The Vada Dasturji of Udvada is currently visiting USA and stopped by the ZAGNY Darbe Mehr in Pomona, NY to perform a jashan ceremony and talk to the ZAGNY congregation.
ZAGNY welcomed Dasturji Khurshed Dastur, the Vada Dasturji of the Iranshah Atash Behram, Udvada; on Saturday May 15th, 2010 at the Darbe Mehr. He was accompanied by three priests from ZAGNY, one among them being Pervez Patel, who has been a priest at ZAGNY for the last 40 years.
After the beautiful prayer recitation; Dasturji addressed the gathering of over 100 people in a question answer session moderated by Homi Gandhi.
The Dasturji briefed the gathering about the new Zoroastrian Information Center set up at Udvada. This center has a permanent exhibit that imparts information about the religion, culture and way of life of the Parsis in India. He urged one and all to visit the Center, the next time they are in Udvada at the Iranshah.
He also spoke about his visit to address a Jewish congregation the day before at their synagogue. Here he was given an opportunity to address the large crowd and brief them about the religion and the ceremonies; and discuss the many similarities our religions share.
He also gave a brief history of the Iranshah from the time the Parsis landed on the shores of Sanjan 13 centuries ago.
And lastly he urged the gathering; and infact the various associations in North America, including FEZANA to write letters of support for the creation of Udvada as a heritage village. This is something that he is championing and taking up with the Government of Gujarat and further with the Government of India.
This heritage status (not to be confused with the UNESCO World Heritage Site) would stop the haphazard development of property in Udvada village. With multi storey structures planned all around the Iranshah and a complete absence of sewage and sanitation system; soil and water pollution are the biggest hazards to the surrounding areas of Iranshah. He requested everyone to send letters of support via their local Zoroastrian organisations to him at Udvada.
At the conclusion of the event he was presented a shawl by Pervez Patel. The gathering then broke for lunch catered by ZAGNY and everyone got an opportunity to meet with the Dasturji on a personal one-to-one basis.