Battling Covid-19 With Community Support

– Iran’s FM Thanks Parsis For Help –


The relations between Iran and India are age-old. To celebrate these ancient socio-cultural ties and to mark 70 years of Indo-Iran Diplomatic relations, Parzor with the Iran embassy had organised the Derakht-e-Doosti Festival in February 2020. The programme included an exhibition on Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, a Panel discussion on this epic and a musical performance by a small troupe from Iran. Sadly, almost simultaneously with this festival the Covid-19 Crisis was taking over the world. 

On March 13, 2020 Mr Sepanta Niknam, President of Yazd Zoroastrian Association and Member of Yazd City Council got in touch with FEZANA President, Homi Gandhi, and the Embassy in New Delhi through Md Hekmat contacted Dr Shernaz Cama sharing details of the crisis and its worsening impact in Yazd and all of Iran and requesting her to reach out to Dr Cyrus Poonawalla of Serum Institute, and to the global Zoroastrian community. 

However, with generous community support, life-saving medicines, masks, surgical coveralls and gloves, and some ventilators, were sent to Yazd. The transport of supplies was made possible by Mahan Airlines who ran emergency flights at a time that all local and international flights were suspended.

Between mid-March and 26th March 2020, the Yazd Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Science, Iran, received two humanitarian packages of medical supplies and safety equipment through the support of the Zoroastrians of India and the world. The first Actemra Injections generously supplied by Dr. Yusuf Hamied and carefully transported through cold-chain logistics is being used for a nurse in critical care.

The final shipment left from New Delhi in the Mahan Air flight on Sunday, 10 May 2020. In all, three shipments of medical supplies have been sent to help Iran deal with the challenge of controlling the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a video-conference with the governor of Yazd, praised the Zoroastrians’ philanthropic activities in the fight against the Coronavirus. Even Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, thanked the Parsis of India for offering timely aid related to the Pandemic to his country, in a tweet on Friday. It reads, “The Parsis of India — Zoroastrians whose ancestors long ago emigrated to India — have remained ever faithful in their love for Iran. Grateful for their #Covid19 package for Iranians.” 

Dr. Shernaz Cama has been tirelessly working for the community and creating strong links with Iran, especially in 2020 – the year which celebrates 70 years of diplomatic relationship between the two nations. We are proud that Dr. Cama managed to reach out and work with the backing of the strength of the global Zarthushti and humanitarian community.

Mohammad Hekmat, a Ph.D. research scholar at the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, who has previously collaborated with Parzor, praised the Parsi-Zoroastrian community, “During the Covid19 crisis, I have been in touch with my Parsi friends in Delhi and saw all efforts of Zoroastrians from across the world to prepare the medical consignments for Yazd. This humanitarian aid reminds me of the beautiful poem of Saadi Shirazi – ‘Human beings are members of one another/ since in their creation they are of one essence.’ Besides the relationship between Parsis and Iran, Yazd particularly has an interwoven tie with their identity. You can still see the generosity of Parsis in the past for Iranian Zoroastrians to construct fire temples, schools, Dahkma, etc.  Regarding historical accounts, they always remember Iran and help Iranian Zoroastrians beyond political and religious issues, and distances. As an Iranian and a humble person, I am glad that I could help consignments reach Yazd.”

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