Parsi Khabar: Parsis The Zoroastrians of India, Pakistan and The World

Religious Education and the Future of Young Mobeds in North America and Beyond


October 29, 2009

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In early summer 2009, Jim Engineer, one of the founders of NextGenNow got in touch with me to see if I would like to write an article for the Fall 2009 FEZANA Journal. NextGenNow as an organisation were guest-editing. The above-titled article is one of the two articles I wrote for this edition.

My earliest memories of going to a fire temple are of seeing a bearded man dressed in all white sitting all alone, greeting us when we entered. Feeling awed and scared at the same time, it took a while to understand why this man looked so similar to the ones in photographs on the wall. It took patience and effort on my late grandfather’s part to make me understand that this was “aapra dastoorji.” The man in question was the revered head priest Dasturji Hormazdji of the Batliwala Agiary in Tardeo all those years ago. Since then I have had numerous friends and relatives who are priests and that has led to a deeper understanding of what they stand for and what they mean to our ancient religion.

In a religion as ancient as ours, the center of our spiritual physical being lies with these very priests. The dasturs, as they are known, are the custodians and implementers of all matters pertaining to religion, customs, ceremonies and the overall conscience of the religion. Zarathusti priests have over the centuries been the guiding force in the interpretation of our ancient texts, performing ceremonies of happiness and sadness, and being the silent custodians and arbitrators of our religious ethos.

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Comments, opinions and critique appreciated.


  1. Siloo Kapadia

    Wonderful! How about Parsi female priests? I am sure at least a few would be interested.

  2. Mickie Sorabjee

    A very succinct and lucid article that deftly underscores even in its brevity, the future of Zoroastrian priest-hood in North America and Beyond home shores and the dilemma faced by young ordained mobeds in evaluating their role in a foreign land not conducive to their religious education/practice in an alien milieu.

    The versatile Arzan Wadia has comprehensively explored the subject he has expressively illustrated and the article definitely merits reproduction in other Parsee publications.

    Though Dr Jehan Bagli and Dr Kersy Antia’s serious estimations are thought provoking, Kobad Zarolia has summed it up best.

    A proper Agiary in North America would indeed be the ultimate culmination of perpetuating Zoroatrianism universally.