Roj Asman Mah Bahman, 1383 Yz.
Monday, 7th July 2014 marked the 87th Baj of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff. The day’s observances started with a Machi in memory of the Master at the Daremeher named after him at Behram Baug, Jogeshwari by the trustees of the Zoroastrian Radih Society.
Thereafter, Afringan, Farokshi, Stum and Baj ceremonies were conducted at the Daremeher, followed by a Jashan at 9:30 am which was attended by a large number of colony residents. Throughout the day, all the Machis were offered in memory of Ustad Saheb by various individuals and the Behram Baug Federation.
In the evening, the venue for the events shifted to Cama Baug. A Jashan in memory of Ustad Saheb was performed at the Cama Baug Agiary and thereafter, the day’s main function commenced in the hall of the Cama Baug small Otla. Despite heavy rains, a crowd of nearly 100 Parsis had gathered in the hall.Noted Khshnoom speaker Mr. Aspi Tavadia welcomed the attendees and remarked about the absence of Vada Dasturji Kaikhushroo Navroze Dastur Meherji Rana, who was in Navsari and could not attend the function due to ill health.
Another veteran of the Baj functions, noted speaker Mr. Adi Doctor too was recuperating after a stay in hospital. Despite the absence of these two veterans, the work of the Ilm-e-Khshnoom Felavnari Committee goes on, Mr. Tavadia noted. He then requested Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram, Panthaky of the Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff Daremeher and Editor of the Frashogard Blog to deliver the main talk of the day.
Taking the mike, Er. Marzban first paid rich tributes to Vada Dasturji Meherji Rana, who was the main speaker at this function for over 40 years.
Recounting his own beginning in Khshnoom, over 25 years ago, Er. Hathiram remarked how difficult it was in those days to get any books of Khshnoom, which were very rare to come by. After scouring many second hand book shops and the homes of old Parsis whose children were anxious to get rid of old books, the slow process of building a personal library was started. Now as technology had advanced and scanning and PDF files were more common place, a need was felt to digitize the entire Khshnoom literature and make it available, without any cost or profit to the general public.
Hence the Ilm-e-Khshnoom Digitization Project was started nearly 3 years ago and part of it was put up online at the Frashogard Blog [www.frashogard.com] last year. However, for those who do not have internet access or broadband, a need for a better medium was felt. Hence the Ilm-e-Khshnoom Digital Library Project was launched last year and was now being presented to the community on the occasion of the 87th Baj of the Master. Er. Hathiram then proceeded to give a presentation of the software specially developed for the Digital Library using an LCD Projector. The main sections of the library include: English Books, Gujarati Books, the Parsi Avaz Newspaper, English articles, Gujarati Articles and Indexes. Taking the audience through each of the 6 main sections of the Library, Er. Hathiram demonstrated practically how each and every page and word ever written on Ilm-e-Khshnoom had been scanned, catalogued, indexed and presented on the DVD.
Thereafter, Er. Marzban paid rich and glowing tributes to the main volunteer who had spent nearly 5 years scanning and indexing this voluminous literature running into over 65,000 pages. This volunteer always wanted to remain anonymous, but today, Er. Hathiram commented, it was time to unravel his identity and give him the credit for the enormous effort he had put in. Er. Hathiram then called up Mr. Neville Joshi from the audience and presented him as the anonymous benefactor who had played the major part in creating the infrastructure of the Digital Library. Mr. Joshi was profusely thanked as the entire audience rose to give him a standing ovation for his tireless efforts. Mr. Aspi Tavadia honoured Mr. Joshi with a shawl.
Er. Marzban J. Hathiram noted that although the team had spent thousands of rupees in preparing this Digital Library and an immeasurable sum in man hours, they had decided to price the DVD at only Rs. 100 so that each and every Parsi household could have a copy of the same. The DVD will be available at leading Agiaries, Sandalwood and religious items shops throughout Mumbai very shortly. Arrangements are being made to send the DVD to Parsis outside Mumbai and India too. The DVD would make an ideal gift for the coming holy days of the Muktad and New Year.
After this, Er. Marzban J. Hathiram commenced the main lecture of the day – Lessons of life from the episode of Rostam and Sohrab. A synopsis of this lecture will be presented at a later date. The proceedings finally ended at nearly 8:30 pm with a Humbandagi and a Dua from the speaker wishing for the onward progress of the Ruvan of the revered Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram