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Virtual Celebration on the occasion of International Day of Nowruz


Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


22 March 2021



Excellencies and Friends,


I am delighted to participate today in the Nowruz celebrations.  India is happy to join the group of 12 countries as co-hosts for this special event.


Celebration of Nowruz is an integral part of India’s cultural fabric. In India, Nowruz is celebrated, particularly by the Parsi community, followers of Zoroastrianism, who arrived in India from more than a thousand three hundred years ago. This community may have lost their heritage, culture and even identity but for India nurturing and protecting it under its pluralistic framework.


We are particularly proud of the Zoroastrian community in India, Parsis and the Iranis. Despite their relatively small numbers, Parsi community’s contribution to building modern India continues to be inspirational and substantial.


Mahatma Gandhi himself acknowledged his indebtedness to a very famous Parsi Dadabhai Naoroji for his initial foray into Ahimsa or Non-Violence.  Dadabhai Naoroji, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Bhikhaji Cama were among many Parsis at the forefront of our freedom struggle.


Numerous Parsi luminaries have contributed to the rise of India over the decades in every field of human activity.  Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was India’s first Field Marshal. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the first Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, was instrumental in nurturing India’s nascent nuclear programme. We have also had Navy and Air Chiefs. Among notable jurists, Justice S.H. Kapadia served as the Chief Justice of India. The Iranis have, inter alia, distinguished themselves in Bollywood for example.


The Parsi community has been at the forefront of the industrial revolution of India.  Jamsetji Tata is regarded as the Father of Indian industry. Tatas, Godrej, Wadias etc are not only household names in India but also globally. Zubin Mehta and others have put India on the world map in a variety of fields.


In this time of the pandemic, I would like to remind that Serum Institute of India, from where vaccines are being supplied world-wide, was founded by a Parsi, Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla.




When we celebrate Nowruz we also celebrate the great contribution of the Zoroastrians in India, to India and to the world. We salute their values, culture and philanthropy. In today’s world, where we confront challenges to peace and security through terrorism and intolerance, occasions like Nowruz helps us to remember the great values of the Zoroastrian faith and their relevance for today’s world.


I would like to wish you all a very happy Nowruz – ‘Nowruz Mubarak’