Monday, July 16, 2012

Zoroastrian Mysticism - by Firdosh Sukhia

Zoroastrian Mysticism - by Firdosh Sukhia

There is something very wrong with the world that we are made to see around us. Human Society is not happy, there is
protest, discontentment, poverty, inequality, greed, corruption, Ego, Fanatics', Agnostics', natural calamities occurring with frightening regularity and above all Global terrorism which just does not want to call it a day.In short there is chaos everywhere. One word that can describe all this is "Qayamat". In Jamasphi" and at many places in our Zoroastrian scriptures like"Chithrem Buyaat" prayers, it is mentioned that time is near for Shah Behram Varjawand our Saviour to come in this Qayamat and revive us and our Deen. The Saviours from other religions will also appear and will work together with a common goal for grooming mankind and his spiritual revival.

The Western Astrology call this as Aquarian age and phenomenon that we see today are occuring with lightening quickness. For we never knew that Communist USSR will disintegrate one day and fragment into many small nations, that Germany will one day be united, the revolution in Egypt, Syria, the fall of dictators, and China a sleeping giant awakening to technological boom are all an indicator that we are very much in this Aquarian age. The transition from the Age of Pisces to Aquarian Age is already taking its toll till we roll into Age of peace and calm. We are looking forward to being Optimistic and not being fatally Pessimists. Please see the link provided:-

More than 100 years before in past when faith was at its lowest Nadir in our community without caring for deep religious significance when there was idle talks about futility of our time tested customs like Dokhmenashini, Rituals, Sudreh Kusti being only a symbol, Avesta Manthra prayers being considered as waste of time, faulty myopic thinking that offerings of sandalwood to Atash Padshah being waste of sound monetary resources which could have been better utilized for betterment of our community, lack of faith was the reason behind these ignorance's. Ignorance coupled with arrogance was, and still is the main reason stymieing our spiritual progress.

The Zoroastrian hidden Masters in Demavand who are very much concerned about our community's spiritual progress saw the need of sending a forerunner before the advent of Shah Behram Varjawand Saheb, and they chose Behramshah Nawroji Shroff whom his followers lovingly call him as Ustad Saheb. He brought amongst us Zoroastrian Mysticism called as Zarathosti Ilme-Khshnoom.

The word Khshnoom can be found even in our scriptures, so it is not something alien that is thrust on us. It is the revival of the lost knowledge called as Ilme-Khshnoom that our forefathers had with them that kept the flame of faith burning in their hearts, that Ustad saheb brought for us. The literature is penned down by his chosen and authorized disciples late Dr. Saheb Faramroze Sohrabji Chiniwala, and Late Jehangirji S. Chinwala.

Late Ervad Phiroze Shapurji Masani had for so many years maintained his publication "Frashogard" all under guidance of Ustad Saheb. Today we see that day by day our faith is again going downhill. The need of Saviour can only be felt when all seems to be lost towards Traditional cause. It is to rekindle that hope and faith and iron out unwarranted fear of our religion dying a premature death that this Blog will be looking forward to. The aim for starting this Blog is to translate the majority of Khshnoom literature that is in Gujarati writings of Late Chiniwala brothers and Late Phiroze Masani for the benefit of those genuinely interested in Zoroastrian Mysticism .

When there is too much of chaos nature allows it only up to a certain threshold limit, once it crosses the limits it puts a
full stop to it, for nature has its own ways of bringing Order out of Chaos.

So in mean time what are we Zarathosti Bastekustian supposed to do that will hasten the advent of Shah Behram Varjawand Saheb ? Are we supposed to look skywards and wait for him eternally ? His advent will much depend upon us also.

In nature there is a law of "Supply and Demand". If the demand is there, supply is guaranteed. In Bible it is said that "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find it, knock and the doors will open to you." ….. Mathew 7:7 Niv. Unfortunately the much needed knock never seems to happen and everybody is busy enjoying their fun filled moments and warns us to keep off limits of their rights and Freedom. But they seem to forget that behind every right that one asks for, there is a responsibility which is conveniently forgotten.

"RTI" also known as "Right to information"is blatantly misused in today's world of so called Freedom . Some want Freedom to enjoy whatever is appealing to them, but is considered as Taboo in Society. Not before all these false ideology will be swept away by fury of nature and realization of folly will dawn naturally aftermath,nevertheless too late by then, but the road will be paved for introducing Shah Behram Varjawand to the world.

In middle of face-off between two warring sides and Chaos, we will come to know the time of Varjawand Saheb's arrival automatically. As a Mother knows intuitively the time of delivery of the baby, we will feel the desperate pangs of labour like a Mother feels before her delivery.

Right now only a few are longing for his arrival but just as "A lone sparrow does not herald a spring" similarly one requires a collective thought force to set everything in motion. For that I had started a short exercise every 7 a.m. in morning but unfortunately we don't seem to realize its importance. Till we are all vibrating with one frequency, other word is called as Hum Mithra, Varjawand Saheb's advent will be a distant dream only. The exercise is as under to be followed by a Mithra every 7 a.m. or around that time frame. No need to be very rigid about time. The Mithra is as under:-

Hum Mithra at 7 a.m.

2 Yatha Ahu Vairyo, 1 Ashem Vohu

"Let no harm come upon the Traditional Zoroastrian flag and its values which are so dear to us. Let the reformists agenda never succeed and their nefarious plans be upturned. Let no harm befall upon Pavmahal of India that is - our Iranshah of Udwada and all Atash Behram, Atash Adran and Dadgah of India. Let not one day pass without Atash Parasti and our reverance towards Holy consecrated Fire(Pavmahal),Dokhmas, Sudreh Kusti, Mathravani which acts as a weapon to thwart evil, and let us protect our racial traits of Parsi Panu through Boonak Pasbani by not marrying outside, due to which we have survived so far. That is how we will be able to maintain our true "Zarathosti Khandani" and continue to survive with our Aryan Lineage intact. Let the time of advent of Shah Behram Varjawand and his fore runners come soon and protect us from this mess. Let my Kusti Padiav and my Tarikats be helpful to nature to fight for the cause of righteousness against the evil negative forces of Drujis, and may it protect us all Zarathustis and entire humanity who live by their religion and its tenets. "Phiroj baad Khureh avizeh Vehdine Mazdiyasnan" - Let the Khoreh of Mazdiyasni Zarathosti deen protect its faithful followers"

........1 Yatha Ahu Vairyo, 2 Ashem Vohu

Best regards,

Firdosh K Sukhia

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Appeals for General Assistance and for Kathi funds for the Indawalla Agiary, Dhobhi Talao, Mumbai

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Tehemton B Adenwalla
Date: Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Subject: Appeals for General Assistance and for Kathi funds for the Indawalla Agiary, Dhobhi Talao, Mumbai
To: TZML <>

Baname Khuda!
Dear Zarathushti humdins,
today on Behram roz of Bahman mah, YZ 1381 (Tues, 3 July 2012) is the Salgreh of the Indawalla Agiary.
This agiary is located at Dhobhi Talao, behind the world famous Parsi Dairy Farm.
Please respond favourably to the following 2 Appeals by making donations as per your circumstances.
Also circulate this message amongst other Zarathushtis whom you know of..
(Reproduced from a notice put in the agiary)
This is to bring to the kind noticce of the behdins that those interested in making contributions for the agiary are requested to give the contribution to the Panthaky Saheb for which a receipt will be given signed by the trustees.
Contributions can be given in cash or kind. A kind request is made to the behdins to come forward and contribute for the betterment of the Adarian Saheb.
Thanking you,
Panthaky Ervad Behram Rustomji Dordi.
(Reproduced from a notice put in the agiary)
This is to bring to the kind notice of the behdins that there is kathi requirement in the agiary.
Hence a kind appeal is made to the behdins.
Those interested to donate kathi are required to contact Mr. Gowadia on the below mentioned number.
Contact Details: 022 - 2386-7568
Thanking you,
Panthaky Ervad Behram Rustomji Dordi.
Please respond favourably to the following 2 Appeals by making donations as per your circumstances.
Also circulate this message amongst other Zarathushtis whom you know of..

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saga of the Aryans Volume III to V Published

John Morgan from Publisher Arktos writes "The second novel in the "Saga of the Aryan Race" series is now in print from Arktos, following our publication of the first novel last year. The series is based on the Zoroastrian scriptures, and is written by Porus Homi Havewala, a Parsi Zoroastrian author from India. This volume tells the story of the youth of the Prophet, Asho Zarathustra." 

There are three Volumes in this printed novel. They are "Vol III: Asho Zarathustra: The Saviour walks forth", "Vol IV: Ahura Mazda Reveals Himself", and "Vol V: The Aryan King of Iran".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Parsi Irani Zarathushtis ~ by Ervad Dr. Rooyintan Peshotan Peer - A MUST READ

Thu 10 May 2012

Ervad Dr. Rooyintan Peshotan Peer's excellent opinion to the Valsad Parsi Anjuman in the case of
Goolrukh M Gupta vs. Valsad Parsi Anjuman, Gujarat High Court,
encompassing the history of Parsi Irani Zarathushtis in India, the Doongarwadi issue,
entry into places of worship and marriage.
Ervad Dr Rooyintan Peshotan Peer is one of our 3 recognised and accepted Zarathushtrian scholar priests, along with Ervad Dr Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia and Ervad Parvez M Bajan.
It is essential basic reading for all young Parsi Irani Zarathushti girls and boys, men and women.
The basics and the conclusive facts have been stated and explained here, but it should be noted that the subject is in fact far more complex and deep.

25 August 2011

Sam Chothia


Valsad Parsi Anjuman,


Dear Sir, 
This is with reference to your request over the telephone asking for my opinion in the matter of the Parsi women married out of the community not being granted permission to enter our holy places of worship including the Bunglis at the Doongerwadi.

I have to draw your attention in the first place that the nature of the matter is such that it cannot be expressed in a few written words. It requires a thorough oral expression in considerable detail with proper background and context to the said matter. However I will try to express myself over the relevant points in brief as follows:-

The present Parsi Community (living in India, Iran and elsewhere) is one of the smallest communities of the world. It is a remnant of the ancient Iranian people professing the Zoroastrian Religion. In ancient times, the Iranian people had come in cultural, commercial and political contact with nearly all nations of the world: the ancient Hindus, the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Israelites, the Arabs, the Greeks, the Romans, and other peoples. The Parsis are the descendants of this Iranian people who flourished and played an important role in world history under the royal dynasties from the earliest times up to about the middle of the seventh century of the Christian era.

After the Arab conquest of Iran, and the downfall of the last Parsi Empire of the Sassanians (641 A.C.), the Zoroastrians of Iran were subjected to religious persecution, and consequently a great majority of them were gradually converted to Islam. But a handful of the Zoroastrians remained faithful and stuck to their ancestral religion in spite of hardship, violence, disabilities, persecutions and massacres for centuries. A faithful few of the Iranian Zoroastrians, who remained steadfast to their ancestral religion, left Iran after the downfall of their empire on account of the unbearable conditions prevailing there, and settled on the west coast of India in order to preserve their RELIGION. In later centuries, some more Zoroastrians migrated individually or in small groups from Iran to India for the same reason.

The present Parsi community, therefore, comprises of:

1. The Zoroastrian descendants of those inhabitants of Iran, still living in Iran, who remained faithful to their ancestral religion even after the downfall of the Sassanian empire.

2. The Zoroastrian descendants of those inhabitants of Iran, who remained faithful to their ancestral religion and who left Iran after the downfall of the Sassanian empire and settled in India, (between 8th and 10th c. A.C.) as also those Zoroastrians of Iran who migrated to India and elsewhere during the later centuries. (Those who came from Iran to India in the last couple of centuries, were additionally termed 'Irani Zoroastrians' by the Parsis of India, simply for the sake of identification).

The Zoroastrian Religion preaches secularism in its original form. It shows utmost tolerance towards other religions and towards mankind in general. It also believes in the Divine Rule of Nature in the manner that each individual's birth in a particular religion is according to the Divine Plan, just as each individual's birth in a particular family, and to 'particular set of parents' entail. For that reason, the Zoroastrian Religion does not encourage conversion from one religion to the other, as it amounts to a great disturbance in the Law of Nature. All these values were manifested as early as in the reigns of their illustrious emperors who ruled over ancient Iran, and nearly half of the world at certain periods of time. They had granted full freedom to their various subjects to follow their own religions.

It is for the same virtues and beliefs in the Zoroastrian Religion that throughout the long and illustrious reigns of the Zoroastrian empires in Iran, there is no example recorded of any forced conversions of their subject people, or for that matter, any form of religious persecution. This speaks volumes of their religious adherence and the values of benevolent kingship in those times, when only the concept of 'might is right' was accepted.

Just as the Zoroastrian Religion does not advocate proselytism, it also forbids inter-communal marriages, which it views as simply another form of conversion. Even after coming to India, the Parsis have adhered to these religious tenets. Throughout their history here, they have lived respectfully and in amity and in harmony with all other communities, and yet retaining their distinct unique identity by preserving and maintaining their spiritual and physical characteristics. Even in Iran, after the downfall of the Zoroastrian Empire, in spite of hardships, indignities, cruelties and persecution extending over about twelve centuries, the Parsis there have admirably preserved their Zoroastrian quality, virtue and character in public and private life. But elsewhere in other places to where they had migrated (like China, etc.), there is no trace of them as they did not adhere to their basic tenets, and were sucked into the vast local milieu respectively. Even a British Judge, Justice Lord Beamon, in his orbiter in a case in the year 1909, has observed that there is not a single example of any religious conversion by the Parsis recorded in its nearly 1200 years of history in India.

As stated above, Zoroastrianism forbids inter-communal marriages, and that too for either of the sexes, both males and females. There are ample scriptural references for the same, which I understand you might have gathered by now from various sources. The divinely revealed 'Pak' (sacred) Avesta condemns intermarriage as a "sin" against one's soul, lineage and religion! The Mazdayasni Zarathushti Religion also considers marriage to be a very sacred ritual, a sacrament; and it is religiously valid only if both the partners are Zarathushtis by birth. Therefore when the ritual of 'Ashirwad' takes place, the Mobed (priest), while reciting the Pazend Benediction under oath, declares that he is conducting the ritual of 'Ashirwad' according to the laws of the Mazdayasni Zarathushti Religion. Our time-tested traditions and customs state that for the marriage to be religiously valid, the ritual of 'Ashirwad' must be performed, and the said ritual must be peformed by duly initiated priests, and in the presence of at least two Parsi-Irani-Zarathushti witnesses.

In this matter of 'intermarriages', the unique concept of 'KHOREH' (loosely translated as 'aura') in the Zoroastrian Religion needs to be thoroughly understood. The 'Khoreh' of each community is unique, and is built over a period of many generations within the members of the said community itself, and by adhering to the given tenets and customs of the respective religions. The mixing of such 'Khorehs', either by intermarriage or by conversion, causes great spiritual disturbances in Nature.

There are specific rituals and religious observances (known as the 'Tariqats' in the Zoroastrian Religion) prescribed in each religion for the maintenance and enhancement of such 'Khorehs'. The rituals of 'saadu nahan' and 'bareshnum' are given to purify the 'khoreh' by purifying the elements of water and fire that are within each one of us. Both water and fire are made up of atoms containing electrons. These electrons inevitably produce an electronic 'field' which in turn produces a magnetic 'field'. The two 'fields' work together as 'electro-magnetic force fields'. This electro-magnetic force field depends upon the degree of purity of the inner water and fire which creates the 'khoreh' as either 'pure' or 'dark', meaning not so pure. Being magnetic, the 'khoreh' absorbs the influences of others' 'khorehs'. The 'Parsi-Irani-Zarathushti khoreh' is therefore, through the recitation of the distinct 'maaanthravaani', specific rituals and the subsequent 'Tariqats', sudreh-kushti' and the other spiritual disciplines, distinct from the 'Khoreh' of followers of other religions. When such 'khorehs' get 'mixed', they display many other 'colours' and influences; and consequently, the spiritual places of worship, which are consecrated elaborately with distinct ceremonies, get affected when such persons enter them. Many other religious communities in India as well as in the world do not allow such practices for the same reason. The famous case of Smt. Indira Gandhi not being allowed into the Jagannath Puri Temple is one such example.

In some of the religious communities, there is the practice of the non-member to necessarily get converted to that religion in the matter of marriage with a member of that community. In the case of those who claim, particularly the girls , that they have married under the Special Marriage Act, and that they have not abandoned their Religion, majority of them later on pass through the marriage ritual ceremonies of the religion of their respective spouses. This is also considered another form of conversion since the religious laws of those communities require that both the candidates ought to be following the same religion. In this way the majority of the Parsi Irani Zarathushti girls are deemed to have gone out of their Religion, and therefore a general law is applied to them in line with that applied to the non-Zoroastrians in matters religious. (Refer to the Resolution of 1918 with specific words mentioned to this effect, and which is drafted much before the Special Marriage Act came into effect.) In the struggle for survival, different communities may have different rules and methods according to their requirements. It is like the case of 'someone's food is another one's poison'.

In today's Parsi community in India, every one of the prospective marriage candidates is aware in some way or the other that marriage outside the community is 'something which is not proper'. In the Parsi community, girls are neither married off forcibly, nor without their consent, nor at a very early age, even as we find such practices common in several other communities. In short, they make an informed choice about their marriage after they attain the level of maturity. That is the precise time when they have ample opportunities to enquire and get themselves informed about the reasons and the socio-religious consequences if they were to consider marriage outside the community. Yet they plunge themselves headlong into the mess, and then try to get the religious laws veer around their personal suitabilities, likes and dislikes, in the name of individual freedom. At this point one has to realize that a community is like an Institution or an Association where certain rules and regulations are required to keep it going, otherwise there could be complete chaos and disorder with subsequent disintegration, if it were to follow each individual member's whims and fancies. It can be substantiated beyond any doubt that the Parsi-Irani Zarathushtis do NOT perpetrate any injustice to the intermarried 'Zarathushtis' in the name of 'religion', when the intermarried Zarathushtis, male or female, of their own accord, willingly disobey the religiously mandated laws which condemn intermarriage, and the age-old socio-religious customs against the concept of intermarriage (which is detrimental to the cause of the community), and thereby themselves abandon the 'right' to be the practitioners of the Zarathushti Religion.

Intermarriage is a spiritual sin because religion is the spiritual food of the soul without which the soul suffers. In an intermarriage, either one partner has to surrender completely (including one's children) to the dominant partner of the other religion (compulsorily in many cases); OR in order to keep peace at home, both the partners have to make compromises regarding their respective religions. Social surveys reveal that the children of such intermarried couples do not benefit spiritually from strong religious bonds, and in the course of time, move away from both the religions. One could therefore realize that in a small community like the Parsis, the practice of intermarriage does not in any way benefit the community or the religion. In fact it harms the survival of the religion and community, and that is why in the Zarathushti prayer of 'Patet Pashemani' (prayer of repentence), it is considered to be an "ako paye gunah", or a sin of the worst degree. The several "ako paye gunah" mentioned in the same paragraph are said to be of the category of "gunahio pulshavad", i.e. those that cause difficulty to the soul in crossing over the "Chinvat Bridge" (crossover from this world to the next).

In India, historically, some references are found since the last couple of centuries of some Parsi males either having non-Parsi spouses or having live-in relationships with such women. The earliest instance in this matter is recorded in the year 1830 when the Parsi Punchayet summoned the Samast Parsi Anjuman Meeting, and passed resolutions against such practices, against such persons, and also against the progenies of such persons; and certain rules and regulations were formulated Then in subsequent periods, such Samast Anjuman Meetings were called whenever such needs arose, and strictures were passed against such practices. In 1909, the historic Bombay Parsi Punchayet case caused much turmoil in the Parsi community at that time. Attempts were made to justify intermarriage and conversion in the Parsi community by a certain section of influential people. Thereafter, the Punchayet itself called several meetings, and many institutions, including the priestly ones, dealt with the matter very seriously, and thereby saved the Parsi community from disintegrating. It is again only since last 25 years or so that the matter is raised again, and has escalated into a serious problem, chiefly because of the sluggishness of the leaders concerned.

Around 100 years ago, some very stray incidents of Parsi girls marrying outside the community might have been recorded, which is echoed in one of the Resolutions passed in a Public Meeting convened in May 1918 (a copy of which is sent herewith). The Zarathushti Parsis are a patrilineal community in the sense that Zarathushti girls at birth take their father's name as their middle name as well as their father's surname till they marry, and thereafter take the husband's name and surname replacing the father's. Take the example of an 'osti' girl from a 'mobed' family marrying a 'behdin' and thereby she is considered no more an 'osti' but a 'behdin', and her name is recited accordingly together with her husband's in all 'naam-grahans' (roll-calls with religious titles) in the rituals where individual names are recited. This is not discrimination! It is a "ritual tradition" continued since countless millennia. The sacred names of Zarathushti females are always taken with the name of their Zarathushti father, if unmarried, or with the husband, if married. And There is no practice till date of taking non-Zarathushti names in our 'naam-grahans'!

All in all, this whole matter is about putting the interest of an individual's self below the larger interest of the community, just as putting the larger interest of the country in normal or difficult times above that of the freedom of an individual.

I hope this much material will suffice in your endeavor in the matter under review.

Yours sincerely, 
Ervad Dr. Rooyintan Peshotan Peer.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


There is a wonderful tale of tradition that is told when our Parsi-Irani Zarathushtri people are in great need or difficulty. In this tale, we tell the story of how a poor woodcutter, called Mishkin, was helped and uplifted by the spiritual and heavenly help of Shah Behram Yazad, a great worshippable divinity in our religion who has the power to remove obstacles and ease all difficulties.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Zoroastrianism in action in the real world: The TATAS and Jamshedpur

Zoroastrianism in action in the real world: The TATAS and Jamshedpur

(This is Zoroastrianism in action, making the world a better place.
This is why, although we are Indians, the Parsees are indeed different
from the rest of the people in India, and why we must preserve our
unique identity).

 Following is a note written by Lakshmi Mittal after his visit to TISCO recently.

"........I visited Jamshedpur over the weekend to see for myself an
India that is fast disappearing despite all the wolf-cries of people 
like Narayanamurthy and his ilk. It is one thing to talk and quite 
another to do and I am delighted to tell you that Ratan Tata has kept
alive the legacy of perhaps India's finest industrialist J.N. Tata.
Something that some people doubted when Ratan took over the House 
of the Tata's but in hindsight, the best thing to have happened 
to the Tata's is unquestionably Ratan. I was amazed to 
see the extent of corporate philanthropy and this is no exaggeration.

For the breed that talks about corporate social responsibility and
talks about the role of corporate India, a visit to Jamshedpur is a 
must. Go there and see the amount of money they pump into keeping 
the town going; see the smiling faces of workers in a region known
for industrial unrest; see the standard of living in a city that is
almost isolated from the mess in the rest of the country.

This is not meant to be a puff piece. I have nothing to do with Tata
Steel, but I strongly believe the message of hope and the message 
of goodness that they are spreading is worth sharing. The fact 
that you do have companies in India which look at workers as
human beings and who do not blow their software trumpet of having
changed lives. In fact, I asked Mr. Muthuraman, the managing 
director, as to why he was so quiet about all they had
done and all he could offer in return was a smile wrapped in humility,
which said it all. They have done so much more since I last 
visited Jamshedpur, which was in 1992. The town has
obviously got busier but the values thankfully haven't changed.

The food is still as amazing as it always was and I gorged, as I would
normally do. I visited the plant and the last time I did that was 
with Russi Mody. But the plant this time was gleaming and far from 
what it used to be.

Greener and cleaner and a tribute to environment management. You could 
have been in the mountains. Such was the quality of air I inhaled! 
There was no belching smoke; no tired faces and so many more women 
workers, even on the shop floor. This is true gender equality 
and not the kind that is often espoused at seminars organised
by angry activists. I met so many old friends. Most of them 
have aged but not grown old. There was a spring in the air 
which came from a certain calmness which has always been the 
hallmark of Jamshedpur and something I savoured for a full two 
days in between receiving messages of how boring and decrepit 
the lack lustre Fashion Week was.

Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata had created an edifice that is today 
a robust company and it is not about profits and about valuation. 
It is not about who becomes a millionaire and who doesn't'. It 
is about getting the job done with dignity and respect keeping 
the age-old values intact and this is what I learnt.

I jokingly asked someone as to whether they ever thought of joining an
Infosys or a Wipro and pat came the reply: "We are not interested 
in becoming crorepatis [millionaires] but in making others crorepatis [millionaires]."

Which is exactly what the Tata's have done for years in and around Jamshedpur.
Very few people know that Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global
Compact City, edging out the other nominee from India, Bangalore. 
Selected because of the quality of life, because of the conditions 
of sanitation and roads and welfare. If this is not a tribute to
industrial India, then what is? Today, India needs several Jamshedpurs
but it also needs this Jamshedpur to be given its fair due, its 
recognition. I am tired of campus visits being publicised to the 
Infosys and the Wipro's of the world.

Modern India is being built in Jamshedpur as we speak. An India built
on the strength of core convictions and nothing was more apparent 
about that than the experiment with truth and reality that 
Tata Steel is conducting at Pipla.

Forty-eight tribal girls (yes, tribal girls who these corrupt and evil
politicians only talk about but do nothing for) are being educated 
through a residential program over nine months. I went to visit them 
and I spoke to them in a language that they have just learnt:
Bengali. Eight weeks ago, they could only speak in Sainthali, their
local dialect. But today, they are brimming with a confidence 
that will bring tears to your eyes. It did to mine. One of them 
has just been selected to represent Jharkand in the state archery
competition. They have their own women's football team and what's more
they are now fond of education. It is a passion and not a burden.

This was possible because I guess people like Ratan Tata and Muthurman haven't
sold their souls to some business management drivel, which tells us
that we must only do business and nothing else. The fact that not 
one Tata executive has been touched by the Naxalites in that area 
talks about the social respect that the Tata'shave earned.

The Tata's do not need this piece to be praised and lauded. My intent
is to share the larger picture that we so often miss in the haze of 
the slime and sleaze that politics imparts. My submissions to those 
who use phrases such as "feel-good" and "India Shining" is first
visit Jamshedpur to understand what it all means. See Tata Steel in
action to know what companies can do if they wish to. And 
what corporate India needs to do.

Murli Manohar Joshi would be better off seeing what Tata Steel has
done by creating the Xavier Institute of Tribal Education rather 
than by proffering excuses for the imbroglio in the IIMs. This 
is where the Advanis and Vajpayees need to pay homage.
Not to all the Sai Babas and the Hugging saints that they 
are so busy with. India is changing inspite of them and 
they need to realise that.

I couldn't have spent a more humane and wonderful weekend. Jamshedpur
is an eyeopener and a role model, which should be made mandatory 
for replication. I saw corporate India actually participate in basic 
nation-building, for when these tribal girls go back to their
villages, they will return with knowledge that will truly be
life-altering. Corporate India can do it but most of the time 
is willing to shy away.

For those corporate leaders who are happier winning awards and 
being interviewed on their choice of clothes, my advise is visit 
Tata Steel, spend some days at Jamshedpur and see a nation's 
transformation. That is true service and true nationalism.

Tata Steel will celebrate 100 years of existence in 2007. It won't be
just a milestone in this company's history. It will be a milestone, 
to my mind of corporate transparency and generosity in this country. 
It is indeed fitting that Ratan Tata today heads a group which has
people who are committed to nation-building than just building
influence and power.

JRD must be smiling wherever he is. And so must Jamshedji Nusserwanji. 
These people today have literally climbed every last blue mountain. 
And continue to do so with vigour and passion. Thank god for the Tata's !"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rebuttal to Homi Dhalla's letter

From: Pervin Mistry
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:25 AM

Dear Kaizad,

Thank you for sending Mr. Adi Doctor's excellent reply. I am posting the entire article of Dr. Homi Dhalla written in favour of matrilineality. Also adding some observations of my own in blue.


By Dr. Homi Dhalla—BOMBAY SAMACHAR—Feb. 5, 2012
The question about children of mixed marriages, i.e. between a non-Parsi father and a Parsi mother has been simmering for decades and even today it continues to remain as tangled as ever. 
Being a neutral voice, I am neither an orthodox nor a reformist but a pragmatist. And I believe that in this discussion, questioning, criticism and dissent must be valued.
A "prgamatist" would write that BOTH sexes are condemned for intermarriage, as the scriptures reveal and not make the illogical statement that if intermarried men are accepted women too should be accepted! Patrilineality is long since held as an Obiter Dicta, i.e. NOT binding on the community, by 3 sitting Judges of the Bombay HC! Instead of "discussion, questioning, criticism and dissent" why not advocate obedience to the laws of the religion? A true pragmatist would! 

I for one am not in favour of intermarriage and would not encourage it. But as the statistics for intermarriages in Mumbai for the year 2010 has increased to 38% and we have not been able to arrest this trend. We ought to examine this situation in new light and with great discretion. Are we to ostracize these intermarried mothers and discard their children? 

According to the Davar-Beaman Judgement of 1906, only the offspring of Parsi fathers and non-Parsi mothers were to be admitted into our fold. But in the last 100 years much water has flowed. 

Zarathushtra laid down the magna carta of gender equality 

Although he lived in a patriarchal society he emphasized the idea of gender equality. 
What is pertinent to our discussion here is that out of the six Holy Immortals, three are masculine while the others are feminine aspects. I quote Dr. I. J. S. Taraporewalla who had stated that: 

"It is rather remarkable that three out of the six Holy Immortals should represent the masculine aspects of God and the other three the feminine aspect. This is but one of the many hints we get in Zoroaster's religion of the absolute equality of the sexes." 

Zarathushtra was not only a Prophet but also a reformer who transformed the religious landscape of his period
Indeed, Asho Zarathushtra was a "reformer" who got rid of the devayasni practices that had creeped in the Mazdayasni camp and reformed the Mazdayasni religion to the Mazdayasni Zarathushti Religion! He did not convert others but only those who had fallen victims to the Devayasnis (unrighteousness) back into the Mazdayasni fold! This is why we maintain that we are Mazdayasnis and follow the Mazdayasni Zarathushti Religion as taught by Asho Zarathushtra, "Mazdayasno ahmi mazdaysno Zarathushtrish"! This declaration of fiath does not indicate or support conversion from religion to religion as some conclude!
When one studies the early history of the world's religions, we come to the conclusion that all Prophets were also reformers and Zarathushtra was no exception. When he propounded his religion at the early dawn of history, the Mazdaysni religion was already in existence. 

The crucial role of the Divine Feminine in various cultures 

The Divine Feminine is an immaculate force in Creation. Feminine energy, which is woven into the cultural fabric, nurtures, heals, comforts and motivates. It manifests itself in different goddesses across various cultures. The tradition of invoking female deities is an integral part of most ancient cultures. 

In ancient Iran, position of women was exalted. Slaves too enjoyed rights 

The position of women serves as an index to the condition of an age. Several references in our scriptures point to the fact that women enjoyed a high status in society. In the Aiwisruthrem Gah we come across the term nmano paiti and nmano pathni which terms connote the 'lord of the house' and the 'lady of the house.' This shows that a wife enjoyed an equal status at home. 

The Pahlavi text Madigan-i-Hazar Datistan (the Digest of a Thousand Points of Law) deals exhaustively with the rights of a woman, wife and daughter. Women were allowed to select their own husbands and widows were allowed to re-marry. They could hold property and represent themselves in court. She could legally conduct her husband's case in court. Qualified women were appointed as judges. Some of these women had also evolved to a lofty spiritual stature and hence the Avestan allusion to women saints. It is thus evident from our scriptures that Iranian law firmly upheld numerous rights and privileges of the wife, which for obvious reasons cannot be discussed here.
This Pahlavi text speaks about the rights of women but does it anywhere refer to the rights of intermarried women? No! Nowhere in this Text are intermarried women referred to as having their "rights" on the religion and those rights as "accepted"! 

The mother not only nurtures life but also sustains it. 

It is the mother who nurtures the child in her womb for nine months --- It is her blood that transforms it into a miracle of life! Modern genetics shows that though the genetic information of the child is encoded in the nucleus of the cells (both paternal and maternal), there is the cytoplasm mitochondria or energy producing organelles that have their own genetic code. Being in the cytoplasm, it is strictly passed on from mother to child and like any other gene can have effects, favorable or deleterious. This shows that the mother has a special place in the genesis of the child. 

Empowerment of women 
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also emphasizes equality of sexes. 
Gender equality is a Millennium Development Goal (MDG). 

The central challenge for the global community --- to ensure a decent life and opportunities for all people, took tangible form in the Millennium Declaration of World Leaders in September 2000. This led to the Millennium Development Goals. The Goal to bring about gender equality is one of the MDGs.
Please read carefully! Here, the MDG is referring to "ensure a decent life and opportunities" because till today, in many countries, women are still unable to vote or drive a car or be considered with respect by the male members of their society. Where does it talk about religious rights? Nowhere! Pragmatically, it is dishonest to hoodwink the gullible! 

'UN Women'-further enhancement of the status of women. 
Michella Bachelet, former President of Chile is now the Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of 'UN Women'. She states that "Women across the world enjoy far greater opportunities and various forms of freedom than compared to the past. It has been a very slow and peaceful revolution underpinned by a tremendous transformation of legal rights. Almost all countries have signed international conventions signaling their commitment to outlawing discrimination against women. Nearly 140 national constitutions specifically guarantee gender equality. 

"Without a doubt, women's strength, industry and wisdom are humanity's greatest untapped resource. It is potential we simply can't afford to continue to waste. It was this recognition that led to the formation of 'UN Women', which brings together all the UN gender equality agencies under my leadership. It was our recognition that addressing the justice gap was crucial to removing the barriers to equality which made it the subject of our first report-Progress of the World's Women: In Pursuit of Justice".
Here again, women's social and economic issues are addressed. Not religious rights. Please read the article very carefully because all the evidence provided refers ONLY to social and economic rights! A religion too has RIGHTS to exist without interference from the political law and how many religious communities will the law address to adapt to change if the law infringes on religious mandates? Although the Christian women rights' group demanded their rights to conduct rituals and held protests at the Vatican, the last Pope John Paul II held firm and did NOT give in because it went against the belief and practice of the Christian religion! Which government interfered and demanded that in the US, Italy or anywhere else tha Catholics accept women priests? None! There is still religious freedom given by all govenrments in all developed countries! 

Un Secretary-General Ban- Ki-moon called July 2, 2010, a "watershed day". That was when the General Assembly approved the creation of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women - known simply as 'UN Women'. This would finally give half the world's population the high-profile platform it deserved. 
Britannia strikes a historic blow in favour of women's rights 
On October 29, 2011, 16 countries that recognize the British monarch as head of state struck a historic blow in favour of women's rights by abolishing male precedence in the order of succession to the throne. The decision to overturn the centuries-old tradition known as primogeniture was also accompanied by the scrapping of a constitutional prohibition on the monarch marrying a Roman Catholic. Prime Minister David Cameroon of UK said that these changes would sweep aside outdated rules that "just don't make sense to us any more".
Again, this primogeniture word is used to lull the gullible into awe! Read what it says! It only addresses the issue of a Protestant monarch marrying a Catholic which till now was banned in Britain! But, both sects are Christian! By no means is intermarriage or acceptence of matrilineality referred to! Please do not get taken in by all this mumbo-jumbo! The Catholic church does not permit divorce and so when Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife and remarry, Britain was "converted" from Catholic to Protestant but it is like saying a shenshai married a kadmi and therefore converted to the Kadmi sect!! Gosh, how can an educated scholar give these excuses to demand women's so-called religious rights? I wonder! 

This momentous decision was taken in Perth, Australia, where Commonwealth heads of government were holding a summit meeting. Queen Elizabeth ll who has been supportive of this move, was also present in her capacity as head of the Commonwealth, when this announcement was made. 

Supreme Court of India: "All forms of discrimination on grounds of gender is violative of fundamental freedoms and human rights" 

The Constitution of India has provided for safeguards for life and liberty and due to changing socio-economic times, the explanation and interpretation has been expanded to include all living beings. 
I refer very briefly to two judgements of the Supreme Court of India which are relevant to this discussion: 
In the case of Valsamma Paul (Mrs.) v. Cochin University, (1996) 3 SCC 545, the Supreme Court of India after considering the various Articles of the Constitution including Articles 14 and 21, the Hon. Court held that: 

"Human Rights are derived from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person. Human rights and fundamental freedoms have been reiterated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and have mutual reinforcement. The human rights for women, including girl child are, therefore, inalienable, integral and an indivisible part of universal human rights. The full development of personality and fundamental freedoms and equal participation by women in political, social, economic and cultural life are concomitants for national development, social and family stability and growth - cultural, social and economical. All forms of discrimination on grounds of gender is violative of fundamental freedoms and human rights."
Yes, do read again and again and one does not have to be a lawyer to smell a deceit. Here again, the government deals with human rights issues which involve "fundamental freedoms and equal participation by women in political, social, economic and cultural life" and refers to cultural, social and economic growth ONLY! Nowhere does it mention that the Govt. of India gives religious freedom to intermarried Hindu women to enter their sacred consecarted temples which are till today banned to the Hindu intermarried women! There will be social riots all over India IF  a law was passed which hinder a religion from being followed as per its mandated scriptures and age-old traditions! Please do not get carried away by high sounding words and demonstation of legal advice! India grants full independence to all religions to carry on with their mandated scriptural doctrines and traditions! Dr. Sayedna, the respected leader of the Bohri community, has proven so in the Supreme Court! In India there is still discrimination against women regarding the right of inheritence to her husband's property. Women are still set on fire on the issue of "dowri" and there is domestic violence. It is these socio-economic laws that are addressed as an issue of equality! No religious reforms are mentioned or will be dealt with!

In various judgements delivered by the Supreme Court of India from time to time, the Hon. Court has held that "...The world has witnessed a sea change. The right of equality of women vis-a-vis their male counterparts is accepted worldwide. It will be immoral to discriminate a woman on the ground of sex. It is forbidden both in the domestic law as also international law..." (Paras 33 and 36) John Vallamattom v. Union of India, (2003) 6 SCC 611 

In October 2011, Mr. Darius Khambatta, Additional Solicitor General of India stated that "The wife has a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India (right to life) to use any name including her married name notwithstanding the fact that her marriage has been dissolved".
Please read what Mr. Darius Khambatta, Additional Solicitor General of India states. Here again, only the wife's right regarding using any name whether or not her marriage is dissolved or not, is mentioned! She is entitled to use her married name of her maiden name. That is all! This does not refer to intermarried women's rights in favour of matrilineality on any community, at all! Take care when you read this paper! It is all golam-gol. 

Expanding rights of children 
Several Articles in the Constitution of India safeguard the rights of children. In recent months, two important decisions of the Supreme Court of India are relevant. 
On December 2, 2000, Justice Sam Bharucha, the ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India inaugurated the meeting of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India at Jamshedpur. In his address, he referred to the performance of the navjote of a child born to an intermarried Parsi mother. Inter alia he said, "...I must go on to add that the Anjumans and Punchayats should consider the admission into the faith, by the performance of the navjote, of a child born to a Parsi mother and a non Parsi father, provided such child is the product of wedlock and the father is a consenting party. I know that a judgement delivered long back by the Bombay High Court would seem to be standing in the way, but if the Anjumans and Punchayats all resolve that this is the appropriate practice to adopt and the practice is challenged on the strength of that judgement, it can, given the change in the circumstances, be over-ruled."
Even Justice Sam Bharucha, the respected ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India maintains that a judgement is delivered by the High Court of Bombay against matrilineality. Sadly, the anjumans and punchayats are encouraged to challenge this judgement and have it over-ruled! But we pray that the followers too will be heard and our traditions, rituals and age-old customs will prevail, by help from Ahura Mazda! 
Then why are some Parsis supporting gender discrimination?
Why are some knowingly disobeying religious laws and then enforce their "rights" on the community? 

This is not conversion 
Conversion and acceptance are the two sides of  a coin as very clearly pointed by Dasturji Hormazdyar Kayoji Mirza! It is only because of intermarriage that the progeny demand acceptance and then also the right of the juddin spouse/parent to be religiously accepted!

Every time an intermarried child is refused admission into the faith, it causes pain, anxiety and a sense of rejection in the confused mind of a mother. Even when her non-Parsi spouse has no objection about their child being initiated into the Zoroastrian faith, the community slams the door into her face. We should thus dismantle the barriers of insecurity for these women by upholding their rights and allow their children to be admitted into our fold. If we allow a child of an intermarried Parsi woman into the Zoroastrian fold, it cannot be termed as 'conversion'---this is 'acceptance'. 
There are some who contend that in other patriarchal societies, the children of intermarried girls are not accepted. This does not help our case. This argument does not hold good because of the drastically dwindling population of our community. The problem of numbers is not so acute in other communities.
Of course this helps our case regarding numbers! The remedy proposed is worst than the dwindling numbers! As it has been stated again and again and by many, even by Dasturji Dabu that if a glass is half filled with milk and if we add water to increase the level, what will we have? Neither pure milk nor water but BOTH will be diluted and mixed! So, to address the depleting numbers a hara-kiri is proposed and our numbers did become zero in communities in Europe and China and elsewhere where "acceptance" was practised! We have never been a large community since the past millennium. Numbers do NOT count where quality and survival are at stake! There are many microscopic communities in North America itself who do not accept any outsiders, not even Christians into their fold although all Christians hold Lord Jesus Christ to be their Prophet! Endangered species are never interbred but only within their own sub-species as in the endangered species of birds (condors) and animals (white tigers)! The mixture of two species of tigers, white with the other tigers does not produce white tigers! Any human progeny too inherits two religions, cultures and social norms. To them, there is no pride in being affiliated or identified with any one group! They do not look at others at "them" and "us" but only as one world society. But these good folks need to consider if the one world economy and trade rules have benefitted our financial position throughout the world or brought the whole world on the brink of bankruptsy and financial crisis! The same is applicable to religious orders too because religion is not a system of democracy but being revealed, is meant to be followed by putting aside the interest of a few in the greater interset of the survival of the many, i.e. a religious community's survival! Our religion teaches about the One World Community as the Universal Brotherhood of Ardafravash to which we all belong to but yet, we respect the rights of all other religions to exist and respect the diversity in Nature which is Willed by the Almighty Himself! Are we all really the same or should we celebrate the differences and accept these with grace and wisdom? 

Let us not forget that when Mr. R. D. Tata who was the father of the late Mr. J. R. D. Tata evinced a desire to marry a French lady, Suzanne Briere, it was the learned High Priest, Dastur Kaikhooshroo Jamaspji who performed her Navjote ceremony. 
Moreover it is a known fact that although Sir Ness Wadia, father of Mr. Neville Wadia was a born Zoroastrian, he converted to Christianity through the Church of England and Married a Christian lady by following Christian rites. Their son Mr. Neville Wadia who was baptized in the Church of England, till the age of 80 years he remained a Christian. Later when he wished to become a Zoroastrian, his Navjote was performed although he had a non-Parsi mother and a father who had converted to Christianity! 
In this context, there was a letter written by the late Dasturji Dr. Hormazdiar Mirza and Dasturji Dr. Kaikhushroo JamaspAsa wherein a reason for the performance of this Navjote was mentioned. They considered this as an exception. Why should religious injunctions be so flexibly interpreted? Why should our scriptures be interpreted to suit the convenience of a millionaire (who was a Christian for 80 years of his life and had a non-Parsi mother) and the same right be denied to a child of a Parsi mother who has been practising Zoroastrianism all her life?
It is truly sad that the "exception" did not remain so as is normally the practice! It becomes the norm! Also, no intermarried can claim he/she is practising the religion when the very mandate of NOT marrying out is thrown to the winds! This should also be taken into account! Religion must hold first preference in one's life and that is why even the pious lady Jebai Wadia did not ever accept her son Sir Ness as a Parsi Zrathushti! Even her written Will is disregarded!

On October 7, 2011, the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway, recognized the brave deeds of three remarkable women by awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to them. They are Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. They leave behind a legacy of inspiration for future generations. Ban-ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General said, "This award could not be better chosen. It underscores the role that women play in the advancement of peace and security, development and human rights". 

Through this selection, the Nobel Prize Committee has acknowledged that given equal opportunities in governance and development, women pull others - children, families, more women - into an expanding circle of benefits that encompasses education, healthcare, employment and peace. One empowered woman empowers many other people, functioning as she does in an interlocking system of kinship and societal links. Empowered women mean empowered Societies. Women have been agents of not only social but also political change as can be seen in the important role they have played in the Arab Spring. In some cases they have led their countries in the capacity of presidents or prime ministers.
Definitely! But throughout this whole paper women's social and economic rights are addressed! Where is religion mentioned or religious rights of women who disobey and get intermarried? Scripturally, even the men are forbidden! Our religion is NOT bound to accept even intermarried men as this law is an Obiter as well! This is why the followers wish to be left in peace to follow their religion WITHOUT any alterations or enforced changes! 

Another interesting development has helped in dismantling what may be described as the last and most formidable gender barrier. Under its new policy introduced by the Australian government in September 2011, women can join the military in any role they choose --- including combat roles. This was for decades regarded strictly as a male preserve. Thus Australia has now joined three other countries---Israel, Canada and New Zealand in allowing women to join front-line combatants. 

Zarathushti women too have held prominent positions in various fields of their specialization. These trailblazers have now taken up the profession of priestesses in Iran which is welcome news. Close on the heels of this, was the heart-warming news from the Karachi Parsi Anjuman Trust Fund (KPATF) granting equal rights for intermarried Zoroastrians. Let us in India take a cue from them and not ostracize intermarried Parsi women.
Some friends have been categorically told by the President of the Karachi Anjuman that no such "equal" rights are given to women. This news needs to be confirmed in writing by the President himself! And even if correct, all do not have to follow the mistake of some! 

Demographically, the community hangs by a thread due to our fast depleting numbers. Every year, there are far higher number of deaths than births. The writing on the wall is clear, that we are going down a slippery slope. Since the very survival of the community is at stake, we should welcome every child of an intermarried Parsi mother into our fold, especially when the non-Parsi husband is a consenting party.
What? By adding water to milk and diluting both? Do consider that we have survived as a religious community against ALL odds ONLY because we followed our religion, its customs, traditions, rituals and scriptures without altering these!
Today, we live in a world which is in rapid transformation. In India, judicial activism has played a crucial role in socio-economic and cultural transformation. I conclude by quoting from the above judgement of justice Ganguly of the Supreme Court of India which is relevant to our discussion: "With changing social norms of legitimacy in every society, including ours, what was illegitimate in the past may be legitimate today. The concept of legitimacy stems from social consensus, in the shaping of which various social groups play a vital role. Very often, a dominant group loses its primacy over other groups in view of ever-changing socio-economic scenario and the consequential vicissitudes in human relationship. Law takes its own time to articulate such social changes through a process of amendment. That is why in a changing society, law cannot afford to remain static".
Yes, again and again, what is harped upon is the SOCIO-ECONOMIC scenario that needs to be changed in India for women of other communities who are still being discriminated against, set on fire, be subjected to domestic violence and deprived of their economic rights! SHOW one instance where religious reforms are mentioned! Nowhere! Because India gives full freedom to every religion to follow its own mandated disciplines!
Thank you for your time but do NOT get carried away by these high-sounding statements and legal threats! Ahura Mazda is the Best Judge of all! There IS Divine Justice which is immutable and no exceptions are ever made! Such is His Law!
All words in BLUE by Mrs. Pervin Mistry.
All other words by Dr. Homi Dhalla.