The Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, Inc. (ZAMWI) is excited to welcome athletes, spectators, volunteers, friends and family from across the globe to the 2020 Z Games, July 1 – 5!
The Z Games Advisory Committee, chaired by Farshid Behmardi, has been working hard to prepare for this great event. This email provides important updates, deadlines, and ways you can get involved.
The early-bird registration is now open! To save money, we highly encourage you to take advantage of this early-bird opportunity. You can start your registration by visiting our website https://www.zgames2020.com/register.html. Bahar Boroumandrad chairs the registration subcommittee. Please reach out to Bahar at email@example.com with any questions.
Stay informed about 2020 Z Games updates and deadlines by following our Instagram @2020zgames. In our Instagram account, you will also learn more about our volunteers, event developments, and you can reach out with suggestions and questions.
Hosting a well-organized and unifying event can only be possible with the help of volunteers. ZAMWI volunteers are partnering with volunteers from ZAPANJ to support the Games throughout the 4 days. If you are interested in volunteering, please click the link to complete the volunteer from https://www.zgames2020.com/volunteer.html or by going to our website, and submit the form under Get Involved.
The Z-game promises to be filled with intense competition, camaraderie, and lots of fun. Our mission is possible with your donations. For donations, please visit our website’s donation page, https://www.zgames2020.com/donate.html.
If you are a business owner, this is the perfect opportunity to promote your business by becoming a sponsor. Our fundraising group has worked hard and put together several great sponsorship packages from which you can select what works for you. For more information
please visit https://www.zgames2020.com/sponsor.html.
We are super excited for 2020 Z Games and hope that you join us!
The first group to set off on their bicycles was made up of six members of the Bombay Weightlifting Club. They were Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola, Rustom Bhumgara, Gustad Hathiram, Keki Pochkhanawala and Nariman Kapadia.
According to Rohinton Bhumgara, son of Rustom Bhumgara, the six youngsters had attended a public lecture in 1920 by a Frenchman who had walked from Europe to India. Hearing him talk left them deeply inspired.
Their journey began in October 1923 and meandered through Punjab, Balochistan, the Middle East, Europe, United States, Japan and South East Asia.
On the way, one team member returned to India from Tehran for “personal reasons”, while two others were so “enamoured” of America that they stayed back.
“Once, he [Jal Bapasola] narrated how they approached the Raleigh Cycle Co of England in Bombay about [the company] sponsoring the cycles,” Babani was told by Bapasola’s 82-year-old son Noshir Bapasola, who lives in New Jersey.
“The company refused. But when they reached England, he said the company was begging them to use their cycles. He asked them why they had a change of heart and was told quite bluntly ‘we did not believe that you boys would be so successful’.”
By the time Hakim, Bapasola and Bhumgara reached India in March 1928, they had covered around 70,000 kilometres.
In their book With Cyclists Around The World, they enumerated their achievements with “pardonable pride”: in four and a half years, they had scaled the Alps, crossed “pirate-infested territories” and waded through jungles with “hostile semi-savage tribes”, sometimes “escaping death by inches”.
Click Here for the full story in Dawn with pictures
On Sunday 18th August the Parsee Gymkhana Cricket Team will be arriving to the UK. They will be playing a series of T20 cricket matches with local sides, culminating with a match at The Oval Cricket Ground on Friday 23rd August 2019 for the 1886 Trophy, photo pasted below. All the matches are FREE to watch. All are welcome! Your support is important.
ZTFE has been informed that a well known A listed Bollywood actor will be accompanying the Parsee Gymkhana Team.
This beautiful 1886 Trophy commemorating Parsee Pioneers of Cricket who visited United Kingdom in 1886
On Monday 19th August, the Parsees will be visiting The Lords Cricket Ground and later in the evening they will be playing in Chiswick, West London.
On Tuesday 20th August, the Parsees will be visiting the Houses of Parliament.
On Wednesday 21st August at 5pm, the Parsees will be playing at the Lurgashall Cricket Club, West Sussex. Lurgashall is one of the most beautiful villages in the South of England, where cricket has been played prior to 1863. Witley train station is closest to Lurgashall Cricket Club.
On Thursday 22nd August – Khordad Sal, ZTFE will be inviting the Parsee Cricket Team to the Zortoastrian Centre for a Khordad Sal celebratory 4 course evening meal at the Zoroastrian Centre. All are welcome! Kindly purchase tickets from the ZTFE Secretariat, phone 020 8866 0765.
On Friday 23rd August at 1pm, the Parsee XI will be playing at The Oval Cricket Ground, against the Charles Alcock XI for the 1886 Trophy. The Oval Cricket Ground is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Oval London Underground Station. The bus stop for 36 and 436 buses is just near the entrance of the The Oval Cricket Ground. Please contact Mrs Gul R Bilimoria by email on <firstname.lastname@example.org> or phone 07951126391, if you are planning to attend the 1886 Trophy match.
On Saturday 24th August the Parsee Gymkhana Team will depart for Mumbai.
Kindly inform those who are not accessible by email or not connected to the internet.
Xerxes Diniar Irani is the first-ever contestant from Odisha to qualify for the ‘Culling Round’ of the reality show ‘Roadies Real Heroes’.
From a national level sportsman to an entrepreneur to a social worker, Xerxes Diniar Irani’s CV is as variegated as a busy Manhattan street on a Friday evening.
Hailing from Cuttack and an alumnus of Stewart School, Xerxes made history by becoming the first-ever contestant from Odisha to qualify for the ‘Culling Round’ of the popular reality TV series Roadies Real Heroes.
The 27-year-old former basketball player was pitted against another hopeful participant during the auditions but, in the end, it was Xerxes’ patience and physical abilities that impressed the likes of Rannvijay Singh, Neha Dhupia and Sandeep Singh, seeing him through to the next round.
When asked what made him venture onto a completely different path from what he has travelled before, Xerxes said that he wanted to put Odisha and the Odia youth, who have been grossly underrepresented in national media, on the map.
“Roadies is a platform where you can showcase your talent,” said Xerxes in an exclusive interview with Orissa POST. “I want to become a youth icon and represent my state. Basically, I want to gain some popularity and mileage because I want to use that to promote a sports academy which I am hoping to open very soon.”
“Secondly, it’s a childhood dream come true since I have grown up watching Roadies on TV,” he added. “As someone who loves the outdoors, adventure sports and anything that challenges my physical capabilities, Roadies was the perfect fit for me.”
Xerxes belongs to a family that is steeped in sports. His father, Diniar Parvez Irani, is a former Olympian who was part of the Indian national basketball team in its only Olympic appearance at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. His mother, Gayatri Devi Irani, a princess belonging to the Ranpur royal family, is a former national level basketball player as well. If that wasn’t enough, his sister Dilnawaz is a former district level swimmer.
After completing his schooling, Xerxes studied for two years at Ravenshaw University before moving to St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata for his graduation. A stint with Decathlon Sports was followed by an entrepreneurial job that saw him open one of eastern India’s first Laser Tag arenas.
A social worker as well, Xerxes was involved with ‘Bridges of Sport,’ an NGO primarily focused on offering a platform to promote sporting excellence among remote and tribal communities in India.
“My long term goal is to start a sports academy,” Xerxes continued. “I want to show everyone what I am capable of and bring Odisha on the map. At the national level, the youth of Odisha is not just underrepresented but also misunderstood, which is something I want to rectify.”
“I also want to open a channel on YouTube and Instagram where I would be able to motivate people to pick up sports as a profession or just as a hobby to live a healthier lifestyle,” he added.
Having worked with charities before, the ambitious boy from Cuttack also plans to register his own sports based NGO soon.
“Starting my own NGO is definitely on the cards. Basically, I want to cater to promoting sports at the grassroots level, providing support through equipment, coaches, training facilities and identifying talent in rural India,” he said.
Xerxes believes that being on national television would give him the opportunity to create a public identity that could help him implement his ambitious projects.
Describing his experience in the Roadies studios, Xerxes concluded: “It was exhilarating, it was exciting, it was like a dream. Meeting so many talented people from all across India was beyond exceptional.”
“Besides, meeting Rannvijay, former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh, and Neha Dhupia was an amazing experience,” he said.
Southern California discovered cricket in the late 19th century, two centuries after the sport reached American shores, but the region lost little time in taking to the game with enthusiasm.
The cricketing season began every summer in May. Several counties—including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego, and San Francisco (in mid-California)—had their own leagues. Practice matches between league teams would kick off the season and near its end, a combined Los Angeles team would take on Santa Monica 11—comprising the best players from that region—for the Dudley Cup.
Year after year, the cricketing season unfolded without spectacular surprises, until the arrival of an Indian and his virtually unplayable spin bowling in the summer of 1907.
Maneckji Jamshedji Bhumgara, a Parsi from Surat, became a bowling sensation for his Los Angeles league team. The “East Indian,” as he was described in the local papers, was lauded for his “twirling abilities” that left the opposition batsmen flummoxed. His recurring five-wicket hauls made him a match-winner, and he was, on occasion, handy with the bat as well.
Bhumgara, who moved to Los Angeles around 1905, turned out for the Wanderers, one of the three league teams in Los Angeles, in his first season. In a crucial league match on July 8, 1907, when his team played the Marylebone Club, Bhumgara scored 16, as his team made 59—one of only three players who reached double figures. He took five wickets and Wanderers won the Test (comprising only an innings each) by six runs.
My name is Anoop Babani and I am a retired journalist. I live in Goa, India with my wife Dr Maria Savia Viegas, who is a retired professor and now a writer and painter. (www.saviaviegas.in).
We have founded and manage Saxtti Films (www.saxttifilms.com) which is a not-for-profit film society, passionate about good cinema and committed to cultivating and nurturing film ethos. We are ourselves avid cyclists too, part of a cycling group in Goa called Xaxti Riders.
In 2018, we organized two of India’s first-ever festivals of international films on the theme of Cycling and Running, named ReelsOnWheels and ReelsOnHeels.
The Cycling Films Festival was inaugurated by Alexi Grewal, only American ever to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Men’s Road Race Cycling, while the Running Films Festival was inaugurated by India’s Track and Field Queen, P T Usha.
During these festivals, we also organized – for the first-time ever in India – a photo exhibition on amazing global journeys of Indians who cycled around the world in 1920s and 1930s – all of them Parsees from Mumbai and in their early-to-mid twenties.
This Exhibition was titled ‘Our Saddles, Our Butts, Their World’.
I have attached pictures, posters and newspaper coverage for your information.
That is the background. And now the request.
I have been able to acquire some pictorial material on two of the three journeys (I am trying to get more material) through the families and friends of the cyclists.
I am now in the process of reaching out to families of the third group of cyclists, which was led Mr Keki Kharas and included Rustam D Ghandhi and Rutton D Shroff.
It is in this context that I request your help in contacting the family of Mr Keki Kharas and/or of the other two cyclists.
I am writing a book on History of Cycling in India, titled ‘Peddling History: Rise, Fall and Rise of Humble Bike’, and these global journeys will be an integral part of this book.
I am sure you will appreciate that these stories need to be told to younger generation of cyclists in particular and preserved for the future ones.
October 15, 1923 was yet another mellow Monday morning in Bombay, but the city’s central district of Grant Road was ablaze with blaring music. The erstwhile Bombay Weightlifting Club had organised a send-off for six of its young members — Adi B Hakim, Gustad G Hathiram, Jal P Bapasola, Keki D Pochkhanawala, Nariman B Kapadia and Rustom B Bhumgara — all of them Parsis in their 20s and readying for their cycling expedition around the world, a first such feat by Indians.
What had inspired them to undertake this seemingly-impossible journey? “It was a public lecture at Bombay’s Oval Maidan in 1920 by a French man who had walked from Europe to India,” reminisces 75-year-old Rohinton Bhumgara. Rohinton is foggy about the name of the world-walker, who eventually died of malaria in Assam, on his way to South-East Asia. Says Jasmine Marshall, granddaughter of Adi Hakim, “There was an extraordinary zeal of adventure in my granddad. ‘Nothing is impossible’, he would often tell me.”
Adi, Jal and Rustom pedalled 71,000 km over four-and-a-half years — at times in 60ºC, for days without food and some days without water, across pirate-infested territories and in swamp lands, through dense jungles and “up 6,600 ft amongst the terrible solitudes of the Alps”, avoiding the sea and traversing over most difficult routes, where no cyclists had been before. “We wanted to know the world more intimately and to acquaint the world with India and Indians,” they noted years later.
Not all six completed the ride, though. Nariman returned home from Tehran “for personal reasons” after giving “us company for 5,000 miles”, and Gustad decided to make the US his home. Disheartened by this, Gustad’s close buddy, Keki sailed home from New York.
On their expedition, the cyclists pedalled through Punjab and Baluchistan, crossing Prospect Point in Ziarat, 11,000 feet above sea level and in snow, reaching Iran and then Baghdad. Braving sandstorms, parched throats, temperatures over 57°C and saved from imminent death by Bedouins, they set a record by crossing the 956-km Mesopotamian desert from Baghdad to Aleppo in Syria, in 23 days.
They sailed to Italy, rode over the Alps, across Europe, finally reaching Britain. Three weeks later, they sailed to New York. The threesome cycled 8,400 km across the East to West Coast over five months and boarded S S Tenyo Maru to Japan, a leisurely cruise after months of grilling rides.
Continuing their journeys, they reached the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ of Korea — the first bikers to do so — and on to Manchuria and China. On their last leg, they cycled through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, North Eastern India, Calcutta and Southern India, returning to Bombay on March 18, 1928. They recalled being “surrounded by people who had come to receive us… and garlanded till we were buried in flowers” and hoped that their city would welcome “Scouter F J Davar, who is shortly due in Bombay on the conclusion of a similar enterprise.”
Framroze Davar, 30, was to return home only in 1931. His was a far more adventurous, lengthier, and in-part, solitary journey for “rational curiosity”, beginning in January 1924, and totalling 1,10,000 km, 52 countries and five continents. The 30-year old did not compress his account in a single volume, as it could be “a book of geography gone mad”. He chronicled his arduous ride over the Andes Mountains in Cycling Over Roof Of The World(1929), risky passage through Sahara in Across The Sahara (1937) and crossing of the Amazon in The Amazon in Reality and Romance (1960).
He had cycled more than 5,000 km entirely on his own, for 11 months! In Vienna, he met Gustav Sztavjanik, his cycling mate for the next seven years. The duo cycled through Western and Eastern Europe, rode over the Alps and Mont Blanc mountain, pedalled through parts of erstwhile Soviet Union, Baltic countries, Poland, and Scandinavia, including Lapland, and returned to France 18 months later, to sail to Algiers in Africa. They tortured themselves through the Sahara, counting 156 camel skeletons along the way, surviving eight sandstorms, and a malaria attack. After cycling through Africa for another six months, they boarded a ship from Dakar to Rio de Janeiro, to take on their next big challenge, riding over the mighty Andes. Six months and 2,700 km later, they reached Argentina from Brazil, and scaled the Andes up to a height of 5,200m.
America was a relief. They got back to their saddles, cycling from the East to West Coast, lecturing and meeting dignitaries, including President Herbert Hoover and tycoon Henry Ford, before sailing to Japan. They sailed to Shanghai, cycled through Hong Kong, Singapore, Sumatra, Burma, Calcutta and Bombay on March 22, 1931.
Luck and the exciting accounts tempted yet one more — and the last — group of cyclists, Keki J Kharas, Rustam D Ghandhi and Rutton D Shroff. “We were all thoroughly and hopelessly afflicted with wanderlust,” they wrote in Across The Highways Of The World (1939). Setting off from Bombay in 1933, they cycled through central and northern India, Punjab, Kashmir, Multan and Baluchistan (then a part of India).
“In Afghanistan, we were marooned in the desert for three successive days and nights without either food or water and traversed on camel and donkey tracks; we were snow-bound in northern Iran; and were suspected as British spies in eastern Turkey,” they wrote in Pedalling Through the Afghan Wilds(1935).
Keki, Rustam and Rutton cycled through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Britain, France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy. They sailed to Alexandria and pedalled “twenty-one months across Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, a distance of 12,000 miles (nearly 20,000 km). We were fortuitously saved oftener than we can recall.”
In 1937, the trio sailed from South Africa to Argentina and cruised through South and Central America until they reached Mexico and rode into USA from Texas. They spent a year cycling through the ‘New World’ and touching the borders of Canada. From USA, they sailed to Japan and cycled across Japan, China, Australia, Singapore and Burma, before reaching Bombay on January 29, 1942. In slightly less than nine years, Kharas, Ghandhi and Shroff had traversed 84,000 km, spanning five continents.
Our Saddles, Our Butts, Their World is a photo exhibition of the cyclists, to be held in ReelsOnHeels, India’s First-ever International Festival of Films on Running, December 1 and 2, 2018 at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, Goa, curated by former Mumbai-based journalist and now avid cyclist, Anoop Babani
Parsis have played an important part in Indian cricket history.
Parsis were the first Indian side to visit England in 1886. And around 12 Parsis, such as Farrokh Engineer, Polly Umrigar, Nari Contractor, have played for the Indian cricket teams over the years. The last big name being India women’s captain Diana Edulji.
There still exist a few Parsi clubs in Mumbai which play in the famous monsoon cricket Kanga League, but the Parsi cricketers are almost invisible on the cricketing scene.
On Wednesday morning, one Parsi cricketer — Arzan Nagwaswalla must have made his community proud with a heartening bowling performance, representing Gujarat, that bamboozled Mumbai in their own den Wankhede Stadium.
On a grassy pitch, Nagwaswalla not only came up with a five-wicket haul (5/78) but also seemed to indicate that it is not all over as far as cricketing legacy of the Parsis is concerned.
Nagwaswalla was involved in a major batting Mumbai collapse after bringing three wickets down in two overs at 74 of Suryakumar Yadav, Armaan Jaffer and Aditya Tare even as the calls by his teammates of “Well bowled Bawa” went around. He completed his five wickets after dismissing Dhrumil Matkar after dismissing Mumbai’s crisis man Siddhesh Lad.
“This is my first season and third Ranji match. I have played age group cricket for Gujarat and the performances there helped me in my promotion to the Ranji side,” said the 21-year-old cricketer.
Nagwaswalla said he was nervous when he was handed over the new ball to bowl at the Wankhede. “It all evaporated after the first over. It was my first match on this ground, was a good wicket to bow on. I got the rewards for putting the ball on the right place.”
The youngster has not played club cricket, but he has trained under former Ranji Trophy players. “There are no clubs. My village Umbergaon is on the border of Maharashtra. We had a few Ranji players at our players and I worked under them. I got interest and then the opportunities one after another.”
Nagwaswalla isn’t aware if whether Parsi cricketers still play cricket in domestic circuit. “Mine is not a cricket background. I knew there were Parsi players, who played for India and I know some names. However, I don’t know about the current situation…who is playing or not.”
“I am the youngest player in my town. Not many from my community are left back there and they have either moved to Mumbai or migrated elsewhere,” said Nagwaswalla, who idolises Zaheer Khan and Wasim Akram.