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17th building at Navsari called ‘Dasturji Meherji K. D. Meherjirana Memorial House’

WZO Trust Funds are happy to announce that their 17th building at Navsari called ‘Dasturji Meherji K. D. Meherjirana Memorial House’ has been completed, Jashan performed on July 26, 2020 and flats allotted to needy members of our community.

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The building has been constructed after demolishing the old building that was received by us as a bequest as per the Wills of Late Dasturji Meherji K. D. Meherjirana and Mrs. Mehru Meherji Meherjirana.

The generous Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao funded the entire cost of construction.

Dinshaw Tamboly



Porus Olpadwala – Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture, Art & Planning

Porus Olpadwala


Porus Olpadwala is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning and Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.  His areas of scholarly interest are comparative political economy, urban and economic development, and environmental issues.  He has written on the development and transfer of corporate technology, international agriculture and food, social transition processes, and urbanization and the environment.  He has consulted with the Ford Foundation, agencies of the United Nations, the World Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.


Professor Olpadwala started his appointment as Dean of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning in July 1, 1999 after serving a year as Interim Dean.  From 2006 to 2010 he was Dale R. Corson Professor and Dean of the university’s Hans Bethe Residential College.  He has chaired the Board of Governors of the Cornell’s Real Estate Program, the Cornell Council for the Arts, and Cornell’s Andrew. D. White Professors-at-Large Program.


In an earlier career, through the nineteen sixties, Olpadwala worked in the corporate sector in India.  He retired from Cornell in 2013 and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he is Adjunct Professor in the College of Architecture and Planning of the Univesity of New Mexico.


Olpadwala earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Calcutta (1962), and graduate degrees form Cornell in business (MBA, 1972) and planning (MRP, 1976; Ph.D, 1979).



Jivanji Jamshedji Modi’s speech at the Parliament of Living Religions

Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi’s Speech at the Parliament of World Religions.1893 at Chicago

The glory of the Parliament of World Religions was most obvious in the opening ceremony, on Sept. 11, 1893. More than 4000 people had gathered in the Hall of Columbus, when at 10oclock a dozen representatives from different faiths marched into the hall hand in hand. At the same time, the Columbian Liberty bell, in the Court of Honour tolled ten times, honouring the ten great world religions—Confucianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Among the speakers Swami Vivekananda’s three speeches drew the most attention.

The aim of the conference was to bring together in conference, for the first time in history, the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world and to set forth, by those most competent to speak, what are deemed the important distinctive truths held and taught by each Religion.

Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha was requested by Dadabhai Navroji to prepare a paper on the Zoroastrian Religion to present at the Parliament. In the published report of the Parliament of Religions 1893 (Vol 1, p. 58) the President writes “Hon. Dadabhoy Navrojee, M.P., of London, Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, Dastur Dr. Jamaspi Minocher Jamasp Asa, M.A. Ph.D., and Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha, took active interest in the Parliament and enlisted the cooperation of the Parsis of India “However, Ervad Sheriarji Bharucha was unable to attend the Parliament.

Sir Jivanji  Jamhedji Modi addressed this historic Parliament of World Religions in 1893.

He gives a detailed account of the religion, manners and customs of the Parsis. On the lighter side, he mentions, that the qualifications for a good husband are that he should be young, handsome, strong, brave, healthy, diligent, industrious, truthful, wise and educated. A good wife must be wise, educated, modest, courteous, obedient and chaste”. “According to the sad-dar, a wife who gives herself to her husband three times a day-in the morning, afternoon and evening performs as meritorious an act as that of saying her prayers three times a day”.

He explains, “Zoroastrianism or Parsism, by whatever name the system may be called is a monotheistic form of Religion. It believes in the existence of one God Ahura Mazda”. We might hardly conceive what human belief would be now had Zoroaster never existed.

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beliefs and customs of thr religion of Zarathustra by JJ MODI

Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy

Birthday Salutations to
Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy
(15th July-1783 to 14th April 1859)
The biggest Philanthropist — Maker of Modern Mumbai
His wife Lady Jeejeebhoy by making Mahim Causeway contributed to biggest wealth creation in Indian History Development of city of Mumbai
Today is the 237th  Birth Anniversary of Sir JJ. His contribution towards building this great city is unparalleled and he could be rightly called founding father of Mumbai.
Following are the contributions of this great person and his family:
1) Before 1845 people beyond Mahim were traveling to city by ferries causing lot of hardships, deaths and other problems. To resolve this hardship faced by poor people Lady Jamshetji contributed full amount to construct the Mahim causeway bridge with a condition that there would be no toll.
In last 165 years the city has grown leaps and bounds unimaginably due to this great contribution.
Can we imagine anyone doing this today when even governments do not build anything without toll?
2) Sir JJ group of Hospitals and Grant Medical College.
Since 1845 this Institution is one of the oldest and best Institutes in Asia Ranked always in first 10 in India and one of the 8 institutes recognized by Singapore Medical Council is built on large Grant from Sir JJ.
This treats 1200000 OPD and 80000 indoor patients every year .
Must have treated at least 30 Crore patients in last 160 years
This is done before start of Mumbai University which means Sir JJ was a pioneer in education and he provided best health services almost FREE of cost to poor people.
3) Sir JJ Dharmashala running for last 150 years takes care of old and destitutes till today.
4) Sir JJ school of Architecture: One of the best in country and produced some of the best architects in India
5) Sir JJ school of Arts from where some of our finest artistes have emerged.
6) Sir JJ school of Commercial Art
7) He built innumerable schools hospitals and Agyaries.
Above all we all use Charni Road Railway Station. Do we know that all this precious land belonged to Sir JJ? He donated this land, again free of cost, to build Charni Road Station.
All these contributions could run into thousands of crores of rupees in today’s valuations. Mumbai owes a lot to this great person  who was an orphan, completely self made , practically educated and knew what troubles the common man goes through.
My humble tribute and salute to this great Mahamanav who contributed towards modernity , growth and happiness of the
Common man.
For his outstanding contributions Queen Victoria conferred baronetcy on India’s first Knight


The list of the Parsis of Bombay by occupation shows that Parsis had a variety of occupations from accountants and bankers to hawkers, umbrella makers, cooks, servants, gardeners, prostitutes, palm wine dealers and many more.


Listing of Number of Parsis by Profession in Alphabetical order



MALES  —   28008

1-30 days–70

1-23 months–823

2-13 years–5873

14-44 years—16430

45 years and above–4840

FEMALES   —  21003

1-30 days—36

1-23 months—762

2-13 years—5749

14-44 years—10790

45 years and above–3700





AUCTIONER                                                                   —   107

BAKER                                                                             —     93

BEGGAR                                                                          —

BRACELET MAKER                                                          —  434

BULLOCK DRIVER, DAIRY MAN                                    —  325

CANE WORKER, PALM LEAF WEAVER                        —  649

CHARCOAL DEALER                                                        —    92

CLOTHIER, DRAPER                                                        —  590

COOK                                                                                — 1641

COPPERSMITH                                                                 —

CONFECTIONER OR SWEET MEAT MAKER                 —    38

CONTRACTOR                                                                  —  606

COTTONWORKER OR RETAILER                                   —   205

CROCKERY, GLASS DEALER                                            —   150

DOMESTIC SERVANT                                                       — 5325

PERFUMER                                                                        —   150

DYER                                                                                  —

ENGINEER                                                                          —

ENGINE DRIVER                                                                —    907

FISHERMAN                                                                      —       40


HAY AND STRAW DEALER                                                —     270


GOLD, SILVERSMITH, JEWELLER                                     —    128

GRAIN DEALER OR GRINDER                                           —         3

GRAIN PARCHER                                                                —         5

GROCER                                                                              —     316

GUNPOWDER, FIREWORKS MAKER DEALER                —       54

HAWKER                                                                             —      180

HEMP, AND COLI WORKER OR DEALER                         —        31

HORSE DRIVER                                                                  —–

IRON WORKER OR DEALER                                                      1200

LABOURER                                                                                   1079


LEATHER MAKER, WORKER OR DEALER                       —         31

LEECHMAN                                                                        —–


MARITINE MAN, BOATMAN                                          —           29


MEDICAL MAN                                                                  —        503

MARINE STORE DEALER                                                  —        186

MERCHANT BANKER, BROKER                                       —       6149


MONEY CHANGER                                                           —          639

MUSICIAN                                                                          —           12


PAINTER                                                                             —          106

PHOTOGRAPHER                                                              —            50

PITCH, TAR, RESIN DEALER                                             —            46

PLUMBER AND PIPE LAYER                                            —             16


POTTER, BRICK, TILE MAKER OR DEALER                     —               5

PAULTERER                                                                       —                3

PRIEST                                                                                —         3580

PRINTER, STATIONER, BOOK BINDER                           —           575

PROSTITUTE                                                                      —             41

PURVEYOR OR BUMBOAT MAN OR BOATMAN              —         58

SALT MAKER OR DEALER                                                     —            4

SCAVENGER, SWEEPER                                                        —-

SCHOOL MASTER, TEACHER                                               —        376

SILK WORKER, DEALER                                                        —          71

TAVERN, COFFEE, BOARDING HOUSE KEEPER                —        111

TIN, TINPLATE WORKER, GLAZIER                                     —          35

TOBACCO, BETEL, OPIUM, GUNJA DEALER                     —            3

TOY MAKER, DEALER                                                           —        210

UMBRELLA MAKER                                                              —          68

WASHERMAN                                                                       —-

WATCHMAKER                                                                     —       176

WATER CARRIER                                                                   —       337

WEAVER                                                                                 —

WOOD WORKER OR DEALER                                              —      5906

WRITER ACCOUNTANT                                                        —      7180

WOOL WORKER OR DEALER                                               —      1209



The above is extracted from the Census of Bombay, taken by the Local Government on a single day – 2 February 1864 (Enclosed)

Kind Courtesy : Ms. Prochy Mehta



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FEZANA Delegates to Attend a Multi-Stakeholder Meeting at United Nations

NEW YORK, July 10, 2020 – FEZANA delegates will be participating in a Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at the United Nations on July 21st, 2020 from 10 AM to 6 PM EST.

The multi-stakeholder meeting will take place on a virtual platform and due to technical limitations, only 3 representatives per NGO can participate.  The following will be the designated FEZANA representatives:

Shirin Mehri from Karachi, Pakistan is currently serving as the Program Manager for Ethics & Governance at the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business.  After successfully completing projects in education in Tanzania, Azerbaijan, and the United States, Shirin is leading projects on family-friendly workplaces and Pakistan’s investment landscape in partnership with the IFC at the Pakistan Business Council. Prior to her move, Shirin worked alongside the founders of growing social impact start-ups focussed on community development in the UAE.

Nadia Jam from Toronto, Canada is a light-hearted, free-spirit full of energy and passion. Her involvement in the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario and the UN Commission on the Status of Women Conference, as a FEZANA NGO representative, has inspired her to lead the international sub-community, Zoroastrian LGBTQ+-Straight Alliance online and at the 2019 World Youth Congress of which she and the other panellists wrote about in WZO’s Hamazor Journal (Issue 2-2019). Nadia has a B.A. in Political Science in French Immersion from the University of Ottawa and she will be continuing her education with a Masters in Counselling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in pursuit of a career in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Behnoosh Sethna was born and raised in Karachi and currently resides in Maryland working for a financial institution.  She has a passion for bringing strategic value-added projects focusing on women’s empowerment and communities’ prosperity.  Behnoosh was the moderator of the UN panel at the 7th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress in Los Angeles presenting about the organization’s efforts on the Sustainable Development Goals and Zoroastrian’s presence and history at the UN.  She also represented FEZANA at the 68th DGC United Nations Civil Society Conference in August 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Along with the virtual participation, the UN will do a public webcast of the proceedings.  Viewing the webcast does not require you to register.  The webcast will be live at:

Zarathushtis interested in participating with FEZANA at the UN can send a letter of intent as to how they see themselves promoting the mission of the United Nations, ( with a copy of their curriculum vitae to:

Co-Chairs of the FEZANA UN NGO Committee:

Afreed Mistry,

and Behram Pastakia,


We, the Trustees of the R N Rustomframna Agiary, Dadar would like to inform all our esteemed Patrons that considering the current situation prevailing in our city on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in compliance with the rules laid down by the government, only Priests are permitted to enter places of worship. Hence, we have decided that whilst all the usual ceremonies connected with the Muktads will be performed in memory of the Asho Farohars, we regret to inform you that Family Members will NOT be allowed entry into the Agiary for attending any of the ceremonies.

This decision has been taken with the intent of not only complying with government directives, but also reducing the possibility of Family Members, Mobeds and our Staff contracting this dreaded virus.

We Trustees definitely understand the emotional distress that Family Members will experience, but, hope that it will be appreciated that the Agiary has to be administered in compliance with the rules laid down by the government.

Trustees assure Patrons that all ceremonies will be performed, as have been done over the years, in letter and in spirit.

General Information:

1. For the First year Muktads, separate tables will be provided for all prayers. Charges for prayers will be Rs.25,000 (compared to Rs.33,000 last year).

2. For the Second year onwards, prayers will be done by 1 Mobed for 3 different Families. (3 vases of 3 different Families on one table only). Charges for these prayers will be Rs.15,000 per family.

3. If you wish to keep the Vase of your other family members, then it will be kept on the Anjuman table for 10 days and the charges for that will be Rs.1650 per Vase.

4. Considering the present situation no flowers from Family Members will be accepted. The Agiary will place and replace flowers in the Vases.

5. Chasni will not be given for this year.

6. Ashodads for Mobeds and Staff as well as sukhad batti money for the 10 days should be handed over at the time of depositing the Vases on Sunday, August 2nd 2020. Jashan ashodad for Mobeds and Parsi Staff combined @Rs.1750 per Jashan will be collected at the time of receiving the Vases on Sunday, August 2nd 2020.

Muktads will be performed by our regular Mobeds, along with the support of our existing Parsi and Non Parsi Staff. Outside personnel will not be retained this year.

We request each one of you to please understand and cooperate with us during these testing times.

With the blessing of Lord Ahura Mazda on mankind, may this pandemic end soon and we then look forward to seeing you all back in our Agiary.

Thank you.

Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

On behalf of the Trustees of the R N Rustomframna Agiary

Nasha R. Jassawalla
Chairman & Managing Trustee

Secunderabad: Sacred fire temple turns 100


Khan Bahadur Edulji Sohrabji Chenai Anjuman Dar-e-Meher in Secunderabad will complete 100 years on July 14

Ervad Aspi Patel, the head priest of the temple, is seated in the verandah. An air of tranquility, and dominance of white and peace pervade the place as we approach to meet him. The Khan Bahadur Edulji Sohrabji Chenai Anjuman Dar-e-Meher on MG Road, a temple of Parsis – followers of the Persian prophet Zoroaster – .has been like that for a hundred years. Time, place and emotion coalesce, and, a fragrance of peace and purity pervades.

Just a few yards away, the world outside changed with open spaces giving way to matchbox like structures but the fire temple hasn’t changed. Gulbanoo Yadgar Chenoy, 90, the president of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, is one of the few family members of the Chenoys who donated for the fire temple. She shares her past: “Our family came from Jalna to Secunderabad in 1803. The land was donated by the family and the temple was constructed at a cost of Rs 28,500 Hali sikka.” Hyderabad State had its own currency, the Hali sikka, 15 percent less than the rupee in British India. One hundred British rupees got you 116 Hali rupees.

Seth Jamshedji Edulji Chenoy, son of Khan Bahadur Seth Edulji Sohrabji and bai Pirojbai Edulji Chenoy, along with his brothers, built the Khan Bahadur Edulji Sohrabji Chenai Anjuman Dar-e-Meher in memory of their late father. “Fire is a living entity. Since consecration 100 years ago it has been burning continuously and only ordained priests are allowed inside the inner sanctum sanctorum,” says Jehangir Bisney, 58, a chartered accountant and trustee of the Anjuman. For Parsis, fire is a supreme symbol of purity and represents the light of God (Ahura Mazda) as well as the illuminated mind. No Zoroastrian ritual is complete without the presence of a sacred fire.

There are three priests who work in shifts. Two live in the residential blocks inside the temple complex and the head priest in Hyderabad. The priests tend to the fire five times a day and also ring the bell thrice to remove evil spirits. Sandalwood and kathi is what the Parsis call, a type of wood is used to keep the fire burning. The fire has to keep burning and is tended to without fail even around 2:30 at midnight.

How often do people visit the temple, we ask Ervad Aspi Patel, the head priest. “The ones residing in the 40 residential blocks do visit the temple but people from the community who are spread across the city make it to the temple for Navroz, the Parsi New year, when the place comes alive.” That the population is dwindling is a topic that cannot be avoided but Gulbanoo says, “Even as a kid, I remember the population was not much. We have always been a small community.”

Video on You Tube on July 14

A 40-minute video on the fire temple would be put up on You Tube to mark the centenary celebrations. Arnaz Bisney, who made the video, says, “As it dawned on us that the celebrations would be low-key due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I thought of making a video. It was Navroz and the photo frames were removed for renovation. That was when it struck, to make a video. There are 31 frames which is the cruz of the video.” It would be live after 9 pm on July 14. Here is the link:

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