A Page from the Bahá'í North

An Interview with a Member
of the Universal House of Justice

Mr. Hooshmand Fatheazam, one of the nine members of the Universal house of Justice, honoured the Bahá'í community of Punjab by visiting Chandigarh on September 15,  1987. The friends were delighted to meet in person the author of 'The New Garden' which had helped many of them to be drawn to the Faith. This historical event greatly motivated and inspired the entire Bahá'í community of Chandigarh and Punjab to aim at achieving new heights in spreading the Cause of God throughout the state.

Adorned with the utmost humility, Mr. Fatheazam brought joy and gladness to the hearts of all those whom he met. In an exclusive interview for BAHÁ'Í NORTH he spoke to Prof. Anil Sarwal and Mr. S.S. Sehgal the excerpts from which are presented below :

Your association with India has been very long and extends back to early 1960s. What changes do you perceive in the Indian Bahá'í Community ?

I am happier than ever, this time. When ! left India in the year 1963, mass teaching had just begun. It was just 2 years old and was the beginning of a great change. Afterwards I visited India twice, in 1968 and 1981. That was the time of transition, a period of growth. This time, the signs of maturity are apparent in the air. By the blessings of Bahà'u'llàh the Bahá'í community of India has now entered in a new and challenging phase of its development.

Is your visit to India preplanned ?

Every member of the Universal House of Justice is entitled to one month holiday in a year. The national Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India had earlier invited me and my wife to attend the Dedication Ceremony of the Bahá'í Temple at New Delhi. At that time, the call of my duty prevented me from doing so. This time again they were kind to extend the invitation. So I am here and am very happy to spend my holiday with friends in India.

As a member of the Universal House of Justice, how do you assess your role in the Worldwide development of the Bahá'í faith ?

Individual's role always gets amalgamated in any institution of the Bahá'í Faith. I firmly believe that each Bahá'í reflects the will of God in all his under- takings, though he plays his role relative to his level of consciousness, no matter where he is placed.

What is the weekly schedule of the Universal House of Justice ?

The Universal House of Justice functions 24 Hours a day. The Bahá'ís are connected with the World Center on that basis. The members of the Universal House of Justice meet as a body three days a week from 8.30 in the morning to 6.30 in the evening. The first schedule is to visit the holy Shrines and pray for quittance and confirmation. Also on these days, the Universal House of Justice pray for the Bahá'ís who have asked them to do so. Their names are mentioned at the Holy Shrines and Their requests for prayers are proclaimed. Later on, The Tablet of visitation is chanted.

On the days when the Universal House of Justice is not meeting, its members work on various Committees carrying out the decisions of the Previous meeting of the Universal House of Justice Which relates to their special assignments.

Bahá'ís are told that the Universal House Of Justice is an infallible Institution of The Faith. Could you cite an example ?

Many. For instance, the Universal House of Justice had given a prior massage to the Bahá'ís of Iran to move out and go for pioneering before the doors were closes. That was two years before the Revolution. As you know, this warning proved prophetic. Rest is history.

What impact has the Mother temple of the Indian Sub-continent made on the World Bahá'í Community ?

At the time when the building of the present National Bahá'í Headquarters at New Delhi was with the government, the Guardian had said that immense spiritual energies would be released when the building was gotten back. It proved to be correct. When the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India took possession of the building, the Faith was strengthened. Waves of spiritual power emanated which led to the construction of the Mother Temple. As a matter of fact, the whole world Bahá'í Community was delighted by the results of your achievements. This was, sorely, a sign of Bahá'u'lláh's blessings and confirmations showered upon the Bahá'ís of India.

What is the role of the State Bahá'í Councils In future development of the Faith in India ?

The authority to decide on the matters of policy rests with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India which is spearheading the Administrative structure of the Faith in the country. The State Bahá'í Councils plan and execute the Bahá'í activities at the State level. They have the authority to spend the budget as per their requirements. The State Bahá'í Councils should aim at self-sufficiency. Besides this, I have a suggestion, particularly For the State Bahá'í Councils in India. The work Of mass teaching should be revived in the right Spirit so that the new believers are not only ushered Into the Faith but are also deepened. We should Learn from the mistakes of the past. Our interest Should not lie only in increasing the number.

Would you like to give any message for the Bahá'ís of Punjab ?

The Bahá'ís of Punjab should always remember that they have been blessed in one of the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. There are very few nations which are mentioned in the Holy Writings. Therefore, as thanks giving for such a blessing, Punjab should be blazed with the fire of the love of God and it will be so soon.

© Prof. Anil Sarwal