Tomorrow 15th February is the baj of Manekji Limji Hataria, the Parsi missionary to Iran. A jashan will be performed at Wadiaji Atash Behram 1st floor hall in the morning at 10 a.m.
Below is an article penned by our dear friend and esteeem Parsi historian Marzban J. Giara.
MANEKJI LIMJI HATARIA (1813-1890)
He was sent as a Parsi missionary to Iran by the Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Society of Bombay in 1854 to better the condition of the Iranian Zoroastrians. This great and brave man worked with amazing perseverance and courage and surmounted all difficulties by incessant and hard toil for nearly thirty years. He saved from extinction the Zoroastrian community in Iran. He strived for 30 years and gained his object by perseverance, wisdom, sympathy and sacrifice at the time when oppression had reduced their numbers to a paltry 7,000.
He was fluent in Persian language and made friends with the Shah of Iran and with the help of Sir Henry Rawlinson, the British ambassador to Teheran he had the hated Jaziya tax abolished which was imposed on the Zoroastrians for thirteen centuries. He repaired and rebuilt the Atash Behrams and dokhmas. He founded schools, orphanages and dharamshalas for poor Zoroastrians. He also acted as an agent for individual Parsi benefactors. By 1882 twelve boys’ schools had been established in Tehran, Kerman, Yezd and the surrounding villages. He also started schools for girls in Iran. He established funds for performing religious ceremonies such as navjotes, weddings, etc.
He was instrumental in getting rid of the practice of animal sacrifice among the Zoroastrians and introduced innocent religious ceremonies. When the poor Zoroastrians villagers used to come to Teheran from Yazd, they faced many hardships besides epidemics and famines which added to their misery. He appealed to the Parsi sethias of Bombay for help. When he did not receive any help, he gave his own one-storeyed house for use by these Zoroastrian villagers.
He wrote a book called ‘Fararistan’ in Persian under the penname of ‘Dervis-e-fani’. He also wrote ‘Rishal e Ezhare Shiate Iran’ an account of the journey to Iran. He wrote several poems. He passed away on February 15, 1890 at the age of 77. May his memory live long and continue to inspire similar enterprise and sacrifice in our youth.
His bronze bust is placed in the Yezd Atash Behram.
A commemorative jashan will be held at Wadiaji Atash Behram on his 125th death anniversary baj on Sunday 15th February 2015 at 10 a.m. in the first floor hall through Bombay Parsi Punchayet as arranged by the Zarthosti Brothers.