Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

BPP Trustee Elections: Ervard Xerxes Vispi Dastur

Candidate Profile

Ervard Xerxes Vispi Dastur

Proposed by: Mr. Cyrus Jamshed Guzder

Seconded by: Mr. Keki Mistry

Supported by: The Community

“KOMMNO”  ANNE “KAMMNO” TRUSTEE

This Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) election of 1st July 2018 is a critical one. It will be a test of the Parsi community’s will to set right its apex administrative body – which has been the victim of continuing infighting and egos, which unfortunately nearly led to the resignation of Trustee Mr. Noshir Dadrawala, but none the less exposing many skeletons in the BPP cupboard.

Recently we have witnessed community charity funds splurged on needless litigation whilst on the other hand, beneficiaries have been informed that the BPP has no funds for social welfare schemes, or repairs of dilapidated buildings even on 50:50 basis between the BPP and the beneficiaries.

Xerxes Dastur speaking about Entrepreneurship at the recently concluded 11th World Zoroastrian Congress in Perth, Australia

It’s time for the young, apolitical, independent and professional-minded among us to step up and shoulder the responsibility. The trust’s credibility needs to be restored. As promised after the previous elections of 2015, I have continued with grass root work for the community which has kept me well informed of their needs and desires. For this reason, I am contesting the present Panchayat election..

I am not connected to any family or group, however I am supported by all and sundry including many of the aged, the young, the traditionalists and the non- traditionalists voters, all of whom are willing to support me during this election. Members of groups or families face several compulsions and are never free to act as per their conscience. I believe that in trusts such as the BPP it’s important to take decisions free of political alliances or family ties. This is a philosophy that has found tremendous support across the community and among prominent Parsis.

Today, the election is being fought on a very different platform with various false and misleading articles about me, which I will clarify and clear. I will nevertheless follow my path of fighting a clean and fair election without any personal vilification and continue with my campaign to WAKE UP all PARSIS.

Family:

Having been raised in a small home at [ Forjett Street] I have learnt it takes a lot of hard work, honesty and dedication to be successful. I did my schooling at Greenlawns High School, Mumbai followed by a Bachelor of Commerce at H. R College, Mumbai and then finally passed my Chartered Accountancy exams in the first attempt. .

My wife hails from our holy town Udwada. We have been married for the last 15 years and are blessed with two children Cyrus  and Yohann. Earlier this month Cyrus was privileged to have been ordained a NAVAR by Dasturji Aspandiar Dadachanji and Dasturji Khushroo Kanga at the Vatchagandhy Agiary.

Professional Career:

After completing the prestigious [CA exam], I have since been a practicing CA for the last 24  years at V.S. Dastur & Co. Chartered Accountants, which is one of India’s leading CA firms and are the auditors of various parsi and cosmopolitan Trusts and corporate entities  all over India. I have been the Managing Partner of V.S. Dastur & Co. for the last 15 years.

As an experienced Chartered Accountant and Financial Consultant, I work with trusts across the country. It has required me to acquire the domain knowledge required to run such a body. I am also part of the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) for which I mentor new businesses every year. I am also Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the Mumbai chapter of the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC).

Whilst my firm and I are internal auditors of BPP since decades, I hereby declare that if elected, I will give up and surrender the BPP internal audit and request the Trustees to appoint another auditor in our place.

Community Service:

My family has long been at the forefront of community affairs. One of my ancestors wrote the ‘Chaiye Hame Zarthosti’ anthem sung by our community to this date. My grandfather Shapoorji Dastur (Manjra) was the founder and principal of the J J School in Valsad and also penned a thesis called, Cyrus the Great and His Times, which was also published in later years. My father Ervard CA Vispi Dastur is also connected with various Parsi Trusts all over the country. He is an eminent Chartered Accountant who has rendered yeoman services to various Charitable organisations in his 54 year long career and is a world renowned philatelist and historian,having authored two books on Indian Stamps Used Abroad and has been on the International Jury for various Philatelic competitions around the world over the years.

I have worked extensively with the youth through organisations like the Xtremely Young Zoroastrians (XYZ) and WZCC..

I have nurtured and enjoyed working with teams that have delivered remarkable results in terms of community service. These required teamwork and the ability to carry everyone along, a quality that has served me well as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the Mumbai chapter of the WZCC. This is a philosophy I bring also to my responsibilities as Trustee and the Chairman of the Managing Committee of the Ripon Club, a 137 years old only Parsi Club in Mumbai, Treasurer of Rustam Baug Welfare Association, Secretary of The Ness Wadia Memorial Pavilion and INDIA Board Member of World Zarthosti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC)Qualities which are mandatory for a Trustee:

·      NON POLITICAL: I do not come with baggage or tags. I am truly independent candidate, who is a professional by career with a passion to dedicate his time and effort towards doing good for this community.

·      Independent I am not a part of any consensus group or coterie. It is this independence of thought that I believe is much needed to serve the community rather than one’s own interests.

·      Commitment to save and preserve our heritage and traditions: Ensure all protection of our sacred properties and traditions including the Doongerwadi.

·      Transparent: I intend on bringing much needed genuine transparency back to the functioning of the esteemed BPP and not the lip service given. I have no hidden agendas. My intention is clear – to serve the community with honesty and dedication.

·      Modernity: Along with transparency, I intend on modernising some processes as well as bringing back some processes from the past that have been disbanded.

As a trustee, there are many challenges I will take on. Here, I list a few

Housing

My Manifesto will give clear guidelines on Housing issues but in general will include

·      Modify/Amend the present existing Merit Rating Scheme or if necessary even  Re-draft a Merit Rating Scheme mandatory for everyone, which has been abandoned by the present board and allotments done only to those who continually week after week privately meet the Trustees . No Exceptions

·      Allotments have to be based solely on Merit Rating Scheme and not on relationship with Trustees or on ad-hoc basis, as at present.

·      Obtain best legal advice for converting ALL leave and licence agreements into rental agreements at the least cost and complications.

·      Solutions to provide adequate housing as several families and young couples are struggling to get a house. This means that young couples are either putting off having children or marriage itself. Obviously, this has implications on our population. The mandate of the Donors will be followed as far as possible.

Administrative Solutions

·      Complete transparency in the trust’s functioning.

·      Code of ethics, including not using the BPP office for personal work or carrying files outside or home.

·      Declaration of conflicts of interest by all Trustees and when tenders are awarded. To this end, I am willing to sign an affidavit.

·      Independent election commission. How can the very people standing for elections oversee them?

·      Full documentation of board meetings, complete access of the community to them. This will bring to light any preferential treatment given to others out of turn

·      Active participation of elected baug/colony associations in the trust’s functioning.

·      Guidance and help for smaller Anjumans and Zoroastrian trusts.

·      Holding annual meetings with the community as a whole to bridge the gap, which currently exists between the BPP, and the community.

·      Enable participative decision making on issues such as maintenance charges, parking charges, sweepers, pumpman, etc. so as to forge a better working environment between the BPP and  the community as a whole.

Community and youth engagement

·      New portal as an interface with the community; on it would be all documents, tenders and accounts. You could file complaints and track progress made on them.

·      Career and academic counselling centres for youth. Many are shunning professional qualifications in return for safe jobs.

·      More student scholarships and a push for reservations for our youth, at least in Parsi-funded institutions.

·      Deep engagement to make their voice heard in the handling of community affairs. No solution will work without their participation.

Elder care

·      Medical insurance for not just seniors, but entire community. This would lower healthcare costs; we would benefit from significantly lower premiums of the bulk deal. For those who still can’t pay, the BPP could step in.

·      Tie-ups with leading medical institutions for assured number of beds, lower treatment costs.

·      Cashless cover through smart cards to make hospital care relatively smooth.

·      Regular medical camps to take care of minor health problems. The camps would also help spread awareness about prevention and healthcare.

·      More old-age homes. An infusion of BPP funds would create stable, caring living spaces. These would be professionally managed.

·      I call upon Parsi doctors to devote some of their time to the community. A visit once a month to baugs for free consultations would go a long way.

“KOMMNO”  ANNE “KAMMNO” TRUSTEE

I need your support to make your life better.

Ervard Xerxes Vispi Dastur

Email: xerxes.dastur2018@gmail.com

Tel No: 98200 84449

Blog: xerxesvdastur.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xerxes.dastur2018