Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

South Mumbai Zoroastrian Heritage Walk for Children by Team Empowering Mobeds

Yesterday was a sunday of different sorts- the snarling traffic of South Mumbai which has become more painful with the ongoing Metro works seemed to be lesser. Is it the Lagan Navjote season that made this happen , we don’t know but we were very happy to conduct a fun and interactive heritage walk with a group of students from the Dadar Athornan Institute and the A.F.Petit Girl’s High school.

What would usually be a deserted place on a Sunday at 4 pm was chirping with Bachas in their scarves and topis. The Bhikha Behram well was our starting point where we initiated our journey with a Humbundagi and some lipsmacking orange ganache.

The history and significance of this holy place was explained to the kids . What suddenly was just another busy road became a topic of great interest. 3 of the 5 statues outside the well on the Veer Nariman road (also named after a Parsi stalwart Khurshed Nariman) were those of Parsis- Sir Dinshaw Vachcha, Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Sir Hormasjee Cowasjee Dinshaw. The kids were pumped with a new sense of pride.

Onwards we marched to the Banaji Limjee agiary the oldest fire temple in Mumbai. In the bylanes of Fort area which are frequented by lawyers from the nearby high court more than anyone , this agiary has the distinction of continued practice of higher liturgical ceremonies such as the Yasna, Vendidad and Nirangdin. The kids were in awe of the sacrifices made by the priests in carrying out these ceremonies. A quick interactive Q&A session saw some chocolates flying into the hands of the eager kids .

Next stop was the Godavara agiary. The munificence of a humble Sir Jeejebhoy was brought to light again as the quaint architecture was that of his house which he gifted to the community for use as an agiary. The nearby Maneckjee Sett and Langrana agiaries were highlighted in pictures. Devotees of the Langrana agiary have claimed that wishes seeking for their lost property are fulfilled by praying here. A quick turn about, we passed by the iconic St Thomas Cathedral with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building towering in the background. By now it was no surprise for the young minds that it was named after a Parsee- Phiroze Jeejebhoy.

Stocked with quite some history and knowledge by now, the group trotted towards the starting point where lovely Mc Donalds meals were waiting for them. However , their tummies could wait a bit longer as we passed by the Grand Old Man of India- Dadabhai Navroji, also a Mobed!

The team of Mobeds comprised of Ervads Hormuz Dadachanji , Firdaus Pavri, Farzad Driver, Meher Modi, Parzan Kotwal, Kerman Fatakia, Porus Katrak , Sheherazad Pavri along with the assistance of Karl and Binaifer Sahukar(our pillars), Avan Ardeshir and Niloofer Broacha. A generous donor ensured the kids tummies were full.

A closing address by Er Meher Modi was on point, stressing the need for the kids to hold on to their identity with pride, give back to the community and to recognize the Mobeds and young Athornan kids as our leaders to keep the flame of our religion burning.

Empowering Mobeds is an initiative aimed at growing the interaction between the priestly class and the laiety. Please follow us on our Facebook page for all future activities – http://www.facebook.com/empoweringmobeds

Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami!☺️