We, the Members of the Executive Council of Parzor Foundation express our deep sense of grief and sorrow at the passing away of the Founder and first President of Parzor Foundation, Lt. Gen. Adi M. Sethna at New Delhi on 17th October 2006.
Gen. Sethna will be fondly remembered as a forward-looking, progressive and benign leader of the Parsi community. The community has suffered an irreparable loss in his death at a critical juncture of its history. With deep conviction and untiring devotion he worked for the betterment and progress of the Parsis at the national and international level in his triple capacity as the President of the Delhi Parsi Anjuman (DPA), Vice President of the Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India and a Zoroastrian member of the National Commission for Minorities.
In his role with the DPA and the Federation he recognized the need for progressive reforms and pioneered several measures to keep the community abreast of changing times. As a Member of the National Commission, to which he was the only Member ever appointed thrice, he was watchful of the interests of Parsis, no appeal for help was left unresolved. He tirelessly brought to the notice of the Government the needs and problems of the miniscule Parsi community.
Many of us will also remember him as a person who truly believed in the essence of the Zoroastrian religion, and while he said his prayers with conviction, he also practiced its teachings in his daily life. He lived his worship in his service to his country and to his community. One of his last wishes was that he could have done even more if he could live, in his own words on the hospital bed, “for my country and my community” He was a man of courage, an indefatigable worker who, even when faced with death in the ICU, wanted to call his secretary to dictate a letter about miners affected by gas in the mines of Assam. Every individual was important to him, and valued equally. He loved what he did and he plunged into it whole-heartedly. He lived life to the fullest not just for himself but also for his country and his community finding fulfillment therein.
With his buoyant and humane personality, leadership qualities and surcharge of enthusiasm, he had shaped Parzor, a fledging organization to become one capable of delivering on several fronts.
Gen Sethna was a visionary. His passion and interests covered a vast field. One of his abiding interests was to preserve the heritage of India. He started his effort, with the support of UNESCO, by identifying and working for the preservation of Parsi heritage. This was understandable, not only was he one of the most illustrious members of the community, but he realized that this small community was threatened with extinction. Parsis had played and continue to play an outstanding role, quite disproportionate to their small numbers, in the cultural, economic, political and social life of India. So it was natural for Gen. Sethna to study and tackle the reasons, which were leading to dwindling number of Parsis in the country, and also to take measures to preserve their customs, talents, arts, culture and traditions with their economic and educational advancement.
In 1999, Gen Sethna and a Group started their Mission. Soon he felt the need of two major changes. The work of the Group had to be given an institutional form and secondly, the efforts of the Group could not be confined to the preservation of Parsi culture only, it was essential to enlarge horizons, working for all humanity. Hence The Parzor Foundation for Preservation of Vulnerable Human Heritage was set up as a not - for - profit Registered Society.
We have been privileged to work with Gen. Sethna. He was the First Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society and the First Chairman of the Executive Council. He was a born leader. His years in the army gave him tremendous dedication and commitment. He led from the front, pushing himself harder than he would any one of us. His drive and energy, his optimism and guidance and his very jovial temperament were qualities that endeared him to us and got us ‘hooked’ to his mission. We shared his vision and were a compact harmonious team working to achieve the objectives of the Foundation.
We have lost our leader and guide; we are truly orphaned. We shall miss his guidance and leadership. But we are determined to carry on his good work and keep alive that spirit of enthusiasm and dynamism, which he brought to Parzor. He set up the Foundation with a lot of hope, we learnt so much from him, and we will try and achieve what he visualized. He will forever remain our guide.
We pay our tribute to him and all that he stood for but we also celebrate the memory of the life of a man who had a robust approach to life and gave fully to the mission he had to fulfill in this world. His family has lost a loving husband, a proud father and doting grandfather. We share their loss and are with them in this hour of grief. The country has lost one of its most eminent and outstanding patriots.
This Resolution be conveyed to Mrs. Khorshed Sethna and to all members of the family with our deepest sympathies and our prayers that his soul may rest in ever-lasting peace.
Click Here to read an article published in Parsiana magazine on Gen.Setha's life and work