The Baha’i Faith started in Iran by Husain Ali Nuri, titled as Baha’u’llah. He had born in Tehran on 12th November 1817. He was the prophet of the Baha’i Religion. His intimate proclamation took place at the “Black Pit” (Siyahchal) of Tehran in 1853 when he was 36. His open proclamation occurred in Baghdad in the Najib Pasha garden later titled Ridvan Garden, at 3 in the afternoon of 21st April 1863. He proclaimed his mission to the world by sending out tablets from Adrianpole to the Rulers of States, Kings, Emperors, Presidents and Religious Leaders during the year 1867 to 1873. The duration of his prophethood was 39 years during which he was exiled from Tehran to Baghdad (11 years), Constantinople (4 months), Adrianpole (5 years) and at last to the prison city of Acre in Palestine (25 years). Over a hundred volumes were revealed from his pen, among which we can name Kitab-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book), The Hidden Words, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, The tablets to the leaders of the world, Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude, The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, Many Tablets addressed to various believers, Many prayers etc.
According to the written Will and Testament of Baha’u’llah called the Kitab-i-Ahd, his son Abbas Effendi, known as Abdu’l Baha who was born in Tehran on 23rd May, 1844, was the successor of Baha u llah. His position in the Baha’i Faith is: The Interpreter of the Word of God, the Centre of the Covenant and thus the leader and the guide of the Baha’is throughout the world after his father’s passing and - last but not least – the Exemplar of the Baha’i Faith. He occupied the above position in 1892, when he was 48 years old. Since early childhood i.e. when he was 9 years old, he was exiled and imprisoned, and freed in the year 1908 when he was 64. It was after achieving this freedom at the age of 66 that he was able to fulfill his heart’s desire to spread the Faith and promulgate the healing words of his father, by traveling through Europe and United States of America during the years 1910 to 1913. Many books, tablets and prayers on almost all subjects concerning personal and social life of Baha’is were revealed by him, to which the Baha’is refer today and in the days to come. He died in on 28th November, 1921, at the age of 77, The Heroic Age and the Covenant Epoch came to an end.
As per Abdu’l Baha’s Will and Testament, Shoghi Rabbani was appointed his successor. He was born in Acre (Akka) on 1st March, 1897. He was only 24 years old and studying in England when he received the news of the passing of his beloved grandfather. Abdu’l Baha stated in his Will and Testament that Shoghi Effendi would be the Guardian of the Cause of God and the Interpreter of the Word of God after him. Also he wrote in the Will and Testament about the continuity of Guardianship in Baha’i Faith. Althogh so young in age, He powerfully and efficiently shouldered his great responsibility. He established the administrative order according to the teachings of Baha’u’ llah and Abdu’l Baha, built the shrines of the Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l Baha and also the Baha’i Archives and all the beautiful surrounding gardens in Haifa and Akka. He revealed a great number of books and tablets in Persian and English. The very most valuable benediction he bestowed upon the Western world was to translate the books, tablets and prayers of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l Baha into English, a task which only he could achieve and that also perfectly and with such skill. He passed away to the Abha Kingdom in London on 4th November, 1957, at the age of 60. He was the first guardian of Baha’i Faith for about 36 years.
He appointed in his own life time, his successor to an American Baha’i, Charles Mason Remey under the direction of Abdu’l Baha as he wrote in his Will and Testament that: “…It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life time him (next guardian) that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing.”
Mason Remey was born in America on 15th May 1874. He declared himself a Baha’i in the age of about twenty six and half year on 31st December, 1899 on the hand of May Ellis Bowles (later Mrs. May Sutherland Maxwell, the mother of Ruhiyyih Khanum). Mason would later become close to the members of the Holy Family: Baha’u’llah’s eldest Son and Successor, Abdu’l Baha, Baha’u’llah’s daughter, Bahiyyih Khanum and his great grandsons, Shoghi Effendi. A tablet was sent from Abdu’l Baha on 3rd May 1906 to Mason Remey, which was of tremendous importance as it portended his role in the distant future as the second Guardian of Faith:
“Verily I beseech God to make thee under all circumstances. Do not become desponded neither be thou sad. Ere long, thy Lord shall make thee a sign of guidance among mankind.”
Many other tablets received by him from Abdu’l Baha in which he has addressed him as “O my dear son”
Mason Remey in India: He traveled most of the cities of the world in different countries and he came in India too in 1910 and visited Calcutta, Baroda, Banaras, Agra, Delhi, Mount Aboo and Bombay. In 1950, Shoghi Effendi, the first guardian, invited Charles Mason Remey to Haifa, the World Administrative Centre of the Faith, and henceforth make it his home. On 9th January 1951 Shoghi Effendi in his proclamation informed the Baha’i world that “at long last” he had established the first International Baha’i Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice)—the supreme legislative organ of the Baha’i Administrative Order. As the distinguished head or President of this embryonic UHJ he appointed Mason Remey, an appointment that had tremendous implications which Baha’i world as a whole failed to grasp undoubtedly due to the fact that during the seven years that remained of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry, the International Baha’i Council remained in an inactive state never functioning as collective body. Mason Remey wrote a letter for his proclamation of guardianship in Ridvan 1960 to Charles Wolcott, the Secretary of National Spiritual Assembly of USA to address to the Annual National Convention. As he was the president of embryonic UHJ, he was the Second Guardian of Baha’i Faith.
In 1965, Joel Bray Marangella became the Third Guardian of the Faith, having been appointed by Mason Remey as his successor both in a hand-written letter and through his appointment of him as the President of the Second International Bahá'í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice of which only the Guardian is the authorized legitimate head). He born on September 22, 1918 in Lynn, Massachusetts, to his parents Phillip Amalfi Marangella and Edith Brooks Guthrie Marangella, both of whom enrolled as Bahá'ís when Joel was a baby. He resided in many of the major cities of the United States and participated both in the spiritual and administrative activities of their various Bahá'í communities. He married Irene, also a Bahá'í, in 1945, and five years later they answered the call of Shoghi Effendi (the first Guardian of the Faith) for pioneers to go to Europe to help spread the Faith and spent eighteen years in France. In 1954, the Hands of the Cause appointed Joel as an Auxiliary Board Member for the propagation of the Faith. He participated in the formation of the first National Spiritual Assembly of France in May 1958 becoming its first President and again following its two successive elections.
After leaving France in 1968, Joel lived successively in Germany, Switzerland and Australia before his return to the United States in March of 2010. Joel Bray Marangella is recognized by Orthodox Bahá'ís as the third Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, the authorized interpreter of the Bahá'í Writings and the president and sacred head for life of the Universal House of Justice (provisionally named, in its embryonic form, as the International Bahá'í Council of the Orthodox Bahá'ís).
Inauguration of Orthodox Baha’i Faith in India: Joel Bray Marangella marked the inauguration first time on 29th May 1991 on the Indian sub-continent by appealing in the Times of India, with the title: An appeal to the Heterodox Baha’is and appealed in a more comprehensive second advertisement on 7th March 1992 and subsequently, the third advertisement in the Times of India on 16 and 17th May 1992, which resulted in the historic formation of the Mother Baha’i Council of India in Delhi with Mr. Vinod Kumar, a young and faithful Baha’i, as its secretary. It had been the third Guardian’s desire for the Faith in India to develop favorably. Subsequently two more local councils were formed in Bhagalpur district and the other in Thane, with a number of localities and individual believers declaring their loyalty to the “Center of the Cause” who is none other than the Living Guardian of the Faith Joel B. Marangella.
Encouraged by the sudden response from the Indian Bahais, the third Guardian, on the occasion of the 100th year of the Ascension of Baha u llah placed fourth advertisement in the Times of India on May 29, 1992 which called upon the Indian Bahais to faithfully uphold the Covenant of Baha’u’llah by turning to the Guardian and severing their ties with the erroneously constituted sans-Guardian organization. The Guardian also welcomed the Indian Baha’is into the true Administrative Order, headed by the Guardian and founded upon sacred immutable provisions of Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha. With advertisements, the Bahai believers throughout India came to realize that the Guardianship is an integral part of the Faith.
Overwhelmed by the success of the Orthodox Bahai Faith and eagerness of the Indian believers to accept the Faith under the Guardianship , the third Guardian , Joel Bray Marangella, sent two American believers , Mr. Frank Schlatter and David Maxwell, to assess the situation in India and while there, to teach and deepen the Orthodox Bahais, during their visits to Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Baroda and Rajgir. Their visit enhanced the teaching activities of the Orthodox Baha’is and more firmly established the Orthodox Baha’i Faith in India.
Subsequently, more advertisements appeared and under the direction of the National Baha’i Council of India and with the cooperation of various local councils, many Councils were established and a number of individual Baha’is, residing in various parts of India, were brought into the Faith under the Guardianship.
The prominent personalities of the Orthodox Baha’i Community in India are Dr. Ram Krishna Singh of Varanasi. He is a University professor, teaching English language skills to students of earth and mineral sciences. He has authored over 150 articles, a65 book reviews and 34 books, including twelve collections of poems. He has received several awards and honours, including honorary Litt. D. from the World Academy of Arts and Culture, Taiwan, 1984, Michael Madhusudan Award, Calcutta, 1994 and Peace Museum Award from Ritsumeikan University, Koyoto, 1999. His blog: http://rksingh.blogspot.com .
Dr. Zayn Luqmani Fateh, a physician by profession, is an intellectual amongst the Baha’is of India due to his deep understanding of the Faith. He is the son of the late Dr. M.R. Luqmani, who was bestowed by the first Guardian Shoghi Effendi with the title of FATEH, the spiritual conqueror of Ceylon, where he rendered outstanding services. Dr. Zayn when he was a child, met to the second Guardian Mason Remey in Celone.
Mr. Vinod Kumar a devoted Orthodox Baha’i, a banker by profession, formed many local Councils around Delhi and in other part of India. Mr. Vinod Kumar is a very brave man and he had debated many well known Baha’is of India concerning to the continuity of Guardianship in Baha’i Faith. He was the secretary of the National Bahai Council of India since its inception.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Mr. Rajni Patel, Mr. Y.H Taylor, Mr. Raj Paual Singh, Mrs. Madhu Mehta, Mr. Rajendra Upadhyaye, Mr. Rocky Patel, Mr. Ajay Sharma are the well known Orthodox Baha’is of India.
Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand in India: Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand born in Shiraz (Iran) the city of the Bab on 25th August 1942. He grew up in Tehran. His ancestors from mother side were Baha’i and father sides were Muslims. His father Dr. Hassan Bahremand studied in Medicine in India in a British Medical College. The Third Guardian Joel Bray Marangella appointed to Mr. Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand on 22nd September 2006 as the Vice President of Third International Baha’i Council and upon the termination of his guardianship, his chosen successor. Nosrat visited India on 15th, 16th & 17th September 2010. Orthodox Baha’is of Thane, Mumbai and Hyderabad welcomed him with a great pleasure. He gave the message to the Indian friends that “the Baha’i Faith teaches us to love our enemy also. We are servant. The Religion is Blessings for all of us. We are blessed one due to some of our good deeds."
Hands of Cause of God: The third Guardian of Baha’i Faith Joel Marangella has appointed till date twelve Hands of Cause from different parts of the world and two of them, Dr. A. Parikh and Mr. Y. H Taylor are from India.
Members of Third International Baha’i Council from India are Mr. Parikh and Mr. Taylor.
A. Parikh, Secretary, National Baha’i Council of (Orthodox Baha’is) of India,
P.O. Box No.54, Vasai Road, Thane (M.S)