By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari
The IRAN LEAGUE was established by its Founder President late Sir Hormusji Cowasjee Dinshaw Adenwala way back in 1922. Till today and now under the Presidentship of Vispi S. Dastur, it has stood the test of time rendering yeoman services to the country and Parsi community for the past 92 long years which is a great feat for any organisation.
Every year it pays homage to its Founder President as well as Dr. Dadabhoy Naoroji on their birth anniversaries by garlanding their statues. It honours the sacrifices of the ‘Fallen Members of the Armed Forces’ by laying wreaths at the War Memorial at Khareghat Colony recalling their heroic deeds. The Iran League along with Bombay Parsee Association – both under the Presidentship of Vispi Dastur stands as a solitary example in the whole country of a civilian organisation paying such homage to the armed forces.
The Iran League has always held an optimistic view of the country, community, the great and ancient religion of Zarathushtra and the people, especially the youth who are the real trustees of posterity. It believes in encouraging members of the community in all walks of life so that our past glory, our history, our religion, our heritage, our traditions, our ‘Parsee Panu’ are passed on from generation to generation. It has endeavoured to spread the history of Iran and forge better relations between the two countries, it’s main object has been to create in the hearts of our young generation, a love and reverence for the ancient land of Iran which was the home of our ancestors and where many glorious and mighty rulers like Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes of different Persian dynasties ruled. To maintain cultural relations between the two countries, Iran League offers guidance and help to all those who wish to visit Iran. In the past, it was regularly sending financial aid to Zarthosti Educational Institutions, Orphanages as well as individuals till the time when due to foreign exchange regulations, it had to discontinue the same. It has conducted Persian and Gujarati classes and published several books on Zarathosti Religion and Iranian History. A novel in English worth reading is “The Phoenix in Persia” by Jhangir Kerawala and a research publication “The Palace of Darius at Susa” edited by Jean Perot containing excellent papers by various research scholars. It has organised lectures through visiting scholars and helped in sending hundreds of young persons to Iran for lucrative jobs in the 1960s and 1970s.
For the last several years, it has been conducting various competitions for Zarathushti school children, collegians, youth and elders and every year more and more competitors participate, starting from the age of 3 to 85! Competitions are held in Shahnameh Recitation, Essay Writing, Elocution, Religious Quiz, Drawing, Rangoli, Parsi songs/Monajats, Western Vocal Music and Western Instrumental music. Numerous cash prizes and Trophies are distributed to the winners at their Annual Function.
This year the Mancekji Limji Hataria Trophy for Heroism was awarded to “Arjuna and Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar Awardee, Sohrab Jamshed Contractor of the Indian Navy (retd). It is therefore befitting that Iran League looks forward to active financial and other support from the community to carry on the mighty, noble and generous task, year after year to keep the community spirit alive and throbbing.
On this joyous occasion of Sanjay Day, the President, Trustees and Committee members wish all Parsis, Iranis and Zarathostis lots of joy, health, happiness, peace and prosperity and thank Dadar Ahura Mazda for its survival for the last 92 years with a pledge to ensure its success in serving the country and community.