New Hope For The New Year!

Canada’s Dastur Family Leads The Way For The Community
Facilitating 11-year-old Faredoon’s Navar Ceremony


The increasing need for Parsi priests in our Community has been a growing concern. Unfortunately, a very small number of young lads from priestly Parsi families show interest or enthusiasm in pursuing their Navar-Martab ordainment. Faredoon Dastur’s story, therefore, came as a very pleasant and inspiring one that ought to be shared with our community at large for two main reasons… Firstly, Faredoon is an 11-year-old Canadian-born citizen, whose passion for our prayers and commitment towards our religion proves as a refreshing and moving eye-opener; and secondly, it is indeed moving to see how Faredoon’s entire family, lead from the front by his grandfather, Ervad Jal Dastur, his grandmother, parents and Fui/Fua moved down to Bombay, uprooted from their daily lives in Canada, to rally around young Faredoon, and ensure he attains his Navar status. Setting an exceptional example for the youth and contributing towards the security of our Community’s priesthood, Parsi Times kicks off the first issue of the New Year 2018 with the motivational report of Faredoon and the Dastur family, who put their lives in Canada on hold for six weeks, to come to Bombay and overcome all odds to get the youngest member of their family ordained a ‘Navar’!


11-year-old Faredoon Hormuz Dastur, grandson of Jal & Mehru Dastur, son of Hormuz & Delnaz Dastur, and nephew of Daisy & Burgess Dastur, was ordained as a Navar on 2nd January, 2018 at Wadiaji Atash Behram, under the religious and spiritual guidance of Er. Adil Bhesania of Wadiaji Atash Behram and Er. Kaizad Kotwal of Anjuman Atash Behram. “Hailing from an extremely orthodox family and having both my maternal and paternal lineage as professional mobeds and Panthakies, I have maintained true traditional Zoroastrian decorum in our home back in Canada,” says Er. Jal Dastur, in his dignified, old-charm manner, who flew down to Bombay with his family from Toronto, Canada, on 1st December, 2017. “Being a Navar and Martab myself, I feel I have been guided by Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda through the entire process, to ensure that my grandson becomes a Navar,” he adds.

Choosing To Be A True Zarthusti In A Foreign Land:

The bond between grandfather Jal and grandson Faredoon is strong to begin with (they almost share the same birthday, with Faredoon being born about 7 hours before Jal’s birthday), but has been strengthened manifold due to their common passion for prayers. Having acquired a B.Sc degree from the University of Bombay, Jal chose to migrate to Canada with wife Mehru and then two-year-old son Hormuz in 1974, in search of better career and personal/family growth. After landing a job as a Pharmaceutical Representative in the country’s leading MNC, Merck & Co., he retired as the Director of Sales and Marketing at the same firm in 2006. “Having settled in Canada, I witnessed that there was an extreme scarcity of priests to perform various religious ceremonies. More so, there were (and still are) very few Mobeds who actually follow the rituals and traditions of Zoroastrianism, in its true sense. Mehru and I have managed to raise both my children (son, Hormuz and daughter, Daisy who was born in Canada) in a very religious and traditional manner in Canada, without any external support,” explains Jal.

Taking The Next Step:

As time passed, Jal noticed and nurtured young Faredoon’s growing passion towards our religion, culture and prayers. The family was certain that if the religious ceremony was to be proceeded with, it would take place only in India, as it is here where our Holy Atash Behrams and Agiaries exist. But this sort of commitment brought in a sense of apprehension, as the family took ill every time they visited India. Jal, who has visited India only four times since he migrated forty-four years ago, said, “My initial reason for making Faredoon a Navar was to pass on and carry on my honourable lineage. But it was only during his Navjote ceremony that our entire family noticed his sense of reiterating our prayers, and the great pride he took in doing so flawlessly.” A proud ‘Puppi’ as he is called by Faredoon, Jal needed no further convincing that his grandson would prove to be a good priest, hence he decided to do all it takes to make this dream come true!

The family started contacting various fire temples asking them if they could facilitate Faredoon’s Navar, accommodating a few necessary alterations – one being access to an existing or makeshift kitchen, so that Faredoon could have food cooked by the family themselves, while maintaining the true tarikat of a Navaria’s food being cooked by an Athornan. They received a positive response from Wadiaji Atash Behram’s Trustees (Mr. Nadir Modi and Mr. Farrokh Kavarana, supported by secretary Mr. Khurshed Mistry) and Panthaky , Er. Adil Bhesania, who put to rest all their concerns pertaining to diet, cleanliness and hygiene. With the grace of Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda, the family who is put up at the Taj Wellington Mews in Colaba, was granted the Atash Behram’s Kathi room to be converted into a kitchen, where Faredoon’s mother(Delnaz), Fui & Fua (Daisy and Burgess), and beloved ‘Puppi’ Jal cook daily for him. This turned out to be good for the Atash Behram as well, as the family revamped the entire Kathi room, renovating it from top to bottom and furnishing it with the necessary appliances. Additionally, the Dasturs also had the Navaria room re-painted and furnished with the requisite bedding and a special stainless-steel meal table (withthe necessary ritual purifying prayers (performed) for the use and convenience of the future Navarias-to-be. “It was Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda’s doing, as everything moved so smoothly,” said a pleased Hormuz, who, along with Jal, made sure that the revamped Kathi room was equipped with an overhead water tank, granite kitchen counter, refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven, and BMC water connection.

The Prestigious Navar Ceremony And Prayers:

2nd January, 2018, has been marked in red and engraved deep within the minds of the Dastur household who witnessed their young son, Faredoon recite the Navar prayers loud and clear. “I love to offer prayers. I am extremely particular about the pronunciations of each word which holds a lot of importance to me and hence, I avoid rushing while praying,” said the young Navar Faredoon, who began undertaking his Navaria’s training from his grandfather Jal, starting about 18 months ago in Canada. Even as Jal taught Faredoon all the prayers, the latter took it upon himself to recite and memorize them with the help of the English transcript. It is interesting to note, though, that  twenty-four paragraphs from ‘Ha-71’ of ‘Yazashne Ba Nirang (Concised)’ book seemed to be missing in English, Jal himself read out all the twenty-four paragraphs from the Gujarati version of the book that he possessed, and Faredoon expertly transliterated these into English on the computer. “I made sure I took down the words carefully in English as Granpa recited them, laying more emphasis on the way it is pronounced, so that I could keep reciting these on my own later,” said an enthused Faredoon.

Manager, Er. Dali Charna, of Wadiaji Atash Behram said, “I have seen and trained more than 200 Navars, but Faredoon’s Navar ceremony was unique. His recital was confident, fearless and in a loud and clear voice; and the full credit of his oodles of confidence which he has displayed goes to none other than his grandfather, Er. Jal Dastur, who has painstakingly spent hours with him explaining all the tarikats and the significance of this great ceremony.” Er. Charna sat through the complete twohour ceremony and was all praise for Faredoon. “I’m delighted to know that Faredoon himself said that on his return to Canada, he would first want to perform a Jashan! The way in which the whole ceremony was carried out was indeed remarkable!” he added.

The Future of Our Community:

In fact, Faredoon’s commitment and dedication deeply impressed the priests present in the Atash Behram on Januray 2nd. On completion of the Navar ceremony, Er. Kaizad Kotwalhailed Faredoon as the “Future Of Our Community”. Having received praise from all attendees who were present and witnessed the ordination, the family was particularly touched by Manager of Wadiaji Atash Behram, Dali Charna, who said he hadn’t ever witnessed a young man pray with such effervescence and passion in many, many years!

The Dastur family has one final message, “We would like to pass on our immense gratitude to the Trustees of the Atash Behram, Mr. Khurshed Mistry, and Er. Adil Bhesania, for making our dream a reality.  Without their support, this monumentous occasion would not have been possible.  Also, a big thank you to everyone at the Atash Behram (the staff and other mobeds) who welcomed us with open arms, and helped us with anything we needed.  God Bless them all!”

Having successfully completed young Faredoon’s Navar with such flourish, support and fervour, the Dastur family will fly back to Toronto later this month, gifting the renovated/furnished Kathi room-cum-kitchen, and newly painted Navaria room, with all furnishings for the furtherance of future Navars at the Atash Behram. Kudos to young Faredoon for keeping alive our centuries-old religious tradition with such gusto, and cheers to the Dastur family for their support and dedication towards the same!



With inputs from Jasmine Sahukar



Hope he is not used to carry out navjotes and lagans of mix marriages otherwise no point of getting these navars done in mumbai. reformists can build their own schools…anyways they are screwed in the developed world…only 2 generations will last per migrant and the rest have to move back to india

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