Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Empowering Mobeds: Moving Online

“I am no seer but I can say it with confidence.. we are moving in the right direction.”

The Empowering Mobeds programme with the theme of Moving Online kicked off on the morning of 13th May , 2018 at the Dadar Athornan Institute, Mumbai. After breaking away from the Jiyo Parsi programme, this was the first workshop conducted under the auspices of the Athornan Mandal and the WZO Trust Funds, very ably coordinated by Mrs Binaifer Sahukar and her dynamic team.

Article by Ervad Sheherazad Pavri

The attendees were mostly priests from Mumbai, some of their spouses and even one Er Rohinton Karanjia , who like the last time, made it a point to attend , all the way from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh.

With the invocation prayers chanted by Er Kaizad Karkaria, the initial session started off with Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastur urging the priestly class to make a difference by adopting a more outward and broad mindset. He also mentioned a better way of connecting to the laity by sending them good wishes through text messages with blessings such as “Tandarosti” and “Garothman Behest” as compared to the usual HBDs and RIPs. He also encouraged the priests to make the use of technology to train priests, highlighting a success story of the North American Mobeds Council. The session progressed further with inputs from Er Hormuz Dadachanji and Er Cyrus Darbari, highlighting the mismanagement of social media by being very trigger friendly of the forward button on Whatsapp. The audience was encouraged to refrain from the same while taking efforts to verify facts and spreading false rumours to the detriment of the community. Er Darayesh Katrak, who being a Trustee of a fire temple, also a priest and an ex-employee with a leading MNC spoke about the power of prayers in uniting a community . He has recently started the Behram Yazad Shrine at the Dadyseth Atashbehram in Mumbai after being inspired on his last trip to Iran and encouraged Humbandagis(Group Prayers) as a means of uniting the community. The use of social media was welcomed by all , understanding that it truly is a Double Edged Sword.

After a Jiyo Parsi presentation on the updated schemes involving assistance in raising children and care for senior citizens , a quick tea break was succeeded by a panel discussion . The panel was unique mix of media, etymology, advertising, IT security, neurochemical science and humour. Shernaaz Engineer, editor Jam-e-Jamshed while appreciating the wonders of social media encouraged the priests to pen articles , highlighting the power of print and giving people a reason to cut out and preserve cuttings of snippets of Religious Treasure over the years. Dr Mazda Turel , also a priest, spoke about how humour brings about togetherness while being a turn on to the opposite sex as also its role in healing people. Eminent psychiatrist Dr Kersi Chavda touched upon a very interesting concept of the power of words- describing them as not mere strings of alphabets but tools that can inspire or destroy oneself. He encouraged rephrasing of words and using them as effective communication triggers for empathising with people. Berjes Shroff, an IT professional who recently started his own company urged the gathering to be wary of what they share on social media while keeping in mind the new age laws that can land one into trouble for misinforming people. The advertising expert Rayomand J. Patell, who is also an automobile buff addressed the priests as Warriors of the Light. Weaving through a story of pictures, he encouraged optimal use of multiple social media platforms in digitally promoting messages.

The penultimate session involved 3 young priests sharing their recent experiences. Er Sheherazad Pavri, a young entrepreneur and also a practicing priest presented the short video created to showcase the recently concluded World Zoroastrian Youth Leaders Forum in the UK where a group of youngsters from various parts of the globe united in strategizing , planning and implementing programmes to tackle the various problems plaguing the community. Er Firdaus Pavri excellently explained his journey from being bored to the core to embracing the servitude towards the Holy Fire through the correct guidance and mentorship. The Panthaky and Boiwalla of an agiary who is also an avid blogger, foodie and travel enthusiast , Firdaus shared how social media had empowered him to grow and love his occupation while enjoying the love of labour which really wowed the audience. Er Jehan Darbari, an alumnus of the Dadar Athornan Institute added to the above, stating the role of media in giving him the recognition and encouragement to pursue priesthood fulltime.

Post a quick lunch catered under the auspices of Mr Jimmy Gadiwala, Ms Delphi Wadia initiated the final session on Communication Skills. It was a very engaging session where the priests learned about the nuances of communication. She definitely handled the post lunch period in a very eloquent manner, while training the gathering how to communicate a message to someone in the best way possible using the right confidence, body language, dressing style and posture.

All this would not have been possible without the efforts of Mr Dinshaw Tamboly who has always championed noble causes.

The Empowering Mobeds Programme plans to hold its next workshop in the month of July and invites more Mobeds to participate and engage in discussions to come up with solutions of upliftment and betterment of the clergy.

I know Rome was not built in a day; the challenges and problems teething the priestly class are humungous and the lack of being identified as professionals coupled with financial insecurity discouraging the younger generation to shy away from priesthood, the grooming of priests through such workshops is really refreshing! I am no seer but I can say it with confidence.. we are moving in the right direction! Thank You Jiyo Mobed 🙂