Category Archives: Miscellaneous

HAPPY KADMI NEW YEAR!

As a community we may be small in number, but, always ready and big on celebrations! For a ‘True Blue Bawaji’ everyday is a celebration and every event or occasion is an excuse to feast. But, some days are extra special and call for extra celebrations. Take for example our birthday – celebrating just one is not enough! We celebrate what we like to call our ‘Roj nu Birthday’ and also our regular Birthday by date! And, when it comes to New Years it’s a year round bonanza. We celebrate three of our own (Jamshedi Navroz on 21st March, the Kadmi New Year and the Shehenshahi New Year) and add to that, the universal, 1st January and also the saganvantu (auspicious) Hindu New Year after Diwali!!

But, who or what is Shehenshahi and, who or what in Ahura Mazda’s name, is a Kadmi? Are they not both Zoroastrian? When and how did these two sects within the community emerge? The root of this division goes back in history to our calendar. Hence, first let’s understand our Zoroastrian calendar – it dates back to the coronation of the last Zoroastrian King (Yezdazard III) of Zoroastrian (Sassanian dynasty) Iran. Thus, when we say that currently the year is 1386 YZ, it means 1,386 years ago our last monarch Yezdazard Shariyar or Yezdazard III ascended the throne of Iran.

The Zoroastrian calendar is a fairly simple, yet meaningful, calendar. Each month of the Zoroastrian calendar is of thirty days and each of these thirty days is dedicated to a divinity, which presides over a good creation of Ahura Mazda. The twelve months of the Zoroastrian calendar are also dedicated to different divinities that preside over a good creation. Thus, we have twelve months multiplied by thirty days, giving us a calendar of 360 days to which are added the five days of the ‘Gathas’ at the end of the year, aggregating to 365 days.

Since Zoroastrians traditionally do not add a leap year, the New Year slips by a day, every four years. The Zoroastrian tradition in ancient Iran was to add a whole month of thirty days, every 120 years, to keep the calendar in tune with Nature and the seasons. The Zoroastrians who stayed back in the province of Yazd in Iran discontinued this tradition after the fall of the Sassanian Empire and even the Parsis who came to India (from the province of Khorasan) intercalated a month only once after their arrival in India. This explains the difference of one month between the Kadmi (ancient) calendar followed by some Iranian Zoroastrians and some Parsis of Gujarat and the Shehanshai (Imperial) calendar, followed by the majority of Parsis in India.

Of course, the community also celebrates Jamshedi Navroz as ‘Nature’s New Year’ on or around 21st March since it also marks the spring equinox. The Fasli (Fasal = seasonal) calendar was introduced in India by the renowned scholar K R Cama around the beginning of the twentieth century with 21st March as the New Year and adding an extra day every four years called Ruz-i-Vahizak. It has never gained much popularity in India. However, the community in Iran and the USA has largely embraced it.

The Kadmi movement emerged in eighteenth century India mainly over disagreements among priests whether to adjust the one-month discrepancy between the calendars of the Indian Zoroastrian (Parsi) and the Iranian Zoroastrian (Irani) communities. The Kadmis considered the Irani calendar as ‘Kadim’ or old and therefore original, while most Parsis, who did not change their Imperial calendar (followed from the time of Yazdazard III) came to be known as Shehenshahis. The fact remained that both were going wrong!

The Shehenshahis and Kadimis are generally in agreement with regard to Zoroastrian theology and doctrines, and there are not any social or religious restrictions between the two sects. However, there are a few minor differences in their rituals, apart from the different calendars and the subsequent discrepancies between their festivals.

In the Khordeh Avesta, Shehenshahis and Kadimis use different opening and closing phrases for most prayers. In the Ahem and Yatha prayers, the Shenshahis say ‘vohu’ and ‘ahu’ whereas the Kadmis say ‘vahi’ (or ‘Vohi’) and ‘ahi’. There are also minor differences in other rituals, such as the Afringan, Ijashne and the Boi at the change of the gah. Navjote, marriages and death ceremonies too, are conducted slightly differently.

Ancient, imperial or seasonal, it’s yet another excuse to feast and celebrate. Let’s not be embarrassed that we have three New Years.  Let’s celebrate the fact that we are thrice blessed!

 

The Kadmi Or Ancient New Year

Noshir Dadrawalla

Munchi Cama expired on 03 July 2021

Two days after Asia’s oldest newspaper, the Gujarati daily Mumbai Samachar entered its 200th year, one of its owners, Muncherji (Munchi) Cama, passed away on Saturday. The paper was founded on July 1, 1822, but the Cama family became owners in 1933.
Besides being a newspaper proprietor, not many know that Munchi also controlled the Ardeshir Hormusji Wadia Trust, which according to government records, is one of the biggest private landowners in Mumbai. It has over 361 acres in Kurla and a corpus believed to be a humungous Rs 700 crore. Some years ago, when I asked him about the trust’s phenomenal land holdings, he explained to me: “We cannot speculate on our land holding unless we take an audit. A lot of our land was acquired by the government decades ago, but it was returned to us completely encroached.’’
He told me that many builders had approached the trust, offering to rehabilitate slum dwellers and redevelop the land. In the early 20th century, the Cama family of Mumbai Samachar owned 1/3rd of the land in Chembur.
In the early part of the 19th century, Ardeshir Hormusji Wadia was given the lease for Kurla, which comprised the six villages of Mohili, Kole Kalyan, Marol, Sahar, Asalphe and Parjapur, for a yearly rent of Rs 3,587.
In 2018, I met Muncherji at the K. R. Cama Oriential Institute in Mumbai, where he was a trustee. The library, founded in 1916, has a treasure trove of ancient Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian literature and manuscripts including books on Islam and the Koran. I was pleasantly surprised when Muncherji readily agreed to show me a rare manuscript, which also happened to be the library’s most precious treasure– a 7th century AD Arabic manuscript called “Ahd-Namaha’’ or what is called “Covenants of faith’’ or charters granted by the Prophet Mohammad and his son-in-law Imam Ali.
In 2004, my front-page report in TOI about the sale of the Cama family bungalow, Cosy Corner, off Nepean Sea Road to a builder for Rs 108 crore, upset the Camas (So I was told). The builder was one of the tragic victims of the 26/11, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
 
Nauzer Bharucha
 
=================================
Goodbye Muncherji …
 
Muncherji Cama more popularly called Munchi is no more.
 
I got to know him better in 2008 when he was part of the AFP-7 Panel along with myself to contest the first Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) elections by the process of Universal Adult Franchise. Unfortunately he lost.
 
He was well read, witty and had the most amazing sense of humour. At public meetings it would be a joy sitting next to him simply to hear his witty comments spiked with caustic humour.
 
At one election meeting a lady rudely called him a “fat potatoe”. Without batting an eyelid he said: “I am a (healthy) sweet potatoe”. The audience was bowled over.
 
At the food table he would tell you the right sandwich to pick or the right cut of meat to select. Oh yes he loved good food and that ran in his family.
 
When I resigned as trustee of the BPP in March 2011 he was elected in my place but he too resigned before completing his term of office.
 
Through the A H Wadia Trust and several other trusts he was helpful to a large number of people seeking medical other assistance.
 
He did not believe in making applicants run from one trust to another. I remember recommending the case of a lady in Poona suffering from cancer around the year 2008. The couple was retired and the expense was around Rs. 13 lakhs. He called the lady in my presence and told her “You focus on your recovery and leave the expense to me”. He lived up to his promise and from just a single source all her medical expenditure was covered.
 
There are innumerable stories about how he would go out of his way to help those genuinely in need. He would send his personal staff over to help some old lady or gent living alone and in need of non financial assistance such as cooking, cleaning paying utility bills etc. He would often even visit beneficiaries at their homes.
 
He was Director of Mumbai Samachar which will soon be celebrating its 200th anniversary. He sat on the Board of several other institutions including the K R Cama Oriental Institute.
 
He was ailing and homebound for several months but continued to take active interest in all his work till the end from home.
 
He loved life and tried to live it fully and cheerfully despite various health challenges.
 
He had his share of critics but non could doubt his honesty and integrity.
 
Goodbye Munchi! I’ll always smile thinking of all those comments you passed sitting next to me at the last meeting of the BPP that you attended.
 
Noshir H Dadrawala
===========================================================
 

Muncherji Nusserwanji Cama, a director at Mumbai Samachar, the oldest Indian newspaper in print, died on Saturday after a brief illness, sources said.

Cama, who was in his 60s, was active in the family’s publishing business till the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the sources said.

The former trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) was a resident of Walkeshwar in south Mumbai. Founded in 1681, BPP is the apex body representing the Parsi Zoroastrian community in Mumbai and is among the oldest charitable trusts.

Keenly interested in history, languages and linguistics, Cama was on the board of several charities and was particularly interested in enhancing educational standards of the less fortunate and helped provide medical treatment for the poor.

His elder brother Hormusji N Cama is more active in the day-to-day operations of Mumbai Samachar.

On July 1, Mumbai Samachar entered its 200th year of publication. The Gujarati newspaper, with its office located in an iconic red building in south Mumbai’s Fort area, was first published in 1822.

Founded by Parsi scholar Fardoonji Murazban, the newspaper passed through several hands until bankruptcy turned it over to the Cama family in 1933. PTI

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/mumbai-samachar-director-muncherji-cama-dead-277731

https://www.exchange4media.com/media-print-news/muncherji-nusserwanji-cama-director-of-mumbai-samachar-is-no-more-114031.html

Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College (BJMC) celebrates 75th Foundation Day

Doyens of medical service: BJ Medical College in Pune celebrates 75th foundation day

The hospital had played a crucial role during the 2009 Swine flu outbreak and even now, before PMC could upgrade its hospitals with ventilators and tertiary care, Sassoon was the only government hospital providing tertiary care to Covid-19 patients.

A panoramic view of Sassoon hospital on the 75th anniversary of BJ Medical College, which is attached to the hospital. (Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

The Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College (BJMC), which is attached to Sassoon General Hospital, is celebrating its 75th foundation day on Wednesday, June 23. The hospital has played a pivotal role in providing tertiary care to not just residents of Pune, but also to districts in the state. Students from BJMC are recognised internationally for their published work in international journals and medical services provided by them at the hospital.

Dr Shashikala Sangle, aged 64, retired on May 31. She has been associated with the hospital for the past 45 years since she was a student and headed the department of Medicine.

Dr Sangle said, “BJMC has definitely carved its niche as being reputed for generating the most honest and hardworking alumni and staff. I had a student who wanted to study further in the US and her examiners who saw her report and saw the BJMC name, without any further questions admitted her. The decades of hard work has earned this name. BJ has produced many important medical research works.”

Dr Sangle also describes the Swine flu outbreak period. She said, “When we look at it in retrospect, Swine flu was not as big as Covid-19. We were able to manage it in just one building. However, with Covid-19, the sheer numbers and the complications and also the post Covid-19 complications are a bigger challenge. However, even during the pandemic our cardiac catheterisation lab was functioning smoothly and also chemotherapy of cancer patients continued. We took all due precautions and tests and ensured that other vital routine treatments are not hampered.”

While the hospital was founded in 1867, the BJ Medical school was founded in 1871, after completing 75 years, the school was expanded to BJ Medical College in 1946.

BJ Medical school and the Sassoon hospital campus first opened in the year 1871. (Courtesy: BJ medical college)
BJ Medical school and the Sassoon hospital campus first opened in the year 1871. (Courtesy: BJ medical college)

Right from its foundation till now the hospital has been supported through charities and CSR funds form the community and philanthropists.

On June 23, 1946, BJ Medical College was founded and Dr B. G Kher, head of the Bombay government, laid the foundation stone. The college has been named after Parsi philanthropist Byramjee Jeejeebhoy who donated the land in 1871. The medical course of MBBS was affiliated to the University of Poona (Pune) in 1949.

Annually 200 students are admitted for MBBS and 143 for post-graduation. At any given time, now, 1,700 students are on the campus with more than 2,000 staff including 268 faculty members. Presently, courses of MBBS, MD, MS, PhD, Diplomas, MCh (CVTS), MSc, GNM, BSc Nursing, DMLT, PGDMCH, and PGDGM are offered here.

In the last two decades, the colleges has been sought out by many research institutes including Department of Science & technology (DST), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Outreach services in mental health, preventive medicine, human reproduction research, tribal research, through national agencies like ICMR, and international agencies like WHO and UNICEF got underway. With the initiation of large-scale research projects the Institutional Ethics Committee was born. The Infosys super speciality building on the campus is catering to super speciality services for patients.

After this successful demonstration of research capability, NIH USA granted Clinical Trial Unit to BJMC in collaboration with JHU for 2008-2014. BJMC-JHU application in response to RFA of NIH was among the first five amongst applications from all over the world.

In 2005, through the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) the HIV treatment center (ART) was started giving treatment free of charge. Presently more than 24,000 HIV infected patients are registered in the ART centre and 12,000 are on free ART. BJMC is recognised Government TB treatment centre with 4,000 tuberculosis patients/suspects per year.

Prominent community donations include food for all patients prepared by donation from the Shrimant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Trust and the hospital has also contributed when it provided complete medical coverage to the athletes who participated in 30th Asian Athletics Games at Balewadi, Pune.

Dr Murlidhar Tambe, dean BJMC said, “Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we cannot celebrate it as a grand event. However, the hospital has proven its worth in time. For our 2025 vision board we had proposed a Cancer hospital, a dental college, physiotherapy college and multiple super-specialities, for which we have submitted our proposal to the government. Hopefully, we get approval for some. The research work of students from BJMC has been recognised globally and also the care provided by our staff and students is noteworthy. Now is the time to expand and introduce new courses of UG and PG in various faculties.”

By Steffy Thevar
The hydraulic turntable ladder which can reach up to the fifth or sixth floors of the building. (HT FILE)

BOMAN IRANI’S MOTHER IS NO MORE

“Mother Irani passed away peacefully in her sleep early this morning.
Jer was 94. She played the role of both mother and father to me, since she was 32.
What a spirit she was.
Filled with funny stories that only she could tell.
The longest arm that always dug deep into her pockets, even when there wasn’t much there. When she sent me to the movies, she made sure all the compound kids came with me. ‘Don’t forget the popcorn’ she would say.
She loved her food and her songs and she could fact-check Wikipedia and IMDb in a flash. Sharp, sharp, sharp, till the very end.
She always said ‘“You are not an actor for people to praise you. You are an actor only so you can make people smile.”
“Make people happy” She said.
Last night she asked for Malai Kulfi and some mango.
She could have asked for the moon and the stars if she wished.
She was, and always will be…….A Star.”
BOMAN IRANI

Pants, Shirts, Dagli, Sadra, Lehenga, Jama to ‘Gol’ Topi

After spending over 100 years suiting up the Parsi Men, we can say we’ve mastered the art of stitching Daglis. D. D Tailors has become a one stop shop for Parsi Men. From Pants, Shirts, Dagli, Sadra, Lehenga, Jama to ‘Gol’ Topi, we’ve tailor made it all!. For more information, Visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DDTailors.ParsiDagliSpecialist  
Or call us on: +91 22695477 / +91 7400438784

Prayers scheduled for Late Ervad. Soli Dastur

THE NORTH AMERICAN MOBEDS COUNCIL

It is with heavy hearts that NAMC announces the passing of our most respected Mobed Ervad Soli Dastur.

We invite you to join us as we pray for, honor, and remember our beloved Mobed and Distinguished Scholar Ervad Dr. Soli Dastur.

Saturday May 29, 2021

7:30pm (EDT)     :  Srosh nu Patru / Srosh no Kardo

Sunday May 30, 2021

4:30 pm (EDT)   : Uthamna

9:00 pm (EDT)   :  Srosh nu Patru / Srosh no Kardo

                              (Hosted by Zoroastrian Association of Houston)

Monday May 31, 2021

4:30 am (EDT)  : Early Morning (Ushahin Geh) Uthamna

9.00 am (EDT)  :  Cheharum Prayers

                             (Hosted by Zoroastrian Association of California-LA)

Zoom link for all the above prayers:  https://zoom.us/j/99417155114?pwd=WFUrb0VkZS9pOGRlTFNLeC9YeGdhdz09

Meeting ID: 994 1715 5114

Passcode: PRAYER

One tap mobile

+13462487799,,99417155114#,,,,*439720# US (Houston)

+14086380968,,99417155114#,,,,*439720# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location

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        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)

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Meeting ID: 994 1715 5114

Passcode: 439720

Regards,
Ervad. Mehbad Dastur

Information Technology Administrator

+1 416 917 9195

The North American Mobeds Council
http://namcmobeds.org
https://www.facebook.com/namcmobeds 

Webinar – ZOROASTRIANS IN THE ARMED FORCES – SATURDAY MAY 22, 2021

Join us to hear first-hand experiences and snapshots of life in the Canadian and U.S. military from Zoroastrians currently serving and retired. Our panelists are officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force and they will share their candid views on joining the military and serving their country today.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/91249430700?pwd=YkhmRUhRN0lWbWFka3VqNXFoUWRDZz09

Meeting ID: 912 4943 0700

Passcode: FEZANA

 

LCDR Farrokh Kapadia

Farrokh grew up in New Jersey, and was commissioned in the United States Navy after graduating from Georgia Tech in 2006. After completing initial training, he reported to the USS CHEYENNE for his first sea tour, during which he completed multiple deployments in the Pacific. He then transferred to Submarine Force Pacific before completing schooling and reporting to USS MARYLAND as the Weapons Officer in 2015. Upon completion of his Department Head tour, he was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard. LCDR Kapadia is currently serving as an Executive officer of a fast attack submarine.

Major Darius Mirza

Darius joined the Royal Canadian Air Force(RCAF) in 2000 as a pilot. He attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston Ontario, where after 4 years he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. Following pilot training, Major Mirza was stationed in Trenton, Ontario and flew the C-17 Globemaster III for 2 years. He was then transferred to Winnipeg, Manitoba where he flew the C130 Hercules for 5 years, supporting Search and Rescue operations across the prairies and Canadian Arctic. In 2015, he began work at 1 Canadian Air Division in the Operational Airworthiness Section, ensuring the safety of flight for all RCAF fleets. In 2019, Maj Mirza was once again transferred, this time to Greenwood, Nova Scotia, returning to the C-130 Hercules in the Search and Rescue role. Maj Mirza has been deployed to Afghanistan, and has travelled to countless nations around the world in support of RCAF operations. He continues to serve, living in Nova Scotia with his wife and son.

Colonel Cainaz Vakharia

Cainaz is in the United States Army, and she has 27 years of active-duty service. She was stationed in Germany, Turkey, and South Korea before transitioning to a specialization focused on South Asia. As part of her training, Cainaz learned Hindi and Urdu and attended the ten-month Defence Services Staff College in India. Her South Asia postings include Pakistan (defense cooperation), Bangladesh (Defense Attache), and India (Army Attache). Cainaz is currently serving at the State Department as a Military Advisor for South and Central Asia. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Kersas Dastur

Kersas served in the United States Navy as a Naval Officer and Aviator. He flew helicopters shore based and aboard ships within the U.S. as well as overseas. He completed multiple deployments which involved traveling all over the world. He also qualified to drive ships. Duty stations included the U.S., Italy, and India. He graduated with degrees from the United States Naval Academy, the University of Redlands, the Naval War College, and the Defence Services Staff College(India). Kersas is also an FAA certified pilot and flight instructor. After transitioning out of the Navy, he piloted an EMS helicopter. Kersas currently works as a technical writer, and lives with his lovely wife and children in San Diego, CA.

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