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Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Ervad Rustom Kaikhushroo Bhedwar: Obituary

Malcolm Deboo, President of ZTFE informs us….

It is with great sadness that we inform you that our beloved Honorary Life Member & Trustee Ervad Rustom KaiKhusroo Bhedwar, passed away at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, this morning around 9.16am, Mah Meher, Roj Dae-pa-Adar, Thursday 20th February 2020. Ervad Rustom was 84 years old. He was born on 24th March 1935.

imageBelow is tribute to Ervad Rustom by our Past President Dorab E Mistry OBE. 

Kindly note that all the after death ceremonies will be performed at the Zoroastrian Centre, except funeral.  

Uthemna ceremony will be on Saturday 22nd February at 3.30pm.

Patli raat-nu uthemna ceremony will be on Sunday 23rd February at 5.45am.

Charam ceremony will be on Sunday 23rd February at 7am.

Funeral ceremony will be on Tuesday 25th February at 2pm at Golders Green Crematorium.

Dasmu (10th day) prayers will be on Saturday 29th February at 11.30am.

Maasiso (30th day) prayers will be on Jamsheedi NoRuz Saturday 21st March 2020. Time tbc.

Chamsi (6th month) prayers will be on Sunday 23rd August 2020. Time tbc.

Varsi (1st death anniversary) prayers will be on Friday 19th February 2021. Time tbc.

On behalf of the Trustees and Managing Committee of the ZTFE, I convey our deepest sympathies to his son Ervad Zubin Bhedwar, his niece Jasmine Bhedwar, Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur Kekobad Dastoor and extended families.

Sadly, Ervad Rustom had not been keeping well over the past few years and have been in and out of hospital.

May Ervad Rustom’s soul rest in peace in Garothman  next to his beloved Amy aunty!

Please inform those who are not accessible by email.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm M Deboo

President, ZTFE

Dorab Mistry writes…

Ervad Rustom served our Anjuman for 5 decades as our most beloved Mobed, as everyone’s favourite uncle, as ZTFE Trustee, as a most astute, popular and courageous member of our ZTFE Managing Committee and as ZTFE Vice President. His moderate views and his compassion held our community together in some very difficult times. Ervad Rustom was unanimously elected ZTFE Honorary Life Member for his meritorious service to the community at the AGM on 2nd October 2005. 

For me personally, this passing is a huge personal loss. It was Ervad Rustom who persuaded me to take up the Chair of the New Premises Steering Committee in 1995. He then convinced me to join the Managing Committee in 1996 and eventually to run for President in 1997. His support and his guidance were always invaluable and critical. I had the privilege to serve with him when he officiated as our Vice President from 2003 to 2005.

87305536_3813283545348518_8459087464139587584_nErvad Rustom’s area of greatest interest, second only to his commitment to prayers, was Inter Faith and representing our wonderful ancient faith to the outside world. Wherever he went, he made close friends and left an indelible mark. He was twice invited to the Vatican and had the honour of meeting and praying with His Holiness Pope John Paul II. In fact, when he was at the Vatican on the second occasion, as Cardinal Arinze was introducing him, Pope John Paul reached out with his arm and interrupted the Cardinal saying “I know, he is Zoroastrian High Priest”

Ervad Rustom commenced his priestly training at the Dadar Athornan Institute in 1943, at the tender age of 8. During the next 6 years, he was taught to recite Zoroastrian prayers with correct pronunciation and to perform the rituals, qualifying him as a Navar and Martab. From 1948 – 1955, Ervad Rustom studied Avesta and Pahlavi, initially at the Cama Athornan Institute, Andheri, and later studies  at St Xavier’s College, Bombay University. His class mates at the Cama Athornan were our towering High Priest Dasturji Dr Fiiroze M Kotwal and Ervad Saheb Soli Dastur (now in USA and former Chair of the North American Mobed Council).

Ervad Rustom worked for some time in MUMBAI at the BOMBAY Dyeing Textile company and thus began his deep respect and admiration for the Wadia family. After marrying his beloved Amy (nee Fatakia, of Calcutta ) Ervad Rustom came with his young bride to start a new life in the UK.  He was first invited to pray at the ZTFE in 1966 at the Zoroastrian House, by the late Dasturji Dr Sorabji H Kutar. Side by side his voluntary work as a Mobed began. After retirement from the Post Office as a Revenue Inspector and Auditor, Ervad Rustom devoted himself completely to community work – as a Mobed (always giving service in a completely voluntary capacity) and as a compassionate community elder since .

Ervad Rustom built up a close and wonderful friendship with our very beloved and dedicated Ervad Saheb Jal Karkaria and Ervad Saheb Marzban Dastoor.

I believe one of the finest tributes to the exemplary service rendered by Ervad Sahebs Rustom Bhedwar and Jal Karkaria was by our philanthropist and benefactor Mobed Mehraban Zartoshty who said during his visit to London in 2005 “ Our Mobeds Bhedwar and Karkaria have held the community together by their regular service, their moderate approach and the love and compassion they provide to every family in its hour of need. They are exemplary Mobeds “

The New Premises Project and our acquisition and development of this beautiful Zoroastrian Centre would not have been successful but for his strong and steadfast support, his tireless fund raising and the goodwill that he earned for the ZTFE. He never lost an opportunity to promote our Anjuman and to impress upon community donors to support us in every manner.

Ervad Rustom and Amy were also founder members and ran the Harrow Zoroastrian Group for decades with personal dedication and commitment. Ervad Rustom was a founder member of Harrow Interfaith and was highly respected in interfaith.

Rusi and Amy were like a loving uncle and aunt to countless young Zoroastrian families in the UK. They diligently organised weekly navjote prayer classes at their residence in Norton Road, Wembley. Ervad Rustom firmly believed in the importance of pronouncing the Zoroastrian prayers correctly and performing ceremonies properly, especially after death ceremonies.  He was always willing to share his knowledge of Zoroastrianism and educate others by undertaking religious classes for all ages at ZTFE. In 1999, Ervad Rustom recited the entire Gathas of Zarathushtra in the true Zoroastrian tradition as he was taught at the Athornan Institute as a young boy, which were professionally recorded and produced on a 2 volume CD in 2003.         

Along with everyone else, Shenaz and I and our daughters Tina, Sherie and Roxanne will miss them very much and always fondly remember the happy times we shared. Ervad Rustom is now re-united with his beloved Amy. After Amy’s passing, Ervad Rustom was never the same. Yet despite ill health he carried on courageously. Ervad leaves behind his wonderful son Zubin, a rich legacy of community service and many happy memories of a successful fruitful life of exemplary dedication, compassion and generosity.

May Ervad Rusi and his beloved Amy always bless us all from Garothman.

Shenaz and Dorab Mistry