Flame of the Faith



Russi M. Ghadiali, President, Parsi Zoroastrian Association of South East Asia, and Guest of Honour Chang Soo Sen, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Community Development and Sports, Singapore, release the commemorative volume brought out in conjunction with the exhibition.

he occasion was the 3000th anniversary of Zoroastrianism and the 50th anniversary of the Parsi Zoroastrian Association of South East Asia. The Association held an exhibition, themed "Flame of the Faith: An Insight into the Parsi Zoroastrian Tradition" from 28 May, 2004 to 1 August, 2004 at the Asian Civilization Museum, Singapore that not only showcased artefacts connected to the rich Zoroastrian heritage, but also gave opportunities to learned scholars to share their views on the Zoroastrian religion and culture with fellow Zoroastrians and others.

Pheroza J. Godrej and Firoza Punthakey Mistree, co-editors of A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion and Culture, who were the first to be approached by the Association’s President, Russi M. Ghadiali, for their guidance, poured their best into the exhibition. CHANGE presents a brief pictorial view of the exhibition.


Flame of the Faith

Pheroza J. Godrej, one of the organising committee members from India, lights the diva to mark the inauguration of the “Flame of the Faith: An Insight into the Parsi Zoroastrian Tradition?exhibition. Looking on are (l-r) Chang Soo Sen, Russi M. Ghadiali and Bapsi Fali Nariman.


Flame of the Faith

H.E. S.R. Nathan, President, the Republic of Singapore, presents a token of appreciation to Pheroza J. Godrej for her contribution to the exhibition. Seen on extreme ends are volunteer Putli Karkaria and Russi M. Ghadiali.


"Flame of the Faith" exhibition showcase:

A prayer cap

A red jahbla

A Khordeh Avesta

A prayer cap worn by Parsi children. These caps are stiffened with buckram and/or cardboard. Velvet   or   satin   cloth   is embroidered in zari (gold or silver wire thread). These caps were popular in the early 20th century. The blue velvet cap is embellished with beadwork commonly found in Gujarat. Collection: F.D. Alpaiwalla Museum. Courtesy: Bombay Parsi Punchayet. Photograph: Comart Lithographers Ltd.

A red jahbla with roosters. A jahbla is a smock-like blouse worn by Parsi children as part of their traditional costume. Original jahblas were embroidered in China and were brought to India by Parsi merchants trading in opium, tea and cotton. This richly embroidered jahbla is of a traditional design favoured by the Parsis. This garment is nearly 150 years old. Collection: F.D. Alpaiwalla Museum. Courtesy: Bombay Parsi Punchayet. Photograph: Comart Lithographers Ltd.

A Khordeh Avesta (book of daily Parsi prayers) in Gujarati. This particular edition of the book has been depicted in several oil paintings of Parsi merchants in the 19th century. This book belonged to the Parsi Indian nationalist Dadabhai Naoroji who, in 1892, was the first Asian to be elected a Member of the British Parliament. Dadabhai won his seat from Finsbury Central and was a candidate of the Liberal Party. Collection: F.D. Alpaiwalla Museum. Courtesy: Bombay Parsi Punchayet. Photograph: Comart Lithographers Ltd.


Picnic time for the priestly Toti (Balsara) family outside the bungalow of advocate Nusserwanji Vakil at Tithal Village, Valsad, Gujarat in the mid-1930s. From right: The patriarch of the family, Sorabji Toti, his wife Dhunmai, children Hilla, Tehmina, Baman, Bahadur, Jemi, Dolly, Jal and Dina. (Another child not seen in the photo is Zarine, who was yet unborn). While Sorabji enjoys his cognac, the rest of the family has taari with fresh seek kababs and gathyas. (Incidentally, it may interest readers to know that Sorabji Toti is Assistant Editor Rashna Ardesher’s paternal grandfather and Jal, her father.)




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