Throughout history Parsees have seen success in an array of endeavours – from entrepreneurs and industrialists to singers and actors. But can a Parsi be a successful politician? YES – WE CAN!
Article by Good Parsi Wife
From growing up in the Indian coastal town of Dahanu, to entering the 40th Parliament of Western Australia, local superstar politician and family man Yaz Mubarakai implements the founding principles of Zoroastrianism into his daily approach as Member for Jandakot in Perth, Western Australia.
Growing up in a house that had three generations under one roof, Yaz fondly remembers his upbringing surrounded by family and love in Dahanu. Chiku farming flows through his blood, and after years of watching is his father and grandfather in action, it was always his intention to run the family business. It seemed however, that the Universe had other plans for the budding entrepreneur as Chiku farming experienced a downturn during his teenage years. Yaz was forced to re-evaluate his plans for his future, and decided instead to migrate and study in Western Australia – with his family’s blessing.
While studying in Australia, Yaz persevered through a few tough part time jobs including working at call centres, warehouse food picking, and working at a petrol station. Not only did these experiences expose him to the Aussie workplace culture, but also helped him build on his principals of commitment, being on time, taking initiative and working as a team. All these factors prepared him in taking the leap of faith and investing in local small business.
“To this day I am still that little boy that believes anything is possible, as long as you believe in it and apply yourself unconditionally.” – Yaz Mubarakai
After running a few businesses in his local constituent, Yaz was inspired by his Mother (who herself took on local Government positions during his youth in Dahanu) to give back to community. So by stepping out of his comfort zone, he ran for and was elected councillor at the City of Cockburn. He thoroughly enjoyed the role and realised his passion for helping his community over the next four years. After his term was up, Yaz offered himself for re-election but it was not meant to be and he lost his position. But, every cloud has a silver lining and his hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. A month later, Yaz was approached by state Labour leader Mark McGown and Fran Logan (Member for Cockburn) who saw his potential and wished to mentor him to be candidate for Jandakot in 2017 state elections – truly a WOW moment for Yaz! Supported by his family and friends, Yaz had nothing to lose and was elected to state parliament in 2017! He is one of the first two members born from Indian heritage to enter any legislative assembly in Australia.
During his current term, over a billion dollars’ worth of state government investment has been pledged to tackle traffic congestion busting projects which Yaz has been associated with such as widening of roads, the addition of the North Lake Bridge, and Metronet which will reduce congestion and improve connectivity for residents and workers. He has also worked with State Government to address safety and crime by allowing community members 24/7 access to local Armadale and Cockburn Police stations.
“Living with Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds is in my DNA – it is the oxygen to my soul.” – Yaz Mubarakai
Not everything runs smoothly in the world of local politics, and Yaz has faced many challenges – especially those of meeting his own expectations in serving his community who rely on help during difficult times. Yaz tries to implements the tenets of our religion when he represents his community, and in every decision he makes as a Parliamentarian. He is also constantly striving to juggle the demands of work and being present in his family life – Yaz’s family is his world. His whole family supported his career choice and accepted his long hours and workload, so returning support is his overall goal. Yaz also hopes to be a mentor to his children – to guide and support them through the upcoming teenage years and assist them in pursuing their dreams, as he has pursued his.
Yaz would be privileged to continue his journey in politics and represent his electorate, while also focussing to help small business and multicultural integration – two issues close to his heart. With no current plans for Federal Politics, he plans to return to his passion for small business and spend more time with his family if not re-elected in state parliament.
So, for any budding Parsi Politicians, here’s some advice from Yaz: “Know your values and go for a grassroots approach to make change. Talk to the people in the community about what matters most, and let the people drive your passion and guide you to a common goal.”
My late father Mr Sheheryar Kaoosji of Hyderabad Deccan, India had a friend RUSTAM RUBAX in Dahanu who sent him CHIKKOS by train parcel and after receiving the invoice my father used to go to the Hyderabad Railway Station and bring back the crate of chikkos.
Dear Good Parsi Wife, Thank you for profiling this entrepreneurial Zarthosti. Kudos to Yaz! However, respectfully, Yaz is not the first Parsi to be a successful (as in successfully elected to a legislature) politician. And Parsis in fact (in the Indian context) are no strangers to winning political office and/or being politically influential. To mention a few notable names: Dadabhai Naoroji, Madame Bhikaiji Cama, the older and younger Masani, Homi Mody, Taleyarkhan, Saklatwalla, Pherozeshah Mehta, Feroze Gandhi, and so on.