Thursday 28 July 2016

The Parsis in WWI - The Battle Of The Somme

Westminster Abbey Service Honours Parsi/Irani Soldiers

A service was held in remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Somme 1916-2016. Many Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives during this devastating war and 19 Parsi soldiers died on the battlefield of Somme.

On July 1, the British Government held a full service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate lives lost and the unparalleled courage shown, by those who fought at the Battle of Somme in France during World War I.

Few know, that in this terrible battle, a million soldiers died fighting in service of their country. Many Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives during this devastating war and 19 Parsi soldiers lost their lives on the battlefield of Somme. The Parsi Battalion was the only fighting force in British India that was granted the same status as the British army.

But it all seemed to be so far out in time and place that one paid little attention to the upcoming event. Then, quite out of the blue, I received an email from Col. Sohrab Rusi Dalal (son of Rusi and Roshan Dalal, ZTFE, UK). He was invited to participate and read a passage at the National Remembrance service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Somme, at Westminster Abbey.

Col. Dalal wanted a passage, a letter or a write up that he could read on the Parsis to mark their presence at the battle of Somme.I knew of only one person who had compiled and chronicled the history of Parsi Irani soldiers who gave their lives in World War I. I turned to Marzban J. Giara’s recently published book, The Contribution of the Parsi Community during the First World War (1914-1918).

There I discovered the names of the Parsi Irani soldiers who fought in the many theatres of the Great War, the most hallowed being the battlefield of Somme. In the book compiled by Giara I found just what I wanted, a moving poem addressed to “Ye sons of Zal and Rustam” a reference to the great warriors in the epic poem, Shahname.

The poem, composed by the eminent Parsi scholar and author Rustom B. Paymaster, and found in his book The Voice of the East on The Great War was published by Giara in his book.

Giara is a determined chronicler of community history and heritage and we thank him for it and the Sorabji Burjorji Garda College Trust Navsari that sponsored the book.

This poem in honour of the Parsi Irani soldiers, was read by Col. Sohrab Rusi Dalal and was the first of 39 pieces read out at the Westminster Abbey service, a moving tribute of remembrance, of those members of our community who gave their lives during the Great War so that we may live in freedom.

For the record, the soldiers of the Parsi Battalion, according to Giara, carried with them a small Khordeh Avesta, which was given to them before they left the shores of Bombay and before every mission they would perform their Kusti before going into action.

This poem was composed by Shams-Ul-Ulma Dastur Dr. Darab Peshotan Sanjana, High Priest of the Parsis, who exhorted them to take up arms for their King and the Empire (vide The Times of India, 12th August 1914). This poem is from The Voice of the East on The Great War, by Rustom B. Paymaster, Bombay 1916.

Ye sons of Zal and Rustom, now’s the time,
For you to show your loyal zeal sublime.
Take Mazda’s name, and quick gird up your loins,
Up! Up and do what duty now enjoins,
Ye Parsees, sooth, the very life-blood owe,
Which in your pure Iranian veins doth flow,
Your flesh and bones and skin, your freedom full,
Nor pearls nor diamonds have such wealth contain.
So, Parsees awake! When called for fight prepare,
Unfurl your Gavian standard in the air!
Fling the light saddle on your charger’s back,
Not one, when called to arms, must spirit lack.
Ay, walk with British soldiers pace to pace,
March to the battlefield with manly grace
Draw your proud ranks by your brave ruler’s side,
Unmindful in what future maybe-tide-
What matters it if o’er you mountains slip!
Or foe men’s hateful Swords your bodies rip?
What matters it if you in sea are drowned,
Or in the air you’re shot to plunge aground?
To your great fame brave deeds will e’er rebound,
Return or die with lasting glory crowned
In just and righteous cause your sword unsheathe,
To future times your brilliant fame bequeaths.

FIROZA PUNTHAKEY MISTREE: Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly, Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saturday 9 July 2016


New Military Flashlight Every Girl Needs to Know About

New Military Flashlight Every Girl Needs to Know About
Every woman knows the feeling: You’re walking through a parking lot alone. It’s really dark out, and you’re getting eyed by some strange man lurking in the distance.

When that happens, there are four things you should have in your possession:
  • Keys to clutch between your knuckles
  • Pepper spray
  • A personal alarm on your keychain
  • A super powerful flashlight
The first three make sense, but few women consider the importance of the flashlight. Here’s why that’s a big mistake.

The first three items often take time to enable – time you may not have. Will you be able to get your keys between your fingers and nail a good punch before an attacker stops you? Can you take the safety off your pepper spray and aim it in the right direction in time? How easily can you activate the “screamer” alarm on your keychain – and will anyone even pay attention to it?

Don’t get us wrong, these items are all great to have, but a flashlight is another essential. It can be used to deter a lurker by exposing him in the shadows, blinding an attacker close up, or as a blunt object during a struggle.
A new tactical flashlight called the G700 has been getting a lot of attention in this area. It’s made out of nearly indestructible Military-Grade Aircraft Aluminum Housing, runs on only 3 AAA batteries, and is able to light the way to safety with 700 blinding lumens of light. It also houses a super cool ZOOM feature (demonstrated in the photo above), an "SOS mode" to signal for help, as well as a "strobe mode" that produces a pulsating frequency to disorient a threat within milliseconds!

Have a teen or college-age daughter? This is an essential tool that can give them (and you) some peace of mind.

From police to self-defense instructors, countless experts agree that a flashlight is a powerful safety tool. But unlike regular LED lights you’ll find at hardware stores, the G700 uses recently released military technology that is now available to the public. This allows it to be super powerful, very durable, and incredibly lightweight, so you can bring it anywhere you go.

Orders are currently pouring in for the G700 because the company announced a bargain 75% discount on purchases for new customers—while supplies last!
Whether you’re single or married, teenager or young adult, college student or professional woman – it’s important to protect yourself and the people you love. Having the right tools allows you to do that.