Monday, May 30, 2011

Schedule of campaign meetings of Ms Anahita Desai

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Parsee Zarthoshti
Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 2:08 PM
Subject: Schedule of campaign meetings of Ms Anahita Desai


Dear folks,
 
Campaigning for the BPP elections has started in right earnest. One of the candidates, Ms Anahita Desai and her team will address the community members at the following venues:
 
1. Friday, 3rd June 2011  -  Jer Baug Grounds, Byculla  -  7.30 p.m.
2. Saturday, 4th June 2011 -  Gamadia Colony, Tardeo (exact venue will be notified later) -  7 p.m.
3. Sunday, 5th June 2011 -  Malcolm Baug Hall, Jogeshwari  -  11.30 a.m.
 
Community members are requested to be present in large numbers to hear her speak about her reasons for contesting the elections. She and her team will willingly answer all questions and set to rest the doubts that are being created in the community's minds about her overall suitability and other issues.
 
Regards
H M Mistry

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Endorsement by Zarine Engineer for Anahita

Anahita Desai Will Make A Wonderful BPP Trustee

I hope the Community Unites to Support her Candidature

I have seen Anahita Desai working with so many different groups for so many community projects, that I have often wondered how she manages to handle everything so efficiently. Whether it is a youth activity or one for senior citizens, a big project or a personal problem faced by an individual, I have seen Anahita working to help them all, and have greatly admired her commitment to the community. 

Almost 10 years back, Anahita and her husband Yazdi were involved in protecting our doongerwadi at the time when the DDD-AG had raised its head to demand a cremate-in-bungli. Therefore, years later, I was not surprised when this husband-wife team got together with other orthodox leaders to form WAPIZ to counter the reformist movement, which was again gaining ground among the rich and elite in the community. 

Since then, WAPIZ has proved its worth on the orthodox front and besides that, has undertaken so many other worthy projects for the benefit of the community, which I greatly appreciate. As the CEO of WAPIZ, Anahita is solely responsible for taking forward these projects -medical aid, educational aid, mobed scheme, etc. 

It is clear that this husband and wife team have dedicated their lives to the community. 

On the Mancherji Edulji Joshi Memorial Trust, (MEJMT) which is a Public Trust like the BPP, albeit smaller, I served together with my husband Jimmy, till his untimely demise. Even now, we have the husband-wife team of Mithoo and Jimi Jesia serving on the MEJMT Trust at the same time. Their working together for the Trust has strengthened and enhanced the working of the Trust and in similar vein Yazdi and Anahita's working together, will definitely strengthen the working of the BPP. Therefore, I request all to please examine the sincere commitment of this young couple to the community and their excellent quality of leadership and service, and not disqualify Anahita, only because she is Yazdi's wife. 

Although Anahita does not reside in Dadar Parsi Colony, she has still supported and lent Dadar a helping hand for protecting our five gardens and other open spaces in the Colony-and for me, that shows her outstanding quality of extending herself, even beyond what is expected of her. 

For all the above reasons, I feel that Anahita Desai is truly deserving of Bombay Parsi Punchayet trusteeship and I urge all of you to unite and strongly support her candidature. 

Sd. Mrs. Zareen Engineer (Grand-daughter of Mancherji E. Joshi, the Founder of Dadar Parsi Colony, and President of Dadar's Residents Association)

Endorsement by High Priests, Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal & Dasturji Kaikhusroo N. Jamaspasa for Anahita

Dear Community members,

In these troubled times it is imperative that a candidate who stands for BPP trusteeship should be a person with impeccable credentials and one who will at all times support the cause of our religion and safe guard the faith. In our view as High Priests, it is most important that a trustee must have a track record of upholding orthodox causes and to have worked ceaselessly towards preserving the sanctity of our religious institutions. Keeping in mind the above criteria, we believe that Anahita Desai is absolutely the right candidate for BPP trusteeship.

We have worked with Anahita closely on many community issues for the last more than 12 years. She has defended Agiaries from builders, financially supported buzorg Mobed Sahebs, helped mobilize support for so many orthodox causes and taken up cudgels for poor Parsis, who have nowhere else to turn. She is selflessly serving our religion and our community, spending her own money and giving all her time to community causes. 

Anahita has done all of this for so many years without any thought of becoming a BPP trustee. But now, when this sudden election has come about, we must take this opportunity and give her a chance to serve the community even better, through the BPP, where she can use the vast resources of our apex trust, and not just her personal finances, for the good of the poor and for safeguarding the religion. 

It is our firm belief that if Anahita is given the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with her husband Yazdi and the other trustees on the BPP Board, it will strengthen the BPP in a way that will most certainly benefit the community. 

In times such as these, when our religion is being mercilessly attacked from all sides and the community is being torn apart, Anahita Desai's candidature as a BPP Trustee should be supported not only by all those who espouse the cause of orthodoxy and want to see our religion safeguarded at the level of the BPP, but by all right-thinking Parsis, who want to see a more charitable and benevolent face for the Bombay Parsi Punchayet.

Sd: High Priests, Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal & Dasturji Kaikhusroo N. Jamaspasa

Husband and Wife Team

Have Public Charitable Trusts had members from the immediate family as trustees at the same time? –
The Answer is  YES!

Why then is Anahita Desai being wrongly singled out on this point?

Speaking solely from within the framework of the Parsi/Irani community, we will let the many examples (of 2 members of an immediate family, serving at the same time on a PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUST, be they husband and wife, siblings, father and son, or mother and daughter), speak for themselves:

Banoo Cama and Manchi Cama (Mother and son – Garib Zarthosti Rehthan Fund)
Late Nusserwanji Cama and Manchi Cama (Father and son – K.R. Cama Oriental Institute)
Dinshaw Tamboly and Bachi Tamboly  (husband and wife – all WZO Trust Funds)
Meherwanji Cursetjee Jeejeebhoy and  Cowasjee Cursetjee Jeejebhoy  ( 2 brothers - Bombay Parsi Punchayet)
Sir Cowasjee Jehangir and Lady Hirabai Cowasjee Jehangir  ( husband and wife - Bombay Parsi Punchayet)
Late Jimmy Engineer and Zareen Engineer   (husband and wife - Mancherji Edulji Joshi Memorial Trust)
Jimi Jesia and Mithoo Jesia  (husband and wife - Mancherji Edulji Joshi Memorial Trust)
Keki Pavri and Pheroza Pavri [husband and wife - Ahmedabad Parsi Punchayet)
Navroze Kanga and Shirin Kanga (husband and wife -  Ahmedabad Parsi Punchayet)

ALL the above mentioned Trusts are PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUSTS, where the public have donated moneys in the same way as they have in the BPP. None of the above are family Trusts. So history has provided proof that 2 people from the same immediate family can, and have been, Trustees at the same time, on Public Charitable Trusts.

Why then is Anahita Desai being wrongly singled out on this point? Is it because VESTED INTERESTS HAVE NOTHING ELSE THEY CAN USE TO BRING HER DOWN?  Anahita Desai's Clean and Honest Image seems to be bringing out the worst in her opponents!  

This information has been forwarded by Tannaz Parakh.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From The Parsee Voice: The next BPP trustee - An objective analysis

From The Parsee Voice: The next BPP trustee - An objective analysis
Date: Thu, May 26, 2011 


The last few decades have seen the community go from one crisis to another. Lack of strong leadership was clearly evident. Worse than that was the attempt made by vested interests to influence the community's thinking towards a course of action which would only result in disintegration of the community and loss of its identity. Fortunately, the 2008 BPP elections gave the community the much needed opportunity to assert itself and choose the leaders it wanted. The AFP combine, whose agenda left much to be desired, was routed at the hustings. But even after that, the community was not to know peace. The new Board was assailed with litigation after litigation, a distinct attempt being made to browbeat and harass the Board and prevent progressive schemes and ideas from fructifying. The objective was simple – prevent effective functioning and make the new Board look incompetent. After more than two years of conflict, the dysfunctional trustee finally stepped down.

The community is once again at crossroads. BPP trustee Noshir Dadrawala's resignation has necessitated an election to fill the vacancy. Five hopefuls have already thrown their hats into the ring viz. Ms Anahita Desai, Muncherji Cama, Tehemtan Dumasia, Adi Govadia and Noshir Gotla. (as we release this, we have learnt that Tehemtan Dumasia has withdrawn his candidature). But the community is well aware that the major contest is between Ms Desai and Mr Cama. The others will only ending up eating into the votes of the main candidates, either unwittingly or by design. The combined wisdom of the community will put a new incumbent in the chair. At a time like this, it is necessary to sit back and think objectively about the qualities that the new BPP trustee should possess and whether the hopefuls possess the same. This is the right time for the community to learn from the experience of the past years and make a proper selection - an informed, intelligent choice.

So, what qualities and credentials should the new incumbent possess? As we understand it, the incumbent must have -

1)  An impeccable record of honesty in thoughts, words and actions. Saying one thing for public consumption and doing something diametrically opposite later is definitely not on! He / She must be willing to walk the talk!

2) An abiding sense of pride in being a Parsee Zarathoshti and believing in and honouring the time honoured tenets and traditions of our religion. The incumbent must be willing to safeguard and protect our religious institutions against depredation, internal and external. He / She must have a PROVEN track record of service to religious causes and institutions.

3)  An ability to think independently and courage to assert his/her views, even in the face of strong opposition from vested interests.

4)  An inclination to spend time and resources to further causes of use to the community. There must be an established record of community service.

5)  An ability to be a team player and not indulge in games of one-upmanship.

6)  The ability to administer and ensure that decisions are implemented and do not just remain on paper.

7) Firmly believe and understand that BPP trusteeship is an office of service and not a prize bestowed by the community to enjoy and use at will. It involves leadership by example.

Now let's attempt to evaluate the two main contestants against these parameters:

Ms Anahita Y Desai

·       Scrupulously honest. Not a single allegation of financial impropriety has been levelled against her till date, even by her political opponents.

·       Very traditional minded. Was a prominent part of the team which was battling to save Doongerwadi against the onslaught of the DDD-AG. Galvanised support from the various Anjumans of India and defeated the proposal to form a cosmopolitan World Body. Has a proven track record of protecting religious institutions and properties from the builder lobby e.g. Lalbaug's Wadia Agiary, Kappawala Agiary, Dadiseth Atashbehram. Has always supported traditional causes spearheaded by others like The Parsee Voice. Is the CEO of WAPIZ, an organisation formed to protect and uphold the religion and its institutions.

·       Has been strongly recommended as a fitting and capable person for trusteeship by the learned High Priests of Mumbai.

·       Fiercely independent and always willing to stand by the cause she has espoused. Known to be frank and outspoken.

·       Has a distinctive track record of community service, liaising with baug committees and individuals alike to help all community members in need. Though not a trustee, is closely involved with the functioning of the BPP and execution of its various projects and activities e.g. project for Children with Special Needs, looking to the needs of the inmates Gamadia Boys' Hostel, providing better facilities at doongerwadi for bereaved families as well as the resident khandhiyas and nassessalars, meetings of the Federation of Parsi Zoroatrian Anjumans of India.

       Mr Muncherji Cama

·       One of the owners of the Mumbai Samachar. Is also a trustee of several housing related trusts and other community trusts.

·       Claims to be traditional-minded but actions do not reflect that. Since years, he has permitted the Parsi Tari Arsi (PTA) column in his newspaper, Mumbai Samachar, to be used by close friend, Berjis Desai, to deride and denigrate the tenets of our holy religion and its institutions and spew venom against the traditional minded folks. During the 2008 election, Desai was instrumental in forming AFP to further his unholy agenda. Cama was one of the candidates put up by the AFP, but lost the elections. Has never been in the forefront on any of the issues facing the community all these years.

·       Is a donor of ZTFI (an organisation which has sprung up after the AFP was routed). ZTFI is involved in charitable activities for the community. However, it is silent on its religious agenda.

·       Has no known involvement with the BPP or its functioning.

If one views the whole situation dispassionately, keeping in mind the current requirements of the community and the existing state of affairs, the need is definitely for a dynamic, vibrant person with youthful vigour to face the various challenges and do justice to the role. Mrs Anahita Desai clearly stands out as having the mettle and the wherewithal to do justice to the job at hand and deliver the goods at this critical juncture! So, it is in the community's own interest to put her competence and passion to good use and put her in the BPP.

To add icing to the cake, the community's learned High Priests, based on their personal experiences till date, have also voiced their strong endorsement to her candidature.


--
Regards
The Parsee Voice team



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

E-mail from Pervin Langrana

E-mail from Pervin Langrana


I request you all to please give your valuable VOTE to ANAHITA DESAI in the coming Election of B.P.P.

I assure you that she is the right candidate as the Trustee of B.P.P.
I have been working with Anahita since last 4 years, and I vouch for her 
Honesty, Courage and helping nature. She is a workaholic person and at 
this junction in B.P.P. we really need a person who will take alll the 
responsibilities and work towards the welfare of our Community.

please please VOTE for ANAHITA DESAI.

If you have any doubts or need any more information about Anahita 
please feel free to contact me on 9819173501.

Pervin.... 25.05.2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Only the Gathas?

Only the Gathas?


Since the 1980s, a new group started in the Western world, which relies on only the Gathas as Zoroastrian scripture and accepts no other Avestan scripture. This was known as the Gatha-alone cult. By it's very nature, this is a radical cult since it has discarded the huge extant of Zoroastrian scripture such as the Holy Yashts and Vendidad, and most of the Khordeh Avesta that thousands of Parsi Zoroastrians pray daily. The cult is so radical that it also discards all our sacred ritual ceremonies, the sanctity of our Atash Behrams, and our Dakhma-Nashini method of dead body disposal. It doesnt believe in either fire temples or fire priests!

Since the 1960s, the Western world has become the home of many cults like this, unlike India which since 1000s of years has given refugee to and nourished several authentic great religions like Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and even Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama selected India for bringing his Tibetan people since he knew that his people's culture and religion would best be preserved on the soil of India. So too did our wise Zoroastrian priests when they brought our forefathers after the Arab conquest from Iran to India.

The Gatha-alone cult and their followers speak only of the Gathas, they do not have faith in the Nirang Din ceremonies, or even our great Atash Behrams - since even those are not mentioned in the Gathas! For that matter, there are no rules of right and wrong in the Gathas, so one can do anything we want - right? This is exactly what some cult members are doing in the West, they say any sexual behaviour is ok in our religion just because it is not mentioned in the Gathas! Do we realize what just believing in the Gathas will lead to? A free-for-all so far as morality and rules of right/wrong are concerned!

Our Prophet Zarathushtra's message had two parts to it. One the universal philosophy of love for God and happiness,  and the other part was the one of TARIKAT or method of worship. Every religion has philosophy as well as method. The Gatha-alone cult seems to forget that Zarathushtra Himself was an Athravan, a Fire Priest. To say that an Athravan had no rituals and no sense of right/wrong things is quite erroroneous.

The religion's rules of right and wrong are in the Avestan Vendidad, in the form of conversations between Dadar (Creator) Ahura Mazda and the Prophet Zarathushtra, and the scripture has strict rules against any impurity, and also against wrong sexual behavior. The scripture also enjoins that the dead body of Zoroastrians must be exposed to the sun for destruction, known as Khorshed-Nigareshni, which we also call as Dakhma-nashini. This is an ancient Aryan practice and similar to the method of "sky-burial" practised by some native American tribes, and also by Tibetan Buddhists on their mountain tops.

Power of our ancient ceremonies - scientific tests

Our rituals are also very important, they are very ancient, and similar to the Indian Vedic rituals. The Nirang Din ceremony has the power to purify by the power of AVestan sound alone, see the article:

http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/nirang33.html
NIRANG, THE WATER OF LIFE
by Dasturji Dr. Sohrabji H. Kutar

In this article, a scientific test has been described on Nirang that proved that bacterial growth was stopped just by this ancient ceremony. We should be proud we have retained such powerful ancient rituals, not ashamed. We should not discard our heritage. In fact, the Gathas were also memorized by our fire priests as part of the Zoroastrian rituals, and that is how the Gathas were preserved - as a part of the traditional  Zoroastrian rituals. Did you know this?

The Gathas are poetic and divine songs to God. Saint Tukaram wrote Abhangs (poems of praise) to God. They are great works of devotion, but are they the sole basis of the Hindu religion? There is a very big fallacy in the thinking of the Gatha-alone cult. If you ask someone to read the Psalms of David in the Bible, which are poems to God, and ignore the rest of the Bible, is that the right thing to do? Is religion just a song, without any morality or rules of right and wrong? If religion doesn't tell us these things, who then to tell us what is righteousness and what is not?

In fact all reliigons teach humanity what is good and what is bad. Zoroastrianism too has scriptures that teach these things. So too does Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and even Buddhism. Please dont say that whereas all these religions have rules, our Zoroastrian religion is the only one which doesnt have morality or rules of right and wrong. This is not right.

This is the main fault of the few Parsi followers of the Gatha-alone cult, that they have discarded our scriptures. Our forefathers preserved them through 1000s of years, we lost a lot of them to the accursed destroyer Alexander, but we still preserved 10-15 %. And in the space of a few years of the modern age, some modern Parsis who think they are superior to their own ancestors, have thrown away what our forefathers preserved for 1000s of years.

Is the religion Universal?

About the Zoroastrian religion being universal, please read the articles by the Zoroastrian scholar Roni Khan on the subject. These are on http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/roni33a.html and are titled "Universalism and all that".

In a nutshell this series of articles explains that the message of every religion is indeed universal. However the Tarikats (methods to worship and to reach God) of each religion are specific and must be followed by certain peoples to whom the message (Paigham) was given by the prophet (Paighambar). So for example, Iran was sent the Prophet Zarathushra, and the Jews were sent the Prophet Christ. If God had intended only one universal religion, he would not have sent multiple prophets to different people, since that would mean religious wars. Our Creator is Wise and not so foolish. However, when the followers of a religion started saying their religion is "universal", it let to conversion and then religious wars in the last 2000 years. And the world has never been the same since conversion started.

Our Avestan Yashts are so divine, have you read the English translations? The Gathas are fantastic, but only the Gata-alone cult relies only on the Gathas. So, please dont be a radical cult member. Please believe, like the majority of Zoroastrians in India do, in all our sacred scriptures. This is the first step in your coming back to the path of your righteous Parsi forefathers, who made you what you are - a proud Parsi in modern India.

If the forefathers had not believed in our scriptures, if they had discarded our religion and dakhmas as "unhygienic", if they had thrown open our religion to the crores of people around us - breaking their promise to the Indian King Jadav Rana, if they had started inter-marriage with the non-Zoroastrians around them, you would not be here today as a Parsi Zoroastrian in India. You are here because of their faith, their belief in our religion, and their saying no to inter marriage. God Bless you and yours.

Porus Homi Havewala.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Response to people gloating over recent "conversions"

Traditionally, Zoroastrians have not converted anyone since coming to India 1200 years ago due to a promise given to the Indian King, and there are priestly scholars who have said there was never any conversion to our religion.
See :
CONVERSION UNKNOWN IN AVESTA AND IN ANCIENT IRANIAN HISTORY:
Inter-Communal Marriages & Conversion of Non-Zoroastrians
- Remedy More Dangerous than the Disease -
- says Dasturji Dr. Hormazdiar Dastur Kayoji Mirza
http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/deen33d.html
Some modern people (mostly inter-married spouses) are nowadays gloating about recent so-called "conversions" to our religion by some cults in the Western world. My reply to such people is: Only God-revealed religions last. No cult will last. What you see happening in the Western world today are nothing but pseudo-Zoroastrian cults, not the actual Zoroastrian religion which with all its ancient ceremonies and traditions is today preserved only in the Indian sub-continent (India and Pakistan).
Regarding these same people gloating unseemingly on the Iron wall of our religion "crumbling" down, my reply is:
Our religion is built on the solid rock of the Pav-Mahal ceremonies that take place in India and are blessed by the very soil of India. This is the foundation of the traditional religion. When someone tries to "crumble" the wall of the Zoroastrian religion, that someone is attacking the soil of India itself, which has preserved our relgiion through the last 1000 years. My request to these people is to understand what they are doing, and to correct their actions. IF they think about what they are doing, they will realize their thoughts, words and actions are radical and not the middle path that our religion enjoins. Please do not copy the radical cults of the West.
I would also request the few inter-married Parsi women who are performing, with the misleading power of their money, the sacred Zoroastrian thread ceremony of their children of Hindu or Muslim or Christian fathers, to please not to make their children suffer in the long run, since the spiritual progress of these children will be effected if they do not follow the religion of their Hindu or Muslim or Christian fathers.
You may feel you are "crumbling" the beliefs of your own Parsi grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and you may be feeling unnaturally happy about that, but in effect you are playing with the spiritual lives of your own children, please realize this for their sake. Please let them follow the religion of their Hindu or Muslim or Christian fathers, is our sincere request to you all. Peace be unto you all, and God Bless you to make the correct choices, and move away from the radicalized path you are on - and come back again on the middle path.

Written by Porus Homi Havewala.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Endorsement from Homi P. Ranina

From: tannaz parakh
Date: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM
Subject: Endorsement from Homi P. Ranina


Hi all,

Mr. Homi Ranina has strongly endorsed Anahita Desai's candidature for
the upcoming BPP elections. (see attachment). I agree with every word
he has written and think that Anahita is absolutely the right person
for the BPP in these troubled times for our community. She is an
independent thinker, whose love for the community overrides all other
considerations. I have worked closely with her for the last 10 years
and can therefore vouch for her total honesty and unshakeable
principles, which can only help to strengthen the BPP and thereby, the
community. More later. Meanwhile, please forward Mr. Ranina's
endorsement to all your family and friends, if you agree with what he
has written. Thanks,

Tannaz

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Parsicide" is actually the domain of the heterodox

From: Deen Parast
Date: Tue, May 3, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Subject: "Parsicide" is actually the domain of the heterodox
To: Ratan Unwalla <ratanunwalla@yahoo.com>


Mr. Unwalla,
 
The not-so-funny side of this is that the "Parsicide", as you put it,
is actually the domain of the heterodox community who consider
themselves Parsis and yet want to admit non-Zoroastrians into
our sacred institutions. If these "modern" and "keeping with the
times" desires of theirs are fullfilled, it will mean the end (God Forbid)
of our sacred heritage and culture in India that our forefathers have
preserved for over a thousand years.
 
One other example is the heterodox desire to replace our holy
institution of Khorshed Nigareshni (exposure to the sun) with ideas
imported from other religions, such as cremation and burial. We
are not Hindus or Christians to burn or bury our dead. Why do
they want to copy other religions?
 
So it is this heterodox side of our community who are the destroyers,
whereas the Traditionals have always been the Preservers. The
word Parsicide can best be applied to these heterodox people who
want to distort our ancient culture and heritage beyond recognition.