ETHNIC CLEANSING


Years ago

There was a blood bath

Where we Zoroastrians were

Too victims of Ethnic Cleansing
Slaughtered & butchered  like goats.

Fast forward a few

Hundred years

Landed on the

Shores of Sanjan

Pleading with

Requesting Hindu king

For assylum

Who apparently

Was a true human

Did not believe in

Ethnic Cleansing!

He saved us from

A catastrophe

For Zoroastrians from

Being totally annihilated

But, alas we haven’t

Learn’t from past mistakes

 

Zoroastrian is a religion

Preaches  tolerance

Respect Dignity & Equality

Unfortunately there is still

Practice of systematic

Racism Discrimination

And Bigotry

In other words

Ethnic Cleansing!

Look around &

One will see

World wide

People are marching

In protest to demand

Freedom & Equality

So what are we

Doing about it?

Encouraging “Ethnic Cleansing”

It takes “Two to Tango”

As I have said

No one Owns the Religion”

So wake up & smell the roses

Before it’s too late

Please don’t encourage

“Ethnic Cleansing

If one is a True Zoroastrian

Choicest Happiness

Farida Bamji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zoroastrians Celebrating “Jashn-e Sadeh” In Yazd


The central province of Yazd is home to a large population of Iranian Zoroastrians. This past Tuesday, they celebrated the annual mid-winter feast “Jashn-e Sadeh” by preparing a large bonfire (also known as Adur-Jashan, or Feast of fire).

The annual festivity honors fire, the defeat of darkness/cold and signifies the coming of Spring.

Click Here for more pics

The Tata Centre for Development Announces 14 New Research Projects


The Tata Centre for Development Announces 14 New Research Projects, New Affiliation with Becker Friedman Institute

The projects, led by nearly two dozen UChicago faculty and researchers across six schools and divisions, will add to TCD’s robust research agenda.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

With tremendous excitement, I am writing to share that the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) has selected 14 new research projects to launch in 2018. The projects represent a total of $1.6 million in funding directed to outstanding research projects and will be led by nearly two dozen UChicago faculty and graduate students from six different schools and divisions.
 
It is also my pleasure to announce that TCD has joined the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) as an affiliated center, strengthening TCD’s partnership with the Chicago Economics community. As the faculty director for both TCD and BFI, I look forward to expanding the depth and scope of work by UChicago scholars to leverage evidence-driven research to help address economic and social challenges in India. TCD is supported by Tata Trusts and we look forward to an ongoing partnership around this important work.

Learn More about Tata Trusts 

“Rigorous, economic research has always been the foundation of TCD’s work to address development challenges in India. Through our relationship with the Becker Friedman Institute and the exciting portfolio of new projects, we aim to achieve significant impact by translating new research into actionable policy insights.”

– Manoj Kumar, Senior Advisor and Head of Innovation, Tata Trusts

TATA CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT

New Grants and Expanded Research Agenda

TCD’s affiliation with BFI will strengthen the University’s long-standing commitment to India, which also includes the University of Chicago Center in Delhi, the Energy Policy Institute’s India office (EPIC-India), and the South Asian Languages and Civilizations DepartmentTCD utilizes cutting edge research from across the Chicago economics community, coupled with resources to translate and disseminate rigorous ideas, to improves lives throughout India.
 
TCD has selected 14 new research projects to launch in 2018. The projects were selected as part of a months-long process that began with an open call to Chicago faculty and researchers in October, and culminated with selection by a majority-independent review committee and the Tata Trusts. The projects represent a total of $1.6 million in funding and will involve a multi-disciplinary mix of UChicago faculty and graduate students from six different schools and divisions.

View the 2018-2019 Research Grants
 
The new grants will expand TCD’s research portfolio to include a wide range of issue areas: water pollution and measurement, climate change, education, air pollution, fiscal policy, human capital, land policy and more. In the tradition of Chicago economics, much of this research extends beyond the conventional boundaries of the economics profession and into areas where economics can lend new insights. Across all of this work, TCD will work with researchers to connect new ideas to policymakers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to ensure that research and pilot projects have real-world impact.

The TCD has been partnering with UChicago faculty and centers since its founding in 2016. More information on existing research projects can be found here
 

From Our Grantees

Anjali Adukia, Assistant Professor, The University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy and the College, and 2018 TCD grant recipient


“This exciting partnership will not only enable scholars at the University of Chicago to conduct high-quality, deeply grounded research in India, but it will also facilitate the translation of that work such that it can inform and influence real-world policy and practice.” 

Dr. Nishant Agrawal, Chief of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, UChicago Medicine, and 2018 TCD grant recipient 


“The need for low-cost, non-invasive scalable interventions for diseases like cancer and diabetes is becoming increasingly urgent worldwide, including in India. For researchers like me, a key challenge is finding partners who can help lay the groundwork and connect research ideas to practical ideas for implementation.This grant provides a unique opportunity to translate research insights for early diagnosis of oral cancer into interventions that can benefit people’s lives.” 

John List, The Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Chairman, Department of Economics, and 2018 TCD grant recipient


“TCD will provide me a unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers and innovators in India and across the world to identify promising solutions for addressing India’s most pressing educational challenges.”

From left: Nicole Anderson and Michael Greenstone

TATA CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT

Staff & Leadership

TCD’s professional staff is located in Chicago and Delhi. We are delighted that Nicole Anderson has joined the Chicago team as U.S. Director of Programs. In this position, she will facilitate TCD research and activities within the University of Chicago community. Nicole brings energy and experience to the position, having previously served as interim TCD Country Director and as Associate Director of Talent and Program Operations at the International Innovation Corps at the University of Chicago, where she led the development of the strategy for recruiting top young professionals from around the world.

Ammon Johnson will remain with TCD’s Chicago team as Finance Manager. Aalia Khan leads financial operations in India, and Priyam Pandey leads our efforts related to training and education. Anant Sudarshancurrently serves as TCD’s Interim Country Director. I am happy to share that a search is underway for a permanent Country Director based in Delhi.

We will keep you updated on new developments as we undertake this exciting work.

Regards,

Michael Greenstone
Director, Tata Centre for Development and Becker Friedman Institute for Economics; Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School

Learn more at tcd.uchicago.edu

Daily Prayers of the Zoroastrians


 

I have recently reprinted the prayer book shown in the picture above.
It is a wonderful translation & transliteration of the Daily Zoroastrian prayers into simple English with meanings and insightful explanatory notes which, when read along with the daily prayers, gave me a new joy of understanding, comprehending and analysing, rather than simply reciting by rote the words that I knew out of habit.

I strongly feel that Framroz Rustomjee’s timelessly relevant words of advice stand good for all of us, be it parents teaching their children the Navjote prayers or adults seeking to understand the philosophy of Zoroastrianism better.

It is available for Rs 200 at the Parsiana bookshop, Zoroastrian Studies bookshop and & Minoi Meher outside the Anjuman Atashbehram in Mumbai. Or contact me by email: jiloob@gmail.com

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to charity.

Jiloo Billimoria

What is Ardibahesht Yasht?


What is Ardibahesht Yasht? (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)

 

Ardibahesht Yasht is the shortest among the ‘shorter Yashts’. It is also one of the most favourite among Zoroastrians, perhaps because of its length and efficacy.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand: He is the divine being who presides over fire. In Zoroastrian understanding fire does not only mean physical fire but also all energies. So Ardibahesht Ameshaspand, on a physical plane presides also over different types of Energies – Physical, and spiritual (Khoreh). Ardibahesht Ameshaspand also presides over health, as the real source of health and healing is divine energy

 

The word Ardibahesht comes form the Pahlavi words Ard Vahisht (Av. Asha Vahishta “the Best Truth”). The word Asha is understood in several ways: divine law, order, beauty, truth, righteousness, holiness, piety, purity, etc. Each of these meanings are inter-connected.

 

The words Asha Vahishta also imply the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda which all of us need to understand and follow. Ardibahesht is the 3rd roj of the month and the 2nd mah of the Zoroastrian calendar.

 

From an ethical viewpoint, Ardibahesht represents the truth and from a metaphysical viewpoint he represents The (Ultimate) Truth which is manifested when one can understand Asha, that is one’s “Life’s Purpose” and subsequently reach Asha Vahishta – the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda. this is the only way to get Ushta “inner happines. This is also the message of the Ashem Vohu prayer.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand on the Cosmic plane is the Cosmic Plan that God put into motion with all its attendant laws, especially the law of cause and effect.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand is the chief divinity of the Rapithwin Gah. Winter is considered evil (druj-e-zimistan) in Zoroastrian tradition. Ardibahesht Ameshaspand fights winter. That is why in Iran during winter Rapithwin Gah was not recited as it was believed that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand had gone underground to give warmth to the earth. He would surface after winter, hence Rapithwan Geh could be recited once again from Farvardin mah.

 

Co-workers:

 

The Hamkars “co-workers” of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are Adar Yazad who presides over fire and Khvarena “divine energy”, Sarosh Yazad who brings intuitions and divine guidance, and Behram Yazad who presides over victory and success. The two grades of fire – Atash Adaran and Atash Behram are associated with Ardibahesht who as an Ameshaspand looks after fire.

 

The Associates of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are the Yazads Airyaman and Saoka. Airyaman is for harmony as also for repelling diseases, physical and mental illnesses, negativities and death. Through Saoka Yazad comes all happiness that is destined for the world. He keeps back the demons inflicting more than necessary punishment on the souls.

 

Druj

 

“lie, deceit” is the adversary of Ardibahesht. It is responsible for evils resulting from chaos, disharmony and lies. On a physical plane, it brings severe winters.

 

Asha Vahishta is one of the most basic concepts in Avesta. The three short Avestan chants– Ashem Vohu, Yatha Ahu Vairyo and Yenghe Hatam – revolve around Asha Vahishta. Ahura Mazda, Zarathushtra, Amesha Spentas and all other divine beings are referred to as ashavan, that is “in accord with Asha – The Truth.”

 

Ardibahesht Yasht:

 

In the beginning of the Yaht, Ahura Mazda tells Zarathushtra that among the Ameshaspands, Ardibahesht is the foremost for adoration and veneration. Zarathushtra agrees to venerate Ardibahesht as the foremost Ameshaspand (1-2). We are told that it is possible to reach Garothman “the Highest Heaven”, the abode of Ahura Mazda, through the help of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand (3-4).

 

Thereafter the prayer of Airyaman Yazad is mentioned as the most powerful against all evils including Angra Mainyu (5).

 

Five types of healing are mentioned: 1. Asho baeshazo“Healing with Asha/Truth” (this may also mean healing as per the divine Plan), 2. Dāto baeshazo “Healing with Law / justice”, 3. Kereto baeshazo “healing with surgery”, 4. Urvaro baeshazo “Healing with herbs”, 5.Mānthro baeshazo “Healing with prayers.” Among these, healing by prayers is considered best as it heals from within. (6)

 

Thereafter powerful autosuggestions are given against evils. A desire is expressed that may evils like sickness, demons, opponents, snakes, inimical persons, evil women and harmful north-winds perish (apa-dvarata) (7-9). The devotee then urges Ardibahesht Ameshaspand to smite (jainti) the above mentioned and similar other evils for him. The devotee has the confidence that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand will smite (janat) thousands of demons, the worst of the demons including the arch demon Angra Mainyu. and drive them away towards the north (10-16).

 

In the end a desire is expressed that may the evil perish and flee towards the North, so that the rest of the world may not be harmed (17). This thought is expressed even at the end of the Kem nā Mazdā prayer. The Yasht ends with Avesta and Pazand passages similar to other Yashts.

 

After the Yasht, the Nirang is recited, which is held to be very efficacious. It is recited even as a prayer by itself and is often prayed over people who are not well. In the Nirang, Ahura Mazda is extolled and Ahriman is referred as ignorant and wicked, who should be defeated and destroyed. Zoroastrian religion and Ahura Mazda are praised at the end.

 

It is advisable to recite the short Airyaman prayer immediately after reciting the Ardibahesht Yasht and its Nirang.

 

There are two traditions firmly associated with Ardibahesht Yasht in our Community. Both these traditions underlie two of Ardibahesht. Ameshaspand’s basic characteristics, the first is its association with health and the second is with truth.

 

The first tradition is Ardibahesht ni picchi, in which, a devotee prays for a dear one or for self in case of ill health. Whilst praying the Ardibahesht Yasht, passes are made either by hand or by a handkerchief over the person’s body from head to toe and then the negative energy is shaken off.

 

The other tradition is Ardibahesht ni chavi which means moving a key with the help of Ardibahesht ameshaspand. It has to be done by a pious, adept person to identify a culprit in case of loss or theft. For this purpose, an iron key is kept in a Khordeh Avesta over which a Kasti is tied. Then fire is lit in a small Afarganyu and a person prays the Farajyat prayers followed by the Ardibahesht Yasht. Then the key is supported on the fingertips and the list of suspects is read out. On the name of the culprit the key is supposed to turn round and the Khordeh Avesta falls down. If this happens on the same name for 4 to 5 times, it is believed that the particular suspect is the culprit. Performing the Ardibahesht ni chhavi presupposes a certain level of spiritual statue, regular practice of the religious tariqats and a certain level of abstinence in the person who performs it. Without these, one may not get the correct results. Hence in present times there is a risk in doing this practice or else an innocent person may be unnecessarily be blamed.

Image may contain: fire

 

Looking for details about Kaikhosru Jamsett


I’ve been looking with great interest at your Parsi Directory online and wonder if you can help me further, as I am looking to trace my ancestors in Bombay and would greatly appreciate any assistance or advice you can offer.
My name is Elizabeth Brown (nee Jamsett) and I live in the UK.  My grandfather, Kaikhosru Jamsett, a Parsi, was born in Bombay around 1873 and he qualified as a Doctor in Bombay on or before 1902.
In 1908 he was in London studying at the London School of Tropical Medicine, which was founded in 1899 with the help of a donation from Parsi philanthropist Bomanjee Dinshaw Petit.
Kaikhosru Jamsett married Ada Wood in 1911 and lived and practiced in Canning Town, London until his death in 1929. Kaikhosru Jamsett’s father was Jamsetji Framji Polshuda (a frame maker & builder. Deceased by 1911).
The family believe that he knew Mahatma Gandhi and that his wife Ada, met with Gandhi when he stayed in Canning Town for 3 months in 1931.
I appreciate you are busy but would be most grateful if you could give advice on the best way to trace my ancestors in Bombay or indeed, recommend someone who may be able to help, as I am struggling to find further information from the UK.  I would of course be willing to pay for the service.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Elizabeth Brown
elizabethbrown9@me.com

MASSACRE AT VARIAV


The movie Padmaavat depicts the ancient practice of `Jauhar’, where Rajput women commit mass self-immolation by jumping into the fire to avoid being captured and humiliated by invading armies. But not many know that around 900 years ago, Parsi women sacrificed their lives in a tiny village called Variav near Surat in Gujarat by jumping in the river Tapi.

The exact date is not recorded in history, but oral tradition says the incident happened towards the end of the 11th Century when Parsis, who had arrived from Iran to escape persecution, had settled in villages in Gujarat. The local Raja had levied a crushing tax and demanded a heavy tribute from the prosperous Parsi settlement in Variav. When they protested, the Raja sent his soldiers but were beaten back and made to retreat. The Raja did not give up and dispatched more troops after sometime. Unfortunately on that day, all the Parsi men had left the village for a feast, leaving the women behind. Instead of fleeing, the brave women put on the armour of their men, tied their hair, covered their faces and rode on horses to fight the army. Such was the ferocity, so the story goes that the Raja’s army was on the verge of defeat. But a fatal blow on the helmet, revealed a woman’s face. Shocked that they were being beaten by women, the soldiers returned with zeal and fought them. By now weary and tired, the women decided they would never surrender and rushed to the Tapi river and drowned. Subsequently, the army destroyed the entire Parsi settlement in Variav. The battle is popularly known as Jung Variav in Parsi history. The brave martyrs are remembered till today with special prayers and ceremonies held every year in the Zoroastrian month of Farvardin, day Ashishwang, which falls sometime in September.

Nauzer Bharucha; Courtesy:Jehangir Bisney

 

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

One of the most moving stories related to a Commemorative Gahambar, I have come to learn from my mother, Homai Wandrewala: That of the vaal-no-Gahambar, or the Variav behedin-nu-parabh. This is connected with the historic and heroic Jung-e-Variav,or the Battle of Variav, fought sometime during the late 11th Century, or early 12th century AD. The small village of Variav, near Surat, on the banks of the river Tapti, (now part of Greater Surat), had a largely Parsi Population. A Rajput Price who had suzerainty over Variav, the Raja of Ratanpur, was enraged with the Parsees of Variav, because they defied him, and refused to pay the unjust, excessive tribute / revenue (mehesul), which he would forcibly collect. In order to enforce his unjust demand, he would send mercenaries, (called garasias’), to claim the mehesul. Generally, these garasias were repulsed by the brave Parsi men of Variav. One day, the menfolk had gone off to a far-off village, for a vaal and toddy party, leaving behind the women and the elderly. It was on that fateful day that the garasias decided to pay another visit to Variav. The women, pre-warned of the impending attack from the clouds of dust across the river raised by the horses’ hoofs, decided to try and repulse the garasias themselves in the absence of the menfolk. Led by a brave lady named Navaz, the women donned their men’s riding attire, put on visors on their faces, and got astride horses with whatever arms they could lay their hands on. Indeed, they fought so bravely, that the garasias were repulsed and started riding back towards the bridge fording the river, when one of them happened to turn around and noticed the earring on the ear of a woman, whose visor had shifted askew during the fight. Realizing that they were being beaten by women, the garasias returned with renewed frenzy. The women, apprehending molestation by the garasias if caught alive, en masse jumped into the river and drowned. The garasias then forcibly collected the mehesul from the elderly folk of Variav, who narrated what had happened to the young men when they returned. It appears that on that day every year thereafter, the men of Variav, to commemorate the bravery of their women, held what they called the vaal-no-gahambar, or the Jung-e-Variav Gahambar, at which only vaal was served. Apparently, this was on roz Ashishvang, mah Ferverdeen. There is some uncertainty as to the historical authenticity of this story. Apparently however, there is mention of the Jung-e-Variav in one of the Disa Pothis (Family Death Register) unearthed by Dr. Sir Jivanji Mody, during his researches. It appears that most families then kept aDisa Pothi’ which, apart from giving details and genealogies of individual families, also was a repository of much historical information.

http://www.parsicuisine.com/gahanbar/

Two Zarathushtis (Parsis) mentioned and shown in India’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2018


Friends,
            I was watching live on a subscription TV channel yesterday evening, the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, India and saw two Zarathushtis (Parsis) –  Ashoka Chakra awardee Major General Cyrus Pithawalla who was one of the national award winners in the beginning part of the parade, standing up in an open vehicle and saluting the President of India as he went past him.  and also a large picture/bust of the late Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw on a moving truck and his name announced among the three or four outstanding Chiefs of India’s armed forces, when the vehicle went past the dignitaries.
       See parade at link below,  with Major General Cyrus K. Pithawalla passing by at time 1:07:11 or so.
Regards,
Maneck Bhujwala