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Jahangir Behboodi Son of Khodabandeh[1]


















Jahangir Behboodi (center), a pilot in the Royal-Indian Air Force - early 1943,  Poona, India.

Jahangir Behboodi, piloting a Royal Indian Air Force single engine plane - 1943, India.

Jahangir Behboodi pictured with a twin engine Iran Air passenger plane that he piloted - early 1960s, Iran.

Jahangir Behboodi and his wife Pooran aboard an Iran Air Jumbo Jet on a flight from Tehran to New York, mid 1970s.

Jahangir Behboodi, with his wife Pooran, his mother-in-law and children at the tomb of Iranian poet Hafiz in Shiraz, Iran - early 1970s.

His name was Khodabandeh, son of Bahram, son of Hirbod Khodabakhsh, son of Hirbod Jamasb, son of Hirbod Nooshirvan, son of Jamasb, son of Mobed Kavoos “Novruz Zendeh”-the last Mobed-e Mobedan of Isfahan.  It was during Mobed Kavoos’s lifetime that the then ruler of Iran, Shah Soltan Hossein Safavi, ordered the massacre of all Zartoshtis of Isfahan unless they converted to Islam.  At that time the Zartoshtis living in Gabr Abad of Isfahan were the largest concentration of Zartoshtis in Iran.  Naturally Mobed Kavoos did not accept the forced conversion and fled with his entire family and the Holy Fire of Isfahan through the assistance of some converted Muslims. They left behind everything they had accumulated in their lifetime, their homes and property and escaped towards Yazd.  This was the beginning of the tragic end of the largest Zartoshti concentration of Iran and the demise of my family’s priestly ancestry.

Khodabandeh was my late father, the kindest and the simplest man I ever knew, and I loved him dearly.  He was born in “Mahle” Yazd, Poshte Khanali in the year 1880 to his mother Farangis.  His brothers were Jamshid and Khodabakhsh.  Between the ripe age of 8 to 16 all three brothers were sent by their caring parents, Farangis and Bahram, to Bombay so that they could grow up in a safer and kinder environment where they could study and live as decent human beings and not as “untouchables” “Najes”[2] and “Kaafars”[3] as the Muslims of Yazd treated them.

My mother Golbanoo, who was born in “Mobarake”[4] Yazd, was similarly sent to Bombay by her father Bahram Kadkhoda and mother Laal Noosh as a young child with her younger brother and sister to avoid being kidnapped by the “Lootis” and forcefully converted to Islam.

Most of these child émigrés to India went through great hardships on their long road trip through deserts and mountains, by camel and donkey caravans-their only means of transportation from Yazd to the port of Bandar Abbas on the eastern end of the Persian Gulf.  Many perished enroute of thirst, hunger and heat.

My parents met each other through relatives and married in Bombay in 1918.  I was born to them after six long years of marriage at mid-night of December 24, 1924 in Masina Maternity Hospital at Byculla, Bombay.  My father rejoiced the birth of his first child with a big party where he and his friends consumed twelve bottles of brandy and rum, so I was told by my mother.  My sister Frenny and brothers Iraj and Rostam were born within a span of 10 years in the same “Parsi”[5] hospital. It was the best at the time.

My father and his two brothers were financially well off.  Father had gone into the restaurant business after school and bought a house in Bandra, a hilly suburb.  My uncle Jamshid used his share from the business to continue his studies as an electrical engineer in Germany and later settled in Bombay where he married aunt Banoo and had two sons and a daughter (Bahram, Homi and Gohar).  My younger uncle, Khodabakhsh, on the other hand, was a loner and dreamer.  He quit his job as a teacher, became a “Darvish”, travelled all over India and China and settled for a period in the mountains of Northern Gujerat and later in Sheer Kuh of Yazd.  His final whereabouts were unknown.

I, my sister and brothers grew up in a Zartoshti-Parsi environment.  Our mother was very strict about our daily prayers and Sadre-Koshti, and we were brought up well disciplined. During my childhood, father was very successful so he sent my sister and me to English Christian schools, Da’Silva in Dadar and Gloria Church School in Buculla.  My father enrolled me in a Parsi physical culture club where I learned gymnastics, yogic movements and field athletics.  I was a good roller skater and adventure cyclist.  We mostly lived in Parsi communities, spoke Gujrati and English in public and Dari at home.

My father loved Iran.  He had bought me a “Pahlavi Cap” to wear in Parsi functions and always came home in time to put me sleep by reading “Shahnameh” poems to me.  My father had a deep love and respect for Reza Shah.  It broke his heart and he died of a massive stroke, soon after the allied forces invaded Iran and Reza Shah was dethroned and subsequently sent to exile.  

My mother also loved her childhood life in Mobarakeh.  She used to reminisce about the “roaring river” that flowed through their rear garden, which I later found was a creek that passed by her family home.  She missed the howling of wolves and foxes in the night.  She always fell asleep watching the beautiful night sky glittering with millions of stars.  Yet she also had very bad memories of the neighbouring Muslims calling them “Gowre[6] Najes” and forcing her father when riding a donkey to disembark as “they” were passing by.  If and when it rained Zartoshtis could not walk the streets because Zartoshtis would pollute the rainwater!  What a shame.  Asho Zartosht was the one and only preacher who taught people to keep the environment clean.  This was an example of the treatment the then Muslims bestowed on Zartoshtis, their ancestors who had given them the history and civilization of which Iranians could be proud.  What a shame.

Far away in Bombay, I grew up in a free environment where we “the Parsis” were respected by the population for our righteousness, philanthropy and cleanliness.  Zartoshtis created some of the best doctors and hospitals as well as large industries and enterprises.  Even though I studied in a Christian school, I grew up and learned to be a useful citizen in Parsi colonies.  When my father died, I had to quit school and work at the age of 16 years to support my mother and brothers.  I worked in a Parsi cotton mill as well as a restaurant and bakery for a few months at a time. 

The work, however, I found unsatisfying and so I returned to education and finished high school at a Parsi school.  I then embarked on my childhood dream, which was to “fly in the sky like a bird”.  I used to ride my bike for 20km to Juhu airport to watch the aircrafts fly and those wonderful beings jumping out of their small air force training planes after flying “loops” and “rolls”.  I just wanted to touch a pilot—my angel.  I had tried to join the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) but was told to come back when I reached 18 years.   That was the time of World War II.  British India was an active participant in this cruel war in which millions of human beings were killed.  There was a very powerful propaganda campaign against the Germans and the Japanese.  Millions of huge posters appeared all over India with the message “Kill that Fly”.  The “fly” was a reference to the Germans and the Japanese.  I was very much involved in the campaign.  I was a young volunteer in the A.R.P squad, a civil organization in our Parsi community, teaching people to jump off burning buildings into safety nets being held by people below.  I was the youngest jumping from 3 storey buildings, teaching how to use gas masks and providing first aid to the wounded.  I also volunteered at the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, organized and headed by Major Dr. Sohrab Mody, helping and taking wounded war veterans arriving from the war front in Burma.  To financially assist my family, I took a job in the Tata Aircraft Factory” in Santa Cruz as an assistant mechanic assembling war planes, such as the N.A. Harvard and Hurricane Fighters.   

Eventually the day came when I was accepted into the R.I.A.F., but only as a flight mechanic.  I was posted to various air force bases in the South, North and East.  I had not told my mother I had joined the Air force…but I was not happy.  I wanted to fight the fascist enemy and therefore re-applied for the position of Pilot Officer.  I attended the interview and was put through a very tough pilot selection board test for 6 days and was selected from a group of 50 candidates to be among only 4 lucky young fighter pilots.   All this was in 1943 when the war was very fierce.  I went through officer cadet training in Poona, elementary flight training in Jodhpur, advanced flight training in Ambala and became a full fledged fighter G.D. Pilot Officer with my Wings.  I had reached my first goal in life very successfully.  I had been a good pilot, I won a “first solo trophy” out of 40 candidates, and I had won a 1st place in the all India Air Forces Olympic games in the 1500 run and 3rd place in the 400 metre hurdles.  But alas, the Germans were defeated before I finished my training and, by the time I was ready to fight, the Japanese were bombed out of the War.  I had no further ambitions in India.  The British were ready to quit India and I embarked on my second dream to leave India for my motherland Iran.  While still in my R.I.A.F. officer’s uniform, I attended the A.I.O.C. (Anglo Iranian Oil Co.) head office, I applied for a job in Iran and was offered a senior position in Abadan.  I resigned from the Air Force and was issued a 2nd class ticket by ship from Bombay to Khorramshahr.  I landed on the soil of my ancestors on June 14, 1947.  The first thing I did after setting foot on ground, was to fall on my knees, kiss the ground and collect a handful of “earth” in my handkerchief which I had for some years.

I had landed in Iran at the age of 23 in love with the country.  I was a pro British Iranian with a very good job, but following a period of three years of work in Abadan, I learned to dislike the British.  I realised they wanted to use me as their agent against my own country.  I was a staunch Royalist when I arrived in Iran.  I even wrote a very patriotic    letter to the commander of the then Iranian Air Force stating that I was ready to join the Air Force as a fighter pilot and to be the Shah’s “Pish Marg” pilot.  I sent this letter through a Zartoshti Air Force administrative officer, but unfortunately I never got a reply.  I later joined the prevailing Nationalist movement against the oil company and very soon I became an easy prey for the communists and took a very active part in the “Great Oil Co. Strike” that broke the back of the A.I.O.C.   In return, I was arrested by the “martial law” officers in Abadan and thrown into prison for a month.  When I was released I was immediately fired by the oil company and declared as “not a reliable worker”.  In those days of course all the “armed services” of Khuszistan were in the “service” of the A.I.O.C..  I therefore had no choice but to pack my bags and leave Abadan.  I had owned a beautiful, 2 cylinder powerful “Matchless” motorcycle which was my great show-off machine for the many young nurses to whom I used to teach English.  But at this time the motorcycle was my “escape horse”.  I placed my few belongings on the rear rack of the bike, bid farewell to my friends and rode north towards Teheran.   I passed through a sandstorm in Andimeshk, and was arrested by a gendarme for leaving Abadan without a holiday pass.  I was kept in prison for about 4 hours until the “Jenab Sarhang” arrived. When he discovered that I was Zartoshti, he released me and gave me an official letter requesting enroute officers not to bother me on my travel to Yazd to visit my fiancé Pooran.

It was a very tiresome and hazardous 3-day trip over unpaved roads and steep mountains through Khorramabad, Boroojerd, and Arak before reaching Tehran; but I was happy to be out of that “hell”.  After resting in Tehran, I visited my mother in Yazd and my fiancée Pooran in Taft.  

In Tehran after first working at Mehrabad Airport as a control tower operator and later for “Asle 4 Truman”, I received my “wings” again and started flying as a Pest Control pilot for the Ministry of Agriculture for four years.  I had the honour to be the “first Zartoshti to become a professional pilot in Iran.”  There were many Zartoshti pilots in India, including the famous “Engineer brothers”, three of them Aspi, Jahangir and Ron (Rohinton) who were war heroes with 2 DFC’s (Defence Flying Cross) and other medals.  Aspi (Asfandiar) had become the commander-in-chief of the R.I.A.F. at the end of the war and Ron who lived in Vancouver during his late years was a friend of mine.  Later, Aspi became the Indian Ambassador to Tehran where I paid my respects to him.

Agricultural flying was a very dangerous job, not only because we were spraying dangerous chemicals to kill pests which killed and blinded a number of my colleagues but also many of my friends were killed when hitting high tension electric and telephone line cables.  I had seen one of my friends (Parviz Nadim) crash and burn into a “human coal”. 

I was the first and maybe the only Zartoshti “Agro-Spray” pilot in those days.  My boss was Bill French, an American loaned to the ministry to form the first aerial pest control unit in Iran.  I was also his interpreter and later his assistant.  He was an excellent pilot and taught me most of the “tricks” of this dangerous trade.  At that time, I was the only civilian pilot on the job; the others were Iranian Air Force pilots loaned to the ministry.  I also flew as a rescue pilot to supply food and medical assistance to survivors of the devastating earthquake of “Sangchaal” just north of Mount Damavand on top of a high plateau where all road connections, except by mule, had been lost.  On top of that mountaintop, Bill and I were the first to land an airplane.  I flew several sorties, delivering supplies and taking out one seriously wounded victim on every flight.  Later, Bill introduced me to Capt. Morris, the chief operation manager of the Iranian Airways, and I started employment with the airline as a co-pilot on April 1, 1958.  Again, I was the first Zartoshti in Iran to become an airline pilot.

I flew twin engine DC3s all over Iran, Kandahar, Kabul, Beirut and Dubai.  I became a Captain on DC3s on March 2, 1964.  On my final check flight, I and my crew delivered from Zahedan to Tehran the first “Tehran Zoo” animals, consisting of 2 baby elephants, 2 panthers and several monkeys.  I also had the honour of flying the Sheikh of Dubai and his companions for their first hunting trip to Bandar Abbas.   On our overnight stop in Dubai, my crew and I were guests of honour for a sumptuous feast in his palace.  As a token of appreciation, I received a gold watch and other gifts from the Sheikh.

My flights did not go uneventful.  I did have a mechanical crash in Isfahan where I was wounded slightly as well as two serious incidences in both of which my nerves of steel and confidence saved us from grave mishaps over the Persian Gulf.

As a next step, I became a captain on 4-engine turbo-prop Viscounts and 4 engine DC6s for cargo flights to Europe (1965). In 1966, I underwent my first jet training in San Diego and became captain on Boeing 727s.  In 1971 I attended training in New York and became captain on Boeing 707s.  Finally in March 1976, I was sent to Seattle Boeing Factory and received training on Boeing Jumbo 747 and flew as Captain until my early retirement on October 17, 1981.   I was well respected and liked by my colleagues and by General Khademi, the former director of Iran Air.

During my 24 years flight career with Iran Air, I was often selected for new inaugural flights such as the first direct flight from New York to Tehran with the S.P. Boeing 747, which was a record 13- hour non-stop flight.  Prior to this I had also inaugurated the first passenger flight with Boeing 707 for the Tokyo-Peking- Tehran route.  I was also often selected to fly Tour Charter, special flights and VIP flights.  Some of the dignitaries who had flown with me were Queen Farah when she was pregnant with Prince Reza, all the royal princes and princesses of Iran, Prime Minister Hoveida, foreign minister Ardeshir Zahedi to Cairo on his first “friendship” flight, General Charles De Gaulle for the 2500 year Persian Empire festivities and, of course, our respected Arbab Fareidun Zartoshti to Tokyo and other respected Zartoshti dignitaries including Dr. Farhang Mehr and Arbab Zartoshti.   My flight career with Iran Air was my most unforgettable memories.  It was a combination of fun and fear, happiness and sorrow as well as hard work and great rewards.   I would do it all over again if I could. 

During the Iran-Iraq war I flew for a couple of years, flying dangerous cargo to Iran and risking interception by Iraqi fighter planes.  Although it involved a lot of excitement, it was suffering for our people.    I requested early retirement, in particular because of the hardship of separation from my family who were living in Canada.  Besides, the Iran Air I flew before the revolution was one of the most reliable and punctual airlines, and I was one of the senior most captains and very much respected by the authorities.  After the revolution, however, I was just one non-Muslim employee of the airline and for the airport security just another “driver”.   It was a sad end to my most adored career. 

My family had settled in Toronto since 1977 even though I had initially selected Vancouver as our destination and had purchased a beautiful home in the “British Properties” high up on the hills in 1975.  However, friends convinced me that Toronto was better for the family.

I later joined my family and settled down in Toronto.  I soon got involved with the affairs of the Zartoshti community (Z.S.O).   At that time there were only two other Iranian families in Toronto, but quite a large Parsi community.  I was well acquainted with both the cultures and languages and such was easily accepted into the community affairs.   When Arbab Rostam and Morvarid Guiv came to Toronto to offer their kind philanthropic gift to purchase the beautiful property for ZSO, they honoured my family by visiting us, and later when Arbab ordered the formation of the Guiv Foundation (RGFO), I was selected as the only local Iranian trustee, a capacity which I have the honour of continuing.

My family and I have been very active participants in all affairs of the community.  I have held positions in the ZSO as an executive officer for two terms, vice president and also stood on the Council of the Iranian Zoroastrian Cultural Kanoon.  My elder son and daughter are very active in the Kanoon and various committees.  My family was the first to show to the Toronto Zartoshti community (Parsis) the cultural importance of Novrouz, its celebration and traditions such as the “Sofreh”  “Golab-Ayneh-Noghl” and “Saal Tahvil” through display and explanation of what we knew and had learned.  We gradually with the help of other Iranians who later arrived, demonstrated to the community, the many other cultural events, their meaning and importance such as Tirgan, Mehrgan, Sadeh as well as the Gahanbars and Panjeh.  We were able to create unity, friendship, brotherhood and joy among all participating and sharing in the functions.  

Several years ago, we needed some religious and cultural books in Persian as well as a decent bookcase for our library.  In a meeting I proposed to organize a marathon Walk-a-thon where many could join and collect sponsorships.  The more challenging the event the more we would collect.  I suggested organizing a walk-a-thon from Toronto to Niagara Falls (152 km) in which individuals would participate for 10-20-40 kilometres per day with 3 overnight stops and culminating with a big picnic in a park at Niagara where all could join.  Also, we intended to undertake something symbolic enroute like introducing Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism to the public.  We would achieve this through walkers wearing identifiable t-shirts, distributing pamphlets to Canadians enroute and collecting recyclable garbage found enroute into garbage bags and depositing them with churches government offices and at bus stops with the message of keeping the environment clean as one of the teachings of our religion.  Friends agreed, but were doubtful on the possibilities.  

I started working with the help of family and friends and surveyed the route, maps; the prospective night stops, wrote the pamphlet, and started long walk practices for the walk a-thon volunteers. Eventually on the designated date five of us who decided on walking the whole stretch met at downtown Toronto and started on our 40 km stretch for the day along Lake Ontario.  It was a rainy day with occasional thunderstorm.  By the end of the first day, 2 of the 5 participants had been soaked with blisters on their feet so decided to discontinue.  I and my two companions, after a sumptuous dinner and rest overnight, continued towards Hamilton.  We were again fed and rested a second night at a friend’s place.  On the third day my companions and I started early on a hot sunny day toward St. Catharine and en route were joined by a young man for the rest of the stretch.  On the road we received assistance, snacks and drinks from volunteers and overnight we spent in a campground.  My sons delivered our tents and supplies.  On the fourth morning on our last leg of the walk-a-thon, a big crowd accompanied us.  Some for 10 km, others 20-25 km, and at least a dozen ladies accompanied us for the whole stretch that day, all the way to Niagara, the picnic grounds and fun.  We received a wonderful reception, dinner and champagne.  It made us gloriously proud of the Iranian Zartoshti community, their friendliness, their co-operation and unity.  There were at least a hundred men, women and children who participated in this great fundraising event.

We achieved most of our goals and distributed over hundred information pamphlets.  The combined walkers over the 4-day walk collected over 20 large garbage bags of recyclable items and were able to raise sufficient funds for a lovely mahogany book case with a donation of over 50 books on religion and culture for the library.  This walk-a-thon was reported in the Persian media and enroute I was interviewed by one of the Canadian media.

This event was entirely planned, organized and accomplished by the Iranian Zartoshti community even though I had requested assistance, guidance and participation   from the ZSO executive committee, the Zoroastrian Scout group and a respected mobed.  I did not receive any assistance, except a good donation to the fund by 2 respectful Parsi gentlemen.  (Sorry to say but here in Canada, the Iranian Zartoshtis are still treated as “second class citizens”, very similar to the way we were treated by many Parsis in Bombay.)  We are upset and uncomfortable to see that, all along the last 1400 years of history, the Zartoshtis in Iran suffered massacres, maltreatment and insult by our foreign enemies the Arabs, then later by our own Muslim countrymen. But even today, in a free world, in an advanced culture, we are still treated as “backwards” by our own co-religionists.  They owe us a lot.  They owe us the very culture and religion that they believe is only theirs.  If it were not for our great ancestors, who suffered death, torture, insults, poverty and hardships but stood fast and preserved the religion, history and culture to pass on, our Parsi brethrens would by now be dissolved into the Indian and British cultures. (Our leaders in both communities must sit down and discuss the ways to respect each other as equals and give them credit for what they are as Zartoshtis, instead of the language they speak or how they behave and act.  Unity and equality should be the main topic in our future congresses.)

Since the success of the walk-a-thon, the ZSO’s Building Fund Campaign has been organizing over the last 3 years similar but smaller events for fund raising.  I have participated in all of them and this July 2006 will be the fourth year that I will partake and cooperate with the ZSO walk-a-thon.

We the Iranian Zartoshtis of Ontario should get credit for reacting, recreating and giving new life to our Iranian culture by organizing, publicizing and inviting non-Zartoshtis to our various cultural events, functions and lectures.  Apart from Novrouz, we have held successful celebrations of Tirgan, Mehrgan, Sadeh and Yalda with large attendance from Iranians, Parsis as well as Canadian dignitaries.

During my youth days in India, just after leaving the Air Force and moving to Iran, I was fortunate enough to take part in a well organized “Parsi Olympic” at the large Braebourn Stadium in Churchgate, Bombay and I won a silver cup for coming 2nd in the 1500 metre track event.  Unfortunately in Iran, I was too busy “playing politics”, raising my family with my wife Pooran, a beautiful young lady who was a wonderful mother to our four children, Farshid, Parvin, Farzad and Anahita.  I was not a very good father because I was always travelling or flying, earning a living.

In Canada, at least I am trying to cool down and act as a retiree.  I am physically active.  I practice yoga and teach yoga to interested Zartoshtis at the Darbe Mehr once a week.  I have taken part in a number of track and field events for seniors and have luckily brought home a number of silver and bronze medals in long distance running and walking.  I would like to continue until I reach 99 and then maybe retire so that I can go on my second honeymoon with my dear wife Pooran when I am 100. 

I have two big visions or dreams I would like to fulfill for the Zartoshtis before my final retirement.   First, I would like to see complete unity between Irani and Parsi Zartoshtis.  It does not make sense in the 21st century for a community of 200-300,000 to have 2 calendars, 2 New Years and 2 Gahanbars of the same name in the same year.  Logic should prevail.  Having a mid-winter Gahanbar in autumn, or having our beautiful Novrouz (a spring festival) in mid-summer is an insult to our culture and religion.   Here, the question of tolerance to maintain unity is self-defeating.  We need a group of well meaning, level headed, knowledgeable and non-fundamentalist leaders to sit down and make 21st century, sensible decisions, and declare, once and for all, that we Zartoshtis have just one single official calendar and that the rest are personal dates and events which may be observed only in private functions.  It would also be ideal if our prayers were standardized and if all prayers were recited in an understandable form of translation, preferably in true Persian.  Parsis should be proud to learn and speak Parsi, which means Persian.  Then we would not have the need to follow two different dates for the same functions and two different groups of mobeds reciting two different sets of prayers.

My second “vision” is more elaborate and needs discussion, planning and financing.  Simply stated, we should plan for self-supporting, exclusive Zartoshti colonies--environmentally conscious, well-organized and “complete” villages that could take care of our daily needs to survive.  The idea is something similar to Bombay’s Khosrow Baug or Rustam Baug but more elaborate and could cater to all classes and standards of life in a single village or town.  We should have such independent colonies in every country, area or province having a minimum of 1000 Zartoshtis.  This would render us less vulnerable to various “hurts” in this turbulent world and would help us remain strong, united and assist us to spread our culture amongst ourselves and others for them to admire our lifestyle and want to be like us.  We should make these colonies into symbols of all that our good religion and Asho Zartosht’s teachings would want us all to follow.

We should create villages that could set good examples for other citizens to use to create peaceful, friendly, clean environments, where healthy and a happy living would be the basis for residential towns; small but complete.  If our community leaders show sufficient interest, I would be glad to explain in more detail or be happy to accept suggestions or criticism.  All this may sound like a vision, but it can be achieved by determination for the sake of our survival, as a future world-class religion, which we are.  Besides these visions, which can only be made possible by the help cooperation and planned determination of our community’s leaders and intellectuals, with wider visions for our community’s future, instead of the present negative and pessimistic atmosphere now existing amongst Zartoshtis.  Do not forget, Asho Zartosht wanted his teachings and philosophy to be worldwide and not just for a few hundred thousand followers.

I would like to go on my last walk-a-thon of a few thousand kilometres to explain to North Americans, who we are, our culture and our religion. To tell them that we are not barbarians or terrorists, but are the remnants of a great civilization, that has gone through thousands of years of turbulent history, and of a great religion that has gone through forced conversions, massacres and every kind of hardship, but we have survived and shall succeed once again to become “World Class” by the grace of Ahura Mazda.

Eidoon Baad.[7]  

[1] This article was completed by Mr. Jahangir Behboodi on June 11, 2006 and was posted on vohuman.org on November 4, 2006.

[2] Nejas is a term applied by Moslems to non-Moslems implying impure.  It was often used as insult to non-Moslems.

[3] “Kaafar” or “Kafir” is a Qaranic term meaning non-believers who refuse to accept Islam and the rule of Allah as supreme.   All non-Moslems are considered as Kafirs.  There are numerous reference in the Qaran to Kafirs that clearly opens the door to subjecting them to discrimination, forced conversion, or murder at the hands of pious Moslems.  Such acts are often praised, as religious acts.

[4] A village in the vicinity of Yazd city, that was settled by Zoroastrians fleeing persecution and forced conversion in other parts of Iran several centuries past the fall of Iran to Arabs.

[5] The descendents of the Zoroastrians who fled Iran in the 10th century in view of the onslaught on Islam, and took refuge on the hospitable shores of India.  They miraculously survived as a small colony with numbers never exceeding 200,000.  They were the pioneers in ushering modernity and a representative system of government to India during and in the aftermath of British presence in India. Many of the leading industrialists of India rose from their ranks.

[6]Gower” or “Gaber” is an insultive term applied by Moslem to Zoroastrian, meaning a Kafir or non-believer in Allah as the supreme god and Mohamed as his messenger.  Followers  of other religion are also referenced by use of similar insultive terms.  For example Christians are referred to as fearfuls. In contrast to all other traditions, Islam has made a practice of calling followers of other faiths by demeaning names rather than by the names  others prefer to be known by.

[7] Pahlavi language term meaning “may it be so”.  The intolerance of Islam and Arabs conquering other lands resulted in forceful extinction of the native spoken languages, such as Pahlavi spoken in pre-Islamic Iran.  Modern Persian language “Farsi” - the language of the Sasanian court - was saved through the selfless efforts of nationalistic Iranians such as Ferdowsi, who composed the history pre-Islamic Iran in poetic form avoiding the use of Arabic terms that had crept into the spoken Farsi. Other Iranian poets, such as Hafiz, Khayam, Daqiqi made their own contributions.  Farsi was the only language that survived the cultural onslaught of Islam. By contrast the Egyptians, Syrians, and other vanquished people subjected to the first wave of Islamic onslaught lost their native languages, and their cultural identity.