Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Whitepaper on – Aging Across The Zarathushti World

Whitepaper On

Aging Across The Zarathushti World

Authors: Nawaz Merchant and Dolly Dastoor

Introduction:

This white paper documents the learnings from our session: “Aging Across the Zarathushti World” at the 2022 World Zoroastrian Congress held in New York. For this session, the authors solicited Zoroastrian (Zarathushti) Associations in different countries about the condition of Z seniors and learnt about their needs as well as models that help improve Z senior’s quality of life. We found that many Z diasporas are well supported. Many of the survey respondents described aging Z immigrants cared for by their children and with some governmental social support or community services from Zarathushti and secular groups. However, our analysis surfaced a growing need among Z seniors in India.

As with most communities, Zarathushtis want to support their own family members. But what about those who we are not directly related to. Do we have an obligation to them? Do we agree that our global Zarathushti community is one? The authors believe we should support our aging co-religionists and offer suggestions based on the research for this session and subsequent visits to India.

Noshir Dadrawala Invited On Governing Council Of India’s First Social Stock Exchange

Parsi Times is delighted to announce that Noshir H. Dadrawala – one of the community’s most dynamic personalities, Zoroastrian Scholar, a globally renowned consultant on Charity Laws, a prolific writer, and our very own, much sought-after PT columnist – has been invited as a member of the Governing Council of the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) ‘Social Stock Exchange’.

BSE’s ‘Social Stock Exchange’ (SSE) is the first of its kind in India and will soon have nationwide trading terminals permitted to register Social Enterprises and / or list the securities issued by Social Enterprises. The SSE will list only securities that raise money for ‘non-profit’ or ‘for-profit’ ‘social enterprises.’

Speaking to Parsi Times on the occasion of this prestigious appointment, as member of the Governing Council of the BSE’s ‘Social Stock Exchange’, Noshir Dadrawala said, “It is both, an honour and privilege to have been invited to serve on this Committee along with other eminent professionals. The Social Stock Exchange is not a new idea from a global perspective. However, it is India’s first SSE and designed very differently. I personally see a lot of opportunity for genuine charitable organisations, both, in terms of enhancing their credibility as also to fund-raise. To be listed on the SSE will require organisations to meet very high and stringent standards of Capacity, Compliance and Capability. It’s a great journey to look forward to in 2023!”

A Social Enterprise means either a ‘Not-for-Profit Organization’ or a ‘For Profit Social Enterprise’ that meets the eligibility criteria specified by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). ‘Not-for-profit Social Enterprise’ includes charitable trusts, charitable societies, companies licensed under section 8 of the Indian Companies Act 2013 and any other entity as may be specified by the Board.

A ‘for-profit’ or ‘not-for-profit’ entity must first be identified as a ‘Social Enterprise’ by establishing primacy of its social intent. Corporate foundations, political or religious organizations or activities, professional or trade associations, infrastructure and housing companies, except affordable housing, will not be eligible to be identified as a Social Enterprise.

Getting listed on the SSE would entail going through a vigorous due-diligence processes. Once listed, it would be an important recognition and enhance credibility of the social enterprise. Social enterprises listed on the SSE will also be subject to regular audits to measure social impact and reports shall be disclosed to stakeholders just like for-profit, listed companies, on regular stock exchanges.

Noshir Dadrawala Invited On Governing Council Of India’s First Social Stock Exchange

SOAS Professor Almut Hintze, Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism receives £1 million for project on Zoroastrianism

ZTFE is delighted to share the wonderful news that, SOAS Professor Almut Hintze, Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism has recently received just under £1 million grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a project on Zoroastrianism. Please go to:

https://www.soas.ac.uk/about/news/almut-hintze-receives-grant-nearly-ps1million-project-preserve-and-document-bullae-and

Professor Hintze informed the ZTFE; “This would not have been possible without the amazing work of Dr Yousef Moradi, who excavated the bullae.”

Earlier this year, ZTFE Faridoon & Mehraban Zartoshty Brothers Fund for Zoroastrian Studies’ awarded a grant to Dr Yousef Moradi towards his post doctorial research at SOAS.

Also mentioned in the same SOAS Staff Bulletin, Tuesday 20th December 2022:

  • Steve Tsang and Burzine Waghmar were invited by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Indo-Pacific to deliver briefings at the House of Commons on 14 Dec as covered by Asian Lite and Dev Discourse.

 

Burzine Waghmar, inaugural Visiting India Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), London, comments on the Legacy Lessons for the Indo-Pacific & Quad. He urged the UK to become a partner with the Indo-Pacific alliance and play a role both in the diplomacy and the maritime security of the region. Mr Waghmar is also the South Asia and Arts & Humanities Librarian; and academic affiliate at the Centre for Iranian Studies, Centre for the Study of Pakistan and SOAS South Asia Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, London (SOAS).

Prof Steve Tsang, the current Director of the SOAS China Institute at the SOAS University of London, spoke about the need for the UK to have a clear and well-defined Indo-Pacific Strategy in light of the resurgence of China and its implications for the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. Prof Tsang also spoke about the Chinese perception of the western alliance and diplomacy in the region and the need to continue to engage with China, but on the terms of global world order.

Prof Tsang is also a political scientist and historian whose expertise includes politics and governance in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the foreign and security policies of China and Taiwan, and peace and security in East Asia

This 92-year-old’s life mantra will simplify your worries and make you smile today

Shared on LinkedIn by Sanjay Mudnaney, the post details the story of a 92-year-old Parsi gentleman named Mr. Keki. Mudnaney wrote about how he met Mr. Keki at a Starbucks and chatted with him about life and its struggles.

 

In recent times, all of us have a huge baggage of worries that we have to carry on our shoulders. Be it the stress of paying back your education loan or simply worrying about your ageing parents, the tension seems never ending. And since society has become extremely fast-paced, people have stopped interacting with each other to share their problems.

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That’s when the wisdom imparted by elderly people comes in handy. We know that they may not be that much up to date with technology, but they surely have enough life experience to tell you a lot of human emotions. And to prove that fact, let us present to you the story of this amazing 92-year-old.

Shared on LinkedIn by Sanjay Mudnaney, the post details the story of a 92-year-old Parsi gentleman named Mr. Keki. Mudnaney wrote about how he met Mr. Keki at a Starbucks and chatted with him about life and its struggles. After a brief conversation, Mudnaney was taken aback by a simple solution given by Keki to a huge tension almost all of this generation suffers from.

“I met a 92 year young gentleman at Starbucks. He takes a auto rickshaw to get to Starbucks and back to his home, he is frail , walks with a stick , but he always comes by himself , and orders his cup of coffee. Mr Keki a Parsi gentleman, shared pearls of wisdom from his 92 years of life , his enthusiasm for life is infectious . The first and most important principle he has lived by is – be honest , do honest work. ‘I never chased money,’ he says,” read a part of the story.

Now we know what you are thinking. In this money-minded world, it is tough not to chase dollars because everything depends on it. But wait and read till the end for Mr. Keki’s priceless advice.

The post has garnered over 23k likes and tons of reactions. People couldn’t stop exclaiming at the simple solution to a lot of problems one faces in their lives.

Did this advice help you as well?

 

By Srimoyee Chowdhury

https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/this-92-year-olds-life-mantra-will-simplify-your-worries-and-make-you-smile-today-read-full-story-2307318-2022-12-09

Dadi Mistry, Delhi – passes away

Dear Friends
With a very heavy heart have to inform that our dear Dadi Mistry, former President of The Delhi Parsi Anjuman, and husband of Nergish, Father of Armeen n Bella
Father in law of Navdeep n Margarita grandfather of
Shahryar married to Taara
Maneck married to Rachel
Meherab Daraius Bhavani n Chaitanya n great grandfather of Kersi Shahryar Shroff brother of Shahrukh n Katu,
passed away today morning at 9.45 am. May his soul RIP🙏🙏

Funeral today at 4.15 pm at our Parsi Aramgah.

Our deepest condolences to the entire family.

In grief
President, Vice President and Trustees
The Delhi Parsi Anjuman

NEED FOR GRANDMA’S MEDICINAL RECIPE

My granny used to make MASALA NO DAARU at home & she would apply on any of our small aches and pains and we would surely feel relieved after application.
If anyone could please throw some light on this and pass me the recipe of how to make this effective MASALA NO DAARU, would be grateful for it.
Looking forward to a positive response as soon as possible.
Thank you very much.
Response received on Facebook from Sarosh Shiavax Bokdawalla
GRANDPA’S MASALA NO DAARU
(COLIC – STOMACH PAIN)
(RECIPE AS KNOWN
(TO BE APPLIED ON STOMACH ESPECIALLY SMALL CHILDREN IN PAIN)
INGREDIENTS-
25gm -AREYO ar AELy0
25 gm- SANCHAL PADRO
25 gm- DIKAMLI
1 Tsp -ground HING
Grind powder all above.
1tsp TAPKHIR
Little COLOGNE WATER
Mix it with
Maura Daru or Brandy.
some
Use Rum
While mixing Add Tapkhir and Cologne water
Fill the mixture in small bottle about 500 ml.
Shake the bottle before application of this mixture in the Navel and 2 inch around it

Portraits, memorabilia: When ‘Aapri Rani’ Elizabeth lived in Parsi homes & memory

This fascination with the British monarchy is not just limited to Bomanbehram, 75. Every Zoroastrian Parsi and Irani home, it is said lightheartedly, has a portrait of the queen, be it Victoria or Elizabeth. The community often referred to Elizabeth as “Aapri Rani” (our queen).

The late Boman Rashid Kohinoor, who ran Britannia and Co. cafe, was well known for his fondness for the royal family. Bombaywalla Historical Works

 

Among Hutokshi Bomanbehram’s family heirlooms is a miniature carriage, all of eight inches, with eight horses and four riders. A closer look reveals it’s a model of the Gold State Coach, the gilded carriage that British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II, have ridden in for coronations since 1821. That’s not all — Bomanbehram also owns a 50-year-old Wedgwood plate depicting the Tower of London and coins minted with Elizabeth’s visage.

This fascination with the British monarchy is not just limited to Bomanbehram, 75. Every Zoroastrian Parsi and Irani home, it is said lightheartedly, has a portrait of the queen, be it Victoria or Elizabeth. The community often referred to Elizabeth as “Aapri Rani” (our queen). And when she died on September 8, this refrain rang out across social media posts — some sincere, some tongue-in-cheek.

Bomanbehram, 75, who worked as a secretary at a company, said: “My interest in the British Royal Family is more than I would have for any other royal family. I probably got it from my cousin.”

From the weddings of Charles and Diana and William and Kate to the death of Philip and the Platinum Jubilee—Bomanbehram has caught up with most of the Royal Family’s milestones. The thing she loved the most about the late queen of England — her dignity. “I always got the feeling she was alone. But there was a dignity about her. That’s what I felt drawn towards.”

 Press release photograph of Queen Elizabeth II during her royal visit to India in 1961. Passing by Oriental Mansion Building (Opp. NGMA)
Courtesy – Phillips Antiques, Mumbai
Noshir Dadrawala, 61, a former trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, recalls framed portraits of the erstwhile queens at home as a child. The frames are now long gone and the portraits have been tucked away. Dadrawala said: “My parents were from the pre-Independence era, and many continued to cherish a fondness for the British though they accepted the transition [to Independent India]. This didn’t mean they were any less patriotic. Those like Dadabhai Naoroji and Bhikaji Cama were a part of the freedom movement.”

Dadrawala recalled it was common to hear of resemblances between family members and the royals. A generation ago, it was routine to find odd knickknacks and valuable souvenirs connected to the coronation and the jubilees across Parsi and Irani homes. Coins, biscuit tins, tea sets and miniature models were treasured objects.

Sarvar Irani, 61, who works as AGM of administration at a Mumbai mall, has a unique collection, however. Some thirty years ago, Sarvar started seeking out books, souvenirs, carte de visites, postcards and other paper ephemera connected to the British monarchy, especially Elizabeth and Diana. Her favourite is on the coronation of Elizabeth published in 1953 by the Illustrated London News. She has also preserved Time magazine’s commemorative issue on Diana from 1997, the year she died. The souvenir for Elizabeth’s funeral, scheduled for September 19, is next on her list. Sarvar keeps an eye on social media posts and listings in community newspapers for worthwhile acquisitions.

 Hutokshi Bomanbehram carriage
CREDIT: Mayur Tekchandaney
“I loved the queen for her poise,” she said, observing that even as Elizabeth’s visage aged across portraits and memorabilia, she still had “the same smile and the same twinkle in her eye”.

Sarvar’s daughter Sharon, 37, a writer and researcher, recalls pictures of Charles, Diana and baby William at her aunt’s home back in her childhood. She said: “They were framed photographs so, as a child, I thought they were my relatives. Charles has a Bawa nose, so why not, right?”

Sarvar’s mother migrated from Yazd in Iran to Bombay (as it was then known) before independence. Sharon said migration may be one of the reasons why her community is interested in collecting in general. “Some people may think these royal memorabilia convey an imperialist mindset but a lot of it is about loss. We are keenly aware of time shifting,” she said.

The Zoroastrians arrived in India mainly fleeing persecution in Iran (formerly Persia) since the 7th century AD. They integrated with local communities here, and when the East India Company set up its trading offices in India, they were able to secure jobs as agents. During the Raj, the British accepted Zoroastrians in their offices more easily than other communities, partly owing to their fair skin and their keenness on an English education.

 Sarvar Irani
Courtesy: Sharon Irani
“The recent generation has understood this postcolonial hangover. Sometimes we make fun of our grandparents when they share memories of the British,” said actor and singer Zervaan Bunshah. Bunshah, 28, is popular for his comic sketches on social media and Elizabeth’s death elicited a humorous take on his community. In a sketch titled “Aapri Rani” he performs as fictional Zoroastrian characters, each lamenting the death.

Bunshah said: “The joke is about our obsession with the queen. It’s meant as a joke. But, in the current scenario, audiences take it too seriously and think it’s anti-national. I have received abuses for my post along these lines.”

Thankfully, many Zoroastrians are in on the joke. A post that circulated on WhatsApp on the weekend of September 11, which the Government of India declared as a day of mourning for Elizabeth’s death, said every Parsi home must observe a condolence lunch “to commemorate the passing away of our beloved cousin, albeit 378 times removed.” The menu included mutton dhansak, a traditional funeral dish.

The Zoroastrian figure most notable for his fondness of the Royal Family is the late Boman Rashid Kohinoor. Kohinoor ran Ballard Estate’s popular Irani cafe, Britannia and Co., which his father had set up in 1923. Historian Simin Patel, who is researching Mumbai’s Irani cafes for her upcoming book, had met Kohinoor over the years until his death in 2019 at the age of 97. She observed that while Kohinoor was known to dote on the Royal Family, it was one of his many efforts to build rapport with the international patrons at his restaurant. She said, “This image [of his love of the British royals] was really cultivated in the 2000s. He was very bright, had views on several subjects and was up to date. The fascination with the British was quirky, and the laminated photos helped that, but he had 15 countries that he spoke about at ease.”
At Britannia and Co., Kohinoor hung a portrait of Elizabeth right next to one of Gandhi. His son Afshin, 61, who now runs the cafe, said the portrait was sent to his father, along with a letter from Elizabeth, around 2012, the year of the Diamond Jubilee. The portrait will stay in its place till he runs the cafe, but is not sure of its fate after that, especially since younger generations aren’t keen on it. He said: “My father is gone. The queen is gone. This is all history now.”
Written by Benita Fernando

Full Report & Video link English Heritage Blue Plaque Dadabhai Naoroji Wed 10th Aug 2022

Dear ZTFE Members & Well-wishers

Attached is the full report written by Rohinton together with the video link of the proceedings also pasted below, link for photographs, transcript of the speech by our patron Lord Karan F Bilimoria CBE DL and why English Heritage opted to install a Blue Plaque at Dadabhai Naoroji’s former residence at 72, Anerly Park, Penge, London SE20 8NQ.

Dadabhai Naoroji Blue Plaque English Heritage Long Video Film by Videographer Paresh Solanki.

Dadabhai Naoroji Blue Plaque English Heritage Short Video Film by Videographer Paresh Solanki.

Dadabhai Naoroji Blue Plaque English Heritage photos by Documentary Photographer Lucy Millson-Watkins

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ckviWyfirbLYeF7E8

Kindly share the contents of this email with those who are not connected to the internet, or / and do not receive ZTFE Group emails.

Yours sincerely
Malcolm M Deboo
ZTFE President

Dadabhai Naoroji Blue Plaque English Heritage iReport Wed 10th Aug 2022

Celebrating Birthdays… And Life

Birthdays are special. In our childhood or senior years, most, if not everyone, looks forward to celebrating this day. Each birthday reminds us we’re getting older. However, it also commemorates important milestones in our journey. Birthdays provide us the excuse for extra celebration. Everyone, young or old, gets a day to feel extra special – especially by family and friends. It’s not necessarily a day to celebrate one’s length of life. It’s the day to celebrate the depth and intensity of one’s life lived with purpose, productivity and progress.

How Ancient Persians Celebrated Birthdays: Herodotus, ‘The Father of History’, writes: “Of all the days in the year, the one which they (the Persians) celebrate most is their birthday. It is customary to have the table furnished on that day with an ampler supply than common with all types of meats. They eat little solid food but abundance of dessert, which is set on the table, a few dishes at a time; this it is which makes them say that ‘the Greeks, when they eat, leave off hungry, having nothing worth mention served up to them after the meats; whereas, if they had more put before them, they would not stop eating.’ They are very fond of wine, and drink it in large quantities.”

Our fondness of meats, desserts and wine seems to have remained consistent for more than two and half millennia. The Shahnameh (the Iranian Book of Kings) also narrates the extensive festivities on the joyous occasion of the birth of Rustom.

Ritual Celebrations: In the Zoroastrian tradition there are no specific or mandatory religious rituals that are prescribed for celebrating one’s birthday. One could simply pray at home before the hearth fire or pray and offer some sandalwood at an Agyari or Atash Bahram. Some offer Machi (a throne of long sandalwood sticks) to the Holy Fire after which the priest prays the Tandorosti – for good health and prosperity of the person celebrating his or her birthday. Some even perform a Khushali nu Jashan at home or at the fire temple.

Some Parsis also perform the Faresta ceremony. Fareshta means a Divine Messenger or Angel. In the Avesta, Faresta are referred to as Yazata. The Faresta ceremony is usually performed on joyous occasions, like marriage, birthday, Navjote, on moving into a new home or office or on fulfilment of a cherished wish. In this ceremony thirty-three Yazata are propitiated.

It is also considered meritorious to perform acts of charity on this day and earn blessings of those in need. There is also an old and forgotten tradition to plant a tree on this auspicious day and nurture it throughout the year. In ancient times (before urbanisation) this was quite common in the villages where Parsis lived in large mansions with sprawling compounds or at their farm houses and orchards.

Cutting a cake is a modern trend which we seem to have borrowed from the West. However, blowing out candles is considered strictly un-Zoroastrian. We are encouraged instead to light a divo (oil lamp) at home, at the Agyari or a well.

Blast From The Past: I remember as a child waking up rather early in the morning, with a lot of excitement and anticipation. In those days, there were no text messages to read on smart phones. We did not even have a landline at home. Birthday greeting cards or simple picture post cards would arrive a day or two in advance with blessings and good wishes penned in red-ink by relatives and friends. Red is considered auspicious as it represents the colour of blood or life and good health. These would be placed on a table that would have the traditional ses with a diva (oil lamp). Postcards ensured zero privacy and postmen would deliver the cards with a big smile and wish happy birthday and expect a generous tip.

The bath would be special with some warm milk and fresh rose petals in it. The milk would be poured from the head down to the toe and after which the head and body would be washed with a fresh new bar of soap and the body dried with a brand-new Turkish towel. Rose water would be added to the aluminium (there was hardly any plastic that we used) bucket of bathwater – we did not know of overhead or hand showers back then.

By the time I would be out from the bathroom, the floor would be swept clean by the domestic help (who would get a new sari and cash as gift), the door would be garlanded, the threshold decorated with chalk and the home would be fragrant with mixed aromas of rose, jasmine, loban and sev (vermicelli) being fried in the kitchen. After a quick prayer, I would be made to stand on a patlo (a small wooden foot-stool) which would be decorated with chalk. Of course, everything that I would be wearing would be new – from socks and shoes to the cap on my head.

My mother would first ensure that no evil-eye would affect me and so she would circle a raw egg seven times around my head and break it near my feet. Then a copper tumbler with water would be circled around my head seven times and the water would be thrown away. Finally, a coconut would be circled seven times around my head and cracked near my feet. We would be convinced after this ritual that my personal aura was purged of all impurities and negativity.

A big red tilo would adorn my forehead with rice (symbolising prosperity and abundance). I would be garlanded, given a fresh coconut in one hand and made to eat some rock sugar and fresh sweet curd. Presents would then be given to me – usually a cash envelope with eleven or twenty-one rupees (very generous pocket money for that time), a good book or a board game.

Dad would then take me to the Agyari at Mazagaon where I have lived for most part of my life. Back in those days, the Patel Agyari at Mazagaon had a huge compound with a beautiful pomegranate tree. It had quaint village atmosphere which I loved. With my birthday falling in the month of August, it would usually be a rainy day and I would love the scent of wet earth in the Agyari compound.

Back at home, breakfast would be sev, boiled eggs and sweet curd, after which I would be made to distribute boxes of jalebi or suterferni (purchased the evening before from Grant Road) to the neighbours. Lunch would be sagan nu dhan daar and patio – the fish would usually be pomfret. We would then catch a movie at 3:00 pm, either at Novelty cinema or Apsara talkies at Grant Road. We would travel by bus, but on our return, it would be the luxury of a Fiat taxi, but not before picking up some fresh and hot wafers and sali (potato straws) from ‘A1 Wafers’ at Balaram Street!

Dinner would be at home – usually chicken with sali picked up earlier from A1 wafers. It was not fashionable back then to eat out and my mother was amazing with her culinary skills. Dessert would either be jelly or a bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate. No photographs would be shot because we did not even have a simple camera. We did not cut any cake either. We would simply eat mithai. Only the Parsi Roj Birthday was celebrated. The date birthday was given no importance.

Trust me, those were my most memorable birthdays – through the sixties and the seventies. Simple, yet satisfying and when less was more!

Noshir Dadrawalla

Celebrating Birthdays… And Life

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