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A Report on ZAC Atash Kadeh’s 6th Salgreh

ZAC Celebrated the 6th Salgreh of their Atashkadeh with Blessings and Messages from 3 Vada Dasturs

The 6th Salgreh of the Zoroastrian Association of California‘s Atash Kadeh was celebrated with great religious fervor and Parsi gusto on the 12th of November. The celebration started a week ago by deep cleaning the premises. On the day of Salgreh, Chowk was done by Vira & Barjor Santoke, a Hama Anjuman maachi was offered to Atashpadshah in all five gehs. Also, two Hama Anjuman Jashans were performed, one in the morning and one in the evening to facilitate the whole community by Ervads Zerkxis and Zarir Bhandara which was attended by about 75 Zoroastrians. After the Jashans, ZAC president Mrs. Rooky Fitter (in the morning) and Daisy Pithawalla, the Youth Coordinator of ZAC (in the evening) read the following message from the high priest of Iranshah Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor:

“Dear Humdinds, Greetings from the land of Iranshah!

I would like to express my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to my dear friend and a sincere Mobed, Er. Zarir Bhandara on this auspicious occasion, the 6th Salgareh of the Darbe Meher in California.

In many of my talks, I have expressed the need and importance of a religiously pious and scripturally knowledgeable Mobed who is willing to share his learning and insight with the community. This is the one way, our religious traditions will be protected and our religion; preserved.

This is what Zarir has believed in and has made every effort in the direction

of Preservation. He continues to take the trouble to play a contributory role in organising and being a part of as many religious gatherings as he possibly can, in his part of the world.

What strikes me as very impressive is that he has not only encouraged and motivated his son Zerkxis but has mentored him to follow his passion.

I am grateful to you Zarir, though so far away from your roots, you have in the past 50 years helped lay a strong foundation of religious wealth for the Zoroastrians in the U.S. Your sincere efforts towards maintaining the glory and sanctity of the sacred Atash Dadgah have not gone unnoticed nor have they gone in vain.

The community has derived its strength to survive and persevere with the blessings of the burning Holy Fire.

I pray that Dadar Ahuramazda and Iranshah Let your efforts bear fruit within our Community and May you receive their blessings in abundance.

May the Light of the Sacred Fire strengthen the Faith, bring Harmony, and Guide our community towards preserving our traditions and ethnicity eventually leading us towards enlightenment.”

 

ZAC Secretary Mrs. Vira Santoke (in the morning) and ZAC Treasurer Mr. Phiroze Gundevia (in the evening) read the following message from high priest Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal:

“Dear Ervad Saheb Khushro Unwalla,

Many thanks for your message about felicitating Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara on the auspicious day of the 6th Salgreh of your Atash Padshah Saheb. I am pleased that the Association of California has deemed it fit to felicitate a worthy priest who is involved in the service of the whole Parsi community. Kindly find attached my message for Zarrir to be read on the auspicious occasion.

With all the good wishes and blessings of Ahura Mazda,

Yours in His service,

Dasturji Firoze M. Kotwal

Felicitations on the 6th Anniversary (Salgreh) of the Atash Padshah installed by the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC)

On this auspicious day of the Salgreh of the Atash Padshah, Rūz Māhraspand, Māh Khordād 1392 AY, it is our sincere prayer that our Holy Fire may continue to shower his choicest blessings on the faithful devotees of California. It is our wish that the Holy Fire which is spiritually linked with the Divine Fire of Ahura Mazda, may continue to bestow its spiritual blessings on the Parsi Community until the time of the Resurrection. And may the Holy Fire also bestow his divine blessings on the Parsi Community and lead them always on the path of Truth and Righteousness.

It is very gratifying that the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) is fortunate to have a good and sincere priest such as Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara who has been helping the members of the community in all spheres of life to lead them onto the path of virtue.

It is my sincere hope that Ervad Saheb Zarrir Bhandara and his son Zerkxis will continue to serve the faithful and devout members of the Good Religion in matters of the religion and in their everyday life and serve as the true shepherds of their flock. May this father and son team live a long and healthy life and may the divine blessings of Ahura Mazda be bestowed upon them and the devout members of the Parsi Irani Zarthushti community of California.”

After which ZAC’s immediate past president Mobedyar Houtoxi Contractor read the following message from High priest Vada Dasturji Cyrus Noshirwan Dastur:

Dear Ervad Dr. Unwalla,

Here is my message to be read out on the auspicious occasion of ZAC Atash Padshah’s 6th salgreh:

I wish and pray to Dadar Ahura Mazda that the divine fire that was enthroned in California six years ago, may eternally keep burning and keep blessing the Zarthosty devotees with an abundance of happiness, success, progress, and prosperity. I also congratulate Ervad Zarrir F. Bhandara, my guru, on his 50 years of dedicated, selfless, and honorary service to our Zarthosti community in the US, North America, and globally. Zarrir you have been guiding our community with your expansive knowledge about our religion and I commend you for the same, may Ahura Mazda’s blessings be showered upon you forever.”

After which a note of thanks was delivered by Ervad Bhandara, thanking the ZAC executive committee and Ervad Zerksis for working behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and to Commissariat and family for preparing delicious Dhundar, Chawal, veg Patio, and Lagan nu custard and Yashmin Mehernosh Pithawalla for mouth-watering chutney sandwiches which were relished by everyone.

 

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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

The Ostowari Story

The Ostowari Story

 

This is a love story.

It is a story about a family’s love for their community and the lengths they went to.

I am writing about the Ostowari family of Sydney and especially Akhtar and Nawzar Ostowari.

 

Nawzer Ostowari

Akhtar Ostorawi

Akhtar was born in Kerman, Iran while Nawzar was born in Bombay and grew up in Poona.

Nawzar was one of 9 siblings, 6 boys and 3 girls.

Akhtar was sent to India from Iran when she was fifteen to get married. Nawzar’s father, her uncle, came to meet her at Poona station with all his sons. Akhtar famously narrated that on her arrival he lined them all up at Poona station and asked her to choose one for her husband. She chose Nawzar for his good looks. He did look like Omar Sharif as photographs show. Apart from his looks, Nawzar was a highly skilled and talented man. He was a glider pilot, a mechanical engineer, a very good photographer, an accountant and a natural with his hands. Apparently he was asked by the Shah of Iran to come and start a Glider training school in Tehran. Nawzar accepted this invitation and moved with his young family to Tehran.

In Tehran apart from running Glider training Nawzar also started a photography business and combined his aerial and photography skills to do photogrammerist work to produce maps for surveys done by oil companies of possible locations for oil exploration sites. His sister Shera had a daughter Marokh who was married to a Canadian oil driller working on the BHP Bass strait oil fields in the mid sixties. That induced Shera and her family to migrate to Australia. Shera’s husband Fereydoon had throat cancer and was dying. Nawzar decided to migrate to Australia to be with his sister to help out. Nawzar, Akhtar and the children came to Sydney in 1967. Nawzar bought a large house in 14, Nelson Road, Lindfield and put his inventive skills to work and started a successful Labels printing business in Australia.

When I came to Australia in 69 that house on Nelson Road, Lindfield was the focus of community meets. I landed at the start of the Labour Day long week end and went to visit Akhtar and Nawzar the next day. A knock on the door was opened by this beautiful lady who looked like Princess Soraya. It was Akhtar in her late 30s. I did not know her from a bar of soap but the warmth of her welcome was so overwhelming that as a stranger in a strange land I immediately felt at home. This was the magic she had on people. Nawzar and Akhtar’s generosity and hospitality did not just extend to me alone. I know of several families who stayed at their house in the first months of arrival until they had found work and could move out. This was a true Zoroastrian act, asking for nothing in return, they just got pleasure from giving!

I would visit Akhtar and Nawzar regularly. There were only about 20 Zoroastrians then but growing very slowly. One day when I visited, Akhtar said she was going to start a Zoroastrian Association and ask for government land for our community. At that time such allocations were being done in new suburbs like Terry Hills. We were between 25-30 people at this meeting. Some were brand new arrivals who I had not even met. After a discussion of the aims and objects we passed the hat around and close to a $1000 were collected with the Ostowaris putting in $500. The next day Akhtar went with Jehangir Mistry and Pervez Kolsawalla to register our association in the Corporate Affairs Commission office in Clarence Street, Sydney and AZA was born. This was also the occasion for the first “jashan” in Sydney with Zoroastrian hymns chanted by the late Jangoo Unwalla who was from a mobed family. A write up of this event based on material provided appears on the AZA website.

As the 70’s moved on the community grew. I lost touch with the Ostowaris and I got caught up in my work and moved to study in the UK. Cyrus, Akhtar’s eldest son, went to Texas to do a PhD and teach Aeronautical Engineering. Akhtar and Nawzar also went to the US and considered settling there but eventually decided against it.

When I returned to Sydney in 1981 I married Dinaz Sadri who got involved in fund raising with the Foundation Committee and other AZA activities. After a lot of both written and verbal communication, in 1982 a pledge was gained from the Guiv trust for US$60K to purchase land for a Darbe–Meher and community centre. To push for early release of these funds Akhtar and Nawzar rushed to California at their own expense to make direct representations to Dr Sarfe the chair of the Guiv trust. They also went to Canada to appeal to Mr Meherboon Zarthosty for funds. They got an encouraging hearing.

A debt free property of $143,500 with legals etc. of an extra $4000 was purchased by AZA by the end of 1985.

How was this possible? There were no funds from the Guiv or Zarthosty trusts and by Dec.1985 only 49K had been collected in community donations[1]?

The answer is straight forward.

The Ostowari family contributed the rest. Their contribution was given in stages at different times, by different members of the family and in different lots and therefore there is much confusion around how much they actually gave. What is clear is that Nawzar’s parents gave 15K of which receipts are available with the AZA. Akhtar and Nawzar gave 50K initially as per a note by Peshotan Katrak in his Memorial article to Nawzar in the December 2008 issue of Manashni. A further $1900 was given by the children bringing their total contribution to 66K+. An additional 12K+ was given which brings their major donor contribution to 78,927. This amount squares with the amount shown in a spreadsheet on pp4 of the Souvenir Issue published when the new Darbe-Meher was inaugurated in July 1994.

The funds collected to the end of Sep. 85 were:

Direct Ostowari Family contribution:        $66K+

Community Donations                            $49K

Interest                                                 $8K

TOTAL   (about)                                     $124K

 

As the MC of that time was also looking for suitable property for a Community Centre, they felt they were short of funds by around 24K considering the prices prevailing for properties in those days. To back up this shortfall there is a communication by Dr. Boman Kalapesi (then MC President) to this effect.  In the community there was a general expectation that any such shortfall would be made good from Guiv Trust funds which had already arrived in Sydney and were sitting in a Guiv Trust account in the Turramurra Branch of the Westpac Bank. However, by a turn of events this was not to be! Peshotan Katrak writes in the Manashni issue I mentioned earlier, that there were “protracted negotiations lasting 12 years” (starting from 1980, 1982 when the pledge was given, 1987 when the Deed of Release(DOR) was signed) to 1992 when funds were actually released to AZA. Unfortunately there is a false belief that the Guiv Trust released funds straight away for purchase of Annangrove property. Some believe that the funds were released when the DOR was signed which is again simply not true. In reality the precious funds were only released after AZA passed resolutions at an EGM in 91/92 to meet stringent Guiv Trust conditions to appoint trustees etc. to protect their donation.

So who made good the shortfall of close to 24K?

It was the Ostowaris.

How do I know this? Akhtar told us in 2011, when Dinaz and I were seeing her virtually every day that Nawzar did not want to miss out on purchase of the Annangrove property. A deposit had been paid which would be lost if AZA did not go to settlement like any conveyancing deal. Furthermore, to meet a stringent condition set by the Guiv trust that the AZA community should match their contributions as well, Nawzar made the decision to increase the Ostowari contribution to AZA. He also made contributions in other AZA members’ names to increase community contributions. Dinaz in fact remembers that one day in 1985 when I was at work we got a call from Nawzar asking if he could make a donation of 2-3K in our name. They were going round asking the old original AZA members to use their names. This indirect contribution done by the Ostowaris privately in other people’s names saved the day.  It buffered the community contribution so strongly demanded by the Guivs and Zarthoshty Trusts, satisfied the strong preconditions and finally enabled AZA to purchase Annangrove.

In private conversations, 27 years after Annangrove was purchased, Akhtar spoke of this modestly, recalling the many hurdles they had faced.  Furthermore we have to keep in mind that AZA’s records as minuted at the time are unreliable as they are incomplete and not all available. The MC in the past have claimed many times when questioned in AGMs that many minutes and other records have been lost or inadvertently destroyed.

A similar group of direct and indirect contributions were made by Nawzar Ostowari when money was collected for the new Darbe-Meher. However here there are well documented figures available of their generosity. Akhtar said that a family property was sold by Nawzar whose proceeds were used to fund these AZA donations.

In addition to their donations for the purchase of Annangrove and the building of the new Darbe-Meher the Ostowaris gave material things such as Fridges, Ovens, Stoves, Pressure Cookers and so on both for the old and the new building. There are people still alive who went with Akhtar to purchase these things. In addition to this, Nawzar worked night and day come rain, come shine to oversee the construction of the new Darbe-Meher. The landscaping at the front, namely the rockery and the fountain were his pet projects. I have some photographs of the building getting constructed which I will post with this article.

As if this was not enough of Ostowari contributions, Cyrus Ostowari built, all by himself, the beautiful furniture in the library and paid for all the materials and quality timber. The shelving, the tables and chairs are all done by Cyrus. But there is more. The pergola at the back of the Darbe-Meher with the paving was designed and built by Cyrus with the help of the Working Bee group. Special timber was ordered and paid for by Cyrus from a timber yard in Orange. There are back issues of Manashni that the curious can look up on this. We don’t know what Cyrus spent on these two projects but the raw materials themselves would have been over at least $10K- he never accepted any reimbursement for his expenses.

Further to all this contribution Akhtar did three more major things for AZA.

First, as a major donor she chaired the joint MC and Trustees meetings at which improvements and maintenance matters were discussed and funded. It was not just chairing as most of the time she was the first port of call for funding. Putli has told me that she carried $1000 in cash every time she went to AZA and spent it as she saw fit. There is no accounting for the total spent by her in this. Even if we take one visit a year (which is totally absurd) then over 40 years it amounts to $40K. We know she went at least once a month.

Second, she started with Dinaz the highly successful monthly Seniors program in 2008 after Nawzar’s death. This program is still running (with a name change!). At the Seniors meet alone she came with fruits, nuts, yogurts and other goodies of close to $100. For every prayer meet held at the AZA she would discreetly donate anything from 100-to 500/- dollars.

Finally as an outgrowth of the Seniors, Dinaz and Akhtar conceived of building a new modern commercial fully fitted out kitchen to replace existing facilities which were inadequate for feeding so many people monthly as also creating a modern facility suitable for the growth of an expanding, burgeoning community.  The funding was kicked off by Putli whose generosity resulted in her being named a Major Donor by AZA. Again, we will never know the exact amount spent on the kitchen. A separate account was opened with $244K+ deposited over time but in addition many cash ex-gratia payments were made by Akhtar. A lavish inauguration jashan was funded by Akhtar attended by 425 guests with food and drink and catering to both Indian and Iranian menus. I estimate that as some teething repairs also have to be taken into account a figure of $280K-ish would be near the actual cost of the new kitchen.

Note that the new kitchen has been a great success and it is used by both AZA for its functions and rented out for private navjote and wedding functions. It provides income to AZA as it is separately charged when booked.

Finally it would be amiss of me not to mention individual charities, scholarships, medical bills, and other good works of Akhtar. Many AZA members visited her and she discreetly helped all.

So far I have mentioned how Akhtar, Nawzar, Cyrus and Putli have donated to AZA. The final one to mention is Kaikhosrov’s contribution. If you enter AZA from the front door, then in the porch outside the front door sit two beautiful solid marble sculpted lions. These were donated by Kaikhosrov, and are very valuable costing tens of thousands of dollars each.

It is amazing to find that one family has shown such munificence and generosity.

No one else comes anywhere close.

There are no also–rans and it is highly unlikely that there ever will be. The mighty heart of this one family is self evident. I do hope it stands as a beacon to inspire future generations.

All up they have given well over half a million dollars.

Of course there will be the knockers, “gold-coinwallas” as I call them who give a gold-coin and ask for a receipt. They will want to knock off a dollar here and there of my figures. To them we have to say that we will never know the actual amount given by the Ostowaris and what we give here is a low end estimate.

For the Ostowaris’ actions one can only dwell on an interpretation of a part of the Yatha Varyo which says that:

“Happiness comes from making others happy”

By being instrumental in buying and developing Annangrove, lots of happy events have been held for the Zoroastrian community and many people have been happy.

I started this piece saying this was a love story. You can see after reading it why, for unless the Ostowaris truly had a love for their AZA community, they would never have bothered. They could have simply enjoyed their life and their money in peace and quiet and done nothing for us. After all there are other wealthier Zoroastrians in Sydney, who do little to nothing for AZA and that is their call. Two generations of the Ostowari family were not only generous they are truly unique!

Paradoxically ZAV started in Melbourne about the same time as AZA but they regret that till today they do not have a place of their own as ‘finance is a problem’ and doubts they will ever get one. Their President rues this fact in the June 2022 issue of Parsiana. Why? I say because they did not have far sighted visionaries like the Ostowaris championing their cause. The same could be said for Perth or Adelaide or Auckland.

Putli

Kaikhosrov

I believe my life was enriched in being fortunate enough to know the Ostowari family so well and today where the community is we can truly say that:

“We stand on the shoulders of giants”

In the Zoroastrian tradition there are four wonderful gathic hymns. They are: the Ashem Vohu, the Yatha Varyo, the Airyema Ishio and the Vengha Hatam. The first two all Zoroastrians know while the last two are known by few of us. The Airyema Ishio enjoins us to always remember and emulate the example of those people who have followed the good religion by doing good works. That is why we are asked to remember and never forget them and place them in our thoughts and in our prayers. I ask you my dear readers to do that, to remember Akhtar and Nawzar and Cyrus next time in your prayers.

 

Dinyar Mistry

[1] Ref. AZA House Inaugural Jashan Souvenir, Feb.9, 1985

Dorab Mistry appointed Chairman of Adani Wilmar Group

Dear Friends,

ZTFE is delighted to inform that our past president and current GWG representative Dorab E Mistry OBE was last week elected as Non Executive Chairman of Adani Wilmar Limited (AWL) – which is India’s largest food company by sales. AWL is a joint venture between the Adani Group of India and Wilmar International of Singapore.

AWL is listed on the National Stock Exchange of India with a market cap in excess of 10 Billion Pounds. The company operates in India and neighbouring countries. AWL has grown rapidly in the last few years and Dorab has been an independent non executive director. Dorab is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on agri commodity pricing.

Dorab continues his employment with Godrej and has recorded his huge gratitude to the Godrej family for their support and generosity in his take-up of this prestigious responsibility.

We congratulate Dorab on this appointment and send our best wishes.

Kindly share the good news with those who are not connected to the internet and / or do not receive ZTFE Group emails.

Your sincerely
Malcolm M Deboo
ZTFE President

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

Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons, dies in road accident

Cyrus Mistry was returning from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in his Mercedes that crashed on a divider at Palghar in Maharashtra. Police said two persons, including Mistry, died in the car crash.

Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry died in a road accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar on Sunday. Mistry was returning to Mumbai from Ahmedabad in his Mercedes that crashed on a divider. Mistry was aged 54 years.

Police said besides Mistry, three other persons were there in the fateful car – renowned Mumbai gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pundole, her husband Darius Pundole and Jehangir Pundole, brother of Darius.

They had visited the Iranshah Atash Behram at Udvada in the morning. Dr Pundole is believed to have been behind the wheel. Jehangir Pundole also died in the accident that took place on a bridge on the Surya river.

Also read | All you need to know about ex-Tata Sons chairman

Dr Pundole and Darius Pundole are undergoing treatment at a hospital at Vapi where they are reported to be out of danger.

“The accident took place around 3.15pm, when Mistry was travelling to Mumbai from Ahmedabad. The accident took place on a bridge over the Surya river. It seems an accident,” PTI quoted a police officer as saying.

Mistry was ousted as chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016.

Tributes started to pour in for Mistry soon after news of his death came to light with political leaders and industrialists expressing their shock over the accident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Mistry was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. “The untimely demise of Shri Cyrus Mistry is shocking. He was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. His passing away is a big loss to the world of commerce and industry. Condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” the PM wrote on Twitter.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said he was “shocked to hear about the passing away of former Tata Sons chief Cyrus Mistry. He was not only a successful entrepreneur but also was seen in the industry as a young, bright & visionary personality. It’s a great loss… My heartfelt tribute.”

Union minister Smriti Irani called Mistry a gentle soul and a man with a mission. “Cyrus as I will always remember him epitomised kindness. The news of his demise comes as a shock. My condolences to his family & loved ones.”

Noted journalist Vir Sanghvi said, “Rest in Peace. Life is so unpredictable and so fragile that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Condolences to his family. It’s very sad news.”

Mistry is survived by his wife Rohiqa and their two sons.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/former-tata-group-chairman-cyrus-mistry-dies-in-road-accident-in-palghar-101662289076888.html

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/former-chairman-of-tata-sons-cyrus-mistry-killed-in-road-accident/articleshow/93984086.cms

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

120-year-old Masina Hospital gets ₹22 crore facelift

Mumbai: The historic Masina Hospital—city’s second oldest healthcare centre, is all set to complete the ₹22 crore revamp of its patient facility in the next two months
Mumbai, India – August 22, 2022: Masina Hospital at Byculla, in Mumbai, India, on Monday, August 22, 2022. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)

The hospital, which became functional with four patients in 1902, and was known for treating patients during the Spanish flu, has recently recentered itself as a multispeciality hospital that also has a heart transplant programme and a dialysis centre.

Spread over 8-acres of land, Masina had initially thought of reviving and restoring the heritage look of the hospital. However, sources have confirmed that the medical facility has put its restoration project on hold for now.

Dr Vispi Jokhi, chief executive officer, said the focus is on upgrading the patient facility. “Our hospital is one of the oldest Parsi Trust-owned hospitals and our focus is on affordable healthcare. While we want to have the restoration work done, our focus right now is on upgrading the health infrastructure only. We started with revamping our operation theatres last year amid the pandemic. This was followed by upgradation of the wards,” he said.

The Kharas Memorial Centre, which houses the main wards, and operation theatres, now has centralised air-conditioning, which was not there earlier, said Dr Jokhi.

He added that the revamped operation theatres now have HEPA filters and laminar airflow for stringent infection control. “We now have suites. But, the beds in the general ward and the beds in suites will have the same patient care. All the beds are connected via monitor to keep a check on vitals like ECG, heart rate, oxygen levels etc. We have also introduced day care centres,” said Dr Jokhi.

The hospital has renowned vascular surgeon Dr Gustad Daver heading the advisory board to help them with the revamp plans. “The work started last year and we intend to complete it in the next two months. We have introduced a 14-bed dialysis centre as well and have made a separate provision to attend to sero-positive patients to avoid spreading infection, if at all. The dialysis centre also has a private room, in case of a demand for the same,” said Behram Khodaiji, joint CEO.

The hospital has also added 10 beds to the existing 15-bed Parsi ward and started a dialysis centre.
By Somita Pal

A SPECIAL DEDICATION FOR OUR HIGHLY RESPECTED MOBED MEHRABAN FIROUZGARY

FROM: MEHER AMALSAD, WESTMINSTER, CALIFORNIA, USA
 
A SPECIAL DEDICATION FOR OUR HIGHLY RESPECTED MOBED MEHRABAN FIROUZGARY
Globally Regarded As One Of The Most Highly Revered Senior-most Zarathushti Head Priest In Iran.
 
THIS VIDEO PRESENTATION WILL BE SHARED AT THE SPECIAL COMMEMORATION CEREMONY IN HONOR OF MOBED MEHRABAN FIROUZGARY ON FATHER’S DAY (AUGUST 21, 2022) IN IRAN
 

 

BaNaMeh Ahura Mazda

To Think A Good Thought, To Speak A Good Word, To Do A Good Deed Is Righteousness.

Happiness Comes To Those Who Choose To Live With The Consciousness Of Righteousness.

And With That Preciousness, Ladies And Gentlemen…

This Is Meher Amalsad From California,  And With Immense Pleasure,

I would like To Speak A Few Words In Honor Of Our Highly Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary, at this very special commemoration ceremony in his Honor on Father’s Day in Iran.

He is globally regarded as one of the most Highly Revered Senior-most Zarathushti Head Priest in Iran.

I have had the good fortune of knowing him as a passionate Mobed and a compassionate family friend for the past 35-Plus Years.

And over the years,  we have had this distinctive opportunity to work together towards supporting our Future Generation In Iran, through the World Zoroastrian Youth Congresses, and via other communal endeavors that were focused on promoting our Zarathushti youth in Iran. And I have truly appreciated his kindness and graciousness towards reaching out to humanity.

Presently, he is also serving as the Senior Advisor and the Guiding Light for the BaHumata Global Prayer, Leadership And Entrepreneurship Monthly Webinar Series, for which we are truly grateful.

 

My Dear And Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary…

You have been an inspiration for serving the worldwide Zarthoshti community, with a commendable willingness to share your wisdom and knowledge, along with your scholastic contribution of numerous articles on various religious subjects.

You have been a pioneer in Avesta recitations through the best researched pronunciations, which were shared globally through your conducted classes, teaching media, as well as through audio recordings, in conjunction with your published book on Khordeh Avesta, which has been standardized for teaching,  as well as for public prayer recitations.

You have been an avid promoter of Gender Equity, Human Equality and Communal Equanimity,  by spearheading the basis and graduation of eight Lady Mobedyars in Iran.

Being officiated in the Yasna rituals,  you have trained five very proficient Mobeds to replace you in that role,  for which I salute you with all my heart and spirit.

 

Now For Those Who Don’t  Know…

Our Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary  has been awarded the “Chehre Mandegar” (Everlasting personality) by the Tehran Zarthoshty Anjuman,  for his 50 plus years of selfless service to our community as well as humanity.

He has been appointed as the Marriage Registrar for Zoroastrians of Tehran, by the Justice Ministry of the Iranian government,   which he conducts with immense joy and pride.

Our Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary  has represented Iran, and participated in panel discussions at several prominent venues namely:  the Parzor UNESCO Filing of Novrooz amongst UNESCO’s World Cultural listings, The World Zoroastrian Congress in Tehran, and Tehran University celebrations of UNESCO’s declaration of the 2000th year of Iranian Culture.

He has also been involved in numerous national and international seminars on Iranian culture and interfaith meetings, the last being his Panel and Prayer sessions at the 2019 Ninth European Conference of Iranian Studies held at Berlin University.

In addition to serving as a Mobed, he built an outstanding career that spanned over 5-decades, as an Industrial Electronics Engineer after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from India in 1958.

For 10-years, he was employed by J. N. Marshall & Co – a Parsi Owned Engineering firm in India, where he held responsible and prominent positions as the Service and Branch Manager.

In 1968, he married Mehrangiz from Iran and a year later returned to Iran,  where he was first employed by IBM international and then transferred to Honeywell Controls in Tehran,  where he served as the Head of the Electrical and Instrumentation department for over 20+ years.  Even though he officially retired in 1999, he continued to work until 2016. That’s What I Call A Commendable Dedication.

Ladies And Gentlemen:

It is said that: How We Think About Our World, Changes Our World

My Dear And Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary:

Your Forward And Insightful Thinking,  has helped to change the inner world of many Zarathushtis in Iran and worldwide.

Your name “Mehraban” means kind, but you are kinder than kind.

You truly are a person who is “gifted with a spiritual and luminous face, emanating vibrant energy coupled with the knowledge, wisdom and ability to propagate the pristine message of our prophet Zarathushtra”.

And that’s why you are revered as a “Peer”, the eldest, and most enlightened dedicated Iranian Mobed.   But with utmost humility and modesty, you still prefer to be addressed as “Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary”.

I Love That Spirit Of Humility And Dignity In You.

You Truly Are A Gem Of A Human Being For Which I Salute You With All My Love And Light

Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary, it has been a joy and a privilege;  of knowing you as a Special Friend.

So, At This Very Special Commemoration Celebration in your Honor

I Thank You For Your Fatherly Guidance To Our Zarathushti Community And Humanity.

I am grateful for the gift of your friendship and thankful for the blessing of your leadership.

And, I wish you a life filled with Love, Light, Grace, Joy And Peace.

Be Blessed And Stay Blessed With The Blessings Of Ahura Mazda.  Ushta-Te And Ushta-Ve

I LOVE YOU… 

Happiness Today, Love Always To You My Dear Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary

Meher Amalsad

Westminster, California, USA

 

A Special Dedication In Honor Of Our Highly Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary – Head Priest, Iran

ZASHA – Celebrating Zoroastrian Women Across the World

 

The Zoroastrian women that feature on the ZASHA website represent the strength, intelligence, and generosity of spirit that the global Zoroastrian community is known for. Many have been forgotten and some even overlooked but they are all women who have left and are leaving their incredible mark in important ways.  They present different time periods, geographical locations, and spheres of action. What they have in common is that, in their different ways, they challenged or overcame the restricting gender norms of the societies in which they lived. By refusing to be bound by the social, legal, political, or domestic conventions of their time, they helped shape the modern world.

The ZASHA website is to celebrate the various and magnificent achievements of Zoroastrian women and their community. It is to connect and enable them to interact and work in a bond of fellowship with others in their special fields, across disciplines.  Hopefully, it will also be an inspiration to a new generation who are unaware of the extraordinary line of dynamic women they are descended from and the obstacles they faced to create a better life for themselves, and their families.  We salute them for their bravery, and pluckiness.

Over my lifetime, historians especially in the women’s movement have been asking pointed questions about women and their important role often forgotten and sometimes deliberately ignored and erased. The result has been a rich and new way to view our collective story.  In uncovering these short stories of fascinating Zoroastrian women, alive and deceased I have been left in awe of their achievements. I am sure that those who are inspired by this website will explore their female ancestors that have been the foundation of an ancient and glorious religion.

This ZASHA website is my gift for the 12th World Zoroastrian Congress 2022, in New York, to complement the session on Women and Leadership.   I was honoured to be a keynote speaker and chair of this important event. I believe it is a tipping point in redefining the role of Zoroastrian women in our fast-moving world. It is also an appropriate way to recognise the extraordinary achievements of Zoroastrian women. The ZASHA website will in time be a place for lodging and locating archival material for the worldwide Zoroastrian community and for easy access to events, news, and views.

I have boldly named the website ZASHA, which incorporates Z for Zoroastrian and ASHA which is the name of the centre I helped found in Gloucestershire, England for the enrichment of people’s lives especially the young.

For Zoroastrians the word asha is the basis of what we believe brings truth, order, righteousness, and justice to our world.  ZASHA in Russian means ‘ The Defender of the People’ and in South Africa ‘The Spirit of Fire’ which is revered by us Zoroastrians. ZASHA also neatly spells ‘Zoroastrian Alliance of Sisters here and abroad.’ I just love the sound of ZASHA which is both feminine and fun.

I know that everyone has an important part in making sure that such an extraordinary faith and culture that has changed the course of world history directly and indirectly over millennia flourishes. Most importantly there is a duty to leave a fine legacy to future generations. I hope the ZASHA website will play a vital part in the Zoroastrian community’s role to continue to bring happiness and enlightenment to others.  I am in no doubt that future generations will thank us for keeping the Zoroastrian goodness and magic alive throughout our shared world.

Many thanks to all those that have made this site happen.
My admiration and affection to you all.

 

Zerbanoo Gifford

https://zasha.info/

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