While India and the world have been under lockdown, it is not possible for an Institution like Parzor to stop activities. In fact, the last three months have been busier than ever before, since the needs of many sections of society have dramatically increased and people from very different walks of life have turned to NGOs like ours for help. Over 20 years of trust also means huge responsibility. The international Press and community have covered the help given by members of the community, in their individual capacity, to the Iranian community in Yazd. We are honoured to have received thanks from the President of Iran, Dr. Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for helping Iranians treat Covid-19, by sending pharmaceuticals and medical equipment by shipments to Iran from March to May 2020.
There are however many other important activities which Parzor as an institution has been doing continuously and quietly.Our first responsibility has been to our Parzor Crafts men and women, whom we have protected and kept employed, despite the fact that there has been no income for Parzor Crafts in the lockdown. Our Karigars are like members of our family; we have taught them to understand symbols and nuances of Parsi history. They have great pride in Parzor Crafts and we owe a huge debt to them. We need your help to keep them comfortable and safe in this pandemic. If you are interested in receiving our Catalogue, please contact Dr. Niloufer Shroff at email@example.com, Contact/ WhatsApp number: + 91 9810152764.
DCWA Medical Centre
Parzor works for all vulnerable humanity; therefore our Members have a long personal association with The Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association, DCWA, of which Mrs. Bapsi Nariman has been Chairperson for many years. For over 70 years, DCWA has worked to make valuable contributions towards healthcare, education, women and child welfare as community services. This Organization depends on contributions from Civil Society and functions independent of government funding. Over the years, DCWA has been instrumental in providing a life of dignity and respect to countless women and members on the margins. During the Covid crisis however, most of DCWA’s activities have come to a halt; only the Medical Centre has been allowed to remain open in the lockdown.
The DCWA Centre approached Parzor with a request for donations towards the purchase of commonly prescribed medicines for their OPD facilities, essential to serve the poorest in the Zamrudpur area of Delhi. This Clinic serves over 80,000 patients each year especially focusing on contactless TB Camps. These patients were very vulnerable to the virus.
The added concern, given the rising prices and inability to source medicines, was that these included essential drugs for regulating TB, blood pressure, seizures in children, antibiotics for UTIs, Gastrointestinal infections, respiratory tract infections and other bacterial infections. They needed drugs for diarrhea and dehydration, throat, skin or ear infections, for anti-allergic tablets, medicines for eye allergies and general eye-care, as well as Vitamin D, Iron and Folic Acid medicines. The Parzor Team is grateful to have had an opportunity to support an Organization like DCWA during these tough times, and through it, extend a helping hand to the less privileged in times of a global crisis.
Parsi Priests & the Pandemic
While every Fire Temple has suffered a loss of revenue during the lockdown, institutions can survive. Individual Priests are the people who have faced silent Agiaries, placed the Sukhad, performed the Boi and prayed for the welfare of our world and community without any participants and therefore faced a loss of income. Parzor has found that there was also a deep loneliness and emotional disconnect in the Priests of the Delhi Parsi Anjuman.
In conjunction with the DPA, we encouraged the community in Delhi and the Diaspora to hold regular ceremonies, streamed them live, taught our community members that Jashans in Dae Mahino, are auspicious and celebrate Ahura Mazda Himself. We have received an encouraging response: In a region as widely spread as the National Capital Region, NCR, the lockdown, has been a perfect time to reconnect with religion and tradition. We have decided to celebrate Meher Roj to Thank God in Meherbani or gratitude for keeping our Parzor community safe through a regular monthly Maachi, as well as perform other regular monthly prayer ceremonies. By this, we have provided an annual honorarium to our Priests and Chasniwalla, as well as income to our Agiary while satisfying our own deep felt need for a connection with the Divine. We perform our Jashans in the Godrej Hall and will be explaining a Jashan ceremony with its full performance on Parzor Online shortly. Do join us in large numbers. For details contact Mahtab Irani at WhatsApp: +91 9650811129.
Our Invisible Helpers
While newspapers and TV Channels first did not see the dreadful calamity coming, journalists like Ravish Kumar of NDTV and Barkha Dutt were already following the most tragic migration of India since Partition. Parzor is sensitized to look carefully and we discovered 2 orphaned young men whose parents had been the Dhobis of the area. Due to lockdown they could not cross to safety in Gurgaon where their sister has a home.
We discovered them, hungry and alone, sleeping on the bricks that make the ironing board. There were no clothes to iron; people were throwing water to keep them away in fear of the virus when we decided to take responsibility for them. After 3 months of lockdown during which they came home for every meal, were given masks, soap, clothes, shoes, sanitizers and moral and emotional support, we got them jobs as helpers in the Park of the area in which they lived. Because of our commitment the RWA has permitted them to live here and now helps instead of shunning these good human beings. At the same time, since so much labour has left Delhi, the RWA appreciates the intermediary help given by Parzor to keep them safe and well. There are so many invisible people who have kept our homes and country working; to reach out is not impossible and as Zoroastrians it is our duty in troubled times.
Coordinating for Dr. Regi George’s Tribal Health and Development project, Tamil Nadu
In the midst of the pandemic we received a message:
We are sitting on 80 tons of organic high quality turmeric, this time our buyers in Kerala are not sure how much they can pick up – it was all exported to Europe, and now they can’t tell when the shipping lines will open. We are trying to sell turmeric powder – bulk packing of 500gm and 1kg @ Rs 200/- per kg. So can you ask your friends/ neighbors/relatives if they want? We can send through lorry transport [transport to be paid by them]. If the collective order is > 10kg, then the transport cost/kg is bearable, anything less than that, it will pinch. Every tonne sold brings a better price for the farmer. Let me know. Keep safe.
Mail your order to firstname.lastname@example.org – or message me directly WhatsApp me at 09488344325. and we can help you get it near you. Turmeric powder is sold at the wholesale rate of Rs.200/- per kilo. Remember it is organic certified and FSSAI certified
Since members of Parzor are linked across the country, we immediately circulated this Appeal. We are happy to announce that today, Dr. Regi has been supplying all the Southern States where lorry transport is now safe and running. Parzor is waiting to coordinate the distribution of 103 kilos of organic turmeric in Delhi and each day a new order comes to us. The Parzor Haldi Group on WhatsApp grows and the farmer benefits. We appeal to all readers to support this very genuine venture directly.
Tails of Compassion & Dog Matters
Every Zarthushti, from Prophet Zarathustra Himself, is an animal lover; in our mythology the Dog, helper of Sarosh Yazata is sacred. While many of us have been looking after community dogs all our lives and supporting animal welfare associations, the Fake News Brigade has been working overtime, especially on Social media.
Parzor members have shelter dogs, who now enjoy sleeping on our beds and taking over the air conditioner! Like good Parsis, they love their food and enjoy company. However, the pandemic has created a terrible situation of pets being abandoned; media reports say that today, 3 months into the lockdown, there are 35 million dogs living on the streets across India. Two Parsis of Delhi, Shernaz Italia and Freny Khodaji began many decades ago, by feeding the Dogs of Connaught Place. Today, this effort has grown into DogMatters, where they feed, sterilize and care for animals on the streets, right across Central Delhi. They have a Veterinary Van, 10 dogs in hospitals requiring medical boarding, 25 serious cases of neglect in full time boarding because they are too old to be on the street. They feed 250 dogs daily and an additional 150 since the lockdown. Because normal systems failed, the food for the dogs was cooked for some time at the Delhi Parsi Anjuman’s Hall Kitchen, due to the kind support of the President and Trustees.
In addition we have supported Tails of Compassion, run by Divya Parthasarthy, which is committed to providing a safe home to special-needs dogs. They work on giving a new lease of life to animals that cannot survive on the streets on their own and are considered as candidates of euthanasia by many. In the last 2 years, they have supported disabled dogs; rescued and rehabilitated many animals; and sterilized and re-homed both dogs and cats.The shelter is currently home to 60 animals including senior, paralyzed, amputated, blind and deaf dogs.
Tails of Compassion: A happy home
Realizing the increasing costs and limited support available to these brave women who have to face violence sometimes, when they rescue or feed animals, Parzor has supported their Vet bills as well as food and other expenses over the past 3 months. We too have limited funding, while I know that everyone is facing economic difficulties, I make this personal appeal to Parsis to support both these Institutions in these difficult times. They both have 80G Tax Exemption. Please contact them directly at:
Tails of Compassion Trust
Mob: 096506 50044
H Block, Connaught Place
New Delhi -110001
IFSC Code :HDFC0000313
Other Activities continue; Dr. Cama was invited in April to join the “Religions for Peace’s Interfaith Moment of Hope and Solidarity”, where Global religious leaders will guide believers in a spiritual movement of shared humanity, calling for health, compassion and strength in the time of COVID-19.Again, as an educator, who has taught for 35 years, Dr. Cama was approached on Facebook by a group of young Assamese students from Silchar, who have just joined college and have dreams of making it to the elite IAS Academy at Mussorie. Since the past month she has been holding online sessions in English – written and spoken, history, mythology, philosophy, encouraging them to explore their own interests and develop new skills. This voluntary teaching takes up a considerable amount of time each day. The joy a teacher gets from opening a student’s eyes to a better future is the sole motivation.
We all live in a world where because of the destruction of forests and rampant consumerism, nature seems to be hitting back, with a tiny virus which none of us can see and yet has affected every aspect of our being. There are small ways in which we, as Zoroastrians and citizens of what we hope will become a cleaner world, can work to improve our surroundings. Our friendly Kabbadiwalla has disappeared; either rejected by gated colonies as a threat, or has returned to the village. Even if he comes back, it is our duty to help him lead a more dignified and cleaner life. One of the effects of the lockdown is that Parzor and its associates have found recycling centres where everything and anything is kept away from destructive landfills.
So Parzor has worked and learnt new habits and made new connections during the pandemic. We continue our mandate given by UNESCO of connecting human heritage and conversing with human beings across the globe, cooperating to serve and help. We are all going to be in a new kind of world, mainly online for a long time. Parzor looks forward to meeting you at our Jiyo Parsi Friday Forums as well as at other Courses, Lectures and Outreach Programmes we will be offering as the year goes on. Stay Safe, Stay Well, Stay Connected.