Category Archives: News

Excommunication of Parsi Women: A Legal Analysis

Recently, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice on a plea that challenged the practice of ostracizing Parsi women who chose to marry persons outside the Parsi community. The High Court of Gujarat in the case of Goolrokh Gupta v. Burjor Pardiwala, infamously held that when a Parsi woman marries a non-Parsi person under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, she ceases to be a Parsi unless she obtains declaration from a competent court stating that she has continued to practice her religion even after marriage. Upon the challenge of this judgment by the petitioner, the Supreme Court tagged this case to the Sabarimala review petitions citing the similarity of issues, which then drew attention to the Zoroastrian practice of prohibiting the entry of women who chose to marry persons from other religious faiths into sacred institutions of the Parsi community. This blog post seeks to discuss the test of “essential religious practices” and is a critique of the judgment of the High Court of Gujarat.

 

https://www.calq.in/post/excommunication-of-parsi-women-a-legal-analysis

Kersi Deboo has been appointed as a member of the National Commission for Minorities

Navsari-based lawyer, amateur historian, trustee in community trusts and reportedly a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Kersi Deboo has been appointed as a member of the National Commission for Minorities, according to a union government notification dated November 16, 2021. The appointment is for a period of three years. The previous Zoroastrian representative was Udwada High Priest Dastur Khurshed Dastoor.
Parsiana

Oldest member of Parsi community celebrates her 107th birthday

 

KARACHI: The geriatric ward at the infirmary of the Bomanshaw Minocher-Homji (BMH) Parsi Medical Relief Association was decorated with pink, white and gold balloons. You could see flowers everywhere as the Parsi community in the city came together here to celebrate the 107th birthday of Dina Homi Sethna, the oldest living Parsi in the world.

The birthday girl herself, sporting a pretty pink sash over her pink party dress, cut her big rectangular chocolate cake though with a little help as everyone around her said “Happy Birthday”. People from outside the Parsi community were also invited to celebrate the momentous occasion. There was Cardinal Joseph Coutts, politicians Mangla Sharma, Ramesh Singh, Anwar Lala and Abdullah Hussain Haroon along with other celebrities from the showbiz and sports world including actor Feroze Khan.

Well-known female rally driver Tushna Patel, who organised the birthday party, was trying to figure out how to fit 107 candles on the cake. She settled for a set of golden alphabet candles that she put together to make up ‘Happy Birthday’. “My daughter is also name Dina, and today it is also her birthday, according to the Parsi calendar,” Tushna shared with Dawn.

“It’s a big honour for our community to have someone among us who is 107 years old. We Parsis are dwindling in numbers so having a 107-year-old member in our community is amazing,” she added.

Dina’s daughter Sunnu and son-in-law Farrokh Golwalla were also there. “My mother is as wane as any other woman,” said Sunnu. “She was born in 1914 and when we were celebrating her 100th birthday in 2014, she was most annoyed to receive cards that congratulated her for completing a century. She returned all the cards that had 100 written on them. She didn’t want anyone to think she was a day older than 70,” the daughter laughed.

“Mother, as not everyone would know her, is an introvert. She keeps mostly to herself. She has also been hard of hearing. Her hearing is almost gone now. Because of this she has been unable to converse confidently,” Sunnu added.

“She is very caring. When she naps in the afternoon, she tells her attendant to also have a shut eye. ‘Tum bhi so jao, baith kay kia kerna hai [you should also catch some sleep while I do the same]’. The lady volunteers, her attendants lovingly call her Maa [Mother]’,” she shared.

About having her mother committed at the home, Sunnu regrettably added: “I have not left her care to them completely. Physically I am unable to lift her or bathe her but mentally and emotionally my good husband and I are 110 per cent engaged with her well being.”

About the facility, Roshan Mehri, chairperson of the managing committee at the BMH Parsi Medical Relief Association, said that it was a pre-Partition hospital to help the local Parsi community, which has now been turned into a kind of nursing home as well as a facility for geriatric persons who are alone and don’t have anybody to look after them or who can’t be looked after at home.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2021

https://www.dawn.com/news/1656747/oldest-member-of-parsi-community-celebrates-her-107th-birthday

How citizens helped make Dadar Parsi Colony streets disabled friendly

NEED FOR MUMBAI INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE DISABLED FRIENDLY

I am a resident of Dadar Parsi Colony in Mumbai with cerebral palsy. I’ve been using a motorised wheelchair for the past two years. Before that, I used elbow crutches, but a nerve compression in my spine forced me to make the shift to a wheelchair. While a wheelchair could mean more independence to move around, I quickly realised that most of Mumbai’s roads were not accessible to me. The dangerous conditions of road travel in the city made it difficult for me to do basic chores like going to the grocery store, chemist, bank, or visit public spaces recreationally.

My conversations with my physiotherapist, Dr. Unnati Shelar, on inaccessibility in Mumbai, developed into action. In July 2021, we decided to visit several authorities  hat could potentially support us. At first, we tried to contact Amey Ghole, the area corporator, whom I knew personally. We were attempting to execute this initiative when the pandemic was at its peak, so it wasn’t a surprise that we didn’t receive a response, and decided instead to move on. The next stop was the BMC ward office. This time, we were accompanied by another active citizen, Kersi Ujwala.

 

We reached the ward office after only a brief call with the officer’s personal assistant, who was informed of my condition and why we were asking for better infrastructure in our area. We made a few more trips to the offices after that, each time bringing more documentation of inaccessible streets and encouraging healthy conversations on solutions.

Within a month of the meeting, without any follow up, the work started in my neighbourhood. I was sent an acknowledgement of footpaths named, and our initiative landed us new ramps and railings. As of last week, after a few trials and initial mistakes rectified, we have successfully made the entire lane adjacent to my building, disabled-friendly, with smoother footpaths, ramps and railings wherever required.

inaccessible footpaths
Footpaths before the accessibility project. Photo – Siddharth Mhatre
smooth ramps for wheelchairs
Footpaths after prompt action. Photo – Siddharth Mhatre

The proactive nature of the operation came as a surprise. Without any prior appointments, we were heard, and promises were fulfilled. Recently, I got a call from a BJP corporator of Matunga, Hindu Colony, saying they wanted to take up an accessibility project in their area.

Problems still arise. Somebody will park their bike on the footpath or slope, a trashcan will be kept on a narrow footpath, blocking the whole road. While we managed to address the problem in infrastructure, we still have a long way to go with citizens. For now, we have decided to put handicapped logos on all the accessibility ramps. We’re hoping this will make a difference.

 

How citizens helped make Dadar Parsi Colony streets disabled friendly

Yazdi Desai passes away

Ex-Chairman of BPP Mr. Yazdi Desai has passed away.
We pray that at this difficult time may Ahura Mazda give his wife Anahita Desai the strength and courage to bear this irreversible loss .
Garothman behest hojo ji.

========================================

Former Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) Yazdi Desai was ailing since quite sometime.
In a way his passing away today on 2nd November 2021 has put an end to his physical suffering.
He loved the community dearly and gave of his time, talent and money most generously.
He served the BPP first as trustee from 2008 to 2015 and from October 2015 onward as chairman.
He discharged his fiduciary duties with passion and diligence.
As trustee, I often differed with him on ideological issues but never doubted his genuine zeal to do good for the community.
He worked tirelessly and selflessly balancing his professional life with the onerous responsibility he carried as Chairman of BPP.
He worked till late in the night, burning the candle of his life at both ends.
Always well dressed with a tie and well groomed hair, he was courteous and helpful to all those who sought his help.
May his devoted and loving wife Anahita find the strength and courage to bear his loss.
Farewell Yazdi. You will be missed by many but Anahita will continue to carry your legacy of service to the community forward.
Noshir H Dadrawala

=================================

When we heard the news about the passing away of Yazdi Hosi Desai, the words of the American singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly – Kinky Friedman, came to mind. Friedman famously said, “Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and quickly, but it’s much better to be killed by what you love“.

One could say Yazdi died for what he loved so dearly – the community, the religion and the BPP. His passion to do good burned the candle of his life at both ends!

He had dedicated the last two decades of his life to the community and his passion made him obsessive enough to consume him mentally, emotionally and physically. As Trustee and later as Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, he took proactive steps to root out inefficiency and corruption from this August institution.

As Chairman of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India (FPZAI), he was much respected and loved by various Anjumans, especially in Gujarat.

When Yazdi contested the BPP elections for the first time, he lost. But there is no dishonor in losing any race or contest. There is only dishonor in not racing or contesting out of fear of losing. Yazdi was persistent and in 2008 he was elected as trustee and in October 2015 he won for the second time and was appointed Chairman of BPP.

It’s true that Yazdi genuinely loved the Parsi Zoroastrian community. He believed in the religion of Zarathushtra even more deeply. He regarded our High Priests with reverence and often used to say that since our scholar High Priests have dedicated their lives to the study of the religion, we, as a community should follow whatever they say without questioning their religious knowledge or wisdom. He cared deeply for all mobed sahebs, especially those serving in mofussil areas.

In May 2005, along with Industrialist – Areez P. Khambatta, Renowned Scholar – Khojeste P. Mistree, Tax Expert – Homi P. Ranina, Former Vice Chancellor of Bombay University – Dr. Mehroo D. Bengalee, Chartered Accountant – Hoshang N. Wania and Social Worker – Jamshed J. Mohta, Yazdi Desai formed the ‘World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis’ (WAPIZ), with the aim to strengthen the voice of Parsi Zoroastrian tradition and to protect and preserve the unique Parsi Irani Zarthoshti identity.

Today WAPIZ is a household name, thanks to the effort put in by Yazdi and his beloved and devoted wife – Anahita, working with him shoulder-to-shoulder. When WAPIZ celebrated its second anniversary at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, over 2,500 Parsis, including High Priests and priests turned up to express unity and solidarity. WAPIZ encourages home industry by organizing sale of Parsi house-hold items twice a year at Cama Baug. This event is much sought after by both Parsi consumers and entrepreneurs.

While Yazdi is known more for his involvement with the Parsis, professionally he joined Writer Corporation as an Accounts Assistant in the year 1984. His previous experience included working with AF Ferguson & Co, Chartered Accountants. At Writer Corporation, Legal, Taxation and Corporate Governance were Yazdi’s prime responsibilities though he was actively involved in virtually every area of Writer Group’s finance and administration. He was also a Trustee of Kripa Foundation devoted to the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

In April 2020, he suffered from a massive stroke and while he initially recovered well, his general health continued to deteriorate, culminating in his passing away on 2nd November, 2021, which happened to be Fravardin Roj of Mah Khordad, as per the Shehenshahi Zoroastrian calendar. Fravardin is dedicated to the Guardian Holy Spirit (Fravahar) and Khordad embodies the essence of Ahura Mazda’s perfection.

Yazdi was always neat and clean in his personal habits. He was impeccably well-groomed and dressed immaculately. He was a patient listener and he would spend several hours every week either at the BPP or at WAPIZ, listening to grievances of community members and offering solutions, wherever and whenever possible. He was generous to a fault and gave freely of his time, talent and wealth.

Like all Parsis, he was fond of good food and had a sweet tooth. While he was gentle and courteous to all, he would often get impatient with those trying to take advantage of his goodness. He had a short-temper but at the same time, he was also forgiving and had the courage to own up whenever wrong or misled.

The huge turnout at his funeral on 3rd November, 2021, at Doongerwadi bore testimony to his huge popularity. The staff of BPP and Writer Corporation, as also several well-wishers paid a tearful farewell to their friend and leader.

They say, the things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor leaders after they are no more. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the Pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made of the memories people have of the leader. Yazdi and his good deeds will remain alive in the individual and collective memory of lives that he touched for a long time to come.

Our heart goes out to Yazdi’s wife – Anahita. To say she was his ‘better-half’ would be an understatement. Whatever Yazdi was and became, was thanks largely to Anahita, who was his true friend and ‘soulmate’ – always doting on him, supportive and encouraging in good times or difficult times! She is a strong woman with a soft heart.

Anahita loved Yazdi dearly. One could say, among Yazdi’s blessings in life was having a spouse as loyal and loving as Anahita. We know she is heart-broken and therefore it may be apt for us to conclude with a verse by Mary Hall:

If I should die, and leave you here a while,

Be not like others sore undone,

Who keep long vigils by the silent dust and weep.

For my sake, turn again to life, and smile,

Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do

Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine,

Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine,

And I, perchance, may therein comfort you!

Noshir H Dadrawala

Yazdi H. Desai: A Tribute

$4.7 million allocated to UNESCO-designated Pasargadae

A budget of 200 billion rials has been allocated to Pasargadae after President Ebrahim Raisi visited the Achaemenid site earlier in October, a senior tourism official, Javad Vahedi, said on Friday.

“The Pasargadae complex, as a magnificent World Heritage site, has a high tourism potential in the field of cultural and historical tourism, and we must plan to attract more tourists,” the official explained.

Situated about 50 km north of Persepolis, Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, the homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC.

Its palaces, gardens, and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is also home to a complex water supply system for the time that comprises cisterns, tunnels, underground canals, and ducts, which are locally known as qanats.

It is believed that the development of qanats began about 2,500 or 3,000 years ago in Persia (Iran), and the technology spread eastward to Afghanistan and westward to Egypt. Although new qanats are seldom built today, many old qanats are still used in Iran and Afghanistan, chiefly for irrigation.

The 160-ha archaeological site of Pasargadae presents some of the earliest manifestations of Persian art and architecture. It includes, among other monuments, the compact limestone tomb on the Morgab plain that once held Cyrus the Great’s gilded sarcophagus; Tall-e Takht (“Solomon’s Throne”), a great fortified platform built on a hill and later incorporated into a sprawling citadel with substantial mud-brick defenses; and the royal ensemble, which consists of several palaces originally located within a garden layout (the so-called “Four Gardens”). Pasargadae became a prototype for the Persian Garden concept of four quadrants formally divided by waterways or pathways, its architecture characterized by refined details and slender verticality.

Pasargadae stands as an exceptional witness to the Achaemenid civilization. The vast Achaemenid Empire, which extended from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River in India, is considered the first empire to be characterized by a respect for the cultural diversity of its peoples. This respect was reflected in the royal Achaemenid architecture, which became a synthesized representation of the empire’s different cultures. Pasargadae represents the first phase of this development into a specifically Persian architecture which later found its full expression in the city of Persepolis.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/466456/4-7-million-allocated-to-UNESCO-designated-Pasargadae

Parsi community calls on govt to preserve cemetery in Rawalpindi

Illegal sale of land and encroachers have reduced centuries old #ParsiCemetery in Rawalpindi to half its area, says former lawmaker Isphanyar Bhandara, calling on the Punjab government to declare it a heritage site.

 

By Rehan Piracha – https://voicepk.net/2021/09/parsi-community-calls-on-govt-to-preserve-cemetery-in-rawalpindi/


LAHORE

A former lawmaker from the Parsi minority community has called on the Punjab government to protect the community’s 150-year old cemetery in Rawalpindi from land grab and declare it a national heritage site.

The Parsi cemetery on the Murree Road in Rawalpindi has been eclipsed by the New Jewellery Market, Isphanyar Bhandara, president of Parsi Union of Rawalpindi, tells Voicepk.net in an exclusive interview.

“The cemetery is built on a scenic and beautiful place but unfortunately it has been reduced to less than half its area in the last two decades,” Bhandara says. The Parsi cemetery had an area of 25 Kanals but illegal sale of land and encroachment has reduced the graveyard’s total area to 7 to 8 Kanals now, he adds. A grave of Behram Jee Hormas Jee Boca, who died in 1860, is also part of the cemetery. Bhandara’s late father MP Bhandara, also a former lawmaker, is buried here.

The former lawmaker laments that a former office-bearer of the Parsi Union illegally had illegally sold off half of the cemetery’s land in 2005. According to him, land earmarked for a graveyard cannot be sold or utilized for another purpose without the permission of the Auqaf Department.

In addition, the cemetery is facing threats of further encroachment of land from residents of neighbouring buildings. “Our neighbours who should respect sanctity of the Parsi graveyard are instead trying to encroach upon one-and-half Kanals of open land earmarked for future graves of the Parsi community members,” he says. These residents have built windows on the side of the cemetery and trying to turn the open space into a passage way, he explains.

Bhandara says the Parsi union has gone to court to prevent further encroachment on the land belonging to the cemetery. “It’s unfortunate that the Parsi community is forced to approach courts to protect their property from neighbours who should have helped preserve the legacy of their minority brethren,” he adds.

Asked whether he had approached concerned government officials and ministers for the preservation of the cemetery, Bhandara says the union had expressed their concerns to all the quarters in the country but no response or action has been taken yet. Responding to a question about lodging a complaint to the National Commission for Minorities, Bhandara calls the commission a toothless and cosmetic body, adding that he was a member on the previous commission.

“The National Commission for Minorities can do nothing to protect rights of the minorities and even the rulings from the Supreme Court are of no effect in this regard,” he adds. Unless, the station house officer of a police station regards that it is his duty to protect and safeguard lives and properties of the minority communities, no directives will have an effect, he points out.

According to the marble plaque at the gate of the cemetery, the Parsi graveyard was built in the 1890s. “This cemetery, together with the buildings and compound wall, was erected to perpetuate the memory of the late Seth Jahangiriji Framji Jussawala and Seth Jamasji Hormasji Bogha – both Rawalpindi Parsi merchants – by their respective grandsons, Seth Dorabji Cowasji Jussawala and Seth Nasarwanji Jehangiriji Bogha Shahshai in the month of Tir 1367, January 1898, ” reads the inscription on the plaque.

Talking about the colonial-style red mortar building in the cemetery, Bhandara says, the beautiful single-storey structure is designated for the last rites of community members. “Prayers for the deceased as well as their last rites are performed in the building,” he adds.

Bhandara called on the Punjab government to declare the Parsi cemetery in Rawalpindi a site of cultural heritage in order to preserve and protect the landmark from land grabbers and encroachment. “I’m making this demand to the provincial government and the city’s deputy commissioner so that the legacy of the Parsi community is preserved and recognised,” he adds.

The former lawmaker says it is high time that the government ensured the protection of lives, properties and communal worship places of the minority communities. He pointed out that the Parsi population in Pakistan has dwindled to 800 citizens from over 5000 at the time of partition. “Presently, there are a handful of Parsi families in Rawalpindi,” he says.

Bhandara says the brain drain and exodus of minority communities from Pakistan is linked with a lack of economic opportunities and insecurity in the country. “It’s not only the Hindus and Parsis who have emigrated but thousands of engineers, doctors, and IT professionals have gone abroad to seek better opportunities,” he concludes.

 

The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

Indeed, Iranian civilization could not form and could not last unless the intelligence of the Iranians created the “kariz” or the aqueduct because our land is water-scarce and, in many parts, desert. It was the proper and careful management of the waters of this land that, over millennia and centuries, formed one of the most brilliant civilizations in the world. Part of that water management went back to the construction of the kariz. Kariz was made from Iranian awareness and genius and was our gift to the world. In Tehran, which has been known as the center of the country for two centuries, karizes have played a fundamental role in the lives of the people of the capital. The oldest kariz in the city, which is 700 years old, was built by order of a Zoroastrian lady. That kariz is called Mehrgard and still has signs of its watery past.  

Kariz has been one of the most critical water supply sources in Tehran since it was chosen as the capital of Iran until the last forty or fifty years. Even before Tehran became the capital, the city had a large number of karizes. Based on the research of Javad Safinejad, who is one of the prominent experts in kariz, 572 karizes have been created in the history of Tehran! This number of kariz is genuinely remarkable. Although many of Tehran’s karizes were lost over time, by the 1330s SH, the capital’s karizes were still prominent, reaching 29 disciplines. However, the pipeline system eliminated the need to dig the kariz, reducing the number of kariz in Tehran.

In a simple definition, Kariz means the use of underground water. This is achieved in a way that recognizes Iranian creativity and art more than anything else. As mentioned, the number of karizes in Tehran, like other large and small cities in Iran, was enormous. The kariz or the qanat water of Sanglaj, which could be seen in the city park, and it was so full of water that it was not lost even with the destruction of the Sanglaj neighborhood in the first half of the fourteenth century; Sardar Kariz in einoddoleh Street (the present day Iran Street) that would supply water to the whole neighborhood; Bagh Saba kariz would supply water to the Old Shemiran Ave., Darvaze Dowlat, and the surrounding streets and neighborhoods; the important and very valuable kariz of Haj Alireza, which would pass by the front of the parliament and would supply water to Udlajan and the whole area around chal Meydan;, as well as the karizes of Elahieh, Baha Al-Mulk, Baharestan, Beryanak, Pamanar, Jalalieh, Nezamieh, Jamshidabad, Farmanfara, Yusefabad, Behjatabad, the Russia embassy kariz, the British embassy kariz, Jalalieh, and many other karizes. Among these two kariz’s were more important: first was the Mehrgard Kariz and the second was the Nasserite Kariz. These two are worth giving more details on.

Mehrgerd, the oldest kariz in Tehran

Mehrgard kariz is the oldest kariz in Tehran. It was sometimes called Kariz Mehran because its mother well (main well) was in Mehran Village, a part of Shemiran and Tajrish district, and this kariz spread to the present Zarabkhaneh, seyed Khandan and Majidieh areas. Historical signs and documents show that this kariz was made by order of a Zoroastrian lady. Although her name remains unknown, this benevolent lady is mentioned several times in ancient writings.

Nasserite Kariz would supply quite a significant part of Tehran’s water. During the Qajar period, the Shah and his court maintained and supervised the Mehrgard kariz. After that, it became one of the royal assets of the Pahlavi dynasty.

In the past, the abundance of water in the Mehrgard waterway was such that its surplus reached the areas of Bazaar and Oudlajan. Mazhar. The first opening of Mehrgard Kariz, called mazhar, was located on Nasser Khosrow Street and the gush of water from its canal could be sent in the streams in this building.  Its other branch started from Alborz High School on College Square and, and went along Ferdowsi Street to the lower zones of the city.

With the expansion of Tehran and especially construction of the telecommunication building in Toopkhaneh Square, and later, the construction of one or two metro stations, the first opening (mazhar) to Mehrgard Kariz was destroyed and now it cannot be found. However, there are still signs of water in the Mehrgard waterway when digging underground for underground construction projects.

It should also be noted that the 700-year-old kariz of Mehrgard drained 200 liters of groundwater per second with only the force of gravity and without any maintenance. Such a mechanism has been described as an “engineering masterpiece.” Although the dredging of Mehrgard has been forgotten for decades and constructions all over have blinded its entrance (mazhar or the first opening), yet signs of life of this kariz can be found, and if just an effort is made to revitalize it, one of the important signs of civilization in Tehran will not be lost.

Nasseri is one of the most important karizes in the capital

Most of the karizes in Tehran belonged to those with wealth and power, and they were built to irrigate their gardens and lands, and if there was a surplus of water, it would be directed to lower lands, which belonged to the people. There was a unique example. That example goes back to Kariz Shah (Nasiri). This kariz was built by order of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, and he had ordered it to be dedicated to the people.

After providing the water need for Golestan Palace complex, the Nasseri Kariz would flow to the southeast of the city, forming a settling called Qanatabad.  This kariz was in use until the early 1330’s, but then it was abandoned when water pipelines began to be drawn in Tehran, in those years.  Another use of this Kariz was to provide water for the 10 indoor baths of Golestan Palace during the reign of Nasser Eddin Shah.

Current karizes of Tehran

Now, in these recent years, the number of Kariz’s in Tehran has decreased a lot. Failure to dredge and fill the wells of the karizes is one of the reasons for the loss of these valuable water resources. Digging deep wells, which began in 1342, and increasing their number day by day, reduced the use and maintenance of Tehran’s kariz’s.  Digging subway tunnels was another reason for the drying up of running springs and as a result the blocking of water flowing into the canals.  At a time, the flow of water in the city was such that the humidity of the running water would affect surrounding houses and would make the walls damp, sometimes right upto the roof, forcing the inhabitants to move to other neighborhoods.  It did not take long before there was construction on top of the Kariz.  Now, the problem of these areas is subsidence of land. The karizes were a sign of Tehran’s prosperity and greenery; They were also considered a sign of wealth in other towns and settlements of our land. But urban renewal and modernism destroyed those ancient signs of civilization. Was what we gained enough to lose our karizes and water resources?

* Using: The article “Mehrgard is the oldest living aqueduct in Tehran” written by Narjes Zivodar in Iranshahr Intellection Magazine (Winter 2017); Nasrollah Haddadi’s note on “Iran Newspaper Website”; As well as “City Headline” websites; “Tehran Nameh.”

Negar Jamshidian

The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

WBG-IMF Civil Society Policy Forum 2021

Civil Society Unit | Department of Global Communications | United Nations

World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum

27 September – 8 October 2021

Dear Civil Society Colleagues,

On behalf of World Bank Group (WBG)-International Monetary Fund (IMF), we invite you to register for the Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF). The CSPF is a key part of the WBG-IMF Annual Meetings (AMs), and is taking place from September 27 – 8 October 2021. It is comprised of 18 CSO-led sessions on key development issues, also including several WBG-IMF staff as panelists.

Registration is open until 5 p.m. EDT, 20 September 2021.
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