From Ervad Marzban Hathiram
I am happy to inform readers that the Bhagarsath Anjuman has elected Ervad Kaikhushroo Navroze Dastoor (more popularly known as K. N. Dastoor, or KND) as the 17th Dastur Meherjirana in place of Dastur Meherji Dastur Kekobad, who expired on 23rd January as reported earlier.
It was the written wish of Dasturji Meherji that in case of his death, the Anjuman should consider his request to nominate Ervad. K. N. Dastoor. This morning, the Bhagarsath Anjuman met under the leadership of Dasturji Firoze M. Kotwal and Dasturji Meherji’s last wish was put forward and discussed at the meeting. After deliberations, Ervad K. N. Dastoor was offered the post and he accepted.
Thereafter, at 3:40pm, a large congregation gathered at the residence of late Dasturji Meherji. The entire Mohalla in Dasturwad was overflowing with Mobeds of the Bhagarsath Panth, along with Dasturji Cyrus Dastoor of Surat and Dasturji Peshotan H. Mirza of Udwada who had come to give their respects to their departed senior colleague. In midst of this sea of Mobeds and laity, the Uthamna ceremony was performed by senior Bhagaria priests Ervad Keki Ravji (Panthaky of the Cama Baug Agiary in Mumbai) and Ervad Homi Kotwal (senior Boywalla priest of the Navsari Bhagarsath Atash Behram) along with their colleagues. As per the long standing traditions of the Bhagarsath Tola, at the end of the Uthamna, the Tandorasti was recited with the name of Ervad Kaikhushroo thereby conveying to the attendees the name and face of the new appointment. Thereafter, Dasturji Firoze M. Kotwal addressed the gathering and spoke a few words in memory of the departed Dasturji Meherji, and then announced the Anjuman’s decision to appoint Ervad K. N. Dastoor to the Meherjirana Gaadi.
In a solemn and moving moment, Ervad Khurshed Desai, the senior most Desaiji Saheb, and head of the Desai family which has played a pivotal role in the history of Navsari and the Bhagarsath Tola, arose and offered the first shawl to Ervad K. N. Dastoor, thereby cementing the deep and long-standing relationship between these two families who form the core of the Navsari priesthood. Thereafter Dasturji Firoze M. Kotwal offered a shawl to the newly appointed Dasturji. At the time of writing this, more shawls were being offered from representatives of the different Pols of the Navsari Bhagarsath Anjuman, other Anjumans from all over India and leading and senior figures of our community.
In this manner, without much fuss or attention or controversy, but with deep spiritual import and in line with the nearly 800 year history of the Bhagarsath Tola, the seat of spiritual power has passed from one member of the Meherjirana family to another. Dasturji Meherji is dead. Welcome and long live the new Dastur Meherjirana!
Ervad Kaikhushroo Navroze Dastoor, 83, is a direct descendant of the original Dasturji Meherjirana. His late father Ervad Navroze Dinshawji Dastoor was an accomplished senior priest of the Bhagaria Tola having performed innumerable Nirangdin ceremonies and had for some time served as the Nayab Dastoor (assistant to the Vada Dastoor) under Dasturji Kekobad. His uncle, late Ervad Rustamji Dinshawji Dastoor, popularly known as Bapaji was an accomplished scholar of Avesta and Pahlavi and the author of the book used by all priests in their daily ceremonies. Ervad K. N. Dastoor completed his Navar and Maratab initiations from the Vadi Daremeher in Navsari and thereafter completed his graduation in Science and Law. He served for many years with a nationalized bank and reached the post of General Manager and Chief Vigilance Officer. Thereafter he has practised law privately. He has authored two books on Banking Law.
At a very young age, Ervad K. N. Dastoor was fortunate to come into contact with late Jehangirji Chiniwalla, the senior disciple of Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff and also an advocate himself. This friendship and discipleship grew over the years and Ervad K. N. Dastoor played a leading role in the printing of the Parsi Avaz paper described earlier. On the death of Jehangirji Chiniwalla, Ervad K. N. Dastoor took on the mantle of spreading the knowledge of Khshnoom, which continues till this day through thousands of talks, seminars, camps all over the world and in India. He published the Parsi Pukar magazine for many years and a short time ago merged it with Dini Avaz, to form the reborn Parsi Avaz. Ervad K. N. Dastoor is also at the forefront of all community campaigns whenever the traditional nature of our community is threatened. As a powerful speaker he has motivated hundreds of Parsi to come back to their faith and their roots. This writer acknowledges the deep debt he owes to Ervad K. N. Dastoor in over 20 years of association, and has learnt much of the little he knows from him. Ervad K. N. Dastoor is also an accomplished Indian classical musician and plays the flute.
I request my readers to join me in congratulating Ervad K. N. Dastoor for his appointment and in wishing him many years of a successful, invigorating and memorable Dasturi.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram