The North American Mobeds Council was incorporated as a religious organization, under the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada on September 24th 1992 and was granted a tax exempt status by the Government of Canada, in 1993.
The NAMC was officially formed on April 14, 1990, when a group of Mobeds, from all over North America, gathered together in New York, to approve the constitution and the by-laws governing the Council, that was discussed and drafted a year earlier, in Montreal.
Following Mobeds were unanimously elected to the first Executive Committee:
- Ervad Kobad Zarolia – Ontario (President)
- Ervad Jal Birdy – California (Vice-President)
- Ervad Jal Panthaky – Ontario (Secretary)
- Ervad Nozer Kotwal – Ontario (Treasurer)
- Ervad Cawas Desai – Pennsylvania (Executive Officer)
Following Mobeds have served on the Executive Committee as:
- Ervad Kobad Zarolia (1990-1994)
- Ervad Yezdi Antia (1994-1996)
- Ervad Jal Birdy (1996-2002)
- Ervad Jehan Bagli (2002-2008)
- Ervad Kobad Zarolia (2008-2012)
- Ervad Jal Birdy (1990-1994)
- Ervad Pervez Patel (1994-1996)
- Ervad Adi Unwalla (1996-1998)
- Ervad Behram Panthaki(1998-2002)
- Ervad Adi Unwalla (2002-2008)
- Ervad Noshir Mirza (2008-2010)
- Ervad Arda-e-viraf Minocherhomjee (2010-2012)
- Ervad Jal Panthaky(1990-1992)
- Ervad Xerxes Bamji (1992-1994)
- Ervad Firdosh Bulsara (1994-1996)
- Ervad Nozer Kotwal (1996-2000)
- Ervad Boman Kotwal (2000-2002)
- Ervad Nozer Kotwal (2002-2010)
- Ervad Adil Minocherhomjee (2010-2012)
- Ervad Nozer Kotwal (1990-1994)
- Ervad Gev Karkaria (1994-2010)
- Ervad Tehmton Mirza (2010-2012)
- Ervad Cawas Desai (1990-1992)
- Ervad Fariborze Shazadi (1992-1994)
- Ervad Pesi Vazifdar (1994-1996)
- Ervad Yezdi Antia (1996-1998)
- Ervad Xerxes Bamji (1998-2000)
- Ervad Mehbad Dastur (2000-2002)
- Ervad Cawas Desai (2002-2008)
- Ervad Gustad Panthaki (2008-2010)
- Ervad Khushroo Bharda (2010-2012)
The main objective of the Council is to direct, guide and assist the Zoroastrian Communities in North America in the perpetuation of the Zoroastrian religion on the North American continent, without either imposing its views or accepting any hegemony from any other body or organization.
The Zoroastrian Communities in North America owe the existence of the Council to a single individual, namely Ervad Kobad Zarolia of Ontario, who thought of the idea way back in early eighties. He arranged for an informal meeting of Mobeds of North America, in Toronto in 1983, to discuss the idea of forming a Mobed Council. The meeting was attended by 21 Mobeds. The end result of the meeting could be summed up as “the Mobeds agreed to disagree”, main obstacles being a wide diversity in the thinking of Mobeds ranging from ultra orthodox to extreme reformists as well as the formation of hierarchy within the Mobeds of North America. This set back, did not discourage Kobad and he continued to pursue the idea, until the Council was formed.
Couple of years, prior to the formation of the Council, was full of trials and turbulence. There was a very strong opposition, from some of the Executive Members of FEZANA, to the formation of an independent Council of Mobeds, as they believed that Mobeds should be part of FEZANA. Few Mobeds were recruited to convince others, to be a part of FEZANA. Initially none of the Chicago Mobeds participated in the formation of the Council. At one point, the pressure was so strong, that Ervad Nozer Kotwal joined forces with Kobad to continue working towards the formation of the Council. However, once the Council was formed there has been significant improvement in the relationship with FEZANA, and is continuously improving with time. Most of the Mobeds from Chicago are now members of the Council. The 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 Annual General Meeting of the Council were hosted by the Mobeds of Chicago and the Zoroastrian Association of Chicago.
The Council enjoys a cordial relationship with the Council of Iranian Mobeds in North America (CIMNA), keeping each other aware of all the activities. Since 1988, the Mobeds have been meeting at least once a year, in different cities:
1989 Montreal 1996 Chicago 2003 Toronto1990 New York 1997 Toronto 2004 Chicago1991 Toronto 1998 Montreal 2005 New York1992 Chicago 1999 New York 2006 Montreal1993 Toronto 2000 Chicago 2007 Marlton N.J.1994 Montreal 2001 Marlton N.J. 2008 Toronto1995 Voorhees N.J. 2002 Toronto
One of the most important resolutions that was passed at the Council meeting was at its 13th AGM in 2000. The resolution was to define a “Zoroastrian” as well as to distinguish between a ”Parsi” and a “Zoroastrian”.
The resolution reads as follows:
– Parsi is a race.
– Zoroastrianism is a religion.
– The term “Parsi” applies to the descendents of the original migrants who left Iran to settle in India to preserve the Zoroastrian religion.
– A “Parsi” is a person born of both Parsi parents who has an inalienable right to practice the Zoroastrian religion.
– A “Zoroastrian” is a person who believes and follows the teaching of Zoroaster.
– It is recognized that “Zoroastrianism” is a universal religion.
– It is further recognized that a Zoroastrian is not necessarily a Parsi.
However, there were not many other major decisions made, once again, mainly due to the wide diversity in the thinking among the Mobeds. The meetings have been very fruitful, as there are always open discussions between Mobeds, who respect each other’s views. They are, therefore, able to discuss all matters, important to the community, controversial or not without any disruption, as well as learning from each other’s experience and knowledge.
The Council has, so far, published the following books:
1) Jashan & Afringan for beginners by Ervad Yezdi Antia
2) Understanding & Practice of Jashan Ceremony by Ervad Jehan Bagli & Ervad Adi Unwalla
3) Understanding & Practice of Obsequies by Ervad Jehan Bagli & Ervad Adi Unwalla
4) Congregational Prayers for Jashan Ceremonies by Ervad Jehan Bagli & Ervad Brigadier Behram Panthaki.
Lately the Council has incorporated educational sessions in the form of seminars and contemplations in its meetings. Some of these events are kept open to laity, and the deliberations are also published in FEZANA Journal. This has helped evoke awareness of our rich history, culture and religious heritage not only to the Council members, but also to the community at large.
This is the History of the Council as we recall up to 2008.