Roj Khorshed Mah Khordad, 1384 Yz.
A function was held yesterday, 26th October 2014 to pay tribute to the services rendered to the community by our Ilm-e-Khshnoom senior speaker, late Adi Doctor.
The day also marked the Siroza (30th day after death) of late Adi Doctor and hence was also of spiritual significance.
Right from 5 pm, a steady trickle of Khshnoom lovers and Parsis from all walks of life began to converge at the Banaji Atash Behram Hall to pay their respects to the departed leader. By 6 pm, the hall had packed up and proceedings began with a Humbandagi.
Convening the meeting, the Master of Ceremonies, Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram remarked that this was, first of all, not a condolence meeting. Late Adi Doctor was himself against the idea of hosting condolence meetings. This meeting was a celebration of the life and services of Adi to the community and towards our own Ilm-e-Khshnoom Anjuman. The right Zoroastrian method of remembering the departed is through ceremonies. This being the Siroza day, prayers had been conducted at Boyce Agiary, the Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff Daremeher at Jogeshwari, as well as numerous prayers recited by friends of Adi themselves.
However, as an extra-ordinary man, it was necessary that Adi’s remembrance should also be extra-ordinary. Hence this meeting. Er. Hathiram disclosed that the planning of this meeting had happened even while the Paidust of Adi Doctor was being recited. Along with the two main speakers of the evening, Mr. Hanoz Mistry and Mr. Aspi Tavadia, the stage was shared by BPP Trustee Mr. Yazdi Desai. After this introduction, Er. Hathiram requested Hanoz to begin his address.
Hanoz Mistry is the Associate Editor of the Parsee Voice and one the closest co-workers of Adi Doctor. Hanoz recounted the many battles which Adi uncle fought whenever the religious traditions or our religious institutions were threatened. Taking us right from 1984, when Adi resigned from his Bank of India job to concentrate his full time on Khshnoom and service to the community, Hanoz mentioned the various issues which crept up with depressing regularity against which Adi put up the strongest possible fights. From the days of the old Parsee Voice, to the Council of Vigilant Parsees, to Deen Parast and then finally the rebirth of the Parsee Voice, Hanoz listed the many battles which Adi fought. Hanoz recalled that despite this diminutive size, Adi Doctor could put up the strongest fight against the high and mighty.
Giving a personal touch, Hanoz recalled that for all his sternness, Adi was a loving, caring individual who was always ready to help anyone in distress. Concluding his address, Hanoz remarked that while making this list, even he was surprised at the many battles fought by Adi.
Thereafter, Khshnoom lecturer Mr. Aspi Tavadia, recounted how Adi, who was first a student of philology, was drawn to Khshnoom through the medium of our current Vada Dasturji Kaikhushroo Navroze Dastur Meherji Rana. On being given the slim book ‘A Mazdaznan Mystic’ by Nanabhoy Mama, Adi Doctor’s life took a U turn. In his address, Aspi revealed the humorous and witty side of Adi, as well as his extreme importance on the practical implementation of Khshnoom knowledge. Again and again, Adi would remark that merely attending lectures was not enough. It was necessary to put the principles of Khshnoom into active practice in our daily lives.
Striking a poignant note, Aspi mentioned that the last time he met Adi in hospital, he remarked that the doors of Khshnoom were closing for him and he would not be able to speak again. In despair, Adi moaned, ‘why should I take this effort, when our members cannot even cover their heads for 24 hours as the basic requirement of our religion.’
Concluding his speech, Aspi mentioned that the true and correct way of paying homage to Adi would be to implement the teachings of Khshnoom into our life. That would really make his Ruvan happy.
Thereafter, BPP Trustee Mr. Yazdi Desai spoke on his interaction with Adi Doctor. Mr. Desai remarked that although he had often heard the phrase ‘without fear or favour’, he had never really understood its meaning and impact till he met and interacted with Adi. Mr. Desai revealed that whenever the community was in a crisis situation, Mr. Adi Doctor was always ready with a public meeting. Mr. Desai was amazed that 700 to 800 people would turn up at the venue of these meetings where no food or packets were distributed whereas at his own election meetings, he found it difficult to gather even 300 to 400 people despite offering all kinds of inducements in the form of food!
Mr. Desai also remarked on Adi’s simple but forceful method of writing and the impact it had on his own beliefs, especially with regard to cremation, the horrible mortuary at Dungerwadi as well as the system of Dokhmenashini.
Concluding his talk Mr. Desai said that he would forever be grateful for Adi because at the time of the BPP election when MR. Noshir Dadrewala withdrew his candidature at the last minute under pressure from Dinshaw Tamboly, Yazdi himself decided to stand for the election. At this time, no community stalwart came to support Yazdi, because of the overarching fear of Dinshaw Tamboly. At that time, Mr. Adi Doctor was the ONLY person who called him and said: ‘don’t worry, we will support you’ and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thereafter, Er. Hathiram called upon various individuals, who had expressed their desire to say a few words in memory of Adi and their personal interaction with them.
Firstly, Ms. Aban Sethna of Dadar spoke eloquently on her contact with Adi and how she regarded him as her Guru. She remarked that in all her years of contact, she had never seen Adi ever raise his voice or lose his temper. Whenever a fight was required, Adi was always there, to protect the traditional cause.
The next speaker was Nauzer Bharucha, Senior Editor of Times of India. Detailing his interaction with Adi, he remarked that a chance call changed the course of his life. Nauzer explained how Adi sowed the seeds of religion and Tarikats in his life and always showed the practical way forward.
Thereafter, Er. Firdosh Sukhia, an ardent student of Khshnoom spoke about how Adi was always accessible and a very loving and caring person. At a very difficult period of his life, when Firdosh had questions which no one could answer, Adi Doctor showed him the way and explained how to live a true Zoroastrian life, and then leave the rest to fate.
Next up was a young but very enthusiastic member of our Ilm-e-Khshnoom Anjuman, Jimmy Tavadia, who revealed how Adi entered his life and explained the importance of practice rather than book knowledge. Jimmy’s address was highly emotional as he read out his detailed eulogy, showing how Adi Doctor showed him the correct path. Thereafter, Jimmy read out a very moving and beautiful poem written by him.
Thereafter, Er. Hathiram read out messages received from Ilm-e-Khshnoom members overseas, including Zenobia and Percy Shroff, Pervin Mistry and Havove and Aspi Tarapore.
Finally, Er. Hathiram read out two poems, one in English and one in Gujarati composed by Ilm-e-Khshnoom veteran Silloo Mehta of Mazdaysanie Connection, California. These two poems were a fitting end to the series of reminiscences.
In his concluding remarks, Ervad Hathiram remarked that all members of the community were welcome in Ilm-e-Khshnoom meetings. Right from the days of the first Bajs of Ustad Saheb, Seth Jehangirji Chiniwalla used to invite BPP Trustees, community Akabars, leading lawyers, solicitors and doctors to these meetings. Many of these people had very little knowledge of Khshnoom on even of traditional Zoroastrianism. However they all attended. In the same manner, today’s meeting was being attended by a Trustee of the BPP, even though we may not agree with many of his views. This was a meeting to pay tribute to a person who had offered great service to the community and not a time for petty politics and back-biting.
Ervad Hathiram also thanked the Trustees of the Banaji Atash Behram for allowing the use of the hall as well as Ms. Anahita Desai for her logistics management.
Finally, Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram assured the audience that the work of Ilm-e-Khshnoom would go on with the same, if not greater vigour, and he and his other associates would make full efforts to fill the gap left by the passing of Adi Doctor. With a wish that the Ruvan of Adi Doctor attain Anushehi and bless the Ilm-e-Khshnoom Anjuman and the entire community with hope, courage and fortitude, the assembly dispersed with the recitation of Humbandagi.
I would be failing in my duty if I were not to thank our faithful photographer Mr. Minoo Bhagalia who covered the event for us and sent the image files to my Inbox by 10:45 pm, even though the meeting ended at 8 pm.!
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram