A slice of Parsi culture

5Showcasing the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Parsi community and stressing the need to preserve it, the city’s top cultural institutions are hosting a number of cultural event and exhibitions in a three-month long programme titled “The Everlasting Flame International Programme”.

The show will encompass all the elements of the contribution of Zoroastrians and Parsis to world culture, philosophy and art. The event will present three main exhibitions, titled “The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination” at the National Museum, “Threads of Continuity: Zoroastrian Life and Culture” at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and “Painted Encounters: Parsi Traders and the Community” at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).

The cultural event kicked-off on Monday at the IGNCA, with the exhibition, titled “Threads of Continuity”, focusing on the philosophy and culture of ancient Zoroastrian faith from its origins in Central Asia, tracing a geographical and chronological continuum till the present. Curated by Shernaz Cama, Dadi Pudumjee, Ashdeen Lilaowala and Kritika Mudgal, the exhibition attempts to explain Zoroastrian philosophy, where a sacred thread signifies continuity that links together all creation.

There was a dance performance, titled “Elemental, Divine”, at the inauguration by Astad Deboo and Troupe. The performance, choreographed by Deboo, a pioneer of contemporary dance in India, combined Indian classical dance forms — kathak and kathakali — to create a dance form that is truly unique.

The event is supported by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs under their scheme Hamari Dharohar in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Parzor Foundation. The Parzor Project is an initiative by UNESCO, New Delhi, formed for preservation and promotion of Parsi and Zoroastrian culture and heritage.

Speaking about the initiative, Ms. Cama, the director of Parzor Foundation, said: “Hamari Dharohar brings alive the multicultural heritage of India. The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has chosen it’s smallest micro-minority to initiate this programme. We are proud to present a bronze age civilization that has survived in an unbroken line of tradition, absorbing the best from East and West, creating a unique heritage of humanity.”

Other events starting this week in the city include the Parzor Film and Photo Festival at the India International Centre. Zoroastrianism in the New Millennium at National Museum that is an endeavour to engage in cross cultural studies between Central Asia and India and “Painted Encounters: Parsi Traders and the Community” at NGMA.

The programmes will conclude on May 27 with a valedictory address by author Amitav Ghosh.

Published on The Hindu

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