The book Parsis of Ahmedabad – A Brief History by Meher Medora

Meher Medora presents a book on Amdavad Parsis which her husband began & she completed

Parsis may be dwindling in numbers. But, they stand out in all their shining glory. A member of the community passed on to posterity the richness of Parsi culture, tradition and religion down the ages in the form of a book.

Author: Kinjal Desai | Source: DNA India

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Rashid Medora had begun documenting the history of Parsis in Ahmedabad. But Meher, his better half,  completed this unfinished work after his demise three years ago. The book Parsis of Ahmedabad – A Brief History will be launched at the Ahmedabad Management Association on Saturday.

“Rashid was fond of knowing everyone’s ancestry and family lineage. I, on the other hand, felt that he was prying into other people’s lives and would always walk away the instance he started such a conversation with someone. But when people came to him, I realised what he was doing,” said Meher.

“I am surprised how I finished his book! He was very fond of detailing and that was evident when we explored his research work and went through the files of pictures he had collected for this book. He would converse and take notes from lots of people like Naushid Dabo for religious information and Ratan Marshall for the history of Parsis. Dr Marshall was an encyclopaedia and Rashid a good listener,” stated the 79-year-old author.

She, however, owes the credit of bringing out the book to three people Cyrus Mobedji, Snehal Nagarsheth and Astad Pastakia. She said those three would constantly persuade her to complete her late husband’s work. “They pointed out a line written by Rashid in his introduction to the book, ‘I don’t know when the book will see the light of day’.  A kind of premonition he already had.”

As she worked on his book for three years since his death on October 24, 2010, Meher recalled that she, too, had cried a couple of times. She said she was sometimes lost while getting this book together and would want to give it up. “But, I did it for him,” she said.

The 320-page book has a Fravishi symbol on Amdavad’s famous Sidi Saiyyed ni jali on the cover to mark the presence of Parsis in Ahmedabad.

 

Book on Ahmedabad’s Parsis shares untold stories

Author: Runa Mukherjee Parikh, TNN

AHMEDABAD: It was a merry gathering on Saturday when the city’s Parsi community celebrated the launch of a book tracing the history of Parsis in Ahmedabad. Dr Homi Dhalla and Rohinton Nariman graced the launch with words of praise for the author and shared many insights from the book.

Meher Medora, widow of the author Rashid Medora, not only completed the book written by her husband, but added the epilogue too. “He took painstaking efforts to discuss with people their family histories, while I did not understand his enthusiasm. It was when a friend told me what a great service Rashid was doing to the community that I realized it,” she said.

Dr Homi Dhalla, cultural activist who is known for his preservation work for Zoroastrianism, spoke about how the book filled many gaps in tracing the religion’s roots in the city. “Rashid was like a walking encyclopedia. The book has covered religious-socio-cultural aspects and is laudable especially because there are huge gaps in chronicling our history due to turbulent times our ancestors faced,” he said.

Dhalla also appreciated the fact that the children at the gathering were speaking in Gujarati. “Why don’t Parsis wear dungarees to weddings anymore? Why are the devotional songs fading away?” he questioned, urging the families to embrace their culture.

Rohinton Nariman, a celebrated lawyer and former solicitor general of India, shared anecdotes albeit in a humorous way. “I am related to the first three Parsi families that came to Ahmedabad as mentioned in the book. I am part Vakil, my best friend is a Karanjwala and if my mother hadn’t married my father, I would have been a Kothavala,” he said, much to everyone’s amusement.

Hounded out by Ahmed Shah’s grandson

Ahmed Shah, who built Ahmedabad in 1411 was the grandson of a Rajput who had converted to Islam. While it was peaceful during Ahmed Shah’s reign, it was his grandson and his army general who chased the then Parsis to nearby caves due to a decree in their holy book where they misinterpreted Zoroastrians to be ‘non-believers’.

When Parsis had to learn Sanskrit

History says that most of this race reached Diu where they learnt the Sanskrit language and its shlokas. It was only after reciting these shlokas that the Brahmins gave them further entry into the country.

Longest marriage record

The longest marriage in Guinness Book of World Records is apparently held by a Parsi couple. Sir Temurji was 5 years and his wife only 3 when they got married. They spent 85 years married!