The Everlasting Flame International Programme was the largest ever festival of the Zoroastrians in the world. It was a 2 month long programme held in New Delhi from 19th March to 29th May, 2016. The Programme was a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Culture and the Parzor Foundation. The Programme included four exhibitions, “The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination”, “Painted Encounters — Parsi Traders and the Community”, No Parsi is an Island and “Threads of Continuity. The everlasting flame international programme was inaugurated on 19th March at the parliament house with a galaxy of stars from all over the world. The exhibition Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination was inaugurated on 19th March at the National Museum. The exhibitions Painted encounters Parsi traders and the community and no Parsi is an island were inaugurated on 20th March at NGMA. 21st March is the day of Navrouz, it is on this day that the Zoroastrian's celebrate the beginning of a New Year. On this auspicious day for the first time in Delhi, traditional Iranian and Indian Navroze tables were set up. 21st March was also the day that marked the launch of the book, Threads of continuity: Zoroastrian Life and Culture by honorable Najma Heptulla in the presence of Lord karan billimoria and Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla The launch was followed by an intricate programme of Manipuri Dancers, conceived and chorographered by the world renowned Astad deboo, chanting the Yatho Vario, an ancient avastan prayer to the drums of manipur. Courtesy Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla the guests were treated to a traditional Parsi Lagno bohno or Feast, A first of it's kind in Delhi. The evening ended with the opening of the exhibition Threads of Continuity at IGNCA. The exhibition explores the cultural history of Zoroastrianism.
It takes the visitors on a journey from the earliest days of the religion till the modern times. To make the everlasting flame international programme more holistic the exhibitions were accompanied by multiple interactive events as well as a film festival. The film festival was held at IIC over a period of two months. The festival showcased a variety of films, which were a good mix of meaningful and entertaining films from across the world these included films like ferrari ki sawar, to Iranian documentaries like pir e chack chack and café irani chai. The Everlasting Flame International Programme included cultural events to showcase Zoroastrianism as a living culture. These events included a puppet performance by Ishrara puppet threat trust, a performance inspired by Zoroastrian mythology and stories. The theater loving audience of delhi was treated to a Gujarati Parsi Natak, Behram Ni Sasu by Yazdi Karanjia Troupe from Surat. The play takes the audience directly into a parsi household where Fali's anniversary gift of a puppy to his wife, Mani, creates more tension instead of appreciation eventually developing into a melodrama full of suspense, hilarity and witty dialogues leaving the audience in splits. The cultural events also included a stained glass workshop by the renowned stained glass artist from Calcutta, Katayun Saklat Ferdowsi's Shahnameh was an awe- inspiring exhibition of hand crafted 3D models and exhibits from Iran curated by silloo Mehta. A photographic exhibition documenting the parsi community since 1977 by the award winning photographer padma shri sooni taraporevala. Udvada has a unique culture, a serenity and simplicity that is worth a watch. Pictures captured by photographer, shantanu Das depicts its nostalgia, its semi-urban settings and distinctive heritage in terms of architecture, furniture, lifestyle and more. A performance on the the Teke ceremony by Poupak Azimpour Tabrizi, an iranian scholar in pupetry and rituals
The IIC audience was treated to a traditional choir from Tehran, Basha Ensemble to perform folk songs. To showcase how the Zoroastrian ethos, its literature, its culture is still very much alive in the world today the everlasting flame international programme in collaboration with IIC and invited experts from several fields to share there knowledge and experiences. There was a gamut of personalities across a number of fields, from Religion, History, Education, Art and culture bringing together their knowledge to share with a very excited and happy audience. Boman Irani a famous Bollywood personality and equally versatile actor engrossed the audience with his experiences. This ever rich cultural fiesta came to its conclusion with a Valedictory Address by the world famous author Amitav Ghosh.