By PT Reporter Khushroo P Mehta
On the morn of Sanjan Day, 15th November, 2023, the glorious Sanjan Stambh, standing proud and tall, witnessed a 950-strong audience of Zarthostis who came to attend the celebratory Sanjan Day function. Two important announcements were made this year by Paricheher Daviervala which would prove excellent for Sanjan. For one, under GoI’s Amrut Bharat Station scheme, Sanjan railway station is slated for modernization with a Rs.18 crore budget allocation. Equipped with elevators and lifts, it will portray Parsi cultural styles. A request for more trains halting at Sanjan has been made. The second announcement comprises the GOI’s undertaking the development of the property around the Sanjan memorial column grounds, and then hand it over to the Sanjan Memorial Column Committee for maintenance. The entire Udhwa road, from Sanjan railway station to the, will sport a traditional Parsi look. Work on both projects will commence soon.
Sanjan Day celebrations started with a Jashan performed by priests from Udvada, led by Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor. This was followed by inspirational talks by Homi Doodhwalla – President of Surat Parsi Panchayat and Firoze Andhyarujina – Sr. Advocate, Mumbai High Court. Homi Doodhwalla expressed pride in the faith of fellow communities in Parsis. He spoke about the uncertainty of the future Pak Iran Shah due to the fading Parsi population in Udvada. He requested Parsi industrialists and philanthropists to take some initiative to reverse this trend. He strongly advocated for the reservation of seats for Parsi students. Firoze Andhyarujina’s spoke fervently about the importance of Pak Iran Shah to the existence of Parsis. He shared how for 669 years, the holy Iran Shah was looked after in Sanjan, becoming the symbol of significance and later taking the shape of the memorial Sanjan column, known as the Sanjan Stambh. He emphasized how religion was above all else and should be protected. He also spoke on the power of prayer. Both speakers achieved huge applause. A vote of thanks by Paricheher Daviervala was followed by a sumptuous Parsi vegetarian lunch, catered by Kaizad Patel.
Interesting Facts About Sanjan, Stambh, Agiary:
Sanjan gets its name from Zoroastrian immigrants after ‘Sanjan’ – in Khorasan Sangan, a town in Balochistan province. What makes the Sanjan migration unique is that it received official royal sanction from sovereign king Jadi Rana for the community to settle.
In the early 20th century, when a memorial commemorating our arrival was first proposed, there were intense discussions about whether our first settlement was in Sanjan or Diu. It was finally constructed at Sanjan, and is known as the Sanjan Stambh. Made of Vadodara granite, the Stambh, which rests on a square platform, is 50 feet high (including the flames). It has 23 decorative rosettes.
The current land on which the Stambh stands was donated to the BPP by Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Daviervala, (great grandfather of Paricheher Daviervala) in the early 1900’s. Since then, every year on Baman Roj, Tir Mahino, the nine families of Udwada hold a Jashan ceremony. The idea of ‘Sanjan Day’ celebrations was birthed by Paricheher’s father, late Rohintan Daviervala, President of the committee, Nariman Balsara and Naval Hoyvoy. The first Sanjan day was celebrated in 1981, where over 3,000 humdins attended the Jashan and function.
Close to the Stambh is the Sanjan Agiary, built by the Mazda Adarian Trust, Chaired by Homi Ranina. The Agiary was named Dasturji Kookadaru Dar-E-Meher, as Homi Ranina was a passionate devotee of Dasturji Kookadaru.