The Meherjirana microfilm catalogue has been uploaded. Click here The very first success story of the Parzor Project, was its work for the first Dastoor Meherjirana Library at Navsari. This is a treasure trove of Avesta, Pahlavi and Pazend manuscripts. The original ‘Sanad of Emperor Akbar, issued to the First Dastoor Meherjirana, housed here was one of the rare finds. This Deed conferred land and power on his family and was a tribute to the wisdom and leadership of the First Dastoor Meherjirana at the Din-I-Illahi at Fatehpur Sikri in 1578. Many of the books and manuscripts especially those in Persian have been damaged and were decaying, needing restoration and preservation.
The first Dastoor MEHERJIRANA Library Navsari, was established in 1872. The promoters of this library were the scions of the MEHERJIRANA family. The library has been considerably enriched by the presentation of important Oriental manuscripts on Oriental studies by members of the same family. For over 125 years the institution has been presented with rare manuscripts as well rare printed books.
This library has a very large and useful collection of manuscripts on Zoroastianism, written in Avesta, Pahlavi, Pazand, Persian and Gujarati. The library also has important manuscripts on Persian and Gujarati literature, medical literature, historical & cultural documentation, rare Mughal records, and documents from the Mughal court, legends and myths.Some of the manuscripts extending to more than 1000 pages of foolscap size are transcribed by the learned Dastoors themselves. A few have been received as gifts and some purchases have been made to add to the collection. In the MEHERJIRANA collection are embodied all the important Iranian manuscripts of the Mulla Feroze Library, Dastoorji Erachji MEHERJIRANA himself having transcribed them from the originals. Various ritualistic subtleties and intricacies have been explained in this collection and have been gathered together from whatever places they could be found and preserved in this rare collection. Many topics on Parsi customs have been collected and preserved for the guidance of the Parsi community. There are also collected here many important potions of Persian Rivayats scattered in public and private libraries thus adding to the usefulness of the MEHERJIRANA Library Navsari.
In Oct. 1999, Dasturji Dr. Kotwal of Mumbai was invited by Parzor and visited Navsari with the Parzor team and technical experts from Mumbai, to assess priorities in microfilming and preservation of the manuscripts. His advisory role along with the help of Dasturji Meherjirana of Navsari has been of great importance. The Consultant, working with Mr. Cyrus Patel, MD Microdata, Mumbai and Mrs. Bharati Gandhi, Librarian, prepared a Project Report and Catalogue for the National Archives.
Dr. Shernaz Cama was able to convince the Trustees of the Library of the need to preserve this collection. The Trustees have co-operated with the Project and 90,000 pages of manuscripts have been microfilmed on site. This work was done with the extraordinary co-operation of two young Parsis of Microdata India. Cyrus Patel of Mumbai and Viraf Sutaria of Delhi, have taken their staff and equipment to the library from their offices in Mumbai and Delhi and microfilmed in Navsari on site. Mrs. Bharati Gandhi, librarian, is an invaluable member of the project team. Archivist examination teams from the State and National archives were invited by Parzor to Navsari. They submitted their reports based on which the National Archives have contributed Rs. 3.5 lacs to this library under the aegis of the Project. A generous donation by Mrs. Piloo Jungalwalla enabled the microfilming work to begin. 90,000 pages of manuscript have been microfilmed. A Microfilm Reader has been imported and purchased through the Project and presented to the Library. Air conditioning and preparation of a special room in which the Microfilms and Reader are maintained, has been done. However much more work is required, especially for the preservation of manuscripts and digitalization of important documents. For this we need donations from the worldwide Zoroastrian community.
PARZOR has been helping Indian and international researchers access the Meherjirana Library and work in Navsari. Those interested us can contact us.A project for the preservation of these manuscripts shall be started as soon as sufficient support is available. The project wishes to set up an on-site preservation chamber at the library in Navsari. Rare materials such as Birch bark have been used in the manuscripts and international expertise is required for preservation. To help us in this preservation please open the “Contact Us “ section of this web-site.
Parzor Coordinated the visit of High Priest Dastur Dr. Kotwal to Delhi. He delivered the Tattvabodha Lecture at IIC on the request of the National Manuscript Mission. An interview with him was published in the NMM magazine Kriti Rakshna. Dastur Kotwal is the greatest authoriity on the Manuscripts of the MRL. Click here
Dan Sheffield of Harvard University, during his research on a Fulbright Grant in India has been working with Dr. Kotwal and Bharti Gandhi at the MRL and they have created a new catalogue of books and manuscripts. To see this Click here
Parzor has been instrumental in bringing the Meherjirana Library, Navsari to the notice of the world. The Sir Dorabji Tata Trust very kindly donated the funds to create a new building next to the Library. Besides housing Manuscripts, this space will provide a seminar room, a Reading Room, a Laboratory for conservation and rooms for visting Scholars to live in while working at the Library.On the 4th of July Behram Roj, Bahman Mahino, a long awaited dream came true as Dastur Meherjirana led the prayers at the Jashan ceremony in the new building of the Meherjirana library. This building has conference facilities, a large reading area, a conservation laboratory as well as three suites for research scholars who come to Navsari to work at the library. Since living accommodation is at times difficult in Navsari this idea was suggested by Dr. Dastur Kotwal. This should make it easier for researchers from all over India and abroad to work at the MRL.Tribute to Vada Dasturji MeherjiranaThe Vada Dasturji Meherji Dastur Kaikobad Meherjirana passed away recently. Click here to read a tribute to him.