News 2012 News ->'The
Z Factor' Exhibition celebrates Zoroastrians
'The Z Factor' Exhibition
23rd May 2012
Z Factor' exhibition, celebrating the contribution
made by Zoroastrians to India and the UK, was launched
at The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University
on Wednesday 23rd May 2012. The exhibition, compiled
and curated by Zerbanoo Gifford, author, human rights
campaigner and founder of the Asha Centre, was opened
by the guest of honour, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon.
Dr Rashna Writer, a Senior Teaching Fellow at the
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
University, gave a brief address about Zoroastrianism
and was followed by Dr Seema Anand, a storyteller,
who gave an impromptu 'scratch' performance of what
Zoroastrians mean to India today. The Z Factor launch
also celebrated Zerbanoo Gifford's 30th anniversary
of being elected as a local politician.
Zoroastrianism is a religion
and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet
Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra, in Avestan)
and was formerly among the world's largest religions.
It was probably founded some time before the 6th
century BCE in Greater Iran. According to tradition,
the present-day Parsees descend from a group of
Zoroastrians of Iran who immigrated to India during
the 10th century AD, to avoid persecution by Muslim
invaders who were in the process of conquering
Iran. It is estimated that there are fewer than
100,000 Parsees left in world today.
The religion states that
active participation in life through good thoughts,
good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure
happiness and to keep chaos at bay and the Zoroastrians
have proven themselves to be great businessmen,
educators and philanthropists. Among the most
well-know Zoroastrians celebrated by 'The Z Factor'
exhibition are: musician Freddie Mercury of Queen;
Jamshedji Tata - Founder of Tata Industries; Adi
Godrej - Chairman of the Godrej Group; Dadabhai
Naoroji - the first non-white British MP; conductor
Zubin Mehta; Feroze Gandhi, husband of the late
Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India; author
Rohinton Mistry, BBC Newsreader Matthew Amroliwala;
Chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE and Lord Karan Bilimoria,
the first Zoroastrian Life Peer, among many others.
Notable female Zoroastrians celebrated include
the late Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to
read law at Oxford; author Bapsi Sidhwa, screenwriter
Sooni Taraporvala; Bachi Karkaria, former editor
of The Times of India; Bapsybanoo Pavry, Marchioness
of Winchester; Homai Daruwalla, Chair of the Central
Bank of India, Amy Rustomjee, one of India's top
educationalists; human rights campaigner Zerbanoo
Gifford and many others.