At the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress held in December 2013, 87 year old Osti Mrs. Ratamai Ervad Dr. Peshotan Peer was honoured and felicitated by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet and the whole Parsi community as the unsung heroine of our community! She rightly deserves this unqiue honour as she has dedicated 60 years of her life in rendering religious knowledge, religious service and education to our community members andcontinues to do so with great enthusiasm, fervour and tireless dedication.
Born on March 30, 1926 at Navsari, she passed her matriculation exam at 17 and later was a teacher in the same school, also teaching religion, organising sports events, dramas, elocution competitions and started a Girl Guide troop and committee member of children's library. When she resinged to get married to the famous eligious scholar, lecturer and full-time priest Late Ervad Dr. peshotan F. peer, the school honoured and felicitated her with a shawl, bouquet and a pair of golden bangles which was covered by the Parsi media in Navsari and Bombay as well! Together both Ratamai and Peshotan worked zealously to further religious knowledge and activities of the Parsi-Irani Zarathushti community.
She teaches Avesta prayers to children who are due for their Navjote ritual. She teaches our religion in several schools in Mumbai and also conducts classes at Cusrow Baug in Mumbai and Avan Baug at Navsari. She has started the Youth's Own Union which conducts several cultural activities. She teaches students Gujarati reading and writing as well as Gujarati Monajats (Religious poems). She encourages her students to compete in various competitions, such as elocution, essay writing on religious topics, drawing, quiz, reciting Avesta prayers, Monajats conducted by the Bombay Parsee Association, ZOASTA, Iran League and other parsi institutions and baugs. Her students are not only awarded prizes but trophies. She is also fond of music, sports, art and cultural activities. She has also given public lectures at various colonies, baugs and agiaries and at several places throughout India. She has been successful in arranging marriages for her students within the community. She renders invaluable help to poor and needy Zoroastrians by distributing clothes, medicine and food amounting to lakhs of rupees obtained from various Parsi Trusts. She has organised Holiday Camp for poor and needy Parsi Children at Cama Home, Bandra. She has initiated Kusti weaving and encourages poorer women to stitch sudrehs and sell them.
Ratamai's late husand Dr. peshotan Peer along with the renowned philanthropist late Naryman Dubash started the much needed Mobed Scheme awading Rs. 50 lakhs to full time Mobeds for their long years of dedication and commitment to our rleigious instituions and rituals. A similar scheme was also started for the unsung workers who were stitching sudrehs, weaving kustis, spinning wool and performing baj-daran. About 100 such poor workes bothh from athornan and behdin families who worked silently were given Rs. 10,000/- each.
What's her message to the community? “Have faith in our great religion in which we are lucky to be born and thank Ahura Mazda for the same. We must make continuous efforts to preserve our priceless heritage and culture just like our forefathers who had achieved so much in every field. We must endeavour to do the same so that our future generations also don their duty and keep our Parsi community's glorious name and reputation flying high!”
Their son Ervad Dr. Roointon Peer has a doctorate in Avesta Pehlvi and is a renowned scholar priest and one of her daughters Tehmina Peer has followed her mother's footsteps and has been her guiding torch at every step in her religious and social activities. She is the priceless gem of our community, living an earnest life. May Ahura Mazda bestow his abundant blessings and keep her active and energetic for many years to come. Our community needs the likes of her to enrich our lives.