Saturday, November 15, 2008

Liberal USA Zoroastrians admit InterMarriage is destroying the community

To all Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis

Please find below an editorial from "USHTA", the March-June 2008 issue
of the newsletter published by Zoroastrian Studies, Mumbai.

The editorial provides very interesting reading and offers an
intriguing analogy, highlighting some very major issues being faced by
our community, as well as shedding light upon the various roles played
by many in our community, including the Parsi Press mainly in Mumbai.

The reasons for distributing this particular piece of writing are
two-fold. First, it offers a different perspective and is an
admirable attempt to make the community aware of some of the
happenings in the background of the community politics. Secondly, a
more important reason for sharing this information is so that persons
of influence and community leaders from the entire Parsi/Irani
Zarthoshti community worldwide are able to reflect with sound wisdom,
courage, and a gracious spirit, and undertake cooperative action
towards genuinely promoting Unity, Peace and Harmony amongst
Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis.

After all, to reiterate what has been said before, let us focus and
channel our energies towards working constructively and
collaboratively on the 80% or more issues that the community is in
agreement with, as opposed to engaging in divisive and destructive
words and actions in an attempt to promote the 20% or less of issues
that the community differs on. It is especially necessary and
incumbent upon the entire community and particularly those in
positions of influence to follow this route, in order to reassure and
renew the hope for the young members of the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti
community.

Let us all commit to putting a decisive STOP to the "Bushkazi" game
and collectively strive towards enhancing the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti
experience for our youth and towards bringing about Unity, Peace and
Harmony within our cherished community.


Please feel free to share this with other Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis you
may know. Thank-you.


Hushtasp R. Bhumgara


EDITORIAL

Playing Bushkazi with the Parsi Irani Community

Bushkazi is a sport played in various forms across Central Asia, the
North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is
favoured for its dexterity, the exhilarating pace and the adrenaline
rush it gives, by the swift wheeling in of the horses, exhibiting the
skills of the rider and the powerful control he displays over the
horse he rides. It's a man's game, women players are unheard of. The
focus of the game is usually the decapitated head of a goat or its
carcass, which becomes the "Polo ball" and it is prodded, pushed and
picked up at full gallop and flung towards the goal post.

The bizarre object of the sport, and the cheers it brings from the
bystanders who come to watch the riders, completes the effect. But it
is after all a man's game, macabre and machismo to the finish,
non-productive in the achievement of its end goal, serving little
purpose except to establish the domination of man over speed, horses
and a goat's carcass. The winning team is served pilaf with meat
taken from the decapitated goat - the reward for winning the game.
The parallels between the bushkazi game and the big power pushers in
the Parsi Irani community are plenty.

Just as a game of Bushkazi is arranged and a goat chosen to be
decapitated so also are controversies in the community chosen, created
and nurtured and a scapegoat identified, in order to be pummeled and
vilified, so that a few in positions of power get their moment of
glory and satisfy their need to dominate and make money. The ante is
stepped up and the community is kept at a constant pressure point,
ready to burst. Then suddenly, people who have been attacking each
other for months and vilifying each other while enjoying the blood
letting, come to a compromise and principles loudly touted, are
abandoned and all that remains, is that a few usually get rich and
even more powerful.

The BPP over the last three years has been slapped with article 41-D
under the Charity Commissioners Act, accused of jailable offences
(with facts and figures in the Parsi Press) of having misused
community assets, of nepotism in allocation of houses, of being in
breach of duty as trustees and of making an unholy mess of the
doongerwadi. Suddenly after subjecting the community to years of
abuse and intemperate language the situation is defused by the Parsi
media, the controversies are no more – slumbering to be resurrected
for another time. A dishonourable peace is bought, with both parties
benefiting. A compromise to the detriment of the community and its
many trusts is often worked out. Documents which should not be signed
are signed and the community is the eventual loser. Involved in this
name game are not just trustees but members of the Parsi press as well
and once the individual game plan is achieved all is once more at
peace. The permanent loser is the community which is the 'goat's
head' to be prodded, thrown, bandied and then discarded, at the cost
of the community's reputation and history.

Interfaith Marriages and the Parsiana Journal:

An overview of the various community controversies played out in the
last 25 years, indicates that it swings between 3 or 4 major issues.
The dakhmas, conversion, interfaith marriages and their progeny, and
trust properties. At the crux of all these is interfaith marriages.
Beginning with R.D. Tata's marriage to a French woman – certainly not
the first Parsi to marry out, but his case became a cause celebre in
1903, because of who he was and because, through the power and
position of the Tatas, they were able to overcome community laws,
priestly reservation and basically cock a snook at religious laws, to
go ahead with their choosing. That line of R. D. Tata, died with JRD
Tata's death and the turmoil that the community was put through, in
retrospect some say, served little purpose for the Tata family itself.
But what it did do, was it encouraged others in the community, to
break with the long held customs and traditions of our ancestors.
Today this approach has given rise to an almost evangelical approach
to admitting non-Zoroastrians, a position taken by many in the North
American community, who have over the last quarter of a century,
welcomed the hybridization of the community and syncretization of the
religion, by encouraging such marriages with the hope that we as a
community will go forth and multiply.

In India the policy followed by Parsiana the community journal, has
over the years become far more radical in its approach than that
followed by the Fezana journal in North America. At times, Parsiana
seems to raise high to the roof and extol the value of marriages out
of the community, almost as if it is the ideal to achieve by every
Parsi and Irani and that by not marrying out, the rest of the
community is somehow not being good Zoroastrians.

Parsiana's main stay in their argument in favour of children of
interfaith marriages and conversions, has been that it will prevent
the religion from dying out by creating more Zoroastrians. The fact
that there are already thousands if not millions in the world who
claim they are practising Zoroastrians, having converted to the faith
is ignored.

That the numbers of those having converted to Zoroastrianism are not
taken into account by Parsiana in the demography of the Zoroastrian
community worldwide, given their reformist stand, is puzzling. If
Parsiana includes and accepts these new converts, as per their own
reformist stand, then surely the religion is in absolutely no danger
at all, of dying out. In fact it is the original Parsi Irani
community which is in danger of being marginalized and taken over.

The real truth, difficult as it is to swallow, is not the fall in the
number of Zoroastrians, but the supposed decline in the members
forming the Parsi Irani community. But in the spin doctoring, that is
often created in community politics, it is easy to lose sight of
reality and therefore Parsiana's constant propaganda, to increase the
number of Zoroastrians in the community, is in effect the
non-recognition of the number of Zoroastrian converts in the world who
have already beaten Parsiana to the finish line.

This suggests, that Parsiana is either missing out on the pulse of
what is happening in the world, or that reality for Parsiana, is
limited and shaped only by what is happening within the microcosmic
Parsi community of India and not by the numerous Zoroastrian converts
who follow the faith worldwide.

Parsiana must either decide that it accepts conversions as a valid way
to become Zoroastrian and if so then they must accept that the world
population is not on the decline but rather on the increase, or it has
to believe that we need to increase the number of "ethnic Parsis and
Iranis" and this cannot be done through conversion or the children of
Parsi women married to non-Zoroastrians. This simple logic escapes
the editor of Parsiana.

"Inter-faith Marriages Are Destroying the Community" – Rohinton Rivetna.

In India, impetus to conversion has been given greater force only in
the last ten years, while North American Zoroastrians have been
actively encouraging inter-faith marriages and the assimilation of
children of such marriages for over three decades. Since the 1980s a
galaxy of the old guard now in their 70s and 80s Adi Davar, Kaikhosrow
Irani, Lovji Cama, Rohinton Rivetna, Dolly Dastoor, Firdosh Mehta,
Jehan Bagli and amongst the Iranians, the late Rustam Sarfeh, Farhang
Meher, Dariush Irani and Dr. Anooshirvani have all promoted this
vision of a community which must grow through interfaith marriages, in
North America.

They have together as a community, sanctioned, praised and encouraged
all such marriages for over twenty five years and have relished the
marginalization of the brow beaten and often inarticulate,
traditionalists of North America. So much so, that it became a
cardinal sin for a traditionalist to even voice an opinion or uphold
one's views in public. Dissent meant, ostracism so effectively
practised, that no traditionalists would be invited anywhere. Shunned
from society and left with no choice, many middle of the road North
Americans, either withdrew from Zoroastrian Associations, or fell into
line – the power base was liberal and the attitude typically American
– "If you are not with us – you are against us".

But something strange is happening in North America today. Most
children who are the progeny of inter-faith couples were welcomed over
the years, with open arms by the "Zoroastrian" community, in North
America. Their children's navjotes were done by the priests, they
attended jashans, all religious ceremonies and community functions and
even their weddings to non-Zoroastrians, were done by Parsi Priests.
However, many of these inter-married couples, have today drifted away
and broken their link with the Parsi Irani community in North America.
One old timer from North America moaned recently, and asked, "What
did we do wrong, we welcomed them for everything, but now after
marriage, these kids have distanced themselves. They never come to
our classes and don't even come for the NoRuz function".

This was brought home to the Parsis and the Iranis by none other than
Rohinton Rivetna the founder member of Fezana and ex-President of the
Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago, who spoke in January
at the annual "Round Table Conference" in Dadar.

One of the topics of the Round Table Conference, was "Inter-faith
Marriages". When some orthodox members, objected to the inclusion of
such a topic, others intervened and said there was nothing wrong in
discussing it. (As if for the last 25 years the issue of inter-faith
marriages has not been discussed with crippling and divisive
intensity).

Rohinton Rivetna, stood up to make the opening remarks and what he
said left community members gasping with shock and abruptly brought to
an end, the topic of Inter-faith marriages. He said and we quote,
"Inter-faith marriages are destroying our community. Even though we
performed the navjotes of children born of such inter-faith marriages
in North America, yet they have drifted away and do not stay within
the fold". Rivetna must be given credit for being brave enough to
speak the truth when he has been one of the original architects of the
assimilation theory. He is the first North American official who has
had the courage to put in words what many have suspected for a long
time. Despite the North American community's enthusiasm and devotion
towards children of interfaith marriages, why has this happened?

Perhaps it is because, our numbers are small and it's easier to fall
into the ways, customs, traditions and religion of the host culture,
especially if our own religious base is weak. Perhaps we as a
community are just too "weird" (to quote an American teenager) for a
child with a divided heritage to take on as his own. The reasons are
many and solutions are not discernable. So as things stand we will
continue to thrash our culture, customs and traditions to make it fit
our personal needs and the more we do it, using the usual sledge
hammer approach, the more youth will be turned away and none more than
the children of mixed marriages. Perhaps for too long, we have been
telling our kids that Zoroastrianism is only about good thoughts,
words and deeds and if that is a truism one wishes to promote in
America or in India, then such a religion can in effect be followed
anywhere, anytime and even within the paradigm of a different religion
and this is something to give thought to.

So if we take cognizance of what a founder member of Fezana and a well
respected figure of the Chicago Metropolitan Association has said,
this should be an eye opener to all who are looking to encourage
inter-faith marriages. This is a lesson in the making for AIMZ ARZ
AZA FEZANA JAME-JAMSHED MUMBAI SAMCHAR PARSIANA and all individuals
who are now at this late stage in India, embarking upon a step, taken
by North American Zoroastrians 30 years ago. The results of this have
been amply brought to the fore by Rohinton Rivetna at the Round Table
Conference when he said, "Inter-faith marriages are destroying the
community".

Perhaps it's time to stop playing bushkazi with the community, because
pulling and pushing the community in many directions will eventually
cause more damage and hurt it beyond repair and then the rebuilding of
it, may prove to be nigh impossible.

The multiple fractures caused in the community by controversial issues
are the following: The conversion mania by those who see too little
and know even less of the religion and history, housing and its
related problems and issues of selling of trust lands with little
money going back to the trusts; The building of grandiose luxury
flats on community lands meant for the poor and giving flats away at
discounted prices to the rich and at the same time, disenfranchising
the poor and sending them to live in Vashi and Vasai, leaving our
Parsi schools, colleges and hospitals empty and under-utilized. The
doongerwadi and the dakhmas being "bushkazied" for years out of a
determined, assuaging of self interest, and trees at the doongerwadi
and in Parsi colonies, being mercilessly hacked. All this gives the
impression of a community which is up for grabs by those wielding
money and power.

If a roll call of the major players of the community is taken, the
traditionalists, the orthodox, the Khshnoomists, the liberals or the
Ultra reformists, what clearly stands out is the fact, that they
cannot set aside their desire of personal gain for the sake of the
community and above all do not have the strength to discern and
analyze the problems faced by the community nor the intellectual
rigour to come up with solutions. We are constantly reminded of our
small numbers and this is a problem, for the real danger is, that
because the "pool" is small, not many can come to the fore to solve
the problems or even be able to see the problems, unless it affects
them personally.

There is a need to do a comprehensive anthropological and sociological
study of the dilemmas faced by a tiny community such as ours and
analyze the actions taken by the community and compare its responses
with smallness in size. There is therefore a need to create a pool of
intellectuals from the Parsi community and various non-Zoroastrian
communities and ask them to help us. Again if someone takes up this
idea, then the danger is that in all likelihood, it will be filled by
the very Parsis who have actively been bent on destroying the
community and then we will be back where we are today, playing a game
of bushkazi with a community that has willingly decapitated itself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zoroastrian Matrimonial page

Traditional Zarathushtri friends,

It is very nice to know that our youth are so full of the Traditional
love for our
religion, culture and identity, the same love that so enveloped our forefathers
who left everything behind in Iran in order to preserve and protect the sacred
Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion of their forefathers.

We do not convert, we do not force our religion on the throat of others.
The main thing we can do to increase our numbers is to marry, Zoroastrian
to Zoroastrian only, and to raise children who too wear the Sudrehn Kusti
and in their daily pravers invoke the ancient powers of the Avestan Mathravani.

To those of you seeking to marry fellow Zarathustris, wherever you may
be on the world, please create your entry on the Zoroastrian
Matrimonial page at :

http://zoroastrianism.com/Main.html

We have more than 2000 Zarathushtris from all over the world on
the page and more than 150 marriages between our people
have taken place over the years due to this site. This is the
first Zoroastrian Matrimony site, started 10 years ago as a
community service, and it is totally free even in this day
and age when other commercial services like Shaadi.com
charge 1500Rs for every 3 months. We are free.

These other services like Shaadi.com of course allow
other races/religions to find the entries of our people,
and then our young men and women are contacted
by these other races/religions. Not so in the Zoroastrian
Matrimonial page, which is only for our precious community.

Funded entirely by donations and our personal pockets, the page,
using a database costing 340$ Australian per year,
is not sponsored by any Parsi/Irani organization.

This shows how our community, due to their group rivalries
and petty jealousies and politics, have forgotten the core
importance of this Matrimonial activity, and the basic
"do good to others for the sake of goodness" teaching
of our religion in this day and age.

Please let your Zarathustri friends about the page.

Regards,

Porus.

Friday, November 7, 2008

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR ZOROASTRIAN YOUTH IN MUMBAI

Hi folks,

This is a pivotal moment for us as a community. With one in every 3
Parsis marrying outside the fold, raging debates on every issue from
dokhmenashin to mixed marriages, and soul-dead iconoclasts tinkering
with our traditions, the future of the next generation of Parsi/irani
Zarthostis looks bleak. Most of these mindless debates are a product
of our flagrant ignorance.

There is an urgent need to create a mass cultural awareness program,
and educate the next generation of Parsis about our beautiful
religion, our glorious history & culture. A need to bring our brethren
closer to their roots.

It is with this vision, that Khojeste Mistree and 'Zoroastrian
Studies' have started an educational program for the youth. All you
have to do is devote ONE HOUR in a week, and attend this seminar. This
is NOT going to be a boring lecture for an audience in the 70+ age
group. It is a highly interactive seminar specially designed for a
young crowd.

At the end of this program, we hope to gather enough volunteers to
start a much wider educational campaign, targeted for pre-navjote
kids/pre-teens, across all baughs and colonies. We are fortunate to
have an army of world renowned scholars in the traditionalist camp,
who are ready to share their knowledge for FREE. All we have to do is
take the first step.

The first meet is on 20th November (Thursday) at 7:30 pm. Venue:
Shaanazeen bldg., Khareghat colony, Hughes Road. Subsequent meets will
be held over the weekends, after a general consensus on timing is
taken, so as to suit everyone's time-table.

To count yourself in, or for any further info, shoot us a mail at
madon.zubin@gmail.com or heminbharucha@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations Ltr # 7 To Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis for BPP elections

From: Hushtasp Bhumgara
Date: Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 2:26 PM
Subject: Congratulations Ltr # 7 To Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis for BPP elections

October 22, 2008

Fellow Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis,

As many of you may already be aware, the Bombay Parsee Punchayet (BPP)
election results have finally been announced and are as follows:

Arnavaz Mistry (10030 votes) - Independent

Dinshaw Mehta (6791 votes) - Independent

Jimmy Mistry (6588 votes) - Independent

Khojeste Mistree (5292 votes) - WAPIZ

Yazdi Desai (5101 votes) - WAPIZ

Rustom Tirandaz (4790 votes) - Independent

Noshir Dadrawala (4681 votes) - AFP

Thanks to the collective good minds and wisdom of those who voted, the
voice of the majority of the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti community has come
across loud and clear, to follow the path of tradition and respect
genuine scholarship. The ideology of the liberal reformists was
clearly rejected, as was the biased agenda of the Parsi press.

The time has now arrived for the entire community to unite and be
supportive to the newly elected BPP Trustees. The wounds that were
inadvertently and/or deliberately inflicted especially during the time
period of these elections need to be healed.

The image of the community and the BPP has been greatly tarnished in
these elections, and all efforts should be made to work
collaboratively and respectfully towards the greater good of the
community.

The new trustees of the BPP will need the community's support to
fulfill different aspects of their manifestos and vision, and will
need to be held accountable.

The needs of the elderly and less fortunate as well as the youth of
the community need to be served in a responsible and dignified manner.

In the interest of Unity, Peace and Harmony, the Parsi/Irani
Zarthoshti community not only in Mumbai but worldwide should come to
the conclusion that there is more in common amongst us than what
divides us.

Let us focus on the eighty percent (or more) of issues that unite us
and work cohesively, rather than emphasizing and battling over the
twenty percent (or less) of issues that divide us.

With new and hopefully wiser leadership from the BPP as well as
consulting with the learned High Priests on matters pertaining to
religion, the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti community should continue to work
amicably and respectfully on the uniting issues and move forward
towards the upliftment of our community and preservation of our
religion and traditions.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the newly elected BPP trustees!

May they be guided by Ahura Mazda to serve the community honourably
and diligently, and restore the good and noble reputation that has
been enjoyed by the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti community.

Yours truly,

Hushtasp R. Bhumgara C.E.T.

Toronto Canada

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Letter # 5 to Parsi Irani Zarthoshti Re BPP Elections‏

From: Hushtasp Bhumgara
Date: 2008/9/30
Subject: Letter # 5 to Parsi Irani Zarthoshti Re BPP Elections‏

September 30, 2008

Fellow Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis

This is the fifth and last e-letter before the Bombay Parsee Punchayet
(BPP) elections take place starting on October 4, 2008.

Once again, I humbly encourage the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis residing in
Mumbai to exercise your franchise, and make your VOTE count.

I feel I owe an explanation about why I have chosen to voice and share
my opinions. First and foremost, I am a Parsi Zarthoshti and I am a
Canadian.

Canadians also support democracy and strive to promote peace.

It would be GREAT if the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti community in Mumbai
could deliver a strong message to the AFP in particular, by not
supporting any of their endorsed candidates. Yes they may have
impressive resumes, however do they really have what is required in
the position of a BPP trustee?

Your support for the WAPIZ Team and three other independents whose
viewpoints generally concur with the WAPIZ Team's Vision for the BPP,
will ensure that the new Board of BPP trustees can work cooperatively
to serve the community.

Help WAPIZ to Preserve the Past, and Protect the Future. Your children
and future generations will thank you.

Help to bring in STRONG LEADERSHIP for our community, and show the
strength of traditionalism and solidarity of the Mumbai community to
the rest of the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis living elsewhere.

Send a strong message to the Liberal Reformist Parsi press that their
meddling in BPP affairs and biased reporting will not be tolerated.
Let them know that the brave, well-informed and independent-thinking
Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti living in Mumbai will not be that easily
influenced and subverted.

Help to Protect and Preserve what has been specially endowed to the
Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti community of Mumbai.

Please – Vote for the WAPIZ Team plus Three independent candidates,
and help to begin an era of harmonious and honest leadership for our
community.

Yours truly,

Hushtasp R. Bhumgara C.E.T.

Toronto Canada

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Roadmap for our religion - as per the intentions of the destructive reformists

We wish and pray that all make the right decision in the BPP elections, and
our religion will definitely be the beneficiary. Our religion is too ancient,
too precious, and all of us do not like to see our fire temples being thrown
open to all and sundry, our dakhmas being closed down, and the recently
falsely converted people from abroad control our religion in India. This is
the roadmap if WAPIZ is not supported at this critical juncture.

There is a precedent in history - the teachings of Christ were originally only for the Jews, Paul of Tarsus threw the gates open to gentiles in Greece, and after the Roman massacre of Jerusalem, the new converts from abroad became the majority of the followers of Christ, and they created a new religion, divorcing themselves from the laws of the Jews. They then went on to convert the whole world, and the adherents, diverting from the teachings of Christ,  destroyed a lot of other people and cultures in the process. Religious wars are seen even today between the people who believe in conversion.

This is what the reformists hope will become to our ancient religion.
This is why these people want our ancient race to die out (God forbid).
That is why the outsiders like ali are always happy when they see
Traditionals not marrying.

The designs of these liberals will never be allowed by the Holy Fravashis and
the Yazatas who have never blessed such destructive intents.
Only good intenetions will be blessed by the Fravashis, and
Wapiz has the best intentions for our religion. The Holy Fravashis
and the Yazatas will bless Wapiz, the preservers of our religion,
with success. Amin, Amin, Amin,

The very act of reform is bad if it is destroying our ancient
community = which intermarriage and conversion definitely will.

The Orthodox may be rough and tough in their talk and behaviour, like
uncut diamonds, but their hearts are good, they are the preservers
of our ancient religion. The Fravashis of our forefathers will always
bless them.

Reformists may be refined, posh and highly-educated, they may be rich
and hobnobbing with the most powerful in society and have fantastic
business networks, they may be driving around in
expensive cars and dining in 5-star hotels and living in bungalows or
penthouses, in short their lifestyles may be impressive and
eye-catching, BUT their intentions are destructive
so far as our ancient religion goes. So what is the use of all the
former, if there is no intention to preserve DHARMA - which
is the sacred duty of we Aryans?

Their destructive intentions will not be blessed by the Holy Fravashis
- our Yashts mention this repeatedly that destructive intentions
will not be blessed by the Yazatas and Fravashis.

Dadar Ahura Mazda is the Creator, DADARI. The evil one is the
destroyer - marochinidari.

This is from the Ardibehest Yasht Nirang.

An apple, highly polished, may not be ideal in the core. You cannot make out from the external appearance or behaviour of a person as to who or what he or she really is. Look at the "intentions" of the person - whether he or she wants to "preserve" or "destroy", and you will realize which side of the fight between good and evil the person is on.

We should use this as our "touchstone" - then we will know if we are
doing the right thing, or the wrong thing.

LetterTo Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis for BPP Elections

From: Hushtasp Bhumgara
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 10:40 PM
Subject: LetterTo Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis for BPP Elections

*****Please forward to people you may know especially in Mumbai*****

September 23, 2008

Fellow Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis

This is the fourth e-letter. I wish to summarize, especially for the
Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis in Mumbai who will be voting in the Bombay
Parsee Punchayet (BPP) Elections.

Some key facts remain:

1. Any proposed changes to the Dokhma system may invoke the
involvement of the government. That could potentially lead to loss of
the land presently managed under trust by the BPP. This Heritage needs
to be preserved.

2. If the Parsi/Irani identity is disconnected from the
Zoroastrian religion, among other unfavourable repercussions, it could
also lead to the potential exploitation of housing and other
privileges that have been allocated for the special use by Parsi/Irani
Zarthoshtis.

The BPP requires some honest, dedicated people in the Trusteeship positions.

By one of their own founder's admission, NONE of the AFP "Dream-7" had
the slightest aspiration or ambition to become a trustee. WHY then,
this sudden change of heart?

Although their resumes may be quite impressive, and many of their
names may be linked to well-known Parsi Zoroastrians of the glorious
past, can we REALLY TRUST and rely on any of these AFP-7 individuals,
to truly and diligently work for the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis?

The only team that will make the time, has the experience, a proven
track record, and genuine dedication to serve the community, AND is
committed to strengthen and preserve our environmentally sound and
doctrinally correct Dokhmenashini system, as well as preserve the
Parsi/Irani Zarthoshti identity and heritage, IS the WAPIZ Team.

Are changes necessary? Most certainly! It is IMPORTANT however, to
seek the right kind of changes. By casting your vote for the WAPIZ
Team, you can help to end an era of past nepotism and mis-management
in the BPP, and effect GOOD CHANGE through the responsible and
efficient management of the apex body of our community, by a new team
of BPP Trustees.

Please make your VOTE count – Vote for the WAPIZ Team.

Thank-you for your time and attention.

Yours truly,

Hushtasp R. Bhumgara C.E.T.

Toronto Canada

Email:- hbhumgara@hotmail.com
________________________________

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The WAPIZ team & Letter from Dastur Nadirshah P. Unvalla

From: WAPIZ
Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 3:44 PM
Subject: The WAPIZ team & Letter from Dastur Nadirshah P. Unvalla


READ A LETTER SENT BY Dastur Nadirshah P. Unvalla

25 August 2008

The President,
World Alliance of Parsi and Irani Zarthoshtis
Framjee Cawasjee Institute, 1 st floor,
Opp. Metro Cinema,
Dhobi Talao,
Mumbai 400 002

Dear Mr. Khambatta,

I have read the notice of the election of BPP Trustees by Adult Franchise.

The Parsis came to India to preserve their religion and the ethnicity
of the Community instead of succumbing to the Arab onslaught. Since
centuries, we, the descendents of those who sacrificed so much to save
our great Religion, have acted to preserve these two aims.

Now is the time we need to ensure that the candidates for Trusteeship
of the BPP are totally and unequivocally committed to preserving our
ancient customs, traditions and rituals. Our unique system of disposal
of the dead by the use of the Dokhmenashini is not something that can
just be changed at the whims and fancies of a few self styled "elite"
persons. In this regard, I commend WAPTZ for having the dedication to
very clearly state that they totally endorse the system of
Dokhmenashini.

We cannot allow the Trusteeship to fall into the hands of persons who,
though highly educated and qualified in their individual fields, are
quite illiterate and inept in matters of religion.

A very important anecdote can be read from the letter J had addressed
to the BPP to be read out at the condolence meeting for Late Field
Marshall S. H. F. J. Manekshaw, (which was not read out).

When the Field Marshal retired from service and settled in Conoor
(near Ooty), J was asked to perform a Jashan in his house, to which he
had invited a host of friends. Being an orthodox priest who does not
perform Jashans in the presence of Non-Parsees, I humbly requested the
Field Marshal to invite his guests after the Jashan ceremony was
concluded. His reply struck me with its profound humility. He said,
"In the army I may be an important person, but when it comes to
religious matters, I will respect your request." He then immediately
instructed his secretary to inform the guests to come a little later.

I wholeheartedly back the panel of nominees for BPP Trusteeship
supported by WAPIZ in their endeavour to serve the Community.

I pray to Ahura Mazda to guide the Community in this hour of need.

Dastur Nadirshah P. Unvalla

Protecting the Trust, Preserving the Traditions

From: Dinshaw Mehta
Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 2:32 PM
Subject: Protecting the Trust, Preserving the Traditions


Dear Humdin,

I am contesting for the Trusteeship of the BPP and have enclosed by
statement and vision for the future. I have served the BPP honestly
and diligently the past 14 years, spending 4 to 5 hours every working
day meeting the poor of our community as well as on the affairs of the
BPP.

I have intimate knowledge of issues concerning the community such as
housing, education, youth affairs and community welfare.
My statement and vision for the future is comprehensive and not only
focuses on the work done but provides a roadmap for the development. I
would be grateful if you could take a little time and go through my
website http://www.dinshawmehta.com

It includes my message, manifesto, past record of service to the
community as well as my future vision.

Thanking you

Dinshaw Rusi Mehta

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An open communication to Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis to Traditionalist people

From: Hushtasp Bhumgara
Date: Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 3:16 AM
Subject: An open communication to Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis to Traditionalist people

September 8, 2008

An open communication to Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis

 

Especially those residing in Mumbai and hopefully have registered to vote for the Bombay Parsee Punchyet (BPP) trusteeship elections.

 

Please do VOTE.

 

This is especially true for the Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis who identify themselves as Traditionalists, Orthodox or basically stand for preserving the traditions and practices which have been endowed upon our community, for over a millennium.

 

United we stand divided we fall.

 

There are wolves in sheep's clothing in this election, mainly candidates comprising of the Adult Franchise for Progress (AFP) panel; especially those who seek to take a soft line of appeasement, like Nadir Modi and Noshir Dadrawalla; there are some independents as well.

 

This is not the time for the true Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis, especially amongst the conservative ranks to be divided on any issues.  That is exactly what the reformists are counting on, divide and conquer.

 

There will be no Zarthoshti Religion left to speak off as we presently know it, if the AFP candidates get elected.

 

The truly committed to the religion candidates in this election (in alphabetical order) are Ms. Shirin Choksey, Yazdi Desai, Bomi Kavina and Khojeste P. Mistree, the Defender of Dokhmenishini for the last 10 years.

 

Vote for the WAPIZ Team of 4 candidates, fellow Parsi/Irani Zarthoshtis so that we can trust and preserve what you have as well as get change where it is most needed in the management of the BPP.  All 4 of these candidates are committed to management and educational changes for the betterment of the community.  All these candidates, with conviction, believe in fair Housing allotment, proposed subsidized medical privileges for seniors, religious education and above all strengthening the process of dokhmenishini by bringing back the vultures.  All these candidates have a track record for community service and they are persons of high intellect and integrity

This WAPIZ Team is endorsed by our community's most Learned Scholar High Priests of Mumbai Dastur (Dr.) Kaikhusroo M. JamaspAsa and Dastur (Dr.) Firoze M. Kotwal.

 

This is your Team of 4 who will make the Time, work with dedication and have a track record of community service over the years

 

VOTE FOR THE WAPIZ TEAM, and give them the chance and opportunity to guide the community to a new dawn, for a better tomorrow.


Hushtasp R. Bhumgara
Toronto, Canada

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NOSHIR - May the Prodigal Son return home

Noshir,

You must realize this is a ploy by the liberals to divide the Traditional vote. 
Nauzer is right, you are being used as a pawn by the liberals. Please stand
up to them and remove yourself from their company and do not let their 
plan succeed in any way.

Forget the pomp and splendour of these rich people - you will be happier
eating simple Chappatis with your DeenParast HumDeen rather than
eat in five-star hotels with rich people who are against the basic 
tenets of our religion that our forefathers had preserved for 
thousands of years. 

The rich men's five-star dishes are tasteless if the rich men are
working against the divine religion they have been born in.
What is the use of all their learning, all their riches, all their
intelligence, if they use it in this way to work against our divine
religion? They should use all this in a good way, and not to
make converts of other God-given religions. Surely you realize
that conversion is wrong and anyone who propagates it is
wrong and is surely leading the world to ruin with wars
of religious conversion. Look at the sorry state of the world
today outside the five-star hotels.

Do not associate anymore with these people. As the Prodigal 
son came back in Christ's tale, come back to the arms of your 
Traditional religion once again, and your brothers and sisters will 
surely welcome you as the Father did to the Prodigal son. 
May it be so. This will surely happen by God's Divine Grace.
Amin, Amin, Amin. May our Blessings lead you to the Right Path
once again.

Regards,

Porus.



Saturday, August 9, 2008

What would India's opening ceremony be like

Written by a Zoroastrian Parsi of India. Please forward to as many
Indian friends as possible.,
  
What would India's opening ceremony be like

On the 8th of August as the world watched the Beijing Olympics, there
was a tear in my eye as I remembered how Nehru and India had helped
China in its formative years in the 1950s, when the whole world was
against Communist China even entering the United Nations but India
was its strongest ally and supporter. And now the Olympics were being
held in China, which was aspiring to be the strongest and most powerful
nation in the world, even over and above the USA, in the Olympic arena.
 
Indian Prime Ministers have certainly aspired to hold the Olympics,
but they have been ignored. I started to imagine, if indeed the
Olympics were held in India, what would the opening ceremony be like?
 
While China has proudly displayed its inventions, such as gunpowder,
the compass and paper and fireworks, what would India have shown?
Inventions? Conquest of Countries? The power of Money?
 
No. The strength of India is in the soul. It would have shown
the knowledge of the soul, since self-knowledge is the highest
knowledge. It would have shown the conquest of the frivolous mind.
 
While China's first Emperor unified and ruled over China and
controlled it with an iron hand, putting down all rebellions
ruthlessly, he could not rule his own mind, and became paranoid
in the end. He feared assasinations from his own courtiers and
trusted no one. He wanted to live forever, so took arsenic as a
medicine in order to live longer, which took his own life in the end.
 
Contrast that history of China to Emperor Ashoka, the conqueror of
North India, who changed from being a merciless conqueror of kingdoms
to a benevolent king, filled with fatherly love for his own subjects,
teaching morality to his kingdom in edicts, and even setting up
the very first animal hospitals in history. The English historian
and writer H.G. Wells once called Ashoka the greatest King in
human history. He was that impressed.
 
This conquest of the mind, this change from cruelty to kindness,
this transformation of evil to Godliness, is what India would
have shown in the opening ceremony. And this is unique to India.
India would show the national epic of the Ramayana, how the
ancient King Rama sacrificed his kingdom for the sake of his
father's promise, and went smiling to the forest. India would
show the high ideal of brotherly love, where Prince Bharat
refused to be the King, and instead ruled in his brother's name.
India would show the priceless jewel of womanly chastity, where
the beautiful princess Sita refused to part with her husband Rama,
and followed her husband in exile to the forest.
 
As Swami Vivekananda had pointed out in the 19th century,
compare this high ideal of India to the West, where Helen of Troy
is idolized, "the face that launched a thousand ships", the woman
who left her Greek husband and ran away with the Prince of Troy,
thus launching the Trojan war. Contrast this Western
ideal with the high ideal of mother Sita in India.
 
India would have shown how the writer of the Ramayana was
a dacoit and killer, Valmiki, who transformed himself
from a ferocious killer of lives to a saintly sage,
the RISHI who composed the Holy verses of the Ramayana,
thus giving the promise that even the most evil can change
to the most saintly, showing that nothing is impossible
for the human mind. As the ancient verse in India says,
"The mind is the man - the cause of his bondage, or
the cause of his liberation".
 
India would have shown how all religions have always
been welcomed and tolerated in India, such as how the
Zoroastrians came to India in boats from Iran and were
granted sanctuary 1300 years ago, with full religious
freedom, when the rest of the world was savagely intolerant
of other cultures and other religions.
 
And also, India would have shown how the might of the
British Empire was opposed with love and non-violence
by an apostle of peace and brotherly love, Mahatma Gandhi,
whom the whole world still remembers and says:
 
"In this day and age, when the world is torn
apart with hatred, violence and terrorism, when the
world is going to the worst depths of human depravity,
we need a Gandhi once again".
 
This would be India's opening ceremony for the Olympics,
And no one in the world can ever beat or equal this opening
ceremony. The pomp and splendor of the previous ceremonies
have come and gone, and are soon forgotten, but no one can
forget the nobility of the soul, no one would ever forget
the conquest of the mind that would be shown in the
ceremony. No human being would not be touched by
such an opening ceremony held by India. And may that
day come soon.
 
Author:
Porus Homi Havewala. 
 


Thursday, July 24, 2008

National Geographic Article on Iran/Persepolis

Iran Archaeology

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran
A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation.
By Marguerite Del Giudice

What's so striking about the ruins of Persepolis in southern Iran, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire that was burned down after being conquered by Alexander the Great, is the absence of violent imagery on what's left of its stone walls. Among the carvings there are soldiers, but they're not fighting; there are weapons, but they're not drawn. Mainly you see emblems suggesting that something humane went on here instead—people of different nations gathering peacefully, bearing gifts, draping their hands amiably on one another's shoulders. In an era noted for its barbarity, Persepolis, it seems, was a relatively cosmopolitan place—and for many Iranians today its ruins are a breathtaking reminder of who their Persian ancestors were and what they did.
The recorded history of the country itself spans some 2,500 years, culminating in today's Islamic Republic of Iran, formed in 1979 after a revolution inspired in part by conservative clerics cast out the Western-backed shah. It's arguably the world's first modern constitutional theocracy and a grand experiment: Can a country be run effectively by holy men imposing an extreme version of Islam on a people soaked in such a rich Persian past?
Persia was a conquering empire but also regarded in some ways as one of the more glorious and benevolent civilizations of antiquity, and I wondered how strongly people might still identify with the part of their history that's illustrated in those surviving friezes. So I set out to explore what "Persian" means to Iranians, who at the time of my two visits last year were being shunned by the international community, their culture demonized in Western cinema, and their leaders cast, in an escalating war of words with Washington, D.C., as menacing would-be terrorists out to build the bomb.
You can't really separate out Iranian identity as one thing or another—broadly speaking, it's part Persian, part Islamic, and part Western, and the paradoxes all exist together. But there is a Persian identity that has nothing to do with Islam, which at the same time has blended with the culture of Islam (as evidenced by the Muslim call to prayer that booms from loudspeakers situated around Persepolis, a cue to visitors that they are not only in a Persian kingdom but also in an Islamic republic). This would be a story about those Iranians who still, at least in part, identify with their Persian roots. Perhaps some millennial spillover runs through the makeup of what is now one of the world's ticking hot spots. Are vestiges of the life-loving Persian nature (wine, love, poetry, song) woven into the fabric of abstinence, prayer, and fatalism often associated with Islam—like a secret computer program running quietly in the background?
Surviving, Persian Style
Iran's capital city of Tehran is an exciting, pollution-choked metropolis at the foot of the Elburz Mountains. Many of the buildings are made of tiny beige bricks and girded with metal railings, giving the impression of small compounds coming one after the other, punctuated by halted construction projects and parks. There are still some beautiful gardens here, a Persian inheritance, and private ones, with fruit trees and fountains, fishponds and aviaries, flourishing inside the brick walls.
While I was here, two Iranian-born American academics, home for a visit, had been locked up, accused of fomenting a velvet revolution against the government. Eventually they were released. But back in the United States, people would ask, wasn't I afraid to be in Iran?—the assumption being that I must have been in danger of getting locked up myself.
But I was a guest in Iran, and in Iran a guest is accorded the highest status, the sweetest piece of fruit, the most comfortable place to sit. It's part of a complex system of ritual politeness—taarof—that governs the subtext of life here. Hospitality, courting, family affairs, political negotiations; taarof is the unwritten code for how people should treat each other. The word has an Arabic root, arafa, meaning to know or acquire knowledge of. But the idea of taarof—to abase oneself while exalting the other person—is Persian in origin, said William O. Beeman, a linguistic anthropologist at the University of Minnesota. He described it as "fighting for the lower hand," but in an exquisitely elegant way, making it possible, in a hierarchical society like Iran's, "for people to paradoxically deal with each other as equals."
Wherever I went, people fussed over me and made sure that all my needs were met. But they can get so caught up trying to please, or seeming to, and declining offers, or seeming to, that true intentions are hidden. There's a lot of mind reading and lighthearted, meaningless dialogue while the two parties go back and forth with entreaties and refusals until the truth reveals itself.
Being smooth and seeming sincere while hiding your true feelings—artful pretending—is considered the height of taarof and an enormous social asset. "You never show your intention or your real identity," said a former Iranian political prisoner now living in France. "You're making sure you're not exposing yourself to danger, because throughout our history there has been a lot of danger there."
Geography as Destiny
Indeed, the long course of Iranian history is saturated with wars, invasions, and martyrs, including the teenage boys during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s who carried plastic keys to heaven while clearing minefields by walking bravely across them. The underlying reason for all the drama is: location. If you draw lines from the Mediterranean to Beijing or Beijing to Cairo or Paris to Delhi, they all pass through Iran, which straddles a region where East meets West. Over 26 centuries, a blending of the hemispheres has been going on here—trade, cultural interchange, friction—with Iran smack in the middle.
Meanwhile, because of its wealth and strategic location, the country was also overrun by one invader after another, and the Persian Empire was established, lost, and reestablished a number of times—by the Achaemenids, the Parthians, and the Sassanids—before finally going under. Invaders have included the Turks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, and, most significantly, Arabian tribesmen. Fired with the zeal of a new religion, Islam, they humbled the ancient Persian Empire for good in the seventh century and ushered in a period of Muslim greatness that was distinctly Persian. The Arab expansion is regarded as one of the most dramatic movements of any people in history. Persia was in its inexorable path, and, ever since, Iranians have been finding ways to keep safe their identity as distinct from the rest of the Muslim and Arab world. "Iran is very big and very ancient," said Youssef Madjidzadeh, a leading Iranian archaeologist, "and it's not easy to change the hearts and identity of the people because of this."
They like to say, for instance, that when invaders came to Iran, the Iranians did not become the invaders; the invaders became Iranians. Their conquerors were said to have "gone Persian," like Alexander, who, after laying waste to the vanquished Persia, adopted its cultural and administrative practices, took a Persian wife (Roxana), and ordered thousands of his troops to do the same in a mass wedding. Iranians seem particularly proud of their capacity to get along with others by assimilating compatible aspects of the invaders' ways without surrendering their own—a cultural elasticity that is at the heart of their Persian identity.
Welcome to Aratta
The earliest reports of human settlement in Iran go back at least 10,000 years, and the country's name derives from Aryans who migrated here beginning around 1500 b.c. Layers of civilization—tens of thousands of archaeological sites—are yet to be excavated. One recent find quickening some hearts was unearthed in 2000 near the city of Jiroft, when flash floods along the Halil River in the southeast exposed thousands of old tombs. The excavation is just six seasons old, and there isn't much to see yet. But intriguing artifacts have been found (including a bronze goat's head dating back perhaps 5,000 years), and Jiroft is spoken of as possibly an early center of civilization contemporary with Mesopotamia.
Youssef the archaeologist, an authority on the third millennium b.c., directs the digs. He used to run the archaeology department at the University of Tehran but lost his job after the revolution and moved to France. Over the years, he said, "things changed." Interest in archaeology revived, and he was invited back to run Jiroft. Youssef thinks it may be the fabled "lost" Bronze Age land of Aratta, circa 2700 b.c., reputedly legendary for magnificent crafts that found their way to Mesopotamia. But thus far there's no proof, and other scholars are skeptical. What would he have to find to put the matter unequivocally to rest? He chuckled wistfully. "The equivalent of an engraved arch that says, ‘Welcome to Aratta.' "
Prospects for more digs at the thousands of unexplored sites seem daunting. In Iran the price of meat is high, there aren't enough jobs, the bureaucracy is inscrutable, bloated, and inefficient, and state corruption—as described to me by three different people—is "an open secret," "worse than ever," and "institutionalized."
"The country has many needs," Youssef said, "and certainly archaeology is not the main subject." But since Jiroft, "all the provinces are interested in excavating, and every little town wants to be known around the world like Jiroft. They're proud, and there are rivalries."
Youssef was slouched happily in a faux-leather chair in the offices of his publisher, munching tiny green grapes while musing about why Iranians are the way they are. As much as anything else, he thought, it was the geography, for when the Iranians were being overrun time after time, "where could they go—the desert? There was no place to run and hide." They stayed, they got along, they pretended and made taarof. "The tree here has very deep roots."
Superpower Nostalgia
The legacy from antiquity that has always seemed to loom large in the national psyche is this: The concepts of freedom and human rights may not have originated with the classical Greeks but in Iran, as early as the sixth century b.c. under the Achaemenid emperor Cyrus the Great, who established the first Persian Empire, which would become the largest, most powerful kingdom on Earth. Among other things, Cyrus, reputedly a brave and humble good guy, freed the enslaved Jews of Babylon in 539 b.c., sending them back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple with money he gave them, and established what has been called the world's first religiously and culturally tolerant empire. Ultimately it comprised more than 23 different peoples who coexisted peacefully under a central government, originally based in Pasargadae—a kingdom that at its height, under Cyrus's successor, Darius, extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River.
So Persia was arguably the world's first superpower.
"We have a nostalgia to be a superpower again," said Saeed Laylaz, an economic and political analyst in Tehran, "and the country's nuclear ambitions are directly related to this desire." The headlines are familiar: A consensus report of key U.S. spy agencies—the National Intelligence Estimate—concluded last December that a military-run program to develop nuclear weapons in Iran was halted in 2003. Iran continues to enrich uranium, insisting that it wants only to produce fuel for its nuclear power plants, but highly enriched uranium is also a key ingredient for a nuclear bomb. As a deterrent, the UN has imposed increasing economic sanctions. But Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative hard-liner, is giving no ground while at the same time making frequent threatening remarks about nearby Israel, denying the Holocaust, and, according to the U.S. government, sending weapons and munitions to extremist militias in Iraq that are being used against Iraqis and U.S. forces there.
"At one time the area of the country was triple what it is now, and it was a stable superpower for more than a thousand years," said Saeed, a slender, refined man in glasses and starched shirtsleeves rolled to three-quarter length, sitting in his elegant apartment next to a lamp resembling a cockatoo, with real feathers. The empire once encompassed today's Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and the Caucasus region. "The borders have moved in over the centuries, but this superpower nostalgia, so in contradiction to reality," he said, "is all because of the history."
At the foundation of which, again, is Cyrus, and in particular something called the Cyrus Cylinder—perhaps Iran's most exalted artifact—housed at the British Museum in London, with a replica residing at UN headquarters in New York City. The cylinder resembles a corncob made of clay; inscribed on it, in cuneiform, is a decree that has been described as the first charter of human rights—predating the Magna Carta by nearly two millennia. It can be read as a call for religious and ethnic freedom; it banned slavery and oppression of any kind, the taking of property by force or without compensation; and it gave member states the right to subject themselves to Cyrus's crown, or not. "I never resolve on war to reign."
"To know Iran and what Iran really is, just read that transcription from Cyrus," said Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. We were in her central Tehran apartment building, in a basement office lined with mahogany-and-glass bookcases. Inside one was a tiny gold copy of the cylinder, encased in a Plexiglas box that she held out to me as if presenting a newborn child. "Such greatness as the cylinder has been shown many times in Iran," but the world doesn't know it, she said. "When I go abroad, people get surprised when they realize that 65 percent of the college students here are girls. Or when they see Iranian paintings and Iranian architecture, they are shocked. They are judging a civilization just by what they have heard in the last 30 years"—the Islamic revolution; the rollbacks of personal freedoms, particularly for women; the nuclear program and antagonism with the West. They know nothing of the thousands of years that came before, she said—what the Iranians went through to remain distinct from their invaders, and how they did it.
For instance, she said, after the Arabs came, and Iran converted to Islam, "eventually we turned to the Shiite sect, which was different from the Arabs, who are Sunni."
They were still Muslims, but not Arabs.
"We were Iranian."
In fact, the first thing people said when I asked what they wanted the world to know about them was, "We are not Arabs!" (followed closely by, "We are not terrorists!"). A certain Persian chauvinism creeps into the dialogue. Even though economically they're not performing as well as Arab states like Dubai and Qatar, they still feel exceptional. The Arabs who conquered Iran are commonly regarded as having been little more than Bedouin living in tents, with no culture of their own aside from what Iran gave them, and from the vehemence with which they are still railed against, you would think it happened not 14 centuries ago but last week.
I met a woman at a wedding who gave off the air of an aging movie star, her dapper husband beside her wearing his white dinner jacket and smoking out of a cigarette holder, and it wasn't five minutes before she lit into the Arabs.
"Everything went down after they came, and we have never been the same!" she said, wringing someone's neck in the air. And a friend I made here, an English teacher named Ali, spoke of how the loss of the empire still weighed on the national consciousness. "Before they came, we were a great and civilized power," he said, as we drove to his home on the outskirts of Shiraz, dodging motorcycles and tailgaters. Echoing commonly stated (though disputed) lore, he added: "They burned our books and raped our women, and we couldn't speak Farsi in public for 300 years, or they took out our tongues."
The Cult of Ferdowsi
The Iranians spoke Farsi anyway. The national language has been Arabized to some extent, but Old Persian remains at its root. The man credited with helping save the language, and the history, from oblivion is a tenth-century poet named Ferdowsi. Ferdowsi is Iran's Homer. Iranians idolize their poets—among many, Rumi, Sa‘id, Omar Khayyám, Hāfez (whose works are said to be consulted for guidance about love and life as much as, if not more than, the Islamic holy book, the Koran). When the people were oppressed by the latest invader and couldn't safely speak their minds, the poets did it for them, cleverly disguised in verse. "Sometimes they were executed," said Youssef the archaeologist, "but they did it anyway." So today, although Iran is home to many cultural denominations (and languages) other than Persian—Turkmen, Arab, Azeri, Baluchi, Kurd, and others—"everyone can speak Farsi," he said, "which is one of the oldest living languages in the world."
The poet-hero Ferdowsi, a sincere Muslim who resented the Arab influence, spent 30 years writing, in verse with minimal use of Arabic-derived words, an epic history of Iran called the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings. This panorama of conflict and adventure chronicles 50 monarchies—their accessions to the throne, their deaths, the frequent abdications and forcible overthrows—and ends with the Arab conquest, depicted as a disaster. The most heralded character is Rostam, a chivalrous figure of courage and integrity, a national savior and "trickster hero," according to Dick Davis, a Persian scholar at Ohio State University who has translated the Shahnameh into English. "The stories of Rostam are their myths," he said. "This is how the Iranians see themselves."
The tales involve feuding kings and hero-champions, in which the latter are almost always represented as ethically superior to the kings they serve, facing the dilemmas of good men living under an evil or incompetent government. The work is haunted by the idea that those ethically most fitted to rule are precisely the ones most reluctant to rule, preferring instead to devote themselves to humankind's chief concerns: the nature of wisdom, the fate of the human soul, and the incomprehensibility of God's purposes.
The original Shahnameh is long gone, and all that's left are copies, including one in Tehran's Golestan Palace museum. Its caretaker, a sweet-faced young woman named Behnaz Tabrizi, cleared a large table and covered it with a green felt sheet. She retrieved a black box from a safe in an adjoining bulletproof room equipped with fire and earthquake alarms and climate control and laid a red velvet cloth on top of the green felt cloth, because the Iranians like to make little ceremonies out of everything, if they can. I had to wear a surgical mask to protect the manuscript from stray saliva and the condensation from my breath, and Behnaz put on white cotton gloves. She gently lifted the book, which dates to about 1430, out of its box and gingerly turned the pages with the tips of her fingers while I examined its 22 illustrations with a magnifying glass. They depicted scenes the collective cultural memory is steeped in—someone tied to a tree while awaiting his fate; Rostam unwittingly killing his own son, Sohrab, in battle; men on horseback with spears fighting invaders on elephants—all precisely drawn and vibrantly colored, using inks that were made from crushed stones mixed with the liquid squeezed from flower petals.
It is said that just about anybody on the street, regardless of education, can recite some Ferdowsi, and there are usually readings going on at colleges or someone's apartment or traditional Persian teahouses, like one in south Tehran called Azari. The walls were covered with scenes from the Shahnameh, among them the one of Rostam killing Sohrab. A storyteller did a one-man dramatic reading, and afterward musicians played traditional music and sang about yearning for the love of a woman or for the love of Allah. People sat together at long tables or stretched out on platforms covered with Persian rugs, smoking their tiny Bahman cigarettes and clapping to the music, while waiters brought dates and cookies and tea in delicate little glasses with little spoons, followed by kebabs, yogurt milk, pickles, and beet salad. Children danced on the tabletops as the patrons cheered them on and took pictures with their cell phones.
"They Can't Control What's Inside Us"
Thanks to Ferdowsi, the Iranians always had their language to unite them and keep them different from the outside world—and they also took pains to safeguard their cultural touchstones.
Take the New Year: Nowruz, a 13-day extravaganza during which everything shuts down and the people eat a lot, dance, recite poetry, and build fires that they jump back and forth over. It's a thanksgiving of sorts, celebrated around the spring equinox, and a holdover holiday from Zoroastrianism, at one time the state religion of the Persians. Zoroastrianism's teachings—good and evil, free will, final judgment, heaven and hell, one almighty God—have influenced many religions, including the world's three main faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By the time the Arabs arrived, bringing what was for them the new idea of worshipping a single God, Persians had been doing it for more than a millennium.
These days some officials see the bond with antiquity as a focus for hope. "We are a nation with such a history that the world could listen to us," Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaee told me. "We hope that by taking pride in our archaeological sites, the people realize their capabilities, and it imbues the soul of the nation." But conservative Islamists who have no interest in reviving Persian identity can still hold sway. At times the government has tried to diminish the importance of Nowruz or replace it with a different New Year, such as the birthday of Imam Ali, the historical leader of the Shiite Muslims. "They would bring forces and arrest people," my friend Ali said. "But they couldn't get rid of Nowruz because we've been practicing Nowruz for 2,500 years! They don't really control us, because they can't control what's inside us."
That has never stopped Iran's leaders from trying, or foreign powers from interfering—particularly after the country was discovered, around the turn of the 20th century, to be sitting on what Iran claims is an estimated 135 billion barrels of proven conventional oil reserves, the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia. Adding to the drama is that the Persian Gulf is located along Iran's southern border. On the other side lies much of the rest of the world's crude, in the oil fields of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. There's also a hairpin waterway in the gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil passes every day. So Iran is in a unique position to threaten the world's oil supply and delivery—or sell its own oil elsewhere than to the West.
Oil was at the root of a 1953 event that is still a sore subject for many Iranians: the CIA-backed overthrow, instigated and supported by the British government, of Iran's elected and popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh had kicked out the British after the Iranian oil industry, controlled through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later BP), was nationalized, and the British had retaliated with an economic blockade. With the Cold War on and the Soviet bloc located just to the north, the U.S. feared that a Soviet-backed communism in Iran could shift the balance of world power and jeopardize Western interests in the region. The coup—Operation TP-Ajax—is believed to have been the CIA's first. (Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., Teddy's grandson, ran the show, and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the father of the Persian Gulf war commander, was enlisted to coax the shah into playing his part. Its base of operations was the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the future "nest of spies" to the Iranians, where 52 U.S. hostages were taken in 1979.) Afterward, the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was returned to power, commercial oil rights fell largely to British and U.S. oil companies, and Mossadegh was imprisoned and later placed under house arrest until he died in 1967.
To Iranians like Shabnam Rezaei, who has created the online magazine Persian Mirror to promote Iran's cultural identity, Operation TP-Ajax set the stage for later decades of oppression and Islamic fundamentalism. "I think if we had been allowed to have a democratic government," she said, "we could have been the New York of the Middle East—of all of Asia, frankly—a center for finance, industry, commerce, culture, and a modern way of thinking."
For the Love of God
The shah had his own uses for Persian identity. He was big on promoting Persepolis and Cyrus while at the same time pouring Western music, dress, behaviors, and business interests into Iran. One attempt to instill nationalistic pride, which backfired and helped turn public opinion against him, was the ostentatious celebration he staged in 1971 to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of Persian monarchy. It featured a luxurious tent city outside the entrance to Persepolis, VIP apartments with marble bathrooms, food flown in from Paris, and a guest list that included dignitaries from around the world but few Iranians.
The shah's vision apparently involved too much modernizing too fast, and many Iranians bristled. "We were getting westernized," said Farin Zahedi, a drama professor at the University of Tehran. "But it was superficial, because the public had no real understanding of Western culture." Iranians experienced it as a cultural attack and rebelled in the press and with street demonstrations. The more paranoid the shah became, the more heavy-handed were his secret police—SAVAK, created in 1957 with the help of American and Israeli advisers. At least hundreds of people are believed to have been executed by SAVAK; many others were imprisoned, tortured, and exiled, and more than a thousand were killed by the army during demonstrations. So when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini spoke in the late 1970s of liberating the people from this latest yoke, they were moved by his eloquence and moral rectitude, and for a time the reemergence of religion after the shah's relentless modernism felt like a cleansing.
Yet many Iranians by nature are not particularly religious, in the sense of being mosquegoers and fasters. "They have a powerful soul and spirit," said a carpet salesman named Arsha, "but that is not the same." There's a tendency to follow more of a Zoroastrian model from antiquity, with its disdain for rules and for the presumption that an intermediary, such as a mullah, is required to know Allah. The spiritual journey has tended to be more inward, in keeping with the Persian proverb "Knowledge of self is knowledge of God."
So while Iranians at first were open to the idea of an increased role of Islam in public life, they weren't prepared for it to be forced on them with such rigor, especially given the Koran's specific instruction that there should be "no compulsion in religion." They certainly didn't expect the clerics to take over commerce, government administration, the courts, and day-to-day life, down to and including how to go to the bathroom and how to have sex. Punishments reminiscent of the Dark Ages—public stonings, hangings, the cutting off of fingers and limbs—were put into effect. The central government now discourages some of these archaic practices, but stubborn conservative mullahs out in the provinces cling to the old ways. Beneath it all is the spiritual aim to serve Allah and prepare for paradise.
"They're forcing heaven on me!" Ali said.
Page [ 10 ] of 12
At his home one night, half a dozen friends sat in a circle and confided how awful it was to be trapped in an environment of fear and secrecy, not knowing if a friend or a loved one has been put in a position to make reports on what you're thinking and saying and doing.
"The ayatollahs and the ordinary people—everyone has to pretend," said a soft-spoken locksmith with a huge mustache named Mister D. "You don't know who is telling the truth; you don't know who is really religious and who isn't."
The Persians have a saying: The walls have mice, and the mice have ears.
"You can't trust your own eyes," Ali said.
"If you breathe in or breathe out," Mister D said, "they know."
The Generation of the Revolution
As for the revolution's effect on Persian identity? A typically Iranian thing seems to have happened.
For ten years the doors to the West were closed, and conservative clerics running the government went about trying to minimize any cultural identification that was pre-Islamic, a period referred to in much of the Muslim world as Jahiliya, age of ignorance. In official documents, where possible, references to Iran were replaced with references to Islam. Zoroastrian symbols were replaced with Islamic symbols, streets were renamed, and references to the Persian Empire disappeared from schoolbooks. For a time it seemed that Ferdowsi's tomb—a big, pale-stone mausoleum outside the holy city of Mashhad, with a beautiful reflecting pool leading up to it and chirping birds racing about the columns—might be destroyed. Even Persepolis was in danger of being razed. "But they realized this would unite the people against them," Ali said, "and they had to give up."
The people had welcomed the removal of cultural junk from the West, said Farin, the drama professor, as we sipped tea in her tasteful Tehran apartment. "But we soon realized that the identity the government was introducing also was not exactly who we were." In the cultural confusion, "elements of the old culture"—traditional music, Persian paintings, readings from Ferdowsi—were rekindled. "We call it 'the forgotten empire.' "
A young underground Persian rap singer named Yas joined us then. He had black spiky hair, stylishly long sideburns, handsome eyebrows shaped like two black bananas, and around his neck he wore a silver fravahar, the Zoroastrian winged disk that signifies the soul's upward progress through good thoughts, words, and deeds. He's part of the Generation of the Revolution, who grew up after 1979 and account for more than two-thirds of the country's 70 million people. Variously described as jaded and lacking belief in their futures—"a burned generation," as Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi put it—they are increasingly leaving for Europe and elsewhere. Some have a rich consciousness of their Persian past while at the same time supporting the idea of Islamic unity; some feel only Persian or only Islamic; and others immerse themselves in Western culture through television programming received on illegal satellite dishes. Farin said: "They're schizophrenic."
Yas raps about Persian poets, grandparents, and the history of Iran. One of his most popular cuts, "My Identity," was in response to the movie 300, about the famous battle at Thermopylae between the Spartans of Greece and the so-called Persian immortals. "The Greeks were portrayed as heroic, innocent, and civilized," Yas said. "The Persians were shown as ugly savages with a method of fighting that was unfair." The movie set off a tirade from Iranians here and abroad, who experienced it as a cultural attack. In defense, Yas rapped about Persepolis and Cyrus but also chastised his fellow citizens for resting on the laurels of greatness past.
An irony is that the Islamic revolution—at times referred to here as the "second Arab invasion"—appears to have strengthened the very ties to antiquity that it tried so hard to sever; it has roused that part of the national identity that remains connected to the idea, memorialized in places like Persepolis and Pasargadae, of Iranians as direct descendants of some of the world's most ancient continuous people. A civil engineer named Hashem told me of a recent impromptu celebration at Cyrus's tomb. People text messaged each other on their cell phones, and a couple of thousand "coincidentally" showed up, buying multiple entrance tickets to support restoration of the tomb. The celebration was informal. No speeches, no ceremony. "Just to honor Cyrus and show solidarity."
As Farin put it, shaking her lowered head with an air of world-weariness, "there has been this constant onslaught on our identity, and the reaction has always been to return to that deepest identity. Inside every Iranian there is an emperor or an empress. That is for sure."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Upcoming crises at Doongerwadi


From: The Parsee Voice
Date: Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 3:33 PM
Subject: Upcoming crises at Doongerwadi


Read all about the recent goings-on at Doongerwadi.
 
From
The Parsee Voice



Monday, April 21, 2008

High rise at Godrej Baug


From: The Parsee Voice
Date: Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 1:09 PM
Subject: High rise at Godrej Baug


Our beloved Doongerwadi at Mumbai is once going to be in the eye of a storm.
 
A new 11-storeyed building is being constructed on Plot M in Godrej Baug. It is pretty obvious that people residing on the upper floors will get a clear view of the insides of Bisney Dakhma, which is currently operational. The next step will be a hue and cry about stench from the Dakhma and possible closure of the same as happened with Banaji Dakhma. This looks like one more nail being put in the Doongerwadi coffin.
 
All the debris from the construction site is being dumped on Doongerwadi lands near Hodiwalla Bungli, consequently destroying the trees and foliage. Pl. read attached report.
 
It is reported that looking at all the debris, our old 'friend' Dhunmai Baria of Dakhma photographs fame, gleefully proclaimed that the Doongerwadi ground now seemed ideal for burial purposes.
 
Assoc. Editor

FDU's third attempt in Udvada

From: The Parsee Voice
Date: Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 1:40 PM
Subject: FDU's third attempt in Udvada


As if getting egg on its face twice was not enough, FDU has raised its head once again. A third attempt is being made on 24th April 2008 to inaugurate the FDU's Information Centre in Udvada. The same being Adar Roj and Adar Mahino, a huge crowd of devotees will as usual be present in Udvada to seek Iranshah's blessings. FDU will then boast that this large number of community people graced the inauguration and market the event as a grand success.
 
Strangely, this time around, the modus operandi has changed. Gone is the fanfare and hype and publicity associated with the earlier two failed attempts. Everything is being kept under wraps and not a mention has yet been made publically.
 
What is even more painful is the fact that the FDU invitation mentions that Dasturji P H Mirza, High Priest of Iranshah and Dr Mehroo Bengalee will be Guests of Honour (?) at this event. Dasturji Mirza has all along opposed the FDU's presence in Udvada and is a signatory to two letters sent by the High Priests, condemning the FDU and petitioning the Gujarat Government to stop the FDU's activities in Udvada.  One wonders what has made him do a volte face!!!!
 
Dr Bengalee is the founder trustee of WAPIZ, an organisation formed to counter Deen Dushmani and uphold tradition. If she has decided to align with FDU, she has no business continuing in WAPIZ. It is a breach of faith.
 
It is about time they made up their minds as to which side of the fence they are on and acted accordingly. You can't run with the hares and hunt with the hounds.
 
Assoc. Editor
 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Names of Ahura Mazda with meaning popping up on your screen

How to display continuously on your computer screen, one by one:
Avestan and Pahlavi names of Ahura Mazda (from Hormuzd Yasht
and 101 names) with their English meaning:
 
for full instructions.
 
If you have done things right you should see a strip appear on your
screen (just drag it to where you like) with one of the names of
Ahura Mazda, and its meaning, The strip will stay for the seconds
specified and then a new name of God will appear with its meaning,
This is an excellent way to learn the meanings of the Names of Ahura
Mazda and also to sanctify your computer with the powerful names of God.
 
 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Meher Yazad, Meher Mah, Meher Roj, Meher Yasht - a good explanation

From: TZML Admin
Date: Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 12:55 PM
Subject: Meher Yazad, Meher Mah, Meher Roj, Meher Yasht - a good explanation
To: TZML <TraditionalZarathushtris@yahoogroups.com>

Dear Zarathushti humdins,

we have received a very informative post on significance of Meherangan
Day - Meher mah, Meher roz.

It also gives a good idea on Meher Yazad, Meher Yazad's roles and the
longest Yasht of all, Meher Yasht.

It also stresses the importance of speaking the Truth.

A reassuring paragraph says: "Meher Yazta, in unison with Khorshed
Yazata, spread the glory of Ahura Mazda all around the earth, leaving
no place dark for Ahriman to make even a temporary abode."

Please see below.

Sincerely
TZML Admins


TO ALL MY DEAR HUMDINS - SOME RELIGIOUS INFORMATION FOR YOU

On Mah Meher and Roz Meher, the Jashan of Mehergan is celebrated. This
day is connected with an historical event. It was on this day, that,
Pishdadian King Fareidun freed Persia from the tyranny of Zohak, took
him prisoner and ascended the throne of Persia. Jashne Mehergan is a
celebration to remind us of this memorable event of dispensation of
Divine Justice and Ahura Mazda's Love, Light and Law - Meher.
Meher is a very important concept in Zoroastrianism. In Zarathushti
calendar, the seventh month is named Meher and the 16th day of each
month is Meher. Meher is an adorable quality of Ahura Mazda, a Yazata.
The importance of the concept of Meher is clear in the fact that the
Meher Yasht is the longest Yasht in our scriptures. Whenever we speak
of Meher, we respectfully refer to it as Meher Yazata or as Meher
Davar. Davar is the word for judge in Pazend. In Pahlavi, Meher means
LOVE, LIGHT & LAW. Meher is one of the greatest of Yazatas, who goes
farthest to reflect the Nature, Presence and Grace of Ahura Mazda.
Meher represents Ahura Mazda's Love, His Divine Light and His Law. The
word Darb-e-Meher means House of Meher, House of God. It is the House,
where we get the Divine Light of Ahura Mazda.
In Avesta, the word Meher is referred to as Mithra. Mithra literally
means CONTRACT. Therefore, in a moral sense, Meher or Mithra
represents a Quality of Ahura Mazda that protects the Truth, the
sanctity of a contract. In Zarathushti religion, there is a paramount
importance of always speaking the Truth and abiding by our word. Truth
is our religion. TRUTH is LIGHT. Darkness is due to the absence of
Truth. Right from our childhood, we must develop the habit of speaking
the Truth.
Mithra is heavenly Light, the origin of Light and the precursor of
Sun. Meher Yazata is also seen as the Light or the rays of the sun.
Khorshed represents the sun. Meher represents the Light. Hence, the
association between Khorshed and Meher. The two divinities are invoked
together. Meher Yazata, as a celestial being, is a dynamic force that
brings the worshipper and the worshipped in the same realm. He is
Divine in origin, takes on a physical form of Light, and ushers the
devoted from the physical to the higher realms of Ahura Mazda. The sun
shines everywhere and on everyone. Its golden rays reach everywhere.
Meher Yazta, in unison with Khorshed Yazata, spread the glory of Ahura
Mazda all around the earth, leaving no place dark for Ahriman to make
even a temporary abode.
Quoting the Yashts: "Mithra is ever awake and on the watch. He has a
thousand ears and ten thousand eyes. With these he watches over all
creatures, hearing all, seeing all. None can deceive him. Hence he is
the Lord of Truth and Loyalty." It is a symbolic way of saying that
Meher hears all and sees all. Thus acting as a merciful judge, Meher
represents Ahura Mazda's Omniscience. That is He is all knowledgeable.
Meher Yazata, the sleepless, ever awake, watch keeper of the world
maintains a constant vigil between the earth and the sky. Meher is
referred to as Davar. Davar means a judge. So, Meher judges the soul
after the death of our body at the Chinvat Bridge. The truthful and
those who kept their promises earn the consequence of Heaven, a
condition of bliss. The soul of the virtuous gets more Light.
Those who are untruthful, devious or those who did not keep their
promises, bring punishment upon themselves, by experiencing Hell, a
condition of misery. Meher means Justice. But, it also means mercy.
Because God is merciful, full of Love, the punishment is not for
eternity. There is no Eternal Hell in Zoroastrianism. On Roz Meher and
Mah Meher, the Jashan of Mehergan is celebrated.
This day is connected with an historical event. It was on this day,
that, Pishdadian King Fareidun freed Persia from the tyranny of Zohak,
took him prisoner and ascended the throne of Persia. Jashne Mehergan
is a celebration to remind us of this memorable event of dispensation
of Divine Justice and
Ahura Mazda's Love, Light and Law - Meher.
When we pray Meher Yasht, we pray to Ahura Mazda for His Divine Light
for strength in body and mind, for upliftment of our soul and progress
of our existence in the physical as well as in the spiritual world:

Acha no jamyat avanghe - May God's Light Help and Protect us
Acha no jamyat ravanghe - May God's Light bring us Freedom
Acha no jamyat rafanghe - May God's Light bring us Joy and Happiness
Acha no jamyat marzdikhai - May God's Light bring us Mercy and Forgiveness
Acha no jamyat baeshazai - May God's Light bring Healing
Acha no jamyat verethraghnai - May God's Light bring Us victory in Life
Acha no jamyat havanghai - May God's Light bring us Well Being & Prosperity
Acha no jamyat ashavastai - May God's Light bring us Righteousness & Truth
Ughro, aiwithuro,yasnao,vahmayo - Strong, Powerful, Worthy of
Reverence & Praise
Anaiwi-drukhto vispemai anghuhe astavaite - Undeceivable in the entire world
Mithro yo vouru gayaoitish Mithra - (Heavenly Light) the protector of the
world

To sum up, Meher represents Ahura Mazda's LOVE, LIGHT and LAW ( the 3 Ls).
Jashne Mehergan is a celebration to remind us of this Divine Love,
Light and Law.

(end)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

[Traditional Zs] Cyrus day

From: Tehemton B. Adenwalla
Date: Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Traditional Zs] Fw: Cyrus day
To: TraditionalZarathushtris@yahoogroups.com


Baname Khuda!

Thank you Mrs. VG for sending such a lovely photo and more important,
a very important write-up on the very First Declaration of Human
Rights, proclaimed by Cyrus the Great, some 2500 years ago.

What a splendour the Persian empire had!

What a lofty development of thoughts and embodiment of these ideas in
day to day life!

We should be all proud to be descendants of this great race, great
country and great civilisation - Persia and Persians.

Sincerely
Tehemton B. Adenwalla

On 4/1/08, v g wrote:
>
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> Hello Dear Members,
> Just got back today and found this in my mail.... hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
> Really nice!!!!
>
> regards
> veera.
>
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> Happy Cyrus day.
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> twenty five centuries ago, when savagery was the dominant factor in human societies, a civilized and compassionate declaration was written on clay and issued to the "four corners of the world" that dealt with important issues relevant to the rights of humans, the same issues that not only in those days but even today can inspire those who believe in human dignity and rights.
>
> This document, known as "The Declaration of Cyrus the Great," emphasized on the removal of all racial, national discrimination and slavery, bestowing to the people, freedom to choose their places of residence, faith and religion and giving prominence to the perpetual peace amongst the nations. This Declaration could actually be considered as a present from the Iranian people, expressed through the words of Cyrus, their political leader and the founder of the first empire in the world, to the whole humanity. In 1971, the general assembly of the United Nations recognized it as the first Declaration of Human Rights, thus, registering such an honor to the name of Iran as the cradle of this first historical attempt to establish the recognition of human rights.
>
>
>
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> The world's first declaration of human rights,
> by Cyrus on his coronation (October 29th, 538 B.C.)
>
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> Now that by the assistance of Ahura Mazda (Supreme intellect, God), I am wearing the crown of kingdom of Persia, Babylonia and four directions, I acknowledge that:
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> Till the day I am alive and Ahura Mazda supports my kingdom, I shall cherish the religious and traditions of the people whom I am their king and I shall not allow my appointed rulers and subordinates to ignore the religions and traditions of other people, or despise them or contempt them.
>
>
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> I, from today that I am wearing the crown till the day that I am still alive and Ahura Mazda protects my kingdom, shall never impose my rule, or not, and if they reject it I shall not insist on ruling them and I shall not make war.
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> Till the day I am the king of Persia, Babylonia and countries in four directions, I shall not allow anyone to do injustice to others and should anyone do injustice I shall do the justice, and I shall punish the offender. Till the day I am the king, I shall not allow anyone to alter the wishes or take the properties of others, except after compensation or consent of others.
>
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> Till the day I am alive, I shall not allow anyone not to pay for one's labor and without paying one, shall not force one to work for him.
>
>
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> Today, I acknowledge that everyone is free to follow any religion one selects, live at any place, but one shall not be free to take other's property by force. One is free to choose any profession and use one's assets as one wishes. Provided not to cause any loss to others.
>
>
>
> Till the day, by assistance of Ahura Mazda, I am the king, I shall not allow that men and women be traded as slaves. My appointed rulers and my subordinates shall prevent the trade of men and women as slaves and the traditions and the trade of slavery shall be uprooted in the world.
>
>
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> I acknowledge that: Everyone shall be accountable for one's behavior and nobody shall be penalized for another's crime. Therefore, it shall be wrong to punish innocent brother of the offender. Should the member of a family or tribe commit a crime, only the felon should be punished and not the others.
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> I hope that Ahura Mazda will bring me success to perform my pledges to the people of Persia, Babylonia and other lands of the four directions.
>
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>
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> --
> Pervin