He was gentle, soft spoken and kind to all.
Category Archives: Mobeds
He was gentle, soft spoken and kind to all.
It was the first time in recent times that all of the 5 High Priests/Vada Dasturs came together to give blessings and a message of love, peace, joy health, long life, and prosperity. They addressed the Global community after the Behram Yazad Jashan performed by Ervads Jal Birdy, Zerkxis & Zarrir Bhandara at the ZAC LA Atash Kadeh on Saturday, September 4th, 2021.
Courtesy: Parsi Times
Teams – Empowering Mobeds & WZO Trusts
Saturday October 24, 2020 was indeed a dark day, not only on account of the Pandemic but more so that Er. Zahan Meherzad Turel, all of 14 years young, a shining star of our Mobedi clan, suffered severe (48.5%) burns injuries whilst performing the ‘boi’ ceremony at Goti Adarian, Surat.
After being administered basic treatment young Zahan was rushed to Masina Hospital at Byculla, Mumbai, where he was given treatment for an extended period of time and thereafter discharged on Monday, January 04, 2021.
Fortunately for Er. Zahan Turel, he received excellent treatment at the Burns Unit of Masina Hospital and is well on his way to recovery.
Such a grisly mishap is not the first such incident that our Mobeds have had to contend with whilst tending to our revered fires. It is beyond imagination that in this day and age our Mobeds continue to perform religious ceremonies without a modicum of protection.
The incident triggered off intense discussions amongst the core group of Team Empowering Mobeds (a joint initiative of WZO Trust Funds and Athornan Mandal). After proactive discussions where various options were considered it was finally decided to have ‘Jamas, Padan & Hand Pockets (for Boiwala Mobeds to wear when inside the kebla) made from fire retardant fabric that would provide reasonable safety to our Mobeds whilst carrying out various religious ceremonies.
Over the last few months, experiments were undertaken to test fire retardant fabrics that would provide safety to Mobeds in case of embers landing on their ‘Jamas, Padan & Hand Pockets’.
Trials have been conducted, where Mobed Volunteers have worn Jamas made from different fabrics of thickness comparable to existing Jamas (on which the fire retardant process would be added later on) to test the comfort levels.
A well wisher Mr. Viraf Sohrabji Mehta who was keenly interested in the project coordinated the exercise with Ms. Firoza Karani, Director of Casablanca Apparels Pvt. Ltd., in having samples made and trials done for which we are most grateful to both of them.
It has now been decided to place an order for manufacturing 800 sets each of ‘Jamas & Padans and 200 sets of hand pockets with Casablanca Apparels Pvt. Ltd., a well known garment manufacturing unit established in 1993 that manufactures a variety of garments for both domestic and export markets.
As fire retardant fabric is not available off the shelves, Casablanca Apparels have placed an order with Arvind Mills, Ltd., to produce the minimum quantity required. The fire-retardant fabric is expected to be ready by mid-June 2021, and the final product ready for distribution sometime between mid to end July 2021. A set each will be offered gratis to practicing Mobeds for their use, should they be interested.
After the fabric has been manufactured, appropriate certificates of the fabric having Fire retardant properties will be obtained from Arvind Mills, the manufacturers of the fabric, as well as Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) an international inspection agency that inspects Apparels, Machinery, Medicines etc, before shipments.
High Priests, Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal, Dasturji Khurshed K. Dastoor, Dasturji Keki P. Ravji Meherjirana, Senior Mobed Aspandiar Dadachanji, have all been informed about the initiative and their approval received.
After using the initial set, if Mobeds are satisfied in all respects, it will be for them, or their Agiary Trustees / Panthaki’s to procure additional sets from the manufacturers against payment. A suitable system will be put into place that will make it convenient to procure future supplies.
The ever-generous Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have committed to make funds available for this initiative through WZO Trust Funds which will facilitate the initial production from fire retardant fabric of 800 Jamas 800 Padans and 200 pairs of Hand Pockets.
Mobeds, Panthakies and Trustees of Agiarys wishing to accept sets of Jamas & Padans and Hand Pockets made from fire retardant fabric are requested to contact and coordinate with:
Er. Hormuz A. Dadachanji,
D. E. Mithaiwala Agiary,
Opp. Grant Road Station (West),
Telephone Contact (+91) 9820493812
It is clearly understood, implicitly agreed to and accepted by the Mobeds using attire made from Fire Retardant fabric that the initiative taken by Empowering Mobeds & WZO Trusts and funded by Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao has been undertaken solely with the intent of providing safety to our Mobeds.
Empowering Mobeds, WZO Trusts or The Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao, their Trustees and members will under no circumstances be held responsible or liable should the product malfunction / is found ineffective / does not offer protection / or causes any other complications.
It is also reiterated that The Trustees / Members of Empowering Mobeds, WZO Trusts or The Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have no commercial / pecuniary benefit from this project.
Dinshaw K. Tamboly;
C – 1 Hermes House, 3rd Floor,
Mama Parmanand Marg,
Mumbai 400 004
Tel. Nos: 91 – 22 – 23684451 / 52 / 53
Problems, Suggestions, Solutions & Action
Teams: WZO Trusts & Empowering Mobeds
The recent incident of a young Mobed performing the boye ceremony being severely burnt due to the Jama worn by him having caught fire by flying embers has made it essential to review safety norms in the interest of our Mobeds.
Since time immemorial Zoroastrians have worshipped the fire and generations of Mobeds have tended to the fires in our various Atash Behrams and Agiaries. In recent years there have been a series of unfortunate incidents involving Mobeds being burnt as a result of stray flying embers.
This article is an attempt undertaken by Teams: WZO Trusts & Empowering Mobeds to identify the problems, offer suggestions for solutions and share the initial action taken.
Considering the gravity of the situation, it is very essential that necessary dialogue should be undertaken through which safety norms can be introduced, impart training to Mobeds and Behdins on measures to be undertaken during an emergency situation whereby safety of Mobeds who are prone to grievous injuries for no fault of their own is ensured.
Note about the Jamaa
The Jamaa that Mobeds wear whilst tending to fire in the kebla is a white coloured traditional flowing robe worn over their clothes and is often made of cotton or fine muslin. In older times Jamaas were made of thicker quality hand woven linen.
Fire Hazards facing Mobeds
A number of recent unfortunate incidents have happened where mainly Mobeds clothes have caught fire. In a majority of cases it has started with the Jamaa catching fire whilst the Mobed has been performing boye ceremony in the kebla and in some cases where ceremonies such as jashan’s, monthly remembrance prayers by coming into contact with the Divo (Oil Lamp) or by a stray flying ember.
Mobeds are aware that flying embers are very common and will agree that whilst the Setranji (Cotton rug used for prayers) is singed frequently but there has never been an instance of a setranji bursting into flames. The reason for this is purely the thickness and proximity of the setranji to the ground.
Putting Out A Clothes Fire
When a person’s clothing catches on fire, action must be instinctive and immediate. There is no time to think.
The one thing one should never do is run.
To minimize a burn injury when clothes catch fire, it is very essential to STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Burns are among the most painful of injuries and the third leading cause of unintentional death. The hands, groin, face and lungs are at particular risk because they are delicate structures and easily injured.
The healing process is slow and painful, resulting not only in enormous personal suffering but also enormous financial expenses are incurred that Mobeds are generally unable to bear on their own.
The principles of STOP, COVER / DROP and ROLL are simple, Prompt action will reduce the severity of any burn injury.
It is very important not to panic and run. Running fans the flames and increases the fire.
Heat rises up fast so cover your face with your hands to protect the delicate eyes and skin on the face and to protect airways from the smoke.
Drop to the ground immediately.
Roll backwards and forwards on the flame to smother the fire. By rolling on the flames you starve them of oxygen and put out the fire.
A bystander can assist by dousing the fire with water, or using a fire blanket, non-flammable mat, blanket or article of clothing to assist in smothering the fire. A water fire extinguisher (all red body) is the only type of fire extinguisher which can be safely used in this situation. It is very important not to use any other type of fire extinguisher.
Ways suggested to Avoid / Mitigate the problem
It is very necessary that Trustees and Managements of every Atashbehram & Agiary should:
- Raise Awareness levels by providing regular training and demonstrations to be given to Mobeds and Behdins alike via various mediums.
- Place a setranji or fire blanket in an easily accessible corner of the room where ceremonies are performed.
- Easily operable push button Fire Extinguishers (preferably water based) should be made available near areas identified as having hazards
- Treating Clothing with Flame retardants is not viable as most flame retardants wash off after a few washes at best and often irritate the skin and cause rashes.
- Minor change of design to the Jamaa where behind the kas (cotton tie) snap buttons can be fitted like in daglis so that it can be taken out within seconds, in cases of emergency.
- Vada Dasturjis need to be consulted, and permission needs to be taken if a badan (not collared shirt) and an ijar over the legha can be worn for boye ceremonies in Adarians or a sahyo (worn by Irani mobeds). Atash Behtam boyewallas can continue wearing the full regalia.
- Use good quality seasoned and properly dried sandalwood and kathi whenever possible.
- Consult with Fire Safety experts and formulate a training program.
Quick thinking by onlookers and Mobeds having been trained will certainly save lives in the future.
Initial Action Underway
A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has gifted to WZO Trusts’ 300 hand held cans of a fire retardant, with a request that two cans be given to every Atashbehram & Agiary in India which can be kept on hand wherever a Mobed is performing religious ceremonies.
These cans will shortly be distributed through volunteers team of Empowering Mobeds.
A short video is being conceptualised that will educate Mobeds on the proper way to tend to the fires. It has been the experience of senior Mobeds that young Mobeds many a times extend their arms very close to the fire, singeing the cuff of their jamas that creates such avoidable mishaps.
Suggestions of a practical nature that would further enhance the safety of our Mobeds are welcome and looked forward to. We can be contacted on Face Book Walls of ‘World Zoroastrian Organisation / WZO Trust Funds’, and ‘Empowering Mobeds’, also at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recognising that the safety and wellbeing of our Mobeds tending to the spiritual needs of our community is paramount, WZO Trusts’ & Empowering Mobeds have jointly undertaken this initiative with the hope that with proper training, our Mobeds, accidents that have been occurring will be eliminated.
See you on Saturday 20th June at 11 am for our next class. The Humbundagi and Kusti prayers will be followed by an insight on the Jashan ceremony by a revered guest speaker. Login 15 minutes before time to avoid disappointment!!
It is with great sadness that we inform you that our beloved Honorary Life Member & Trustee Ervad Rustom KaiKhusroo Bhedwar, passed away at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, this morning around 9.16am, Mah Meher, Roj Dae-pa-Adar, Thursday 20th February 2020. Ervad Rustom was 84 years old. He was born on 24th March 1935.
Priesthood in the Zorastrian community is a hereditary role. While traditionally men serve as priests, there are a few exceptions where women have served in the role
Nearly 30 members of the Parsi community attended a weekend workshop for Mobeds — Zorastrian priests — in Sanjan, Gujarat to develop ties among themselves and promote priesthood. Six parent-child duos also participated to enrich their bonds.
Priesthood in the Zorastrian community is a hereditary role. While traditionally men serve as priests, there are a few exceptions where women have served in the role.
The workshop focussed on young Mobeds aged between 13 and 16 years bonding with their parents who are serving as priests. Activities for communication skills, positive training sessions, and simulation exercises were held.
“It was wonderful to see the baton being passed on,” said Binaifer Sahukar, convenor of Empowering Mobeds, the platform that conducted the workshop. “The fathers were talking to the children about their work life, its importance, challenges they face.” A mother-son duo was also present at the workshop.
Sahukar emphasised on parent-child bonding as it ensures the survival of Mobeds. “There are 50 agiaries in the city and four Atash Behrams,” she said. “Given the declining number of Parsi priests, we have to try and retain the few children pursuing priesthood. The best way to do so is by monetising the profession. There has to be some incentive. Our senior priests are overburdened and are like doctors on call — running from one fire to another.”
Sahukar added that the community has to support and effect this change by being more respectful and generous towards priests. “The objective of empowering Mobeds is to elevate their position to that of leaders.”