Vada Dasturji Khurshed Felicitated In Udvada

On 1st July, 2017, the Udvada Samast Anjuman felicitated Vada Dasturji Khurshed Kaikobad Dastoor at Dastur Kayoji Mirza Memorial Hall, Udvada, on being appointed as a member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) by the Government. Sponsored by Homai Engineer and son Rohinton of Industrial Boilers Ltd. and hosted by Mahrukh Chichgar, the event began with a Humbandagi conducted by Vada Dasturji Khurshed himself and Chief Guest Vada Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal.

Ever since Vada Dasturji Khurshed succeeded his late father in 2002 as the High Priest, he has evoked admiration from the priesthood and laity in his endeavours to encourage and protect Pak Iranshah Atashbehram, Udvada. He has interacted with leaders of other communities and maintained great rapport with the Government too.

In the words of our community’s leading philanthropist and contender for the same post, Dinshaw Tamboly, “On a personal note, I was truly overjoyed to know of Dasturji’s appointment to the Commission. Dasturji Khurshed and I have been associated for nearly twenty years and we have worked together closely in various community welfare related projects. I have always experienced and admired the sincerity of purpose and application of mind with which Dasturji Khurshed functions. He thinks rationally, he analyses objectively and he executes decisively. These are the true qualities of leadership which Dasturji has shown us from time to time. He does not allow criticism to deter him. The credit of Udvada receiving recognition and support from the highest levels of Government in Delhi is entirely due to Dasturji Khurshed, having skilfully brought various issues to their attention in a very realistic and practical manner. It is in recognition of these sterling qualities that the highest echelons at Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, personally thought it fit to appoint him as a member of the National Minorities Commission. I am very confident that Dasturji Khurshed will further the interests of our community in Delhi. I pray that Shreeji Pak Iranshah may continue to shower blessings of good health, joy, peace and prosperity on Dasturji Khurshed and his family.

In his opening address, Er. Firoze Dastur said, “On this auspicious day, we have gathered here to respect and felicitate our respected Vada Dasturji Khurshed on behalf of the Udvada Samast Anjuman. Parsis have been at the fore in every field and our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi holds our community in high esteem. We are sure that Vada Dasturji Khurshed will fulfil all the responsibilities given to him by the Government and will glorify our community, Udvada and the nation.”

Vada Dasturji Khurshed along with Er. Zarir Dastur and Homai Engineer also went on to felicitate Vada Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal, Chairperson of Foundation for Development of Udvada, Dinshaw Tamboly, MP of Valsad, Dr. KC Patel and Jitendra Tandel.

Mahrukh Chichgar introduced Vada Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal, as a master of the Avesta, Pahalvi, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Persian and other languages and traced his life as a teacher, Principal and currently an advisor with UNESCO and PARZOR. Vada Dasturji Kotwal also extolled the virtues of Vada Dasturji Khurshed and expressed his pride about his appointment at the NCM.

Commencing with the felicitations, floral presentations and shawls were presented to Vada Dasturji Khurshed and wife Havovi, not only by the priests and laity of the Parsi community, but also by the representatives of the Manghela community, the Sikh community from Daman, the Bohra Muslim community of Pardi and the Christian Association of Vapi. The Parsis who honoured him included the priests of Udvada, Yazdi Karanjia who also added humour to the event, representatives of Chikhli, Navsari, Dinshaw Tamboly on behalf of the FDU, NM Wadia Charities, Burzin Chiniwalla and Hormuzdiar Patel, Managing Trustee and Co-Managing Trustee of Pestonji Vakil Aatash Behram at Surat, Daman and Vapi Anjumans, Jimmy Kharadi, Trustee of Baug-e-Parsa and Parsi Gymkhana, Surat, Pervez Erachsha Wadia of Davier Parsi Anjuman, Bejan Vapiwalla, the Bharuch Parsi Anjuman, Sam Chothia and Yazdi Laher from the Valsad Parsi Anjuman, Farohar Caterers, Yazdi Kasad from Navsari and the North American Mobed Council.

The most touching felicitation was a presentation of a shawl to Vada Dasturji Khurshed, sent by wife of late Vada Dasturji Dr. Peshotan Mirza, Mahrukh Mirza which was a possession of the Mirza family since generations.

Praising Vada Dasturji Khurshed,  Mahrukh Chichgar, traced Vada Dasturji Khurshed’s life from being a Boywalla priest to a High Priest and achieving many goals for the benefit of the Zoroastrian community in India and abroad, as well as his courageous action of interacting with the Gujarat State Government to preserve the sanctity of Pak Iranshah by driving out industrialists and hosting the colossal Iranshah Udvada Utsav, which was a harbinger and trend setter of refreshed Zoroastrian spirituality and progress at Udvada.

Humbled, Dasturji Khurshed responded, “I am very grateful to Dadar Ahura Mazda and Pak Iranshah because we owe what we are to their blessings. We are always blessed by our parents and I am also blessed by my parents and supported by my family, especially my wife, Havovi.” He expressed gratitude to Vada Dasturji Saheb Firoze Kotwal and expressed his wish that Kotwal Saheb would always bless, and impart his teachings to the Parsi Community.

Continued Vada Dasturji Khurshedji Dastoor, “A team is required to complete any task. One man cannot achieve anything and my team consists of the members of the Udvada Anjuman and Committee members who have always supported me and any success I have achieved is due to their support. I was born in Surat but bred and brought up in Udvada; hence I have a bloodline connection with Udvada. When I succeeded my late father as High Priest I declared that I would fulfil my responsibilities to my best ability and Dadar Ahura Mazda and Pak Iranshah have made my efforts successful.” Vada Dasturji Saheb expressed gratitude to all the Panchayat officials who have helped and cooperated with him.

“I have been selected to represent the Parsi Community on the National Minority Commission but that doesn’t mean that I have to take care of the problems and rights of only the Parsi community. Each representative has been given six states and territories and I have been given responsibility to take care of minority communities in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar and South Gujarat. It’s my duty to ensure that rights of the six minorities are not violated. We stay as a family; there have never been any communal differences or violation of human rights in our territory and will never happen because we are protected by Pak Iranshah. The Prime Minister has drafted a Fifteen Point program to be achieved by representatives on the Minority Commission, in which the main thrust is on education for all minority communities, including many scholarships for school and college students. I have to thoroughly take care that no person violates the rights of our minority communities. I only offer the prayer to be successful in fulfilling my responsibilities towards all those who have placed their confidence in me. I quote Dadabhai Naoroji, “I am an Indian first, then a Parsi, then a Christian, then a Hindu and then a Muslim. I am sure that Pak Iranshah will ensure that I work successfully.”

Er. Pirojshah Sidhva delivered a vote of thanks, followed by the National Anthem and refreshments.


Photo Courtesy – Sarosh Daruwalla 

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