Parsis offer a glimpse into their culture, history
The Parsi community may be small in number, but it’s making sure the city learns of its history, customs and culture.
This weekend people will be treated to ‘A Zoroastrian Panorama’ — an exhibition showcasing everything there is to know about the Parsis, from their dynastic history in Persia to their legacy in Mumbai, from the hidden secrets of the fire temple to the customs of religious initiation and marriage.
Inaugurated on Thursday, the exhibition will be held at Charni Road’s Albess Baug from April 23 to 25, 11.30 am to 8.30 pm.
It has been organised for the fifth consecutive year by the Frohar Foundation, a non-profit community trust working to promote knowledge of the religion.
“While non-Parsis have a lot of misconceptions about our religion, often many young Parsis themselves are ignorant about their culture and the reasons behind our rites,” said Cyrus Dastoor, founder of the foundation and the man behind the exhibition.
At the entrance to the exhibition hall, one learns that the kasti (holy thread worn by all Parsis after the Navjote or initiation ceremony) consists of 72 threads of fine sheep’s wool, symbolic of innocence. Inside, one is greeted by a large model of the prophet Zarathushtra, while a series of posters beside him explain the trials and glory of his life.
“The prophet’s life is a new addition to our show this year, along with the three dimensional models of a real fire temple and Tower of Silence,” said artist Jennifer Dinshaw (54), who hand-carved and painted all the thermocol installations in the exhibition.
This year, the foundation has compiled all the information provided in the exhibition into The Zoroastrian Saga — A Pictorial Overview, a book that was launched on Thursday and will be sold at various community centres.
“My aim is to simplify the religion by giving people a visual idea of its various rites, rituals and history,” said Ervad Dr Ramiyar Karanjia, a priest who penned the book.