The Zoroastrian Return To Roots program began in 2013 and over the past two and a half years has now taken 30 Zoroastrian youth from the diaspora for a fully immersive trips to India to expeience Zoroastrian culture, history, religious practises, food, architecture and the Zarathushti way of life in India.
Their second trip was held in March 2015 taking the RTR Fellows through New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Navsari, Surat, Bharuch, Nargol, Bordi, Sanjan, Gholvad and everything in between.
They recently published a comprehensive report of that trip. In the report you will find not only the various pit stops they made, but a detailed bio about the participants, the organizers and the various supporters and donors both in India and around the world.
As the community in India faces declining numbers, the diaspora is seeing growth. And the RTR program strives to bring these youth born in the diaspora back to their roots to experience another way of life…..very familiar in some ways but totally alien in others.
As the introduction to the report states
The success of the trips are apparent not only in the transformational experiences of the participants but the overwhelming support of the community. This report will provide the details of that success and the plans for the program’s growth. We hope that after reading these pages you will feel as inspired and motivated to act as we have.
Equally important to note is the three pages of acknowledgements. That shows a commitment from people from all over the world and all walks of life who have gone out of their way to welcome these RTR Fellows into their homes, businesses and lives; and donated services and money to make this program a success.
Farah Minwalla of New York, USA and a RTR 2015 Fellow writes…
“Youth are more inspired to come back to the community to influence inter-community dialogue and change if they feel connected to their lineage and faith. This trip achieves simply that.”
Zubin Gheesta of Mumbai, India and a RTR 2015 Fellow writes…
“The most important thing I learnt from this trip is that I am a Zoroastrian first and not a Parsi as I always used to believe.”
Khushchehr Italia of Los Angeles, USA and a RTR 2015 Fellow writes…
“I have come back with a newly founded love for my community and who I am. I have shared my experience and my love with all my friends, Zoroastrians and Non-Zoroastrians. I feel so proud to be a Zoroastrian.”
Veera Rustomji of Karachi, Pakistan and a RTR 2015 Fellow writes…
“The RTR program is a very realistic approach to religion…. it encourages dialogue and creates an avenue for your opinion to matter and to be valued as a young Zoroastrian.”
Arash Jahanian of Denver, USA and a RTR 2015 fellow writes…
“The increased understanding of the Parsi experience will hopefully help me and the other Return to Roots Fellows serve as unifying bridges for our own Zoroastrian communities as well as the larger community.”
The above are just a smattering of comments from some of the Fellows. You will read more from them in the pages of the report.
At Parsi Khabar, we have had the good fortune to be involved with RTR from the very beginning. Under the stewardship of Aban Marker-Kabraji and Dr. Shernaz Cama, the four young core team members and co-founders Rosheen Kabraji, Kaiyan Mistree, Shireen Havewala and Dinsha Mistree have set in motion the building of an institution that has already set benchmarks for excellence and strives to grow and better itself in the years to come.
If you like the idea of the program, get involved. You can write to them to see ways and means that you can get involved in, whether it’s showing monetary support or becoming a participant (if eligible) or getting a younger member of your family or friends to join the next trip.
Check them out on social media