Udwada & Daman

Living in a multicultural society as we do here in India gives us a wonderful opportunity to observe a great variety of lifestyles. It is fascinating to see how people of diverse religions celebrate their festivals, conduct ceremonies and take part in religious services, or even how they approach their place of worship.

Article by Aban Bana | Bombay Samachar

Take the Tibetan Buddhists, for example. When they go on a pilgrimage many of them, instead of walking, prostrate themselves flat on the ground every few steps and that over the entire stretch, mostly in very cold and hilly terrain! I have seen that myself. Or certain Catholic pilgrims when approaching their holiest shrine walk on their knees, even climbing the stairs in this manner. I have seen this too.

Now I am not trying to imply that we Parsis should do all this, we are not even expected to. But is it necessary to be driven in one’s car right up to the gates of our Holy Pak Iranshah Fire Temple in Udwada, especially when one is young and able-bodied, and then to instruct the driver to keep the motor running so that the car remains cool while one is inside the Fire Temple, thereafter speeding away, oblivious to the pollution left behind, and in the process almost running over some poor pilgrims on foot? In order to protect our Iranshah Fire Temple from crumbling through pollution, there should be a ban on cars in the vicinity of the Fire Temple altogether, except in certain difficult situations.

It is becoming altogether increasingly difficult to negotiate the streets of Udwada Gam. The local young men seem to be in an awful hurry and race their motorbikes at full speed, breaking all possible traffic rules! I have even seen a twelve year old riding his brother’s motorbike with full approval of his parents! In the absence of any authority in the village, there seems to be only one solution to this perennial problem. Speedbrakers! And the sooner they are installed, the better.

Another problem which seems to be getting worse with time is the beach of Udwada. Just when one thinks it can’t get any filthier, one is in for a surprise. It can! But let us look at the bright side to this situation. Udwada Gam may soon enter the Guinness Book of Records as having the world’s filthiest beach. Udwada is such a pleasant and prosperous village; if only the Gram Panchayat could take better care of it, how lovely would it look!

Now for something quite different. The political party Shiv Sena, ably managed by three generations of the Thackeray family based in Mumbai, also has its presence in southern Gujarat. The Valsad Jilla (district) Pramukh (chief) is a Zoroastrian called Shahin Jamshed Mehershahi (Irani), who runs the Parsi Dharamshala next to Udwada railway station. This is a good move; Parsi/Irani presence in local as well as national politics should be encouraged.

From Udwada we move to Daman. The Daman Agiary has a full time dastoorji, but no full time assistant to clean and maintain the Agiary. No doubt some helpful young local Parsis/Iranis do visit the Agiary at regular intervals and work hard to clean the place but in the absence of a permanent assistant our dastoorji, who is not very young and walks with a stick, has to take care of the entire place on his own. The Agiary trust doesn’t have sufficient funds for a permanent worker to help out the dastoorji to maintain the Agiary. It would be most welcome if some Parsis/Iranis could make a generous contribution, or better still, pledge a certain amount on a regular basis in the form of a monthly salary. If you are interested in contributing to this noble cause, please get in touch with Mr. Oliaji of Duke Hotel, Devka, Daman 396 210, Tel. No. 0260-2254251/2251292 in order to keep our Daman Agiary fire burning.

Aban Bana

  • Percy Madon

    So True. But there are other pains also. Like, there is no bus service from station to Udvada gam. The rick charges a $(Rs 50/-) to reach you there 1 way. The atashbehram has big boards about not bringing mobiles, cameras and electronic items inside temple, but it can also put up a big kusti instructions poster on a vaccant wall, showing how to do kusti in the proper way. People tie 100 garlands to Zoroaster’s frame but Lorasp’s  frame has only 5 or 6. People forget that all asho farah pendants in gold has him. Well, well, try going to kolak village in rick, parsi will be charged 30/- and a villager will be charged 5/-. Wednesday will hold a small sale market at kolak but after sun down the rates will hike and quality will get buried.

  • Percy Madon

    So True. But there are other pains also. Like, there is no bus service from station to Udvada gam. The rick charges a $(Rs 50/-) to reach you there 1 way. The atashbehram has big boards about not bringing mobiles, cameras and electronic items inside temple, but it can also put up a big kusti instructions poster on a vaccant wall, showing how to do kusti in the proper way. People tie 100 garlands to Zoroaster’s frame but Lorasp’s  frame has only 5 or 6. People forget that all asho farah pendants in gold has him. Well, well, try going to kolak village in rick, parsi will be charged 30/- and a villager will be charged 5/-. Wednesday will hold a small sale market at kolak but after sun down the rates will hike and quality will get buried.

  • Kapadia

    The comment about contribution is for a noble cause but unfortunately this is generally so in most of our trusts where poor Parsi employees have to work for pitiances whereas millions are given by our Sethias like Tatas, Agha etc to cosmopolitian causes which are used only for the purposes of the majority community as these  Sethias have realised that being in the good books of the majority community pays.  They have taken the cue from the political parties. Ours is the most foolish community in the world where this thought process persists.  Even in India other small but rich communities like Jains and Dawoodi Bohras have made sure that the majority of the economic benefits remain within their community.  They care for their co-religionists.
    It is a great miracle that this foolish (Parsis) has still date survived.  Due to this foolishness most of the young and intelligent generation of our community run away to the West in order to avoid this unequal level playing field.

  • Kapadia

    The comment about contribution is for a noble cause but unfortunately this is generally so in most of our trusts where poor Parsi employees have to work for pitiances whereas millions are given by our Sethias like Tatas, Agha etc to cosmopolitian causes which are used only for the purposes of the majority community as these  Sethias have realised that being in the good books of the majority community pays.  They have taken the cue from the political parties. Ours is the most foolish community in the world where this thought process persists.  Even in India other small but rich communities like Jains and Dawoodi Bohras have made sure that the majority of the economic benefits remain within their community.  They care for their co-religionists.
    It is a great miracle that this foolish (Parsis) has still date survived.  Due to this foolishness most of the young and intelligent generation of our community run away to the West in order to avoid this unequal level playing field.

  • Hansotia

    What about the Parsee owned Hotels. One wishes that they do brisk business and prosper but their own attitude towards  the passengers displays high handedness and arrogance. The Dharashallas  are cornered by two Hoteliers. The concept of Service Apartments is laughable because one has to eat food in the Bed room and then no body turns up to clean the crockery. No body turns to clean the Bath Room Result DO WASHING,CLEANING YOUR SELF BUT PAY Rs. 2000/ a day. This is in contrast to non Parsee Hotels – Star Hotels in Devka.

  • Hansotia

    What about the Parsee owned Hotels. One wishes that they do brisk business and prosper but their own attitude towards  the passengers displays high handedness and arrogance. The Dharashallas  are cornered by two Hoteliers. The concept of Service Apartments is laughable because one has to eat food in the Bed room and then no body turns up to clean the crockery. No body turns to clean the Bath Room Result DO WASHING,CLEANING YOUR SELF BUT PAY Rs. 2000/ a day. This is in contrast to non Parsee Hotels – Star Hotels in Devka.

  • Hansotia

    Mrs. Bana may note that we are expected to go bodily clean to offer prayers to Iransha and the reason even youngsters use Cars is that Roads are dusty and filthy. That is one reason.

  • Hansotia

    Mrs. Bana may note that we are expected to go bodily clean to offer prayers to Iransha and the reason even youngsters use Cars is that Roads are dusty and filthy. That is one reason.

  • Unwalla

    What Hansotia has narrated is absolutely 100 per cent true. The roads in Udwada Gaam are indeed dusty and to venture to walk from Dharamshalla or a Hotel to the Atash Padshah would be to soil one self with dust and grime besides trampling on cow dung.
    As for the atrocious tariffs of Hotels and Dharamshallas, I once again agree with Hansotia. I have had bitter experience of one Hotel existing in the Gam since many decades. The passenger desiring to return to Mumbai by Valsad fast Passenger can not get a cup of tea in early morning despite paying for it. That is the level of ‘hospitality’ of the owner. Recently, I too had the ‘privilege’ of staying in the Service Apartment and my experience has been no different. The reason possibly was that there were only two passengers and    the owner was out of station. The son and daughter of the owner were too preoccupied with management of dharamshalla. So no supervision and customer satisfaction be damned.

  • Unwalla

    What Hansotia has narrated is absolutely 100 per cent true. The roads in Udwada Gaam are indeed dusty and to venture to walk from Dharamshalla or a Hotel to the Atash Padshah would be to soil one self with dust and grime besides trampling on cow dung.
    As for the atrocious tariffs of Hotels and Dharamshallas, I once again agree with Hansotia. I have had bitter experience of one Hotel existing in the Gam since many decades. The passenger desiring to return to Mumbai by Valsad fast Passenger can not get a cup of tea in early morning despite paying for it. That is the level of ‘hospitality’ of the owner. Recently, I too had the ‘privilege’ of staying in the Service Apartment and my experience has been no different. The reason possibly was that there were only two passengers and    the owner was out of station. The son and daughter of the owner were too preoccupied with management of dharamshalla. So no supervision and customer satisfaction be damned.

  • xyz

    I fully agree with you. These sethias have not earned money. They have received money in benevolence. These sethias give loans to rich and famous but don’t help really poor and needy. Try this out.

  • xyz

    I fully agree with you. These sethias have not earned money. They have received money in benevolence. These sethias give loans to rich and famous but don’t help really poor and needy. Try this out.

  • Icchaporia

    Ms. Aban,
    Why should some body donate money for a Fire Temple at a place where there may be less than 100 humdins. The Daman Daremeher would not be of an adrian status. It is basically a place of worship for locals and if such places do not have enough congregation then would it not be better to shut shop?.To-day we are talking of financial assistance for payment of salary for a cleaner. One would be glad to donate but ask a question, WHO ARE THE BENEFICIARIES? Now it is for up keep, soon there will be an Appeal for donation to provide for regular maintenance or worst free sandalwood for local devotees.
     Such Daremehers are a family or local affairs and many such Daremehers in
    Surat /Bharuch closed down. Let those who avail of benefit of such Daremehers contribute financially or by doing the cleaning themselves. NO Mafat na Mailda.Why such subsidy for a handful?

  • Icchaporia

    Ms. Aban,
    Why should some body donate money for a Fire Temple at a place where there may be less than 100 humdins. The Daman Daremeher would not be of an adrian status. It is basically a place of worship for locals and if such places do not have enough congregation then would it not be better to shut shop?.To-day we are talking of financial assistance for payment of salary for a cleaner. One would be glad to donate but ask a question, WHO ARE THE BENEFICIARIES? Now it is for up keep, soon there will be an Appeal for donation to provide for regular maintenance or worst free sandalwood for local devotees.
     Such Daremehers are a family or local affairs and many such Daremehers in
    Surat /Bharuch closed down. Let those who avail of benefit of such Daremehers contribute financially or by doing the cleaning themselves. NO Mafat na Mailda.Why such subsidy for a handful?

  • xyz

    Yesterday, I had sent a poor person all the way from mumbai to daman for an interview in the agiary. He was offered a salary of only RS 1,500/- per month. NO Boarding-Lodging facilities. How do you want a person to work for you in such low salary. After all even he is a human being. He needs money to buy food, groceries etc. Even a servant working in our house works at 5 different places and earns more than Rs 5,000/- per month. The visitors on an average per day are not more than 5. So no Tips also. I sincerely feel and request humble trustees to think positively. God Bless you. Yatha Jamyad Yatha Afrinami.

  • Percy Madon

    Array Array Bavaji aam Kem Chalsay! Khodaiji Naraj Thaijasay…. Shut-Shop? Where has the pompous appreciation for parsis, left for? “Sakhvatay Bahadur bhi Parsi”. ( but before that I have also heard …..pssst… Badmass maa Badmass bhi parsi). 

  • Percy Madon

    Array Array Bavaji aam Kem Chalsay! Khodaiji Naraj Thaijasay…. Shut-Shop? Where has the pompous appreciation for parsis, left for? “Sakhvatay Bahadur bhi Parsi”. ( but before that I have also heard …..pssst… Badmass maa Badmass bhi parsi). 

  • Gunvantvaidya

    Hi all
    I am not sure if I am interfering a private discussion forum. If so please accept my sincere apologies. I am not going to continue any of the current discussion threads . All i wanted to mention was that I am from  originally fromUdwada town. My whole childhood was spent there including my primary and secondary school education. My graduation was completed in Navsari and after that I returned back to Udwada commuting to work in a bank in Vapi. I left Udwada in 1975 and since then I am in UK. I dearly miss Udwada. I have visited the town about three times since. The last visit was about 4 years ago for a quick 60 minute tour in car. ..not enough time.. and didn’t see many known faces or perhaps didn’t recognise a lot….perhaps I wasn’t recognised too.
    All I would like todo iso  thank Udwada for my great memories. I miss you and would like to walk once again on my school route carrying school bag on my shoulder..nd in khakhi half pant and white shirt, the school uniform…..hahaha…..LoL……Love you all Udwadawala

  • Gunvantvaidya

    Hi all
    I am not sure if I am interfering a private discussion forum. If so please accept my sincere apologies. I am not going to continue any of the current discussion threads . All i wanted to mention was that I am from  originally fromUdwada town. My whole childhood was spent there including my primary and secondary school education. My graduation was completed in Navsari and after that I returned back to Udwada commuting to work in a bank in Vapi. I left Udwada in 1975 and since then I am in UK. I dearly miss Udwada. I have visited the town about three times since. The last visit was about 4 years ago for a quick 60 minute tour in car. ..not enough time.. and didn’t see many known faces or perhaps didn’t recognise a lot….perhaps I wasn’t recognised too.
    All I would like todo iso  thank Udwada for my great memories. I miss you and would like to walk once again on my school route carrying school bag on my shoulder..nd in khakhi half pant and white shirt, the school uniform…..hahaha…..LoL……Love you all Udwadawala