Mr Noshir Dadrawala
of Bangalore Celebrate
Early Parsi settlement in Mysore and Bangalore dates back to 1880. However in the beginning of the last century a few Parsi families got together to form an association with a monthly subscriptin ranging between four to eight annas.
During the decades, 1900 to 1920, the Parsi population of Bangalore rose
to a hundred and a need was felt for a proper place of worship. Noted
businessman and philanthropist D. Cawasji (father of the present President of
the Bangalore Parsi Anjuman, Kali Cawasji) responded with a generous
contribution to build a fire-temple in memory of his late parents Dhunmai and
The Holy Fire which is of
the “Dadgah” grade, was consecrated on Roj Ardibehest, Mah Shehrevar 1295
Y.Z. Late Pestonji Unvalla was the first Panthaky and he served the Holy Fire
and the Anjuman with selfless dedication for 40 long years, while his equally
dedicated son Nadirshah served the Holy Fire as Panthaky for 31 years. Even
today, Nadirshah despite his age
and frail health continues to guide and inspire the community in Bangalore with
unflagging dedication and zeal. His involvement with the Parsis of Bangalore now
spans a period of 65 years.
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations were observed over the weekend of
20-21 January 2001. The building which houses the Holy Fire wore a new and
cheerful look. Thanks to the efforts of a young Parsi architect, Darius
Billimoria, today the old structure stands beautifully restored. Though it wears
a modern look the creative architect has retained much of the old classical
On Ardibehest Roj, three High Priests, Sardar Dastur Hormazdiar
Noshirwan Dastur, Dastur Meherji K. MeherjiRana and Dastur Nadirshah Unvala
along with fifteen other mobed sahibs including scholar priests Peshotan Mirza,
Pervez Bajan and Ramiyar Karanjia performed a Jashan. This was followed by a hum
bandagi and unveiling of a beautiful portrait of our beloved Prophet
Zarathushtra donated by Katy and Soli Pochkhanawalla.
Thereafter the congregation of over 500 “humdins” dressed in
traditional “daglis” and “paghris” and women in elegant “korni sarees”
walked across to the Kothari Hall compound. Prior arrangements were made to
divert traffic for about half an hour. This silent, regal and dignified
procession, sans any loud and vulgar display of religiousity, showcased the
Parsis before other sister communities in the true and traditional Zarathushti
Mrs. Manijeh N. Unvala sang a beautiful invocation song praising various
Ameshaspentas and Yazatas and enumerating their Divine and
Dasturjis Hormazdiar Dastur and MeherjiRana invoked the blessings of
Ahura Mazda and offered hearty felicitations to the Bangalore Parsi Anjuman.
Dasturji Unvala gave a brief history of the Agyari and the anjuman. It
was a fascinating account of struggle, noble aspirations, steady growth, high
values and that all endearing Parsi quality of Philanthropy.
Trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, Minoo Shroff was the chief guest.
Jamshed Guzder could not participate due to ill health and the congregation
prayed two “Yathas” for his speedy recovery.
President of the Bangalore Parsi Anjuman, Kali Cawasji thanked Dastur
Nadirshah Unvala for his long and meritorious service to the community in
Bangalore and working so tirelessly for close to a year for the Platinum Jubilee
function. He declared that the Anjuman, largely due to the efforts of Dastur
Nadirshah was able to raise a sum of forty lakhs by way of donations and
advertisements. Grateful members of the Anjuman gave their beloved High Priest a
standing ovation and a thunderous applause. For Parsis in Bangalore, Dastur
Nadirshah is a legendary figure. He is not just a priest who blesses them or
performs religious ceremonies for them. He is their friend and guide in happy
and difficult times. He is widely connected with various government authorities
and organizations and has helped many a Parsi family in times of calamity.
Among dignitaries who graced the occasion were, Lt. General Adi Sethna,
President of the Delhi Parsi Anjuman, Rusi Gae, former law secretary to the
government of India, B.P.P. trustee Mrs. Siloo Kavarana, Dr. Sam Bhacca,
President of the Surat Parsi Punchayet and many others.
All special invitees and guest speakers were felicitated with flowers,
shawls and specially embossed time pieces created by Titan Industries to
commemorate the auspicious occasion.
Gen Sethna urged all members of the Parsi community to respond to the
National Census 2001. “We know we are small in numbers. But, we need to know
how exactly small we are and what are our strengths and weaknesses”, he said.
B.P. P. trustee Minoo Shroff gave his impressions of the last World
Zoroastrian Congress held in Houston. He felt that today, globally, Zoroastrians
number about 1,50,000. He lamented the fact that as a community we are highly
individualistic, though we have many other positive qualities as well. He was
optimistic about the future of the community and reposed considerable faith in
the innate wisdom and aspirations of our youth. He however felt that those who
do well in life must make way for others. “We must break this heavy dependence
on BPP”, he said.
After a hearty lunch, members of the community congregated once again in
the evening to hear Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia speak on the meaning and message
of the kust prayers. This was followed by a soulful rendition of the Rustom-
Aspandiar episode from the Shahnameh by Ervad Pervez Bajan. Finally Noshir H.
Dadrawala spoke on the theme, “Why I am proud to be a Parsi Zarathushti”.
It was truly an inspiring evening stirring religious fervour among those
thirsting for religious knowledge and understanding.
The next morning began on a slightly unpleasant note with Rusi Gae
bringing in the topic of inter-marriages and the law. This caused considerable
unrest among members seated in the audience, especially the youth.
Youth leaders like Adil Govadia and Shernaz Lala protested and urged the
President and Secretary of the Anjuman to prevent the speaker from raising a
controversy on such a happy occasion. Noshir Dadrawala was requested by the
President to respond to Mr. Gae, which he indeed did blasting some of the
“legal myths” surrounding the celebrated Davar- Beamon judgement.
Tempers cooled with Manijeh Unvala once again chanting a beautiful
invocation. Thereafter Ervad Dr. Peshotan Mirza delivered a lucid account of the
predecessors of Zoroastrians in Peshdadian and Kayanian times. In logical
sequence, Ervad Dr. Rooyintan Peer spoke about Early Parsi settlers in India.
Finally Khojeste Mistree gave a scholarly explanation of the sacred Yatha Ahu
In the evening,eleven years old Pearl Bhumgara enthralled the audience
with her spell binding magic show.The confidence and ease with which this little
wonder performed made many a Parsi heart swell with joy. The Parsi spirit of
creativity and excellece continues to flourish, no matter what prophets of doom
have to say.
The festivities concluded with some humor thrown in by the Bangalore
Zoroastrian Association team led by young Sheriyar Vakil and the singing of
“Chayye Hame Zarthosti”
The Parsis of Bangalore and especially the youth are a wonderful group.
Modern and forward looking in their social life but traditional and conservative
in their religious outlook. What is it that makes the Parsis of Bangalore tick.
Possibly it is their upbringing and the leadership of its elders. In a very
recent letter to her father Sherry who is now well settled abroad wrote to her
father Pheroze Bharda, “ Burjor and I want to make this gift to the Anjuman.
It’s not much but it’s given with all our good wishes……….we owe a
large part of our formative years, our wonderful childhood, to the Parsi club in
particular and to the community at large. Few children have the good fortune to
grow up in a community like ours, where friendships are forged forever and the
community as a whole, shoulders the responsibilities of all it’s children.
Whenever I speak to to friends from the Parsi club, now scattered all over the
world I see that they too, cherish these childhood years spent here at the club
as the best years of their lives. I wish with all my heart, that our club and
community continues to nurture it’s younger generation to grow up to be good
decent individuals.” Need one say more?
Way to go folks! And may the Blessings of the Holy Fire always be with
[ ADDED LATER .... when asked what was served ]
Personally I believe the intellectual feast given by our scholar priests was better than the feast laid out on the generous buffet table.
In any case on the day of the salgreh we had the traditional sev and dahi with dhan dal and fish patio. In the night it was sali chicken, pulao and lagan nu custard.
The next day it was dhansak and kababs for lunch and chicken curry rice in the night with kid gosht.
I am not counting the vegetarian dishes which I wickedly ignored or pretended not to see.
It was a truly wonderful weekend which all of us really enjoyed.
I can well imagine how you guys across the seas must be missing Parsi food that we in India take for granted and consider quite routine.
About the intellectual feast, Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia lucidly explained the meaning and importance of the "kusti" prayer. He explained that "Kemna Mazda" offers spiritual protection while in the "Hormazd Khodai" the devotee firmly rejects all evil and finally in the "Jasame Avangeh Mazda" the devotee affirms his faith in the Greatest and Best Mazdayasni Zarathushti religion.
Ervad Parvez Bajan chanted the Rustom-Asfandiar episode from the Shahnameh. It was a soulful rendition. The episode reminds us of various human follies and that pride goes before fall, etc.
I spoke on the topic, "why I am proud to be a Zarathushti'. I essentially covered some key principles of the faith which make me so proud.
Ervad Dr. Peshotan Mirza spoke about the glory of the kings of Peshdadian and Kayanian times. Ervad Dr. Rooyinton Peer spoke about the struggles of our Iranian brothers in Iran after the fall of the Sassanian empire and the early Parsi settlers in India. Khojeste Mistree explained the significance of the "Yatha" prayer.He also chanted it in the meditative form, which he claimed was taught to him in Iran.
Rusi Gae of Delhi created quite a flutter by drawing in the issue of the rights(?) of inter-married Parsi ladies. The orthodox audience was in no mood to listen to him and got quite upset. I was then requested to give a response which indeed I did, blasting a lot of legal myths surrounding the Davar- Beamon judgement. I told the audience and Mr. Gae that there is no "law of the land" which compells a mobed to perform the "ashirwad" for intermarried couples or even the navjote of a child born of a Parsi father and non-Parsi mother.All the three High Priest, and scholar priest present took note of this statement. In fact Er. Peshotan Mirza felt a strong need to have all navjotes "certified" and "registered" for the purpose of control.
Adil Govadia of Bangalore who is also a member of this list may perhaps like to add more.
God Bless All my traditional friends in Bangalore for their love for the excellent Zarathushti religion.
How could I have forgotten the "akuri"? especially considering the fact that I had two large helpings. Sorry Sam, if I got your mouth watering all over again!!!
Yes, Adil, I agree that it made my heart swell with pride too when I saw so much religious fervour in Bangalore.
Among orthodox anjumans outside Mumbai, I rate Bangalore, Poona and Dahanu among the top three.
Delhi is probably the most reformist and I have yet to meet a Parsi from Delhi who can claim to be orthodox. I am informed that Calcutta and Madras are also quite reformist.
Noshir H. Dadrawala
Why I am Proud to be a Zarathushtrian
There are many reasons (religious, historical, social and economic) to make me feel proud being a Zarathushti.
What inspires me most is the timeless and ever relevant message of Asho Zarathushtra. He preached his message of leading a positive life in an age we call “prehistoric” and yet over the centuries his message continues to remain fresh and relevant. It is said that Zarathushtra had his first vision of Ahura Mazda on Roj Dae-pa-Meher, Mah Ardibehest. According to the Zarathusht nameh, the Prophet asked Ahura Mazda a question (the very first question) and in the answer that he received from Ahura Mazda, one may find an excellent summary of what is expected of a good Zarathushti.
The question was, “Who is the best person among all people in the world?”
Ahura Mazda answered, “ He who goes on the right path. He who gives charity. He who is just, reveres fire, water and is kind to animals”.
Zarathushtra appears to have received the Revelation from Ahura Mazda for ten years. All the mysteries and secrets of this universe were revealed to him.
Finally the Amesha Spentas gave Zarathushtra a message:
Bahaman: Look after and be kind to animals.
Ardibehest: Revere fire.
Shehrevar: Use metals wisely (not for destructive purposes).
Spendarmard: Revere the earth.
Khordad: Revere the waters.
Amardad: Look after the plant kingdom.
In the message of the Holy Amesha Spentas one finds the timeless principles of “ecology” and “living in harmony with Nature”. Scientists advise us today to protect the rain forests, not to pollute the waters etc. Zarathushtra taught it to us thousands of years ago.
If Zarathushtra’s teachings could be summed up in just one word, that word is “Asha”.
“Asha” stands for:
“Truth”, as opposed to falsehood,
“Divine Order” or living in harmony with the Laws of Nature and
“Purity”, in thought, word and deed.
The Colophon to Yasna asserts: “There is but one path, that of Asha. All other paths are false”
In the Hoshbam we pray, “Through the best righteousness, excellent righteousness, O Ahura Mazda, may we catch sight of Thee and may we come near Thee and attain Thy eternal friendship.”
From the above one can see that a person may aspire to know and understand Ahura Mazda only by walking on the path of truth and in doing so earn Ahura Mazda’s friendship.
Zarathushtis follow an ancient calendar, which is so meaningful, unlike the secular calendar one uses in day-to-day life.
The first seven days of the month in the Zoroastrian calendar are dedicated to Ahura Mazda and His Amesha Spentas. The Amesha Spentas represent at one level a Divine quality of Ahura Mazda and at another the guardian of a good creation. For example Bahaman is Vohu Mana or the Good Mind and also a guardian of animals. Ardibehest is Asha Vahishta or Truth and presides over Fire.
Let us look at the chart below:
Ardibehest Best Truth
Sherevar Divine Power
Amardad Forever (eternal)
The first seven days of the month teach us how we may lead our life.
Begin and dedicate all work to Hormuzd or God
Do all work using Bahman or the Good Mind
Do it with Ardibehest or Truth
And you will attain Sherevar or Power
To power you must add Spendarmad or Piety and Humility
And you will get Khordad or Perfection
Which will last for Amardad or for eternity.
Asho Zarathushtra essentially saw life as a struggle between the forces of “good” and “evil”. Man’s duty is that of a spiritual warrior (Rathestrar) always being on the side of good and fighting evil at the physical, social, ethical and metaphysical level.
At the physical level, all forms of impurity and pollution are seen as a manifestation of evil. A good Zarathushtrian, therefore, always aims for purity and cleanliness.
At the social level, all forms of poverty, want, human suffering and ignorance are seen as an affliction of evil.
At an ethical level, every good Zarathushti must guard himself/herself against the demons of wrath, greed, envy, etc.
Finally, every good Zarathushti battles the forces of evil at a metaphysical level through the power of Avestan manthras and special rituals.
The beauty of Zarathushtrianism lies in its simplicity and positive outlook to life. The religion wants everyone to be happy and make others happy.
God is not a Divinity to be feared but a friend.
Zarathushtrianism does not reserve even one day in a year for fasting. God is not to be pleased by remaining hungry. The only fast recommended is fast from sin.
The Pahlavi Dinkard recommends 5 virtues, which every Zarathushti must cultivate.
5) Give encouragement to others in good deeds.
It is a religion, which is pro-life and pro-happiness. It recommends a golden mean path. Neither fasting nor gluttony. Neither celibacy nor lechery.
Most important of all is the Gathic precept: Happiness to him who makes others happy.
I only wish to add two points, one relating to the gourmet menu and the other relating to the so-called spiritual menu.
In addition to the menu-spread highlighted by Noshir, he missed mentioning the "Bharuchi Aakuri" which was simply superb!! Sorry Sam for adding my two-bit to the already existing trauma of mouth-watering!!???!!
Re. the flutter created by Mr. Rusi Gae, it's water under the bridge.
However, to state briefly, Mr. Rusi Gae was given the permission to speak (at his own request) for 10 minutes on the subject of Income Tax and 80G, but instead he made a futile attempt to speak nonsense on various controversial issues, including interfaith marriage, dokhmenishini etc. Without any design or previous preparation, the Zarathushtri audience reacted spontaneously and most emphatically by requesting the Chairman of the session to stop the speaker as he had digressed wantonly and that infact he had no business to express his "personal" views (that is what Mr. Gae later claimed in his arguments) especially from a spiritually charged, religious and community stage!!!
It is said that the world's largest fires can be extinguished by pouring a cup of water at the right time. And that is exactly what the Bangalore Zarathushtris did.
If there are no problems, there would be no opportunity and on hindsight it seems that Mr. Rusi Gae did everybody a favour, as, upon the Chair's permission, Noshir Dadrawalla blasted the legal myths and ultra rubbish churned out by Mr. Rusi Gae.
Thank you Noshir for the retort and God bless the Bangalore Community.
Noshir please note: such mass spontaneous demonstrations of orthodoxy make me feel proud to be a Zarathushti!!!!!
Rgds Adil J. Govadia
GUSHTASP B. FORBES
Gushtasp B. Forbes.
R. K. KHAN
send my CONGRATS too, and wish that N [Noshir H. Dadrawalla] would have
likewise exposed this Gae guy
in the columns of Jame where he had recently written a highly objectionable article on a similar topic. Sock it to 'em, Nosh!
R. H. Khan
FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT AND COMMENTS
DO KEEP THEM COMING
E-mail me at DCawasji@bpza.org