The Z Factor Exhibition celebrates some amazing Zoroastrians. They are the followers
of Zoroaster, the first prophet to teach the path of Asha, the Way of Righteousness,
that there is One God, and that Good would eventually triumph over evil.
Zoroastrianism is the ancient faith of Iran, and one of the great religions of the
classical world. It links eastern and western faiths. Sharing common origins with
Hinduism, it had a formative influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Today there are 100,000 Zoroastrians worldwide and their numbers are declining. Like
the panda, they are an endangered species!
A preservation order should be placed on them, if only to protect their originality,
generosity and eccentric lifestyles.
Zoroastrians have impacted on our lives and have left extraordinary legacies, not
just for their own community but for everyone.
The Persian King, Cyrus the Great, the Father of Human Rights
Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy, the first Indian baronet, and legendary philanthropist
The Tatas, global leaders in industry, science and social welfare
Dadabhai Naoroji, the first non-white MP in the British Parliament
Madame Cama, the revolutionary who first unfurled the Indian flag in Europe
The Adenwallas, who developed the port of Aden
Rati Petit, who married Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan
Homi Bhabha, the Father of Indian nuclear power
Feroze Gandhi, who married Indira and fathered India’s political dynasty
Meher Baba, mystic, spiritual master and avatar
The Poonawalla Brothers, whose vaccines inoculate half the world’s children
Frene Ginwala, veteran of the African National Congress
Sohrab Godrej, industrialist and President of World Wildlife Fund Asia
Zubin Mehta, maestro
But the most famous, whom we remember every Christmas, are the Three Wise Men, Zoroastrian
Magi priests, who studied the stars and foretold the birth of Jesus.
The Z Factor also celebrates Zerbanoo Gifford, who symbolises her Zoroastrian community.
The exhibition portrays Zerbanoo’s life and
achievements as both extraordinary and yet typical of her heritage. Her life has
combined the Zoroastrian tradition of public service, philanthropy and fighting for
others’ human rights with the modern imperatives of sustainable living, women’s empowerment
and interfaith action.
Another incredible Zoroastrian, the rock star, Freddie Mercury, needs special thanks
for his memorable songs which complement this exhibition.
During the millennium celebrations, his song We are the Champions was voted the most
popular song of all time.