Category Archives: Miscellaneous
You must have seen Homi Gandhi’s email appeal, if not it is below my letter for your reference. I am working closely with him to help all Iranians. Since this last week the situation at Yazd, Iran is critical and many are affected by the Coronavirus.
We at Parzor have been in touch with Mr. Sepanta Niknam, President Yazd Zarthusti Association and Council Member of Yazd. They are in desperate need of help and medicines. Due to Sanctions, people are dying and we need to come together and work to help the Iranians as much as we can. Since you may be able to help I am giving details below.
If you can contribute money by wire transfer in Indian rupees to Parzor for medicines of which we need 10,000 Tamiflu, 12,000 Kaletra and Injection of Actimera for 100 people, protective gear etc., please send your donation as per the details given below.
Vijaya Bank Details for Indian Rupee donations
(This is superseded now, please read below)
Bank Name:- Vijaya Bank
Account Name: Parzor Foundation
Account No:- xxxxxxxxxx
IFSC Code:- xxxxxxxxxx
Address:- NO D 65, Hauz Khas Market,
Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016
Type of Account :- Saving Account
Phone No. :- 011-
Customer ID No.:- xxxxxxxx
MICR No: xxxxxxxx
INR cheques to “Parzor Foundation” should be sent to the following address:-
Dr. Shernaz Cama/ Dr. Niloufer Shroff
F-17, Hauz Khas Enclave,
T: 011 26513560/ 41626248
However if you are only sending in foreign exchange eg: Australian/ US dollars/ GBP, please send it to WZO as per the instructions to be given by Dinshaw Tamboly. WZO should get the foreign donation from you with a specific note that it is for humanitarian assistance to Yazd Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences Hospital.
This is because while Parzor has a FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) we are a research organization and not a Registered Charity. Hence all donations to the FCRA account are meant only for projects in India.
It has been very difficult and stressful to work at this speed but even this morning one more Zarthusthi has died in the hospital. We are all under lockdown in Delhi and cannot move out. Our own country needs the drugs, as does all of Europe; hence I have had to reach out to very special people for help. It is very good of Homi Gandhi and Dinshaw Tamboly to offer help but our greatest thanks should go to Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla for his donation and Dr. Yusuf Hamied, Chairman Cipla, London, who without knowing me personally has put his Indian staff at our disposal through Karan Bilimoria.
These medicines are NOT available for sale and I am only getting them because of Dr. Yusuf Hamied’s understanding of the crisis in Iran.
Our community must realize that they are very expensive eg: for 200 tablets of Tamiflu we have already paid Rs. 98,000/- + tax. We need 10,000 tablets for Yazd and 12,000 of Kaletra (which are so far not available and will cost around the same amount if not more). This will itself come to around Rs. 20 lakhs. The injections Actimera 200, which are saving lives, are not available in India – we are trying to source them in Switzerland for 100 critical patients at Yazd.
Dr. Poonawalla’s kind donation of Rs. 10 lakhs has gone to purchase the urgent requirement of 2 ventilators which are being shipped out to me in Delhi for dispatch to Iran tomorrow. We are hoping to get 50 Covid 19 testing sets directly from Canada to Iran from his second kind donation of Rs. 10 lakhs. The Iranians and all humanitarians are extremely indebted to him.
We have also put together Rs. 3 lakhs from our own funds, for some of the protective gear, which only Dr. Poonawalla’s people have been able to source for us. Much more gear is required but we just do not have the funds.
All this needs coordination across the world and difficult Customs clearance in Delhi and Tehran. I have been doing this nonstop and it is emotionally and physically draining. If anyone else can help, I will be grateful.
Thanks and warm regards,
Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America
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Moustaches have always fascinated me; since I was a boy, I had dreamt of wearing one! Therefore, I was thrilled to be told while undergoing training at the Indian Military Academy that I was being commissioned into the Madras Sappers. Apart from being an elite group in the Indian Army, they were also known to sport the most impressive moustaches!
Historically, moustaches have been worn by military men and the number of nations, regiments and ranks are equalled only by the number of styles and variations. So in April 1976, I decided to sport a full-grown moustache, not a truncated one, little realising what heavy maintenance and care this hobby would entail every day. But then as in life, so in pleasure—no pain, no gain.
So what goes into the upkeep of these long twirls? Well, I spend three hours daily, washing, drying and arranging my curls; often, oiling them too. I have never used artificial gels, styling aids, gadgets, hair clips, snood (hair net) or hair bands. All I have ever used since it all began is a pair of scissors and thatta (cloth band). At times, a magnifying glass helps ensure that a bit of the nose or cheek is not snipped off!
I first won a moustache competition at the Desert Festival in Nagore, Rajasthan, in 2001. In 2005, I participated in the ‘3rd World Beard and Moustache Competition’ in Berlin, lasting 12 continuous hours, where 243 participants from across the world pitted their deadly facial locks against one another. I was the sole competitor from Asia. I returned home with a medal and a certificate in the freestyle goatee category. I was a Brigadier then.
My locks have got me into many awkward and even hilarious situations, not least of which was this experience on an early morning Indian Airlines flight from Hyderabad to Delhi. I was late boarding the aircraft, and as soon as I entered, every single passenger looked up at me with great bewilderment. I smiled, took my seat and picked up the newspaper the airlines would keep on each seat those days. To my surprise, the front page headline read, “Notorious Bandit Veerappan Gunned Down in Karnataka Forest”. Every Indian was aware of the bandit’s enviable moustache and hence the amused look on the passengers’ faces!
When I was in service, everyone used to recognise me from the front. After retirement in 2009, I started sporting a Goldilocks-type hairstyle. Now I am recognised from behind too! I am blessed to have such luxuriant hair.
—Maj Gen (retd) Naozar B Patel, Hyderabad
‘Freddie Mercury Close’ was officially unveiled on February 24, by Freddie’s sister, Kashmira Bulsara, and the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Tony Louki. Personally I would have preferred ‘Freddie Balsara Close’. (Balsar is a small town in Gujarat.). But then Fareydoon Balsara never wanted to be known as a ‘desi’.
THE boundary walls of the historic Parsi graveyard located in Peshawar Cantonment are under threat of encroachment as it has become a safe haven for drug addicts and junkyard for the people residing around it.
A local resident claiming anonymity told this scribe that some individuals, apparently the gunmen of land grabbers, late in the night walked up to the graveyard and began removing bricks of its boundary walls and made off along the uprooted bricks.
“According to the Cantonment Board’s record, the place bearing plot number 323/CB under 514 survey number has been allocated for the graveyard of Parsi community and the person involved in any kind of its land transaction will be responsible for her/his own loss. If notice of this plunder is not taken, the graveyard will be encroached upon because no member of the Parsi community seems to be left behind in Peshawar to take care of the property,” he warned.
The resident said that over 100-year-old graveyard had many cemented graves with slabs inscribed with brief bio-data of the deceased. It was considered to be the last symbol of the Parsi community once happily living in the pluralistic and multilingual Peshawar since mid-19th century, he added.
The resident said that the land grabbers first turned such abandoned piece of land into a safe haven for drug addicts and then asked locals to throw every kind of dirt and garbage there so that the dumpsite could go out of the sight of the officials concerned and ultimately come under their control.
The Karachi Zarthosti Banu Mandal (KZBM), a community welfare organisation, states in its 2015 report that it had conducted the first complete survey of Pakistan’s Zoroastrians in 1995.
Conducted under the supervision of Toxy Cowasjee, sister-in-law of the noted columnist late Ardeshir Cowasjee, the survey found that 2,831 Parsis lived across the country — 2,647 in Karachi, 94 in Lahore, 45 in Quetta, 30 in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, eight in Multan, and seven in Peshawar.
Akhundzada Arif Hasan, a noted historian, told this scribe that Peshawar had a cemetery, belonging to the local Zoroastrians (Parsis), who lived there as traders. He said that it should be noted that those were not indigenous Zoroastrians, but migrants from the Indian community further south. They were residents of Indian state of Gujarat and spoke the Indic Gujarati language at home, he added.
He said that Parsis were brought and settled in Peshawar by the British colonial authorities for the purposes of forming a solid backbone of trade. The Parsis being renowned for their scruples and integrity and their support for British and European culture to which they rapidly took once India came under the British rule, he added.
About the cemetery, Mr Hasan said that the fact that they did not dispose of their dead in the traditional Zoroastrian way, and the reasons thereof should be apparent as it would be contrary to the sensibilities of the surrounding Muslim population as well as the British administrators, who had made the Parsis reside within the exclusive “whites only” British military cantonment areas for reasons of safety.
He said that Parsis normally ran sophisticated businesses, dealing in Western goods and technologies and they were also employed by the British on those jobs that could not be trusted to other “natives” or for which the latter were clearly unfit.
Tracing out the history, Mr Hasan said that the oldest grave there dated to 1890, whereas the last was from 1993, its occupant incidentally being an old woman teacher at the Christian missionary school. He said that he used to study in the school.
The graves are about 50, and the cemetery is part of a large compound allotted to the Parsi community for this purpose. This compound had full residential facilities for a caretaker, which can be seen, and a lot of the land is still unused.
However, the historian said that over the past 25 years or so, Pakistan’s once numerous and thriving Parsis had steadily migrated to western countries like Canada and Australia for obvious reasons. “So now there is none left in Peshawar. The inscriptions on the graves are mostly typically in English and Gujarati but some are also in Avestan, some have combinations as the graves are generally well tended, and in relatively good condition, even now,” he added.
“This cemetery is located on the southern edge of Peshawar Cantonment, on Sunheri Masjid Road. It is fronted by the usual tacky shops and shacks, typical of ramshackle Pakistani bazaar. Once I went there and saw a sentry posted there. He wanted to know why I was there and what made me interested in those graves. Once convinced, he excitedly showed me around, as though these were the graves of his own forefathers,” said Mr Hasan.
An official of Peshawar Cantonment Board, when contacted, said that a portion of the boundary wall had been damaged while the cemetery was still intact as no one could encroach upon it. He said that relatives of the deceased settled either in other cities in Pakistan or abroad still showed up for paying respects to their near and dear ones buried there.
“No mafia is involved in damaging the cemetery boundary wall. Care is being taken to keep a vigilant eye on the visitors. Local residents have been directed not to throw garbage inside the cemetery,” said the official.
Dr Jal Fram Jee, a noted dental surgeon said to be the last of the Zoroastrian in Peshawar, who died in 1903 at the age of 90 was also buried in the cemetery. The official said that late Dr Fram Jee ran his clinic in Peshawar Qissa Khwani Bazaar and was quite popular among the local residents.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020
GEN Z AND BEYOND – GLOBAL SURVEY PROJECT
I would like to make you aware of a very interesting and worthwhile project Dinyar Devitre, Toos Daruvala & Edul Daver have initiated. The objective is to offer every Zoroastrian the opportunity to respond to a survey such that we can collect demographic, attitudinal and aspirational data and after analysis utilize the results thru various Associations to not only shape the future but also make our community flourish. It is a unique and ambitious project which is different from anything attempted in the past.
The initiators have formed a global team with representatives from each country and the GWG (Global Working Group) members will serve as the Steering Committee. This was presented at the GWG meeting on Jan. 7, 2020 and received unanimous support from all the global organizations.
After an exhaustive review of various institutions SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies) in London has been selected to conduct the study. The cost with contingencies is estimated at $275,000 of which Dinyar Devitre and initial sponsors have provided $80,000 seed money. We would like to start the project by May 2020 and complete it by December 2021. As such we urgently need to raise the required gap of $200,000 in the next few months. We sincerely request generous supporters like yourself to step up to the plate with relatively large donations in the range of $5,000 – $25,000. However no amount is too large and similarly no amount is too small. You may donate directly at the following donation ‘crowd funding’ portals by credit card but I would appreciate a one line e-mail so I may stay in the loop.
USA & GLOBALLY: https://www.chapel-
UK & Globally: https://soas.hubbub.net/p/
Thanks for your generous response and helping to make a difference to our community.
Naidu releases commemorative stamp on 100 years of Jamshedpur
Jamshedpur, Feb 17: Emphasising the need for ethical corporate governance in Indian Industry, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the Tata group has set ethical standards in the corporate world and every industry must adopt it.
Speaking at the centenary year celebrations of naming of the city as Jamshedpur, the Vice President said that some people took undue advantage of the system and industry has a duty to abjure such elements. He appreciated the Tata Group for being synonymous with high ethical standards and the pioneering spirit of entrepreneurship.
Calling industry and agriculture as two eyes of nations, he opined that industry must support the efforts of government to achieve desired economic progress.
Addressing the gathering at Tata Auditorium, XLRI, Naidu commended Tata Steel for its contribution towards improving the quality of life of the community for over 100 years. He described Jamshedpur as India’s first planned industrial city that had earned the distinction of becoming the country’s role model for sustainable urban and industrial development.
He dwelt at length on the priorities of the government and outlined the investment opportunities that can contribute to the economic growth of the country. He said, “Government spending alone cannot push the economic growth to the levels that we wish to achieve. We need to work together with industries for the overall development of the country.”
“The development of a sustainable strategy is increasingly becoming an imperative for companies’ survival and longevity and Jamshedpur is a glowing example of sustainable development,” he added.
Terming Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) as one of the best models for development in a developing economy like India, the Vice President expressed confidence that PPP models would lead to improved efficiency and better services.
Referring to the recent policy interventions of the Reserve Bank of India, Naidu said the steps were aimed at lowering the cost of funds for banks and providing funds to the industry.
Expressing need for skill building, the Vice President urged all business enterprises and manufacturing units to upgrade skills of employees to face future challenges.
He opined that there was no dearth of talent in India, we only need to identify the talent and nurture it. Maintaining that this was not the responsibility for the governments alone, he called upon the industry to supplement the government’s efforts.
While appreciating the government for its efforts to increase farmer’s income, Naidu urged the private sector to contribute by constructing cold storage facilities, providing transport facilities from villages to the nearby market yards as part of their CSR activity.
Naidu also hailed role of JRD Tata, in setting up India’s first steel plant at Jamshedpur and said that he was not only a doyen of the Indian industry, but also was a visionary leader who foresaw a rising India.
Appreciating various sports facilities created in Jamshedpur, the Vice President called for greater focus on sports and fitness. He said Fit India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Yoga should become people’s movement.
Vice President of India and Governor of Jharkhand were also shown the Tata Steel Archives at CFE where the Tata Steel story was shared with them. Tata Steel Archives is the first Business Archives in the country.
Among those present at CFE from Tata Steel were Suresh Dutt Tripathi, Vice President (Human Resource Management), Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President (Corporate Services) and other officers from the leadership team of Corporate Services.
Funding Needed To Study The Twin Goals Of Unity And Growth In A Global Zoroastrian Survey
What does the Zoroastrian community, especially our youth, seek? How can we preserve our identity and strengthen the community as a whole? Community members across the globe dwell on these questions without a clear answer. A new initiative called Gen Z and Beyond seeks to create a global Zoroastrian study to provide up-to-date, accurate, substantive and authoritative data to inform and guide our thinking to help us secure and shape the future of our community, its aspirations and identity.
Dr. Sarah Stewart, the Shapoorji Pallonji Senior Lecturer in Zoroastrian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London will lead the global survey and data analysis. Zoroastrians in India and across the globe will be invited to participate in an online anonymous survey. Researchers aspire to survey 100 % of the Zoroastrian population and plan to visit rural areas where online access is not available.
This global survey is different from those in the past as it will solicit demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal input from Zoroastrians. It will generate an all-encompassing database and draw a comprehensive set of facts, insights and ideas to inform and inspire Zoroastrian communities to develop future projects that will secure, strengthen and further the wellbeing of the community.
Detailed information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found at
Gen Z and Beyond sponsors have provided seed capital close to 30% of the approximately $275,000 total Survey cost. The goal is to raise the balance by the project launch date of May 1, 2020 and complete the project by December 2021. We cannot do this without your help and request each Association around the globe to support this initiative as well as make monetary contributions and help to create the future of our community.
Contact To Learn More And Join This Effort.
Yazdi Tantra – firstname.lastname@example.org – +91 98922 19340
Dinyar Devitre – email@example.com – +1 646 266 9156
Toos Daruvala – firstname.lastname@example.org – +1(917) 626-3570
Edul Daver – email@example.com – +1 908 397 4443
In a ceremony at an ancient, ruined temple in northern Iraq, Faiza Fuad joined a growing number of Kurds who are leaving Islam to embrace the faith of their ancestors — Zoroastrianism.
Years of violence by the Islamic State jihadist group have left many disillusioned with Islam, while a much longer history of state oppression has pushed some in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to see the millennia-old religion as a way of reasserting their identity.
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