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of 

the New York World’s Fair in miniature. 

 

54 


 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

There were about 



4000 

visitors daily. The  

Management conceded that the Temple  

Model display was the outstanding single  

exhibit.  

“Likewise requiring special mention, is the exhibit arranged in Butte, Montana, at the WPA Art Center. Groups were 

brought in from all parts of the county to view it. One Photography Group made a special study of methods of 

photographing it. Inquiry has been received as to whether we could permit this Model to be sent from Art center to Art 

center, throughout the State.  

“At all exhibits where a Bahá’i Booth was maintained, an attendant was present at all times. Those interested were 

asked to register in guest books. These names and addresses were sent to the nearest Assembly, group, or Regional 

Committee for active follow-up. The Chicago Assembly report that one of its outstanding teaching successes of the 

year, was the follow-up contacts made at the various Fairs. One hundred fifty of these people responded to an invitation 

to a musicale and reception, planned by the Assembly to establish a friendly contact, as a foundation for more direct 

presentation of the Faith.  

“The records of the Teaching Committee show that there were thirty-seven displays of the Temple model this year; 

over 300,000 pieces of teaching literature were distributed, and the ‘Message’ given to thousands of people. 

Undoubtedly, other exhibits were arranged by Assemblies owning Temple models, which were not reported to the 

Committee. The Teaching Committee, with the 6 models assigned to it for teaching purposes, has not been able to meet 

the demands, and it is hoped more models can be made available before the coming Fall. 

 

STATISTICAL REVIEW OF TEACHING  



ACCOMPLISHMENTs  

“While statistics do not and cannot convey anything of the reality of service, yet they do indicate to a small extent, the effort put forth, 

and the immediate tangible results. Thus the following summary will 

 

prove of interest: 



 

Assemblies  

New Assemblies to be formed  

BahO’i groups  

New groups formed  

Isolated Baha’is  

Cities wbere Fsirb esrablisbed  

Stares aud Provinces wirb no Groups or Assemblies 

 

Stares aod Provinces 



 

with no Bahá’is None 6 11  

*Authorized ss of Match 15, 1940.  

“The Bahá’i Faith now established in 576 cities in this country, is brought about by 85 Assemblies having a total of 250 cities 

represented in their rolls, while the 63 groups have a total of 72 cities represented. The 363 isolated believers represent 244 cities.  

“The number of pioneers entering virgin areas for settlement during the year was 42, as against 15 during the second year of the Plan, 



and 20 during the first year.  

“A total of 202 Fireside Gatherings are being held regularly throughout the country.  

“During the year 27 new cities have been opened to the Faith.  

“56 Assembhes report 425 adults and youth attended Summer Schools last year from their respective communities.” 

 

MARCH MARCH  



15, 15,  

1940 1939  

78  

9  


32  

14  


343 

 

MARCH 15,  



1937  

73  


24  

2  


246 

 

85  



10*  

53  


28  

363  


576  

28 


 

259  


28 34 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

55 

 

0 GRASP the scope and development of pioneer teaching in the first years of the Seven-Year Plan, it is needful to survey the evolution 



of the Faith in America through a much longer period, gaining thereby a perspective by which events and accomplishments may be 

related both causally and in just proportion. As one steps back for this long view, the first recognition is that for fifteen years an 

instrument was being forged—the Administrative Order— its full use unguessed until, at the moment of climax, the Guardian directed 

it to the fulfillment of America’s spiritual missiou. Thus the whole movement of the Cause in this continent, since the unfoldment of 

the  

COMPAKATSvE 

FsGuREs 193 5-1936  

Bahâ’i Groups 22  

New Groups formed 2  

Total Isolated Bahf’is 268  

Cities where Faith established. 

. . . 

259  


New Cities opened 33  

No Groups or Assembhes in 24  

No Groups or Assemblies in 7  

No registered Bahá’is in 12  

No registered Bahá’is in 3  

“During the two and a half years of the Seven-Year Plan, there were twenty Assemblies organized and forty Groups, with 190 cities 

newly opened to the Faith. And by the end of the second year, the initial phase had been traversed, with the settlement of pioneers in 

every State and Province of North America, including Alaska.  

“Despite the enthusiasm aroused, or such examples as that of the Entzminger family, who early in 1937 moved from California to 

Oklahoma City to establish the Faith, no full realization of their responsibility to f or- sake home and attachments had come to the 

body of the American Bahi’is. Again in August, 1937, a heartfelt appeal was voiced by the Guardian: ‘Who among its stalwart 

defenders will arise, untrammelled (and) unafraid, to implant its banner in those 

 

Divine Plan by ‘Abdu’l-Bahã, has been a mighty groundwork, a preparation for that day when the theme of pioneer endeavor, first 



declared in the deeds of those who responded to His immediate call, might be repeated, but in a style immeasurably more powerful 

and complex, in the Seven-Year Plan, this Plan itself a prelude only to the destined glorious, world-wide achievement of the American 

Bahá’i Community.  

“To appreciate the phenomenal advance of the American community, in response to this and the Guardian’s successive life-imparting 

messages, it is well to compare the status of teaching work as of May 1, 1936, and November 15, 1939. 

 

193 9-1940 



 

49 


 

18 

 

349 



 

347 (April, 1939)  

63 (1938—39)  

16 States  



Provinces  

0 States  

0 Provinces 

 

States, Provinces (and) Countries where its standard is still unhoisted?’  



“From this period there seemed to enter into the Faith an unmistakable momentum which henceforth mounted steadily, appearing ever 

more vigorously in the activities of pioneer settlers, travelling teachers, Regional Committees, Assemblies in their extension teaching, 

Groups, and isolated believers. Through the medium of fireside and public meetings, teaching circuits, inter-community conferences, 

exhibits of the Temple model, newspaper and radio publicity, and an infinite variety of contacts, the limits of the Faith were steadily 

expanded. More and more all work tended to be pioneering, if not afield or in undeveloped areas, then at home among widening 

groups of inquirers. Monthly the columns of BAHA’I NEWS re PIONEE 

 

TEACHERS IN THE SEVEN YEAR PLAN  



A statement prepared by Miss Marion Holley for the Teaching Committee describes clearly and graphically the part 

played by the pioneer in the larger teaching plans of the current years. Excerpts from this statement follow: 

 

States  



Provinces  

States  


Provinces 

 

56 



 

THE AHA’i WORLD 

 

Official post cards of the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair and the 1939 New York World’s Fair showing the different  



Bahá’i exhibits. 

 



 

 

 



pict28.jpg

 

 



pict29.jpg

 

 



pict30.jpg

 

CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES 



 

57 

 

corded the story of cooperative achievement, proving by a wealth of detail beyond the capacity of this survey to recapture, the 



indispensability of every individual and organized effort in the spiritual conquest of the continent.  

“In sixteen States of the South there existed only eight Assemblies, two Groups, and forty-six isolated believers in 1936, while six of 

the States possessed no Bahá’is at all. It was to one of these, Oklahoma, that the Entzminger family of four members moved in 

January, 1937, settling in Oklahoma City. Although some work had been done there previously by Orcella Rexford and Edwinna 

Powell, there were but few contacts left and none of these Bahá’is. Despite almost insurmountable odds of ill health, long 

unemployment and rapidly-dwindling resources, Alice and Albert Entzminger so faithfully exemplified the life of the Cause that 

within one year’s time a Spiritual Assembly had been gathered, holding its first election in April, 1938.  

“Another remarkable example of consistent effort through settlement was that of Louise Caswell in Knoxville, Tennessee, who 

established residence in the summer of 1937 and saw the fruit of her constancy in the organization of a Spiritual Assembly, April, 

1939. This region was greatly assisted by the pioneering of the National Spiritual Assembly which met in Nashville in January, 1937, 

and in Knoxville in February, 1939. Through first-hand experience the members were enabled to grasp the problems and opportunities 

of the South as never before, and a teaching policy was developed which was the basis for all subsequent work.  

“In Texas study groups were formed in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas through the labors of such teachers as Mrs. 

Katherine Frankland, Mr. A. Kluss, Mr. and Mrs. Ward Calhoon, Mme. Gita Orlova, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Smith, and Mr. I-I. R. 

Hurlbut. Other cities opened to the Faith by various believers included Corpns Christi, Fort Worth, Lubbock, Winterhaven, Den- ton, 

and El Paso.  

“Arkansas, which had been numbered among the States deprived of the influence of the Teachings, became the seat of great 

 

activity in 193 8-39. Miss Rezsi Sunshine opened a business in Hot Springs, carrying on regular meetings in this city and in Little 



Rock. In Pine Bluff Miss Lydia Martin became Dean of Women at the State Teachers College. She was able to arrange a month of 

intensive teaching by Louis Gregory, who also conducted the school’s Religious Emphasis Week, and a study group has continued. 

Marvin Newport spoke before service clubs and churches in Little Rock.  

“Covington, Louisiana, received the gift of a Fellowship House from Mrs. Loulie Mathews which, under the direction of Mrs. Marion 

Little, has become a community center. New Orleans was settled by three pioneers, Mrs. Dorothy Logelin and Frederick Babo, and 

Miss Pearl Berk.  

“West Virginia, another virgin area, became the home of Harold Hunt in Huntington and Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert Dahl in Charleston. 

Other teaching was done by Marion Holley, who visited six cities, and by Orcella Rexford, Dr. Gregory, and Miss Eic Nicklin. A 

Group was formed in Arlington, Virginia, while in Richmond Mrs. Ethel Murray and Mrs. Louise Boyle established residence for 

some months. As the outcome of two months spent by Mrs. Grace Ober in Louisville, Kentucky, a study group was carried forward by 

Miss Virginia Taylor. A large group resulted in Tuskegee, Alabama, from a four-months’ visit by Louis Gregory, who also taught in 

Birmingham, Montgomery, and Normal. Walter Blakely pioneered in Birmingham in 1937-3 8 and in 1939 Miss Martha Fettig 

continued the development of this area. Another project of Mr. Gregory’s brought several Bahá’i registrations in Memphis, Tennessee, 

to which city* Mrs. Mabel Ives was later sent as a pioneer, together with Mr. Ives and Mrs. Mary Barton. Miss Nayan Hartfield 



furthered the Cause for some time in Mississippi.  

“North Carolina was visited for two months by Mrs. Terah Smith and Marguerite Reimer, while Mrs. Olga Mills moved to Tryon and 

Mrs. Sarah Eason to Raleigh. In South Carolina extended teaching was carried on by Mrs. Emogene Hoagg, Mrs. Amelia Bodmer, 

Miss Agnes O’Neill, and Miss Louise Thompson in Charleston; by Miss Maude Mickle and Miss Alta Wheeler 

 

58 


 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

in Columbia; by Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Bid- well at Chick Springs; while the Augusta, Georgia, Assembly reached its membership into 



this State. Atlanta, Georgia, was settled by Dorris Ebbert, Olga Finke, and Terah Smith. Good work was also done in Bristol, Florida, 

by Edward Young and many groups in Florida and Georgia were stimulated by visits of Alma and Fanny Knob- loch. Delaware was 

opened to the Faith through the work of Orcella Rexford in Wilmington, her contacts being consolidated by the Regional Committee 

and Doris Lohse. Mr. and Mrs. Allah Kalantar were later sent to the city as resident pioneers.  

“Such a hasty review of a vast territory must of necessity neglect many projects and teachers. The extensive travels of Mrs. Ruth 

Moffett, Mr. Mason Remey, Mrs. Terah Smith, and Orcella Rexford; the faithful service of the three Regional Committees; and the 

endeavors of many unnamed believers—all contributed to one of the most remarkable chapters in the unfoldment of the Seven-Year 

Plan. As of November, 

1939, 

the Southern States could number ten Assemblies, seven organized Groups, eighty-six isolated 



believers, no States without Bahá’is, and a network of contacts for that promised future when ‘the darkness of the world of nature may 

become entirely dispelled and driven away 

. .  

“However brilliant the achievements of the American Bahá’i Community during the first months of the Seven-Year Plan, they were by 



no means adequate to the vision of the Guardian. Little did the believers guess the capacity latent within them! Determined to 

accomplish the initial phase of the Teaching Campaign by the end of the second year, Shoghi Effendi cabled on January 26, 1939, a 

message so compelling as to penetrate each heart with longing to respond. Within three months eighty-one volunteers had arisen to 

‘forsake homes, cast away attachments (and) definitely settle these territories (to) lay firm anchorage (of the) Administrative Order 

. . .‘ 

No doubt was left as to the urgency of their task: ‘Establishment (of) one resident believer (in) each virgin territory (is the) 



precondition (to the) full launching (of the) subsequent, eagerly-anticipated stage aiming (at 

 

the) spiritual conquest (of the) Southern Half (of the) Western Hemisphere.’  



“So it was that by Convention time arrangements had been consummated for the settlement of each State and Province 

named in the cable, as follows:  

ALASKA—Miss Honor Kempton, Anchorage; Miss Betty Becker, Jueneau.  

DELAWARE—Mr. and Mrs. Allah K. Kalantar, Wilmington.  

NEvADA—Miss Helen Grilling, Reno.  

SOUTH CAROLINA—Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Bidwell, Chick Springs; Mrs. Emogene Hoagg, Charleston.  

UTAH—Mrs. Marguerite Reimer Sears, Salt Lake City.  

VERMONT—Miss Neysa Bissell, Rutland.  

WEST V5RGINIA—Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert Dahl, Charleston; Mr. Harold Hunt, Huntington.  

MANITOBA—Mr. Rowland Estall, Winnipeg. NOVA SCoTIA—Mrs. Beulah Proctor, Halifax.  

“In addition, projects to strengthen undeveloped areas were planned for the following pioneer teachers, all of whom 

were in residence before the end of 1939:  

RHODE ISLAND—Mr. and Mrs. Don T. McNally, Providence.  

ALBERTA—Miss Doris Skinner, Calgary.  

SASKATCHEWAN—Mrs. Katherine Moscrop, Regina.  

ALABAMA—Miss Martha Fettig, Birmingham.  

MISSOURI—Miss Nayan Hartfield, St. Louis. NORTH DAKOTA—Mrs. Marguerite Breugger, Bismarck.  

LOUISIANA—Mrs. Dorothy Logelin, Frederick Babo, and Miss Pearl Berk, New Orleans.  

TENNESSEE—Mrs. Mabel Ives,, Mr. Howard Ives, Mrs. Mary Barton, Memphis.  

TEXAS—Mrs. Katherine Frankland, San Antonio.  

IOWA—Mrs. Ruth Moffett (travelling teacher).  

“Although no specific mention has been made of Canada, the reader will perhaps have noted the spectacular growth of 

the Faith throughout that country. Tn 1936 there were Assemblies in Montreal and Vancouver alone, with no Groups 

listed and 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 

 

59 

 

only four isolated believers. Two years later, April, 1938, the Assemblies of Toronto, St. Lambert, and Moncton were 



organized. The story of Mrs. Mabel Ives’ teaching journey to Moncton, N. B., in 1937, is one of the most illustrious 

chapters of pioneer history. Later she moved to Toronto and, with the cooperation of many other believers, helped to 

strengthen this new Assembly and to extend its work to Hamilton, where a Bahã’i Group was formed in 1939. In this 


same year, the pioneers of the Seven-Year Plan swept across the Prairie Provinces. Three Vancouver Bahá’is, Rowland 

Estall, Doris Skinner, and Katherine Moscrop moved to Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan respectively, and an 

active public campaign was carried on in such cities as Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, and Alberta, through their efforts 

and those of Mrs. Leonard King and Emeric Sala. Meantime on the Atlantic Coast, Halifax, Nova 

 

Scotia, was settled by Mrs. Beulah Proctor and Mr. and Mrs. Grenville Wade.  



“No one could for a moment suppose this to be a comprehensive survey of the teaching activities carried on in North 

America during the initial stage of the Seven-Year Plan. Numberless servants of the Cause must go unmentioned,—

those on the one hand who, possessing ‘qualities of renunciation, tenacity, dauntlessness and passionate fervor’ which 

the Guardian prescribed, did ‘brave the dangers and sweep away the obstacles’ to bring the news of Bahá’u’lláh to the 

remotest corners of our land; and on the other, the many ‘wise, resourceful and judicious administrators’ whose patient 

work, whether national, regional, or local, sustained each new advance.  

“Upon the threshold of the third year, then, the American Bahá’is saw with grateful hearts the fulfillment of the first 

phase of their mighty task. Yet even as they 

 

The exhibit of the Bahá’i Temple model in the Homes and Gardens section of the San Francisco World’s Fair in 1939. 



An identical model was exhibited at the same time  

in the Temple of Religions. 

 

 

 



pict31.jpg

 

60 



 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

reached out to vast fields still unconquered to the South, reinforced by the Guardian’s words to the Convention of 1939 



that the ‘upsurge of Bahá’u’llih’s impelling Spirit cannot, will not he stemmed (nor) impeded,’ they were fully mindful 

of their responsibilities at home. The goal of extension and consolidation, from isolated believMARTHA 

ROOT’S 

TRAV  


AND AUSTRALIA—HER  

IRST of the Bahá’is to arise for service in response to the Master’s Tablets revealing America’s Spiritual Mission in 

1916 and 1917, Martha L. Root in her very last days continued to consume the candle of her mortal life as teacher and 

valiant herald of the Bahá’i Faith. Death overtook this great and renowned servant of Bahá’u’lláh at Honolulu on 

September 28, 1939, extending her career into higher worlds. When the frail body could endure its burden no more, 

death cut short her intention of returning to America in order to devote herself to assisting the Inter-America 

Committee in its task of establishing the Faith in Latin American lands. It was in South America that Miss Root began 


her international teaching mission in 1919. The example of her life and the influence of her self-sacrificing spirit have, 

however, proved an invaluable influence and stimulant to all the workers in this field. Perhaps in death she can 

accomplish even more than in life.  

Previous volumes of THE BAHA’I WORLD have traced the steps of this unique Bahá’i career. In the present work we 

close the noble record with an account of her teaching activities in India, Burma, Australia and New Zealand. First, 

however, we should follow the broad outlines of her successive journeys as they were summarized in the memorial 

tribute prepared by the American National Spiritual Assembly and published in BAHA’i NEWS of November, 1939, 

following the national gathering held in her honor in the Foundation Hall of the Bahá’i House of Worship on October 

29 of that year.  

“It would be impossible for the Bahá’i world to trace in its full and rich detail her 

 

ers and small groups into organized Bahá’i communities, demanded the continued exertion of their best powers. All 



together they were resolved to ‘insure the security and provide for the steady expansion of the work initiated in those 

territories so recently set alight from the torch of an inextinguishable Faith.’ (Shoghi Effendi, April 17, 1939) 

.“  

ELS IN INDIA, BURMA DEATH IN HONOLULU  



untiring services. In 1919, we find her visiting every important South American city. Possessing no Spanish or 

Portuguese literature, and without speaking knowledge of these languages, she was, with the help of translators, heard 

and read by thousands, and because of her, the first Bahá’i booklet in Portuguese was prepared by Brazilians for 

publication.  

“In Europe and Asia, thousands heard her message, from the humblest firesides, to the palaces of royalty. To Thomas 

Masaryk, first president of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, Martha gave the Bahã’i Teachings; and to King Faisal of 

‘Iraq; to Y. S. Tsao, president of the Tsing Hua University, who translated many Bahi’l writings into Chinese; to Prince 

Paul and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia; to Nishuama, head of the Board of Religions of Japan; and to Queen Marie of 

Rumania, of whose interview the Guardian himself wrote:  

‘One of the visible and potent effects which this historic interview proved capable of achieving was the remarkable 

appeal in the form of open letters which Her Majesty freely and spontaneously caused to be published to the world at 

large, testifying in a language of exquisite beauty to the power and sublimity of the Message of Bahá’u’llah.’  

“With what tenderness our hearts follow her on her journey of October, 1933, to Adrianople, where the Blessed 

Perfection had ‘planted a seed under every stone.’ Through her we are welcomed by the Governor and Mayor. With her 

we kneel reverently in the Muradiyyih Mosque and sense ‘how far Bahá’u’llah had come to meet our Western World!’ 

Through her eyes, many times tear-dimmed in that city, we see the gentle 

 

CURRENT BAHA’t ACTIVITIES 



 

61 


 

Mu5çafã Big, who had been in the Presence of the Beloved and was able to tell us of His gardens, His house, His great generosity, and 

of the reverent esteem of His fellow citizens. Between the lines of Martha’s gentle pen appears the persuasion of her own indelible 

impression upon Adrianople.  

“Martha even traveled to the outposts of civilization. In 1935, she journeyed to Iceland, where a radio station turned over its News 

Hour to her dynamic message, and where newspapers printed for the first time Bahã’I utterances in Icelandic.  

“A last touching tribute comes to us from the Bahá’is of India and Burma, who, unaware of her approaching departure from this life, 

wrote in their Convention report the news of her spiritual victories in the present year. ‘The most outstanding feature in the year under 

report has been the teaching activities of our beloved sister, Miss Martha L. Root. This star servant of Bahã’u’lláh toured from 

Bombay to Mandalay, and from Srinagar to Colombo. Wherever she went, she delivered the message of Bahá’u’lláh in her own 

convincing way, and published the divine Cause amongst almost all of the educated people of this great continent 

. . . 


In Sindh, she 

visited Karachi and Hyderabad. In Karachi she attended the tenth Convention of the Bahá’is of India and Burma, and probably did the 

greatest service of her life. She stayed in that town for three months and got the book 

TdhiriJ3 the Pure 

printed and mailed the 

world over. It was here in this city that she met Sadaq Viswani and made a deep impression on the mind of that saintly man.  

In Simla she graced the first Bahá’i Summer School of India and Burma with her presence and drew down the blessings of God on this 

institution. In Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Lahore, Amritsar, Julltsndur, Ludhiama, Delhi, Patiala, Aligarh, 

Lucknow, Allahabad, Benares, and Patna, she visited colleges and universities, and delivered the Message of Bahá’u’lláh to students, 

professors, and intelligensia of the universities of India. 

. . . 


Miss Martha Root has opened the whole of India for us, and it now devolves 

upon us to so utilize these openings as to produce the best of results.’  

The National Spiritual Assembly of the 

 

Bahá’is of India and Burma published extensive reports of Martha Root’s public activities in those countries. The 



following excerpts will indicate the scope of the mission she undertook at an advanced age, and its results in promoting 

the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.  

“Miss Martha Root arrived in India from Ceylon on October 15th. The believers of Bombay accorded her a right royal 

reception. The National Spiritual Assembly had also fixed their half-yearly meeting to be held in Bombay in order to 

meet the beloved sister. Miss Root stayed in Bombay for 5 days and these 5 days were gala days for the believers of the 


place. While the Bombay friends held meetings and arranged for lectures, which were fully reported by the press, the  

N. S. A. in consultation with Miss Root, chalked out a program for her.  

“After attending the public meeting on the Birthday of the Báb, which was presided over by an ex-Mayor of the Town, 

Miss Root left for Surat.  

“SustAT—During her two days’ stay here Miss Root met lawyers, judges and other notables of the town at the home of 

Mr. Vakil and delivered a public lecture in the Arya Samaj Hall. This was attended by 250 to 300 people—students, 

lawyers and other notables. The press published elaborate articles and thus a good publicity was achieved for the 

Divine Faith.  

“PooNA—Owing to her brief stay here no pubhc lecture was arranged; but she met press representatives and the 

believers of the place. She visited the Bahá’i School and the Bahá”i Cemetery. To the friends she delivered a talk on 

teaching. Miss Root will visit Poona again when she returns from her tour in South India.  

“RANGOON—Leaving Poona on October 26 she stayed one day at Bombay and then left for Burma where she arrived 

on November 2. The believers of Rangoon had chalked out a busy and elaborate program for her. She spoke at the Y. 

M. C. A. (Town Branch), Arya Samaj (Central), Theosophical Society, Brabmo Samaj, Malabar Club and Rotary Club. 

Press publicity had preceded her arrival and when she arrived all the leading dailies of Rangoon published glowing 

articles about her and about the 

 

62 


 

THE BAHA’t WORLD 

 

Cause she had come to teach. Rangoon 



Times, 

widely circulated English daily, published an interview with her about Bahá’i work in 

Shanghai. Rangoon 

Times 

has been devoting weekly two to three column space to Bahá’i articles for the last 11 months. Rangoon 



Gazette, 

another English daily, had an equally fine interview of more than a column and in addition there was an editorial about the 

history of the Bahá’i Faith. Her lectures attracted large numbers of hearers and were presided over by religiously inclined public men. 

In fact, Miss Martha Root created a stir in the rehgious circles of that great city of 500 thousand souls comprised of almost all civilized 

nations of the world.  

“Miss Root had two meetings with the Bahá’is of Rangoon in the 1{aziratu’l-Quds (Bahá’i Hall). The meeting with the children was 

very interesting. She started a children’s class and gave the first lesson to youngsters. This class, the Rangoon Spiritual Assembly is 

determined to continue, in remembrance of the visit of our beloved sister.  

“MANDALAY—Miss Root arrived in this ancient city of Upper Burma on November  

10. She was received at the station by the believers led by our revered Bahá’i teacher Syyid Mustafá Roumie. She delivered a public 

lecture in Mandalay Municipal Library. The attendance was the largest of any public Bahá’i lecture given up to this time in Mandalay. 

The Headmaster of the Normal School U. Thet Swe, B.A., B.L. was the Chairman. Some of the hearers came later on to see Miss Root 

and asked questions. Bahá’is who hve in towns near Mandalay came all the way to see their beloved guest.  

“TouNooo—On leaving Mandalay Miss Root detrained at this town of about 23,000 inhabitants. No Bahá’i teacher has ever before 

visited this place. It was through the efforts of Dr. M. A. Latiff, that the town was opened. He had gone to the place and had arranged 

for a lecture in the Jubilee Library. Dr. BahI, Civil Surgeon of the district presided. He also gave a dinner in his home after the lecture 

and four interested people came to meet the Bahá’i teacher. Miss Root took the train that same night and nine people who had attended 

the lecture were on the station to see her off. It is a 

 

great thing for our Faith that Toungoo is opened and we have our dear brother Dr. M. A. Latiff to thank for it.  



“DAIDANAW (Kungyangoon) 

— 

Accompanied by Syyid ‘Abdu’l Ilussain Sherazi and Mr. Siyyid Ghulam Murtaza 



‘Au, 

Miss Root 

reached this Bahã’i village of 800 behevers on November 20. The behevers of the place had made elaborate preparations for reception 

of their beloved guest. A special roadway was cut through the grass from the main road to the Assembly Hall, which was tastefully 

decorated. The Assembly Compound was full of believers when Miss Root’s car arrived. Mrs. Kahn garlanded her amidst the 

acclamations of Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá. She met these friends and they chanted holy songs and prayers. Miss Root writes: ‘What a royal 

welcome we received! Never shall I forget their chanting and the reverence and love in their kind faces.’  

“At 4 p. m. Miss Root drove to Kungyangoon, an important town of 6,000 people situated about 3 miles from the Baha’i Village. The 

lecture was held in the National School under the. Chairmanship of Dr. Gurbaksh Singh. It was translated into Burmese by U. Sein, 

the headmaster of the School. There were about 150 people present including the Township judge, the staffs of the National and Board 

Girls’ High Schools. The lecture was well received. Dr. and Mrs. Gurbaksh Singh called on Miss Root that evening and had a long 

talk with her.  

“Next day the friends again met in the Assembly Hall. After the usual prayers; Mr.  

M. I. Kahn read a beautiful address of welcome to which Miss Root replied in suitable words and the meeting closed in an atmosphere 

of spiritual joy and happiness. Mr. Murtaza ‘All describes the scene of Daidanaw as follows:  

‘The friends of Daidanaw gave a right royal reception to our sister Miss Martha Root. She was deeply moved.’”  

The remaining reports were prepared by Miss Root herself for the National Assembly of India and Burma.  

“CALCUTvA—A great scholar, Professor M. H. Hidayat Hosain of the Royal Asiatic Society Library of Calcutta, a leading 

Orientalist of the world, has written about 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

63 


 

Qurratu’l-’Ayn. Perhaps he is one of the first great Indian scholars to write about the Faith. He said that he had met the fine Iranian 

Bahá’i teacher, Ibn Asdaq, who came to India about 1902 or -03. ‘He was so charming, so spiritnal, so cultured’ said Professor 

Hosain, ‘and we read the Iqan together in Persian!’  

“The Bahá’i Cause has made remarkable strides in Calcutta since I visited that city in 1930. They have a good hall, fine meetings and 

the membership seems to have increased five times its number in 1930.  

“SHANTJNIKETAN, India, at the International University of Dr. Rabindra Nath Tagore.  

“Mr. 1sf andiar Bakhtiari of Karachi, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma, and I visited Shantiniketan on 

February 13, 14, 1938. ‘We were guests in the School Guest House. It was a great privilege to meet Dr. Tagore and to hear him talk 

with deep love and appreciation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá whom he had met in Chicago in 1912. I am writing the interview for THE BAr-sA’f 

WORLD, volume VII. Dr. Tagore said that the Bahá’l Faith is a great ideal to establish and that they in Shantiniketan welcome all the 

great religious aims and will be most glad if a Bahá’i Chair of Religion can be arranged in their school.  

“He and Mr. Bakhtiari spoke of Iran (Mr. Bakhtiari is an Iranian, he came from Yazd to India about twenty years ago), and of Dr. 

Tagore’s trip to Iran. The Poet asked particularly about the progress of the Bahá’i Faith in the Land of Its Birth, and praised the 

tolerance and fineness of the Bahá’is.  

“Dr. Tagore’s School has a very excellent selection of Bahá’i books in the Library and they take great interest to have it as complete 

and up-to-date as possible.  

“A lecture was given in the hall before the whole student body and the professors. Questions were asked and answered. They brought 

all the Bahá’i books for an exhibition in the hall, and near the close of the lecture I explained the books, one by one. Mr. Bakhtiari was 

invited and chanted some Bahá’i prayers in Persian. (Many of the cultured people of India know Persian, and the Urud language, 

which is used by several millions of people, is akin to Persian.) 

 

“The Associated Press and the United Press used interviews and one professor whom I had known in Marburg University and who 



knows the Cause well wrote an article about the lectures for the Associated Press of India.  

“MADRAS—Mr. Bakhtiari and I worked in Madras, December 25-January 3, 1938. We met the few friends and talked about how to 

promote the Faith, and had the Feast. We visited all the large libraries to see what Bahá’i books they have. The University of Madras 

Library has an excellent collection and the Librarian, Mr. S. R. Ranganathan, is keenly interested to build up the department of Bahá’i 

books. He is in corres pondence with American Bahá’is, the N. S. A., but up to this time he had never met a Bahá’i. His face is full of 

light. He said the Bahã’i books are drawn out and much read. (We later found many who have been reading the books.)  

“Adyar Theosophical Library, at Adyar, Madras, has also a good collection of Bahá”s books, and we found that many university 

students living in that section have been reading these books. We visited editors of all the leading newspapers of Madras and all used 

interviews followed by other articles about the Faith and resumés of our lectures later. Over two hundred articles about the BahI’i 

Faith have appeared in the newspapers of Ceylon and India from September 13 to February 13, 1938.  

“A large public lecture was given in Ranade Hall, a cultural center whose directors are connected with the university and some 

newspapers. Dewan Bahadur K. S. Ramaswami Sastri, retired District Sessions Judge and one of the brilliant scholars of Madras 

presided; the lecture was under the auspices of the South Indian Cultural Association. In introducing us he spoke concisely about the 

Cause, quoted 



The Dawn- Breakers 

and Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—has since presided again and has written for me to use in the 

West, two short articles, which were really his introductions; these are most interesting because they show the Bahá’i Faith in its 

relation to Hinduism. He is a great Hindu Indian scholar who has arisen to write about the Faith. I lectured in the  

Y. M. C. A. in Madras, Mr. Bakhtiari 

 

64 



 

THE BAHA’f WORLD 

 

chanted and we both spoke before the Brahmo-Samaj Society of Madras. BrahmoSamaj is a very quickened spiritual 



movement of India, a little hke our Unitarianism of the West, its members are always friendly and very sympathetic to 

the Bahá’i Teachings. The Madras Brahmo-Samaj has since translated into Telegu language, What is the Bahd’I 



Movement? booklet and one thousand copies are being distributed. This is the first booklet, I think, that has ever been 

published in Telegu, and it is a fruit of the visit to Madras.  

“Also, two thousand booklets, The Dawn of the New Day, translated into Tamil language are being published (were to 

be finished by February 15), Mr. Ishaq Pahlavan, a devoted faithful Bahá’i in Madras helped with this. The Tamil 

newspaper that published the booklet used the history and principles in a nearly three column article that has a 

circulation of twenty thousand. We felt very happy about these booklets because Tamil is much used in Southern India, 

Ceylon, Straits Settlements and a large colony in Durhan, South Africa.  

“Mr. Bakhtiari, Mr. Pahlaván and I went out to Adyar to three sessions of the International Theosophical Convention 

held December 26 to January 3, 1938; we met many friends. The Vice-President of the International Theosophical 

Society, Mr. Datta, said to me that the Bahá’i Teachings are the highest essence of Hinduism. Mr. Bakhtiari who did 

such great work returned to Karachi the evening of January 3rd.  

“As Madras is such an important spiritual and cultural center in Southern India, Mrs. Shirin Fozdar and I came to 

Madras when we were returning from Colombo and stayed for six days, January 18 to 23, met the press, lectured in 

Pachaippa College of Madras University, also gave a public lecture in the P. 5. High School, Mylapore Section, to 

several hundred students; lectured at an annual meeting of the Brahmo-Samaj ladies, and Shirin spoke at an evening 

meeting of the Brahmo-Samaj and broadcast.  

“Some of the young men who had been interested in the Cause when Shirin went to Madras in March of last year, 

arranged a meeting in their school where we spoke and they said they would form a study class. 

 


Mr. Pahlaván has a meeting sometimes for a little group of fine young men who before had been Muslims. A group had been formed 

last year, may an Assembly soon be started.  

“CoLoMuo, CEYLON—Dr. and Mrs. Fozdar and I went to Colombo, Ceylon, for ten days, January 

to 16, 1938. It was my second 

trip to Colombo since September 13. The press used many favorable and long articles about the Bahá’i Faith, the editors and 

journalists were our true friends. A newspaper in Tamil language also published the history and principles translated into Tamil. I 

spoke before the Rotary Club of Colombo and the speech was broadcast from the luncheon table. Shirin spoke over the radio about 

Qurratu’l-’Ayn and sang one of the latter’s poems. A gramophone record was made of this song. Both broadcast speeches were 

printed in full in the Colombo papers. One public lecture was given in Colombo University under the auspices of the University 

College Economics Society, and another public lecture took place at the Ramakrishna Mission School. We spoke before the teachers 

of a Buddhist school for girls, and Dr. and Mrs. Fozdar spoke at the Parsi Club. Some very fine Muslim people invited us to their 

homes, so also did some Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. We invited a number of friends to our hotel. The Mayor of Colombo 

called. Shirin spoke before the Women’s International Club. It was all a most worthwhile visit to Colombo. Dr. Fozdar after helping 

us much, returned from Colombo to his hospital work at Ajmer.  

“BANGALORE—Mrs. Fozdar and I came 

via 

Madras to Bangalore and Mysore where she had been ten months before. Three Bahá’i 

lectures were scheduled for the three days of our stay, January 24, 25, 26, at the Mythic Society, a high Cultural Society in Bangalore, 

in Daly Memorial Hall, a building given by the Maharaja of Mysore. The Secretary of the Mythic Society, a lawyer, Mr. S. 

Srikantaya, ably presided at the three lectures; all were reported in the 

Ban galore Post. 

Questions were asked and answered and 

each day the audience increased. Teachers from the Fort High School present invited us to come over to their school and speak to 

seven hundred boys. The Dewan of Mysore, an Iranian, a Muslim, is so fine in 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

65 


 

his character that Bahá’is could well say he is ‘Bahã’i’ in spirit, in the sense that he seems to have ‘all the human perfections in 

activity.’ He received us and did everything to help us—he helps the Muslims, the Hindus, the Jews, the Christians. He invited us to a 

great garden party where he was the guest of honor and introduced us to some friends as Bahá’is. The Vice-Chancellor of Mysore 

University and his wife were in Bangalore and invited us to their home; he was most kind and helpful both times Mrs. Fozdar came. 

One of the Magazines in Ban- galore promises to publish three articles about the Cause. One man in Bangalore said in fun: ‘The 

people swarm like locusts to eat the Bahá’i Teachings!’ It was not quite like that, but certainly people were interested and you can see 

from this account that we found friends everywhere who helped us to spread the Fragrances of the Teachings.  

“MYsoRE City—The next days, January 27, 28, 29, were spent in Mysore City. Mrs. Fozdar and I each gave two lectures in the 

University and she spoke to an Educational Association. One Professor who presided at my lecture said that he had read seven or eight 

Bahá’i books carefully, and that when a distinguished Ramakrishna Swami spoke in that same University Hall on 

Modern Religions 

and did not mention about the Bahá’i Faith, this Professor who was acting as Chairman said that one of the most important modern 

religions had been left out and he gave the history of the Bahá’i Movement. I told the audience it was like that in our country; at the 

World’s Parliament of Religions, in Chicago, Exposition, in 1893, a Professor, founder of Beirut University, has spoken about the 

Bahá’i Faith and now we have thousands of Bahá’is in America.  

“One Professor said: ‘What we professors and students need is a great quickening of religion in our inner life. If the Bahá’i Faith 

brings that, we will study it.’  

“We met one Professor who is a relative of Qurratu’l-’Ayn and he has made a deep study of the Bahá’i Teachings.  

“The Mysore University Library in the past year has gathered quite a good selection of Bahâ’i books and these are being read by the 

students. The librarian and the former librarian are most friendly to our 

 

Cause. I believe that great scholars from Mysore will write about the Teachings.  



“One Professor in the University is the Director of Broadcasting and Mrs. Fozdar and I both gave radio talks which were sent out to 

six newspapers and magazines in India. A young private secretary from a neighboring state told us that when he visited the Hill Palace 

of the Maharaja of Mysore in 1933, there was a book on the table, the hfe of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which he carefully studied. The Mysore 

University Library will have pictures of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a picture of the Bahá’i Temple at Wilmette to hang on the Library wall.  

“Mrs. Fozdar, as I said, had been to Ban- galore and Mysore ten months earlier and made many friends and this helped us very much. 

May she go again and many times to Southern India! She is not only a very fluent speaker but they called her the Bahá’i nightingale of 

India when she sang the Qurratu’l-’Ayn songs!  



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