Author And Historian – Marzban Giara, Passes Away

Marzban Jamshedji Giara, renowned author and historian, regarded widely for his comprehensive acumen and research of Zoroastrian religion and culture, passed away early evening, on 3rd November, 2022, at approximately 4:30 pm, at Mumbai’s Bandra Cama Convalescent Home, which he was visiting with his wife, for a few days. The Paidast was held on the morning of the following day.

The Parsi community will forever be grateful for enriching us with his legacy of extremely well-researched and insightful books authored by him. Over the past four decades, Marzban Giara presented over 45 books and produced many firsts, including the first illustrated ‘Global Directory of Zoroastrian Fire Temples’ (1998) and its second edition (December 2002); ‘The Zoroastrian Pilgrim’s Guide’ (1999); ‘Parsi Statues’ (2000); ‘All India Directory of Parsi Institutions’ (2010) and its second edition in 2015; and ‘The Contribution of the Parsi Community during the First World War (1914-1918)’.

He has to his credit various other books – some authored, some compiled and some translated from Gujarati into English. His research of Parsi history was a comprehensive and enlightening body of work and his interests also included Parsi / Zorastrian devotional and folk songs. He also compiled the All India Directory of Parsi Institutions and translated several English books to Gujarati and vice versa, including ‘The Science Of Begetting Beautiful, Healthy And Intelligent Children’.

Paying a tribute to Marzban Giara, Dinshaw Tamboly, Chairman of Word Zoroastrian Organisation Trust Funds and also the founder of Navsari’s Senior Citizen’s Center, where Marzban Giara resided with his wife, said, “Marzban Giara and his wife Bapsy came to reside at WZO Trusts Funds Senior Citizens Centre in September 2015. The couple were symbolic of being ideal residents, very well disciplined and cooperative with fellow residents and the Centre’s Administration. Marzban kept himself very occupied updating community related records, writing books which was his passion. He had authored many books on community matters before coming to reside at our Centre. Whilst at our Centre he authored two books ‘Prominent Parsis of Navsari’ and ‘The History of the Holy Fire Iranshah and Udvada Gam’. He also created a Directory of Parsi Residents of Navsari in 2019 in which he inserted photographs of around 50 Parsi managed institutions. Publication of these two books and the directory were sponsored by WZO Trust Funds. Marzban having fulfilled his destiny in the physical world, his soul has now donned ethereal robes, embraced Ahura Mazda, where it will repose in peace for eternity.”

Born in 1942 in Navsari, (Gujarat, India) to a simple and religious Parsi family, Marzban Giara’s love for Parsi history and culture was nurtured right from his childhood. He attended navjote classes conducted by The Dadar Parsee Youths’ Assembly for seven years, as also the Ranina Day Nursery and J B Vachha School, where he learnt devotional hymns and studied Gujarati. His education journey started with the N J Wadia Infants School in Dadar, Mumbai (1947 – 1949), post which he joined St. Joseph’s High School (1949-1959), always securing top grades in academics, and was involved in scouting and writing articles in his school magazine.

He joined Ruia College to graduate in the Science stream (1959-1963 – B. Sc, majoring in Physics and Chemistry). He went on to achieve a Post-graduate diploma in Marketing Management and worked with IBM, as a computer marketing professional, for 14 years. Always inclined towards growth, learning and self-development, Marzban Giara was a valued life-member of various institutions, including Bombay Parsi Association, Iran League, Bombay Management Association, British Council Library, Computer Society of India, Indo American Society, K R Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay Local History Society, Senior Citizens of Five Gardens and J N Petit Institute, among others.

In 2017, Marzban Giara added to his brilliant treasury yet another gem authored by him, ‘Valiant Parsis In War And Peace’, his 42nd book, which highlights our community’s military stalwarts. It was launched during the Iranshah Udvada Utsav 2017, by Vada Dasturji of Iranshah Udvada, Khurshed Dastoor. In March 2021, Giara authored, ‘Prominent Parsis Of Navsari’ for the benefit of the community’s understanding of some of the eminent members of our community hailing from Navsari. “It is my fervent hope and prayer that this book will inspire the present generation to emulate the examples set by our illustrious ancestors,” Marzban Giara had told Parsi Times.

He launched his final magnum opus titled, ‘The History Of Holy Fire Iranshah And Udvada Gam’ – a 144-paged, richly illustrated, hard bound edition, sponsored by The WZO Trust Funds, on the auspicious (Roj Adar, Mah Adar) 21st April, 2022, at Iranshah Atash Behram, Udvada.

Navsari-resident, Ruzbeh Umrigar, who worked closely with Marzban Giara, in connection with the Parzor Foundation Project, shared, “In just the past few years of our affiliation, he influenced me greatly – his life philosophy was as inspiring as his impeccable work ethic. He had a uniquely evolved outlook on the concept of community service and philanthropy – in that it went beyond giving just financially. He believed that putting in one’s time and efforts towards the sincere welfare of our community was as important. He truly dedicated his life towards enriching the community, through his thoughts, his words and his deeds. Extremely enterprising himself, he staunchly believed that Zoroastrians, especially the youth, needed to work harder towards achieving their goals, as opposed to depending on charity. His passing is a huge loss to the community. He will be greatly missed.”

Indeed, he will. Parsi Times, on behalf of the community, stands by the family of Marzban Giara in this time of grief. May his noble soul attain eternal peace. Garothman Behest Hojoji!

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