Our dear friend and eminent Zoroastrian scholar Professor Almut Hintze shares the below writeup and photographs.
With great sadness we share the notice that Ervad Asphandiar Dadachanji passed away on Friday, October 22nd, 2021, aged 82. The MUYA team had the privilege of working with Ervad Dadachanji on the film we made in Mumbai in November 2017. In the film, he features as the performing priest of the Paragna ceremony and as assistant priest in the main ritual alongside Ervad Adil Bhesania, who takes the role of chief priest. The film captures Ervad Dadachanji’s beautiful and clear recitation of the Avestan language and his proficiency in the ritual performance. He was not only a fine priest but also a fine gentleman, kind and soft spoken. His death is a tremendous loss for both the Zoroastrian community and the scholarly world.
Ervad Dadachanji was born in Mumbai on 2nd October 1939. He grew up in Mumbai and received his priestly training at the Dadar Athornan Institute. Subsequently he did all his practical training under the strict religious guidance of Ervad Eruchsha Kakalia to work as a full time priest. In 1970–1980 he served at the Nagpur fire temple, and in 1981 he drove alone in his oldtimer Morris 8 to Sri Lanka to serve as a priest there. On his return, he served as boiwala at the Navsari Bhagarsat Atashbehram besides also being a bhantar cum history teacher, with Dasturji Firoze Kotwal, at the Cama Athornan Institute in Andheri, Mumbai. In 1983 he was appointed priest at the Modi Sorabji Vatcha Gandhi Agiary at Hughes Road in Mumbai.
Ervad Dadachanji is survived by his wife Dhunmai and his two sons Marespand and Hormuz, who continue his tradition as priests. Our hearts go out to his family with our condolences.
Below are some pictures taken at the filming of the Yasna performance in November 2017 at the Dadar Athornan Institute, Mumbai.