Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Vada Dasturji Jamasp Asa Passes Away

Earlier today news broke of the passing away of Dasturji Jamasp Asa in London, U.K.

The high priest of the community, Vada Dastur Saheb Kaikhusroo Dastur Minocher Jamasp Asa, of the 124-year-old Anjumana Atash Behram at Dhobitalao, completed 60 plus years of Dasturship (high priesthood). Vada Dasturji Kaikhusroo is the first priest of the community in Mumbai to complete such a long tenure.

A file photo of Vada Dasturji Jamasp Asa at the SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute for Zoroastrian Studies Launch Event in London in July 2018

In an interview in 2006, when he was felicitated for completing 50 years of Dasturi…he recalled the day he was installed the high priest in October1956, Vada Dasturji Kaikhusroo said: “I never imagined that I would have the honour to serve my community for such a long time. However, it has been a happy, eventful and fulfilling journey.”

Vada Dasturji Kaikhusroo hails from a lineage of illustrious scholar priests. His great grandfather, Dasturji Saheb Jamaspji M Jamasp Asa, had consecrated and established the Anjumana Atash Behram over a 100 years ago.

This is an immense loss to the Parsi Zarathushti community worldwide. Garothman Behest Vada Dasturji.

Hanoz M. Mistry of The Parsee Voice has penned this obituary on the occassion of Vada Dasturji Kaikhusroo’s passing.

Vada Dasturji Dr. Kaikhusroo Minocher JamaspAsa, High Priest of Zarthoshti Anjumanna Atash Behram has left for his heavenly abode. He passed away in London today. He was 87 years of age. In his passing away, the Parsee community has lost a renowned scholar, a religious leader and a friend.

He was born in Mumbai on 11th March 1932. He undertook his under graduate and graduate studies in Avesta and Pahlavi from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and thereafter, in 1966, he obtained his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Bombay.

He was installed as the High Priest of the Zarthoshti Anjumanna Atash Behram on 3rd October 1956 and continued to hold this position till his passing away. He comes from a long line of illustrious scholar priests, with his great grandfather, Dasturji Dr. Jamaspji M. JamaspAsa, who consecrated and installed the Anjuman Atash Behram. Soon after, he held the position of Honorary Professor of Iranian Studies at St. Xavier’s College for over 3 decades. Concurrently, he also became Principal of the Sir J. J. Zarthoshti Madressa for 10 years and served as the Senior Lecturer of the Mulla Firoz Madressa, in Mumbai, as well.

Dasturji was fluent in German and French due to his orientation in European scholarship in his chosen field of Iranian studies. he also served as a Visiting Professor at the Asia Institute of Pahlavi University in Shiraz.

Dasturji has many scholarly books to his name. His most important publications are on ‘The Pahlavi – Pazend Text of the Aogemadaeca:The Vaetha Nask; and the Pursishniha’. He has written a number of learned articles in renowned international academic journals.

Under his hand, hundreds of boys from priestly families have undergone their Navar and Maratab ceremonies. Under his religious authority, over 200 Nirangdins and other higher liturgical ceremonies have been performed.

During the many years that he was a Vada Dasturji of the Zarthoshti Anjumanna Atash Behram, he steered the community onto the path of tradition and has upheld the beliefs and practices of the Zoroastrian faith. He has constantly advocated the need for the community to adhere to the time tested belief and practices of our religion. Dasturji firmly believed that the only way to ensure the survival of the faith in the times to come was to maintain the socio-religious laws of the community fused to the religion, in order to safeguard the religious institutions such as the Fire Temples, Dakhmas and other religious bodies.

Dasturji is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

We extend our heartfelt condolence to his family in this their hour of loss. May his immortal soul gain the divine protection of Sarosh Yazad and may he progress from Tanasakh to Tanpasin at the earliest.

In grief

On behalf of The Parsee Voice team

Hanoz M. Mistry