Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

A CA turned Avestan scholar

khojeste-mistee Khojeste Pudam Mistree is a frank and fearless crusader of the faith. As Trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, Managing Trustee of Zoroastrian Studies and Trustee of the Athravan Educational Trust, he has virtually brought about a religious renaissance in the community.

Published in the Afternoon DC

Through his lecture tours around the world and the weekly classes being conducted in Parsi Schools in Mumbai, he has imparted religious knowledge and instilled a sense of pride in the community’s glorious history and heritage. The tours of Iran which he has been taking for many years have proved to be very popular and in fact, Khojeste is one of the few behdins to have had the privilege to teach Zoroastrianism to upcoming priests and boywalas of the Atash Behrams.

For many years, he worked in England as a Chartered Accountant, having qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales. After working as a C.A. in the United Kingdom he was offered a partnership in his old firm, but he turned it down to pursue his passion — the study of Zoroastrianism.

He was the first Parsi J. N. Tata scholar to study Zoroastrianism at Oxford. He studied under the famed savant, the late Professor Mary Boyce. When he obtained a Masters Degree from there, it was in Oriental Studies with specialization in Ancient Iranian Studies and Zoroastrianism.

Khojeste is a founder member of the UK-based Alliance for Religion and Conservation (ARC). His passion is for protecting the vultures and greening areas like Doongerwadi.

A founder Trustee of the World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis (WAPIZ), Khojeste is the moving spirit behind this traditional movement which has, as one of its main planks, the strengthening of the Dokhmenashini system at Doongerwadi and elsewhere. As a preserver of our ancient heritage, he has worked ceaselessly to get each and every one of the 46 fire temples and one priestly seminary in Mumbai declared as heritage structures. Since 1979, he has been instrumental in organizing a poverty alleviation programme for assisting old, venerable mobeds and their families in Udvada, Navsari, Surat, Bharuch, Valsad, Jhansi and Mumbai. Also under the aegis of his Zoroastrian Studies, more than a hundred poor Parsis and Iranis get monthly financial support.

His wife, Firoza Punthakey-Mistree has been a close associate of his in the field of Zoroastrian history and culture. Her Magnum Opus in conjunction with Pheroza Godrej is titled "A Zoroastrian Tapestry, Art, Religion, & Culture".

[Hat Tip via email from Shirin J. Mistry]