On the 20th of August, 2016, which marked the Birth Anniversary of India’s Ex-PM, Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi, the Mumbai Congress Minority Wing (MCMW) felicitated select members of the Parsi community for their achievements, with the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavna Awards’, at the YIAMAS Hall, in South Mumbai. Chief Guest, MP, Ashok Raoji Chavan (President, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee and Ex. Chief Minister of Maharashtra) gave away the awards, which were instituted for the first time under the Congress Minority Department, to felicitate a few chosen Parsis for their outstanding contribution and achievements… in the words etched on the awards, “For Keeping The Progressive, Industrious, Generous, Minorities, Traditional Flag High”.
The awardees who were felicitated included WZO Chairman, ex-BPP Trustee and Social Worker – Dinshaw Tamboly; ex-BPP Trustee and Social Worker – Arnavaz Mistry; BPP Trustee and Entrepreneur – Kersi Randeria; ex-BPP Trustee and Entrepreneur – Jimmy Mistry; Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee – Sarosh Italia; Revolutionary Fitness Expert and Entrepreneur – Kaizzad Capadia; Media Specialist, Academician and Parsi Times Editor – Anahita Subedar; IT Expert and Entrepreneur, Yazdi Tantra; Afternoon Despatch and Courier Editor, Freyan Bhathena; Parsi representatives for Congress Minority Wing, Ronnie Bugwadia and Advocate Shirin Jijina; and Municipal Corporator – Navsher Mehta. The glittering awards function, held under the leadership of All India Congress Committee Minority Chiarman, Advocate Khurshid Ahemad Saiyad, was organized by the Chairman of the MCMW, Nizamuddin Rayeen, and managed by MCMW Spokesperson, Jasmi Doshi.
The evening commenced with Er. Rohinton Pavri starting the function with the auspicious rendition of a few lines of our prayers. All were given a hearty verbal welcome and wished a Happy Parsi New Year. The grand evening was yet another successful event held under Chairman Nizamuddin Rayeen who regaled the audiences with his enthusiastic speech. Emphasising on how endearing and highly respected our Parsi Community is all over India and globally, he said, “When I asked Ashok Raoji Chavan if he would be Chief Guest for this occasion, he usually has to check his busy schedule before he can give a commitment, but when I told him it was for the Parsi community, he immediately asked his secretary to make an entry into his diary so that he could grace the occasion!” Rayeen said he would organise more such functions for the community and promised next year’s event would be even bigger and better.
Next, Siganporia and Jimmy Mistry said a few words thanking the efforts of the Congress Minority Department in organising the event and for the recognition awarded to the community. Ashok Raoji Chavan was then felicitated and speaking about our community, he said, “I have very high regard for the Parsi Community as they are very hard-working and honest people. They make India proud. No one can ever forget the inimitable contributions made by the Tatas, Wadias, Godrejs, Shahpurji Pallonji, etc. This community has shown the Congress tremendous support and we are grateful for it. I have numerous Parsi friends and I’m always delighted when I get an opportunity to feast on delicious Parsi cuisine!”
He then presented the awards to the proud recipients, along with a shawl. The grand evening concluded with a delectable dinner buffet comprising all Parsi dishes.
Jimmy Mistry: “It was a pleasant surprise. It’s great that political parties have started considering Parsis worthy of recognition, considering the vast contributions done by the community for the overall socio-economic development.”
Arnavaz Mistry: “I’m humbled to have received this award for outstanding contribution to the society. I have been in the field of social work since the past three decades and will continue to do so. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to help and serve the less privileged. I am sincerely thankful for being chosen on this esteemed platform.”
Yazdi Tantra: “It was really heartening to note that a political party chose to felicitate performers in our micro-minority, even when there are no elections scheduled in the coming days.”
Kersi Randeria: “I’m thankful for the recognition and was pleasantly surprised to see that our community is recognised for the quality of our contribution to India’s progress inspite of our miniscule quantity in terms of numbers. I’m glad that the remarkable work done by our community stalwarts – especially Dinshaw Tumboly, Arnavaz Mistry, Jimmy Mistry and Kaizzad Capadia – has been recognised and awarded. However, I would also like to state that I’m very disappointed because instead of taking pride in the fact that our community members were felicitated on such a respectable platform, some miscreants have once again started spreading baseless rumours and absurd allegations – floating around on whatsapp and being senselessly forwarded by recipients – about these awards being ‘sponsored’! This is shameless as it completely undermines and insults the genuine work done by the awardees as well as our community. Most of us in the community are aware of these miscreants and their vile and cheap vendetta. The best way forward is to simply ignore these handful-in-number, jobless nonentities and continue working at doing good for our community and growing as individuals.”
Kaizzad Capadia: “I thank the Congress Minority Department for honouring our Zoroastrian Community and feel extremely privileged to get this award. This kind of appreciation is a great source of motivation for me to keep making further improvements to the human resource task of the fitness industry. My school K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences, builds careers in the fitness industry. I sincerely wish for more Parsi youth to give me an opportunity to build their careers.”