an avid reader. The main inspiration for the series was The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. He grew up fascinated by European mythologies, particularly Greek, Roman, Norse and also liked Egyptian mythology.

He likes movies and is not afraid to push his writing to extreme measures, to see what it can develop into. He thinks of how the book has to start, where in the plot he wants it to end, and then fills in the middle. Plot twists and unexpected turns are what he enjoys and leaves things open to his readers to think about for themselves, rather than be too specific on descriptions. His motto for writing is: “DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM BEING OPEN ABOUT SOMETHING. WRITE WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO HAPPEN, NOT WHAT SOMEONE ELSE WANTS. YOU ARE WRITING THE BOOK, NOT SOMEONE ELSE.”

Darius writes while listening to a mixed bag of music, from Mozart and Beethoven, to Queen and Led Zeppelin, letting the ideas flow with ease. His imagination is all over the place, and he prefers to be at his books for a long time. His ideas are sometimes bounced around among friends, just to get a different perspective, and see how much of that can be incorporated into the story.

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