Every Friday, five women gather in one of the houses on Napean Sea Road’s Hyderabad Estates residential complex and read out quotations from various religious writings.
That leads to engaging discussions on everything from the power of goodness to the need for prayer, facilitated by Tahirih Gaur, one of the many volunteers from the city’s Baha’i community, who conduct free informal study circles on moral empowerment for people of all faiths.
“Education, and the service of others are considered pillars of the Baha’i religion,” said Gaur (26), a writer.
In Iran, where it originated, the religion currently faces persecution. While seven Baha’i leaders arrested in Iran in 2008, face trial on Sunday, Baha’is are barred from educational institutions and have limited civil rights.
In Mumbai, however, they’re a small but growing community of more than 400 members, known for their contribution to education.
“In the last five years, we’ve intensified our efforts on education for adults through study circles,” said Mangesh Teli, scientist, and chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India.
The Baha’is also have Marathi study circles in Solapur, Sangli, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur.
They also run Panchgani’s 53-year-old New Era CBSE School, which they founded.