Vyara is an old town, a dominion once ruled by Sayaji Rao Gaikwad, about 60 kms from Surat. The Vyara Songadh Parsi Zarthushti Anjuman was founded in 1863. The Dokhma was constructed at the Doongerwadi area in Vyara. Since many years the zealously religious 125 Zarthushtis here have been concerned about the road of the Doongerwadi being used as a thorough fare by the general populace and even voiced their concern at the Federation of Parsee Zarthushti Anjuman AGM held in Mumbai in April 2016. There was an urgent need for a wall to be constructed to protect the ground from encroachment and the dilapidated Bungli also needed restoration. The Vyara Anjuman applied for funds to many Trusts. Rustomjee Vakil, Managing Trustee of the Faramji Hormuzdji Sethna Legacy Trust came forward to help by providing funds for building the wall as also a new Bungli, on the condition that the residents plant Baval trees on the grounds.
The condition was accepted and today 2500 evergreen hardwood Baval (Acacia) trees abound in the Vyara Doongerwadi grounds. The Vyara Anjuman is the first to undertake such a unique project and also the first to utilize the Drip Irrigation method by using a pump to draw water from the Tapti River and spreading the water through pipes attached to the pump, thereby ensuring no wastage of water. The protective wall with barbed wire atop it and a new Bungli have also been constructed. Baval wood is used for offering Machi and other logs (Kathi) for fuelling Pak Aatash Padshah Saheb. The total cost of the project was Rs. 28,73,000, donated by The Sethna Legacy Trust. The Vyara Songadh Parsi Zarthushti Anjuman and the Zoroastrian residents of Vyara have much to thank the Sethna Trust Legacy.
Celebrations on successful completion of the project were held on June 12th, with Chief Guest, BPP Chairman,Yazdi Desai and wife Anahita Desai, Vada Dastoorji Khurshedji Dastoor, Vada Dastoorji Cyrus Dastoor of Surat, Phirozeshah Dordi and Mehernosh Jokhi, District Commissioner of Vyara Palika, gracing the occasion. The Trustees of Bardoli, Mandvi and Surat and many other Zoroastrians were also present. The occasion commenced with a Jasan. In his welcome address, Bahadur Shah Jokhi appreciated the first ever visit of two Vada Dastoorjis to Vyara and expressed gratitude for the donation by the Sethna Trust Legacy, praising Rustomjee Vakil for the idea.
All dignitaries, visitors and the humdins of Vyara, including Er. Kersasp Karanjia and caterer Sooni Godrej Kasad and the press were felicitated with flowers, shawls and mementoes. Vada Dastoorji Khurshedji Dastoor and all the other dignitaries agreed that the Vyara Songadh Anjuman Project was the first of its kind in our community and should have commenced long ago. He said, “With the blessings of Ahura Mazda we now have the Kathi which is essential for the Aadaryaan.” He prayed the essence of the Aatash Ni Nyaish and explained, “We first honour pak Aatash Padshah Saheb by fuelling it and then it blesses all of us with endless clusters of blessings.”
Rustomjee Vakil, Managing Trustee of the Faramji Hormuzdji Sethna Legacy Trust, emphasized, “The Vyara Anjuman has brought to fruition the source of fuel for all our Fire Temples which need 700 Metric Tons annually. If we stand together as one community, without being calculating or short sighted, this requirement can well be met by using natural resources left to us by our forefathers. Commitment made with integrity will always ensure success of such projects and within a decade, the community will be using Kathi endlessly.”
Yazdi Desai congratulated the Vyara Anjuman and residents and said, “This event is the perfect jugalbandi (fusion) of the Sethna Legacy Trust and the Vyara Anjuman. Our prime responsibility is to praise the Holy Fire which emits light and provides our daily needs and gives us what we need, but not necessarily what we want. We should be mindful about our priests who have always lived with their families piously. In our own way, let’s feed Pak Aatash Padshah Saheb with sandalwood of good quality always.”
A vote of thanks was delivered by Dordi of Vyara Anjuman and then the crowd proceeded to the Doongerwadi grounds. The new Bungli was inaugurated by Vada Dastoorji Khurshedji Dastoor. The abundance of the Baval trees and other trees and the newly built wall and Bungli are magnificent. Returning to the Agiary hall and enjoying a delicious meal ended the event. This project is a forbearer of initiative and effort for other Anjumans who are facing encroachment problems on their sacred Doongerwadi properties.