Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lady Roda's unflinching contribution to the Bhuj Agiary


Recently I received an email about an old, yet spirited and inspiring soul named Roda Boatwala of Bhuj, Gujurat and her determination to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of the Bhuj Agiary (Zorastrian places of worship are called Fire-Temples). According to the information in that email, she is the only surviving Parsi resident of Bhuj who has insisted in staying on in Bhuj to take care of the place of worship.

I had these facts verified through my uncle Mr. Rusi Tavadia of Michigan, USA whose one friend hails from Bhuj. Ms. Roda Boatwala has indeed been a longtime resident of Bhuj. This Agiary's centenary was held around two years ago in Bhuj when few Parsi families descended on Bhuj to participate in the event. It is also the fact that although the epicenter of the deadly Gujarat earthquake in January 2001 was the same city of Bhuj, this Agiary suffered amongst the least amount of damage. I am also told that many people in and around Bhuj had taken refuge in this place of worship.

Although there are many Agiarys in the state of Gujarat that are neglected because Parsis have migrated to cities, over the years, it's heartening to see at least one amongst them that is taken care of by a lady who has decided to stay put.

In times when most of us have been so busy pursuing the material things in life, it is commending to hear about a generous soul who seems to have done, and been doing, everything in her power to take care of our sacred place of worship, despite - I am told – of her old age and consequent health-related problems like osteoporosis, etc.

Such people in our community are few and far between and it becomes our moral responsibility to acknowledge them.

7 comments:

  1. I got this email today morning and cannot believe that the entire agiary is managed by just one old lady. Is that really true? May God give her the strength and good health to continue her work. It is really sad to see our religion disintegrating in front of our very eyes and every time I hear of such stories it gives me hope that our religion may survive.

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  2. Yes Arzan, it is true. The lady manages the Agiary on her own. She is also helped by a Muslim gentleman, or should I say nobleman, who tends our holy Fire when she cannot due to health reasons. May GOD give both of them peace and happiness. It is solely because of Rodamai that our Bhuj Agiary is in such good shape. There are several Agiaries in the Indian state of Gujarat in a state of neglect because Parsis have migrated elsewhere

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  3. Hey,

    I just received the email and as usual i went on to find out more about the email and I was linked here! It's heartening to read such articles. God bless the lady and would love to visit this place sometime.

    Thanks.

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  4. I just found out that the lady is actually my cousin's dad's aunt. I guess its a small world.. and its even smaller if you're Parsi!

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  5. Thanks Ruzan. Do visit the place when you get a chance. Id like to do the same too.

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  6. Yes Arzan, it's a small world, especially if you are Parsi. Our community seems to be getting smaller by the day.

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  7. sachin Balram RasteApril 19, 2009 at 1:22 AM

    On 16th April 2009 I met Rodamai. she needs help. Though Abubhai is there to take care for agyari but .... For past few days I have been getting dreams about this and this was the reason for me to visit Bhuj and met her,

    today when I was speaking to one of my close friend (Irani Zoroastrian)about her and the images I saw in front of my eyes when I saw the agyari ... but my doubts were not cleared.

    today after readin this post - I know what her wish is. issint there any Zoroastrian who would take up the task of taking care of agyari ? Her worry is - after her - who will take care.

    Though I have written a letter to her brother regarding the same and have also written about "Please take necessary precautions" but when I had left that place I felt that someone should also take the onus and help her .

    Ushta Te
    Slashh (aka Sachin Balram Raste) 91-9821356323

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