SOAS University of London

Obiturary: Dasturji Dr Kaikhusroo Minocherji JamaspAsa

21 May 2019
Dasturji Dr Kaikhusroo Minocherji JamaspAsa

With great sadness we give notice that Dasturji Dr Kaikhusroo Minocherji JamaspAsa died on Sunday, 19th May 2019 while visiting his son and daughter in London together with his wife Bakhtawar. From 1956 until his death Dasturji JamaspAsa served as high priest of the Anjuman Atesh Behram in Mumbai. Belonging to the Bhagaria group of Parsi Zoroastrian priests, Dasturji. JamaspAsa was highly respected both as a priest and as a scholar. At the inauguration of the SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute on 27 June 2018, we were privileged to have Dasturji JamaspAsa in our midst together with Bakhtawar, son Jamasp and daughter Shirin and hear him saying prayers and blessings in the Avestan language. Our hearts go out to his family with our condolences.

Dasturji Dr Kaikhusroo Minocherji JamaspAsa at the opening of the SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies

Dastur JamaspAsa was an internationally acclaimed scholar of Avestan, Pahlavi and Zoroastrian rituals and a respected spiritual guide in the world-wide Zoroastrian community. He was born on 11 March 1932 in Mumbai as son of Najamai and Minocherji Kaikhusroo JamaspAsa. After receiving his priestly training from Ervad Pirojshah Gherda at his home on Princess Street opposite the Wadiaji Atashbehram, Dasturji JamaspAsa graduated in 1955 in Avestan, Pahlavi and English Literature from St Xavier’s College, University of Mumbai and was awarded a PhD of the same university in 1966 for a thesis on The Pahlavi-Pazand text of the Aogǝmadaēca, which he prepared under the guidance of Dastur Dr Hormazdyar K. Mirza.

Dasturji JamaspAsa was Honorary Professor of Ancient Iranian Languages at St Xavier’s College from 1961. As Visiting Professor at the University of Shiraz in 1964, he collaborated with Professor Mahyar Nawabi on the facsimile editions of over 50 Zoroastrian manuscripts, published in 1976 in the series The Pahlavi Codices and Iranian Researches. This series is an invaluable treasure trove of images of manuscripts. In 1970–71 Dasturji JamaspAsa spent a year at the University of Mainz as a Visiting Professor of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation to work with Professor Helmut Humbach on an edition of the Pursišnīhā, which was published in 1971. During this time he also visited Erlangen to discuss problems of the Avestan language with Professor Karl Hoffmann. This extremely fruitful year also laid the foundation for the publication of Dastur JamaspAsa’s doctoral thesis Aogǝmadaēca in 1982.

Throughout his life, Dasturji JamaspAsa has been deeply devoted to his community and especially to the day-to-day work in his fire temple, the Anjuman Atesh Behram, of which the JamaspAsa family has been in charge since its inception in 1897. He also took great care of the family collection of Zoroastrian manuscripts which he inherited from his father and his uncle, and published a facsimile edition of the Yasht codex F1 in 1991. An edition of the Pahlavi codex MK, which he prepared in collaboration with me, is almost ready and scheduled to appear later this year.

 

Almut Hintze, 20 May 2019