Neomi Rao: First Parsi Judge Nominated on the D.C. Circuit Court in the United States.

Indian American Neomi Rao

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he’s nominating conservative lawyer Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The president made the announcement, which came as a surprise, during a Diwali lighting ceremony at the White House, CNN reported. “She’s going to be fantastic—great person,” Trump said at the event.

Rao presently serves under the Trump administration as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is part of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. In her position, Rao has been described as an “ally” to the administration in its work to strip federal government regulations, according to Politico.

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US Navy Scientist, Dr. Adi Bulsara, Selected For ONR’S Outstanding Lifetime Achievement In Science

Navy scientist selected for ONR’s Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science

Office of Naval Research Honorary Awards Ceremony

Photo By John Williams | 181104-N-PO203-0194 ARLINGTON, Va. (Nov. 5, 2018) Dr. Adi Bulsara makes some remarks… read more



Story by Patric Petrie

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific  

SAN DIEGO —Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) is proud to announce Dr. Adi Bulsara has been selected by the Office of Naval Research for the Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science. Bulsara will be honored during a ceremony at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 5, 2018. 

Bulsara, the U.S. Navy ‘s Distinguished Scientist for Nonlinear Dynamics, is being honored for his contributions in the area of physics of nonlinear dynamic systems, stochastic resonance phenomenon and other noise-mediated cooperative phenomena. 

In 1991, Bulsara and his collaborators postulated the importance of the “Stochastic Resonance” phenomenon in the processing of information by sensory neurons; this work was recognized by the prestigious journal Nature. His work in the physics of coupled arrays of nonlinear dynamic devices (e.g. neurons, superconducting quantum interference devices, and room temperature magnetometers) was featured on the cover of Physics Today in 1996 and led to his being awarded SSC Pacific’s highest recognition, the Lauritsen-Bennet Award for Excellence in Science. Currently, this work, along with other innovations from his group have led to a compact, cheap and very sensitive magnetometer that is being tested for a variety of land and sea applications

Bulsara was invited to serve as a visiting scientist with the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-Global in London during 2004-2006, and in Tokyo from 2008-2009. He has numerous academic collaborations regularly reviews, and serves as final publication authority of journal manuscripts; he also has 20 awarded patents, with five patents pending, and some 220 journal articles. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2004 and a member of the National Academy of Inventors in 2016.

Bulsara is the first member of SSC Pacific to receive this award.

For more information, please contact Patric Petrie in the SSC Pacific Public Affairs Office at (619) 553-4395 or email
SSC Pacific’s mission: To conduct research, development, engineering, and support of integrated command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, and space systems across all warfighting domains, and to rapidly prototype, conduct test and evaluation, and provide acquisition, installation, and in-service engineering support.

IIM(A) PROF. Dinyar Pestonjee AWARDED

Dr. D.M. Pestonjee, who served the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad for over two decades (1979-2001) as professor of Organizational Behavior, has recently received the Indian Academy of Management (INDAM)’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Dr. Pestonjee has had a very illustrious career. In November 2000 he was conferred the title of Honorary Professor of the Albert Schweitzer International University, Geneva (Switzerland). 

He was Dean, Faculty of Applied Management, CEPT University, Ahmedabad. 

Presently he’s GSPL Chair Professor at School of Petroleum Management, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar. 

Professor Pestonjee has been active as a trainer and consultant with WHO, USAID, OXFAM and UNESCO.

Courtesy: Jame Jamshed

Parsis, Jews join hands for Masina Hospital restoration

Spread across eight acres, the cost of restoring the facade, internal structure and roof of the premises is estimated at ₹22 crore

The restoration plans of 116-year-old Masina Hospital in Byculla will witness the collaboration of the country’s two eminent communities, the Parsis and the Jews.

Once the residence of wealthy Jewish businessman David Sassoon, the palatial bungalow overlooking lush gardens and a fountain was gifted by the Sassoon family to a Parsi doctor, Hormasji Manekji Masina, who founded the hospital. The community members have now joined hands to reach out to many more people from diverse backgrounds and raise funds for the restoration.

Phase-wise restoration

“We are in the process of forming the Masina Hospital Restoration Committee. Once the core committee is formed, based on their recommendations, we will reach out to as many people as possible to raise funds,” said Dr. Vispi Jokhi, medical director of the hospital.

Conservation architect Vikas Dilawari has submitted a report which estimates that the overall restoration cost of the external facade, internal structure and roof will go up to ₹22 crore. “We can take it up in a phase-wise manner,” said Dr. Jokhi, who has had meetings with Ralphy Jhirad, president of Bene Israel heritage museum and genealogical research centre, to involve Jews as well. “We have shortlisted the names of people who will be concerned with this restoration and can help raise funds. We will also be reaching out to the descendants of David Sassoon spread across countries,” said Mr. Jhirad, adding that even if the community has dwindled in numbers, its legacy needs to be preserved.

Preserving a period

Spread across eight acres, the hospital premises consist of the palace building which houses the administration and out patient departments, the Kharas Memorial Centre, which consists of the wards and operation theaters, Masina annexe building, which has the cardiac, IVF facilities and deluxe beds, a chemotherapy and palliative care wing and a psychiatry wing.

The campus has lush gardens, an ornamental fountain and five marble statues which are over 100 years old. The bungalow, built in Renaissance style, first housed a four-bed hospital managed by Dr. Masina.

The hospital has now expanded to 270 beds. “Restoration of the Masina Hospital is important because we have very little 19th century and mid-19th century architecture left in the city. Most of it is late 19th century,” Mr. Dilawari told The Hindu.

Mr. Dilawari has proposed external repairs to bring back the lost details, as also interior repairs keeping in mind the upgradation of services required in a hospital set- up, and the restoration of the roof.

“The structure originally had a timber roof. But it has now been changed to one large asbestos roof. If the funds do flow in, restoration of the roof will also be considered,” said Mr. Dilawari.

Trump Interviews Parsi Law Professor

Trump Interviews Parsi Law Professor to Take Up DC Circuit Court Seat Vacated by Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh

neomi rao
President Donald Trump reportedly interviewed Indian American law professor Neomi Rao to serve on the DC Circuit Court, to fill the position vacated by new Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed last month. Rao currently heads up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget. (Wikipedia photo)

President Donald Trump has reportedly interviewed Indian American law professor Neomi Rao to serve on the DC Circuit Court, to fill the position vacated by new Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed last month.

If confirmed, Rao would be the first Parsi jurist to serve in the Circuit Court, Arzan Wadia, editor and publisher of Parsi Khabar, told India-West.

Trump’s meeting with Rao was first reported by the online news site Axios. The DC Circuit Court is often referred to as the most powerful court in the nation, second only to the U.S. Supreme Court, because of its proximity to federal agencies.

Axios reported that – post interview – sources briefed on the meeting said Trump was not impressed by Rao. However, she may still be appointed to the court, as Trump has stated his intent to nominate a minority woman to fill the role, and a potential “feeder” to the Supreme Court. A source told Axios that Trump is reconsidering his initial impression of Rao.

“Rao’s advantages: She’s well respected at the OMB, knows regulatory law back to front, has the advantage of already being Senate-confirmed and is well-liked by several key Democratic senators,” opined the publication.

The Washington Times reported that former White House counsel Don McGahn recommended Rao to Trump for the open DC circuit court seat.

Rao, 44, currently heads up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. She was confirmed to OIRA by the Senate on July 10, 2017. The New York Times reported that OIRA – a somewhat obscure agency created by former President Jimmy Carter’s administration to approve government data collections and determine whether agencies have sufficiently addressed problems during rule-making – is at the heart of Trump’s politically-charged agenda to overhaul government regulations.

Rao is the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. In an op-ed for The Washington Post last year, as the Senate was considering Rao’s confirmation to OIRA, GMU law professor Jonathan Adler termed Rao “a well-respected administrative law expert” who was a “superlative pick” for the post.

Adler noted that Rao has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has served in the Bush administration, and as a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, effectively serving in all three branches of the federal government.

Rao is the daughter of Zerin Rao and Jehangir Narioshang Rao, both Parsi physicians from India; she was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and graduated from Yale. Rao then attended the University of Chicago Law School. She is married to attorney Alan Lefkowitz and has two children.

How a Parsi theatre group in UP’s Dankaur has been weaving social fabric for nine decades

Parsi Theatre group,Dankaur,Drona Natya Mandal

A rehearsal session at Drona Natya Mandal at Dankaur in Greater Noida; Parsi theatre is known for giving importance to width of the stage, number of curtains and chandeliers and wooden cutouts.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

Purblind to the shimmer of metropolitan cities and away from modern-day art spaces, a Parsi theatre group in Dankaur, a small town in west Uttar Pradesh, has been cultivating a culture of theatre among its people and weaving in social messages through their performances for over 90 years.

Every monsoon, during Janmashtami, Hindus and Muslims sit with each other inside the premises of a temple to cheer for the artistes of Drona Natya Mandal, the local Parsi theatre group, which has enthralled audiences with its social, historical and religious plays over the years.

To reach Dankaur, one has to take a left turn towards a service road, about 15 kilometres after entering the Yamuna Expressway from Zero Point in Greater Noida, which leads to a dilapidated archway — welcoming you to the sleepy town. Dankaur, like many other small towns in India, remains relatively unknown, much like the vibrant culture of its people and the rich tradition of its performance arts. Here, the two communities bond over festivities and music as the town, with a population of about 15,000-16,000 people, cherishes the handful of artistes who have become local celebrities in their own right.

“The people of Dankaur have been anchored to each other since centuries and it has been made possible due to the common culture of music and performing arts. The theatre group continues to escalate that legacy and does the important job of bringing communities together,” says Qadir Khan, a resident and social activist from Dankaur.

The theatre group organises five plays every year during the 12-day Janmashtami celebrations at the Dronacharya temple. The temple complex, consisting of five to six smaller temples and a large temple for Guru Dronacharya, is the principal community centre in Dankaur, where people from all communities come to celebrate festivals. It was in the news recently when police officers had to be deployed after the district wing of the Hindu Yuva Vahini had objected to the long-standing tradition of organising Qawwali inside the temple premises.

A view of Drona Natya Mandali which is 93-year-old Parsi theatre group in Dankaur, in Greater Noida. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

“We try to keep the content (of the plays) relatable to our audiences because of the mixed population, which is why our historical and social plays set in the Mughal or the British era are people’s favourites. Among our famous plays are ‘Veer Haqiqat Rai’, ‘Sikandar Poros’, ‘Amar Singh Rathod’, ‘BA Pass Mazdoor’ and ‘Danveer Karna’. One of our most memorable characters has been a Qazi in the play ‘Veer Haqiqat Rai’ — people have memorised the character’s sublime dialogues,” Manoj Tyagi, president, Drona Natya Mandal, says.

The theatre group, comprising 25 members, all men from Dankaur, has performed over 150 different plays since its foundation in 1923 by late Mangat Ram, who hailed from Sikandarabad and has worked with Prithvi Raj Kapoor in erstwhile Bombay before returning to his roots, as per credentials seen by HT.

Parsi theatre art form was introduced by Parsi artistes in India in the mid-19th century where larger-than-life sets and cut-outs were used and epics were enacted for long hours. The Mandali boasts of being one of the rare surviving Parsi theatre groups in the era of modern, nihilistic performance art forms.

“We strictly follow the basic layout of the Parsi theatre art form, where details such as width of the stage, height of the pillars, number of curtains and chandeliers, wooden cutouts as well as timing of each scene are predefined. We need an interval of at least 15 minutes after each scene as changing sets is an arduous task. We are continuing the tradition started by Mangat Ram. Today, theatre is in the veins of Dankaur,” says Tyagi.

However, all members of the group have day jobs.

They work as clerks, accountants, shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, advocates and farmers. However, when it comes to casting for the plays or day-to-day management of the group, their dedication is unwavering.

One such local celebrity is Mukesh Jain, a bespectacled man in his late forties, who works as a clerk in the town’s postal department Monday to Saturday, 10 months a year. For the other two months, he is a senior artiste in the Drona Natya Mandali, where his job is to supervise the group as its treasurer.

“We maintain the running cost of the theatre group out of our own pockets as this is something embedded in our culture. The cost of costumes, make-up, props, sets and backgrounds, sound system, is borne by us. Every year, we deliver performances that become the talk of the town,” says Jain.

Similarly, 50-year-old Shalendra Govil, whose who runs a clothes showroom, screens potential artistes.

“The core team begins practising in public two months prior to final performance. This attracts a huge crowd, including people interested in theatre. We select new artistes from the lot and train them for two hours every day. I decide the roles for them,” says Govil.

Each member of the core team has his own tale to narrate as to how he came to join the theatre. All the stories have a pattern — they were attracted after watching the veterans of Dankaur perform on stage. Soon, they were trained by the older generation.

“I started watching plays in Dankaur at the age of four and was hooked. I decided to join the theatre group. My first role was at the age of 10. I played the character of Shabari, the woman who fed fruits to Lord Rama in the jungle. I have been part of this group since then and my friends recognise me by the characters I have enacted so far. This is how we inculcate the culture of theatre in the kids,” says 27-year-old Sandeep Bhati, who works as an insurance agent.

The theatre group has its own set of in-house rules.

“It is compulsory for each debut artiste to perform the role of a woman character. We believe when a man enacts a woman on stage, he shreds all hesitations and opens up. We want that from our artistes,” says Tyagi.

Women of Dankaur, however, have not made it to the core team of the group yet as the Parsi theatre form has long held the “tradition” of male artistes performing female roles. “We invite women artistes from Delhi whenever the character demands mature treatment. The smaller female roles are still given to our male artists,” adds Tyagi.

The artistes say they have immense respect for the departed members of the group. The theatre group office has several portraits of veteran artistes who worked with Mangat Ram. “We consider Narayan Das Manglik our inspiration — his versatility is unmatched. Other artistes such as Gopal Krishna Gaur and Mohammad Illiyas have also left a mark. Today, people remember the departed souls of Drona Natya Mandali by the roles they played,” says Purshottam Singh, an elderly member of the group.

One of the key elements of the Parsi theatre style is the energy with which artistes deliver their dialogues. “It’s almost unbelievable how one man started the tradition of theatre in Dankaur. Since then, we have taught this art form to children without any formal training. The former members of the theatre group have trained us to deliver dialogues without sound systems and we continue training the children that way. They have left a legacy behind and we manage to fill that void,” says Tyagi.

As the Drona Natya Mandal inches towards 100 years of existence, it has become an intrinsic part of the town where children watch the show spellbound with stars in their eyes, men whistle for their local heroes and women bond over shared festivities.



For over two decades, the ZTFE has been lobbying the UK Government to include a Zoroastrian representative as part of the faiths and belief groups at the annual National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph, Whitehall, on Sunday closest to 11th November.

I am glad to report that on Wednesday 17th October, the UK Government website, link below, reported that Zoroastrians will be represented from this year on Sunday 11th November 2018, being the centenary of the WWI Armistice.

This breaking news was reported in the press, including the The Times, Wednesday 17th October 2018, on page 25, as attached. Also the Business Standard in India, as pasted below.

It should be noted that this happy outcome would not have been possible without the relentless campaigning of our patron Lord Karan F Bilimoria CBE on behalf of our community. We must recognise and record our thanks!

Also our gratitude to the Faith Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), for pursuing this matter with his counterpart at the Department of Culture, Sports and Media (DCMS).

Best wishes

Malcolm Deboo
President – ZTFE

Click Here for the link to the UK Government Website

Trains to halt at Sanjan Station



In order to facilitate members of Parsi community to attend the celebration of their Historic Annual Sanjan Day, Western Railway will provide stoppage of 2 minutes to Train No. 22953/22954 Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Gujarat Express and Train No. 12921/12922 Mumbai Central – Surat Flying Ranee Superfast Express at Sanjan railway station on Friday, 16th November, 2018 for one day only.

CPRO, Western Railway forwarded by Mehernosh Fitter +919892301884🌹🙏

Mission Safeer-Thirty Seven Days to Freedom

The documentary “Mission Safeer-Thirty Seven Days to Freedom” is the a true story of cargo ship Motor Vessel Safeer. (M. V. Safeer)
To its misfortune, Safeer docked in Kuwait and was unloading its cargo of rice, when Saddam Hussein, the then president of Iraq, declared war on Kuwait.
Though Safeer was registered in Panama, its owners and 26 crew members, were Indians. One of the owners was Capt Viraf R Kekobad.
Saddam declared, that all Indians were free to leave Kuwait,
as India had good relations with Iraq that time.
It was a mammoth task for the Indian government to get over 176,000 Indian expatriates out of a country, that had just been attacked.
Some left the country by crossing borders, some were airlifted by Air India planes and 722 Indians by ship,the only ship that was allowed to leave Kuwait, the M. V Safeer.
This 45 minute documentary is the story of the refugees,the crew, the owners and the Indian government who made this journey to freedom- possible.
It is also the story of heroism and teamwork.
Do watch this documentary on YouTube:

THE DOCUMENTARY A true story of heroism by the ship’s crew who faced tremendous odds in face of adversity and eventually managed to sail out of war torn region of Kuwait, with 722 Indians expatriates which included 265 women …

Related article

Thirty-seven days to freedom – Frontline

Ahmedabad Parsi community loses PORUS Jehangirji Karanjawala

Ahmedabad Parsi community lost one amongst their own a human being

It was a very sad day for Ahmedabad Parsi community on very important religious day – 5th Gatha, a day also called as “Pateti”, 16th August, that they lost one of their own dedicated, religious minded, true Seva Bhavi finest human being – PORUS – who died at the very young age of 54 and most importantly when he was associated with so many Trusts and Funds including an Educational institute at Ahmedabad.    

His tragic and sudden death stunned the community that many were not in a position to accept the reality of the news of his demise.   The love and affection that he carried amongst the community at Ahmedabad was so high that ALL the pre-determined fun, joy, eating programmes related to festivals and New Year and Khordadsal days were cancelled.  It was indeed a great shock within the community no one believe such a sudden and tragic death of Porus.   His funeral which had taken place on morning of the very first day of new year of the community, – Navroz -,  though the same day it rained heavily in Ahmedabad and may areas were flooded, most who loved him were there at the funeral.   Likewise people respected amd attended Sarosh nu patru as also Uthamna kriya.    

Differences are the opportunities to learn.   That was the principle he had accepted in his life.   He always valued his ethics and principles and stood by his convictions for which he was accounted as “Zero Tolerance” personality to allow wrong doing.    He had to scarify his own nomination for trusteeship of last APP – Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat election for the very reason that his ideas, ethics and principles were indeed not acceptable to many and to avoid clash which may take place at later period, he did not contest.  

He got entry into community welfare activities at very early age of 24 years and during last 30 years of his life he shouldered the responsibilities with various trusts and Funds and even educational institute as a Trustee, Committee member, Secretary, etc..   During his very active social activities in last 30 years, he held post of an Ex-General Secretary of PYLA – Parsi Youth League of Ahmedabad, as Ex-Committee member and Ex-Trustee of APP – Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, as Ex-President of FOZYA – Federation of Zorastrian Youth Association.   At the time of his death, he was on Board of Trustee of many Parsi Charitable Trusts, few to be remembered as Roda and Savaksha Mohudawala Charitable Trust, who are known by organising Annual Felicitation of Ahmedabad based Parsi humdins in different field and Christmas eve Joy and Fun for children every year.   Also a Trust Dhanjishaw and Manijeh Gamir Charitable trust, very well known by organising Republic Day Flag Hoisting event followed by a lavish Brunch.  Same trust who have renovated the Parsi Sanatorium, at Ahmedabad, which was managed by him to bring the very dilapidated structure into a solid structure by running day and out for placing orders for supplies for the construction, receiving the same at the site, utilizing the supplies for which ordered, etc., etc..   The inauguration session with Jashan and Dinner was also arranged of the renovated structure being part of the APP properties, was handed over to APP, which generates Rs.10 lacs as annual revenue.   Such was his wisdom, thinking and very selfless work attitude that has given great opportunities to Parsi Humdins in Ahmedabad.  He will equally be remembered of the event – Parsi and Zorastrian Matrimonial Meet – which will take place on 27th and 28th October, 2018 at Ahmedabad.

A condolence meeting was organized to pay respect to Porus Jehangirji Karanjawala by Parsi humdins at Sanatorium Hall on 25th August, 2018.  It started with Jashan kriya and then there were almost 19 different personalities spoke well and remembered Porus for his work and dedicated services rendered to the community in Ahmedabad.   Known personalities included – Kersi Jhanbux Shethna, ex-President of the APP, Dr. Armaity Firoj Davar ex-trustee of APP, Chairman of Parsi Montessori School, and many more to account.   The condolence meeting was arranged by two trusts jointly where he was very active, viz.. Mohudawala and Gamir trust.   Porus was well remembered of his free, frank and fearless personalities with total dedication to do better for the community, by his co-trustee in both the above named trust, Mr.Aspy Bharucha.   Whole condolence meeting was very well compared by Mr. Ariz Bokdawala who has shared many trusts and PYLA and FOZYA with Porus for very long time.