November 25, 2013

Tata supports 'The Everlasting Flame Exhibition' on the history of Zoroastrianism

Tata was delighted to support the world’s first-ever comprehensive exhibition on the history of Zoroastrianism, which took place in London this autumn.

The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination, at the Brunei Gallery of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), from October 11th to December 14th, told the story of the rich cultural heritage and history of Zoroastrianism.

Tata in the UK hosted a private viewing of the exhibition on November 6th. This was attended by friends of Tata in the UK from the worlds of commerce, culture and religion, including the UK India Business Council, the British Museum, as well as the leader of the UK’s Buddhists, Chief SangaNyaka. A good number of Tata employees from among the group companies represented in the UK also attended.

Dr David Landsman, executive director of Tata Limited, welcomed the guests on behalf of the group. Explaining the history of Zoroastrianism, the exhibition’s curator, Dr Sarah Stewart, took guests on a journey from Central Asia in the second millennium BC to modern-day India, highlighting the contribution of the Tata family to Zoroastrianism. Of particular interest was Dr Stewart’s explanation of how Zoroastrianism could be said to have pioneered both entrepreneurialism and environmentalism, through its encouragement of a positive approach to the creation of wealth and for the community in its broadest sense.

Reflecting the significant role played by the Tata family in the Zoroastrian community, the Tata Central Archives in Pune provided on loan a diverse range of artefacts for the exhibition — “a magnificent and unparalleled resource” in the words of Dr Stewart. These included several portraits and busts of members of the family, from Jamsetji Tata to Sir Dorabji and Lady Meherbai Tata, whose fine portrait showed her resplendent in a jewelled necklace and the insignia of a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, bestowed upon her by George V in 1919.

A wide array of other fascinating objects — from ancient texts to antique textiles — were displayed alongside the archive loans. A spectacular walk-in model of a fire temple and a 10-metre glass etching based on the cast of the western staircase from the palace of Darius at Persepolis in the British Museum, were also on display.

Speaking at the event, Dr Landsman said that Tata had been proud to support the exhibition. He added that the history and culture of Zoroastrianism deserved to be better known: although we lived in an increasingly globalised world and respected diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, the understanding of all the influences on our heritage remained an important ingredient of our strength.