Ray of hope for dwindling Parsi community

Young Parsis today visit the fire temple in much larger numbers and more often than they did 30 years ago. This may not seem noteworthy to most people, but for Zoroastrians, a community, which is likely to be wiped out in less than 100 years at its present rate of growth, this simple act assumes significance.

Depleting in numbers, the Parsi community has been looking at ways to keep their community alive. Now a new fertility scheme from the government and even speed dating could be the dwindling community’s only hope.

Bombay Parsi Panchayat’s Fertility Project that was launched five years ago, primarily to bolster the dwindling community’s numbers, have helped in adding smiles to many of the Parsis. So far 526 couples have signed up for the services and the scheme has ensured 218 conceptions and 160 successful deliveries

Check out the video segment on CNN-IBN

  • Siloo Kapadia

    This is perhaps the most pathetic article I can possibly read on our community. The community is dying out and the biggest reasons are that 1. Many Parsees are forgoing child raising to pursue careers, and 2. Many more are marrying outside of the community, and the fanatics who currently are grasping power refuse to allow the spouses and children of such marriages into the fold.

    Infertility is, I doubt, a very small reason that the community is going down. Even if a Parsee woman gets fertile, she will most likely have only one child. And again, so many marry outside the religion that this will make any increase in childbirth through fertilization nearly insignificant.

    Let us get rid of the backward, racist thinking promulgated by the MMCs (Mellah Moojah Clique: because their racist thinking, like dirty socks, both stink!). The MMCs have their own racist agenda which is not even realistic. After thousands of years of intermarrying with the various races on the Asian Indian subcontinent, they still point to their “pure Aryan Persian DNA and features.” So stupid, yet so frighteningly zealous are their fanatical beliefs that they will gladly plunder the entire community to oblivion for such lunacies.

    I am glad to be Asian, to be Indian, and to be a Parsee. Racism is not on my agenda!

  • Well maybe Siloo Kapadia has all the answers !!!

    The true fact m’am is that your ‘liberal dominated agenda’ LDA is dying out, the parsees are getting more parsi by all the efforts that have been quietly put in by the orthodox. The youth are working silently towards a revival – into a religion that they believe in and our heritage is being preserved. That the corrupt parsi media has run its course – and the true voice of a democratic laity is coming forth.

    But then there will always be people who believe that we are still dwindling.. (of course what better way than that to legalize their LDA of bringing in the intermarried spouse children and eventually everyone else)… There will always be people who don’t understand the implications and impacts of what they do… but just as m’adam you have a right to your LDA so do the humble parsis who believe in tarikats and religiosity… the unfortunate truth for you is that – you no longer have a bona-fide majority in our bastions that you can flaunt to the world.

    so in the words of a famous movie star – “go back in your shell we can do bloody well – WITHOUT YOU!!!”

  • Voice of Reason

    Siloo.
    The most perturbed by recent developments are those double faced individuals who have penned columns after columns as their contribution in Tenets of Zoroastrianism and other forums and at the same time praising babas and gurus of other religions.That is their way of observing Tarkats and level of religiousity.
    The cause behind these elements getting concerned is that lest they have to share their monopoly in facility of Charity treatments in housing as well as medical facilities. Surprisingly, these persons are not from poorer sections of society but those having ALL items of comfort and luxuries.

  • piloo_2

    It is indeed a source of amusement to read FPJ and those who CONTRIBUTE their ideas.
    To-day it says that it is Bombay Parsee Punchayet and NOT Bombay Zoroastrian Punchayet.
    So very verytrue. IT IS AN ADMISSION THAT IT IS NOT AN INTERNATIONAL PARSEE PUNCHAYET.
    This foot in the mouth contributors imply that a Parsee NOT following Zoroastrian faith is yet entitled to ALL benefits of Charity. This way the so called Orthodox oops DUODOX can go to Churches, be followers of a Guruiji, Baba and yet claim to be a Parsee. Farsighted indeed, leaving the door ajar for those who are ‘ traditionalists’ and believe in ‘Tarikats’. It is akin to a beggar pretending to blind to invoke pity. .

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Chottabhai bawa:

    So, the LDA is dying out, you say? Well, I see and hear differently. In fact, the only thing that is dying out in India are you MMCs and your backward way of thinking.

    You state that the youger Parsis are working siltently towards a revival… Well, why silently? And what revival? In fact, there is a revival going on. of the religion the way it was meant to be, open to all. Not that rubbish racist way of thinking.

    Yes, we should all be free to believe what we want. That is why I have always said that the money the BPP holds should be split half and half. Have to the MMS and half to the LDAs. But then again, the MMCs will all die out and eventually it will all belong to the LDAs. We all know that. That is why the MMCs are so intent upon keeping their grasp on the funds – their last bastion of power.

    Silly MMCs. You are all finished. It is a matter of time.

  • Dorab.

    Chottabhai,
    You have said ‘That the corrupt Parsi media has run its course – and the true voice of a democratic laity is coming forth’.Laity means non Priestly class right? So you are saying that now a days the voice of clergy/priestly class is being ignoted and over ruled by those democatically elected?
    By implication your sentence means that prior to 2008, it was the clergy meaning priests who ruled and are responsible for ‘corrupt’ press.

  • dshafie

    I must admit I know very little about the Parsee community of India, but as a Persian who takes great pride in my ancestors and their culture and civilization, I am saddened that another group of their descendants are facing a dwindling population.
    There are a couple of questions that confound me. If a number of the Parsee community feel that they must keep their race pure then I ask how do they know that they themselves are of pure Persian blood? Have they done DNA tests and compared it to that of the Iranian Zoroastrians to see if they are as pure or not? I bring this question up as many Iranian Zoroastrians, that I personally am acquainted with, do not believe that the Parsee communities outside of Iran are pure and do not consider them true Zoroastrians.
    Which brings me to a second question why is this an issue? Did god create one group of humans and say based on your genetic code you will be this religion, and you the other group based on your genetic code you will be that religion.
    Based on my understanding of what lead to the Islamic conquest of Persia, the majority of Persians at that time welcomed the Muslims because at least they did not exclude one group over another; you could be Arab, African, Persian, Turcoman, Chinese or Indian and be a Muslim. My ancestors who enforced class and religious separation lost that argument 1,400 hundred years ago. The ones who stuck to this mentality ended up spread in the various regions as isolated communities of Parsees whose population now has dwindled and is on the cusp of being lost forever.
    So here are some ideas which I see as some possible solutions. Many Persians like to consider themselves as followers of Zoroaster but they have not had the religious upbringing. A large number of Persian that live outside of Iran, that can express their views freely, want nothing to do with Islam; they consider it a foreign religion imposed on their forefathers. Why not reach out to these Persians and bring them into your community?
    You will achieve two things, one you will make the next generation more pure and you will bring lost sheep back to the flock, if I may use a Christian metaphor. Next, I doubt any Parsee is of pure Persian blood, not even those in Iran, so the question of keeping a pure blood is a non-issue.
    If Zoroastrianism is such a wonderful religion and makes for great communities, why not bring others in and share this wonderful religion with the rest of mankind? I myself have married a French person that has a French mother and an Italian father, and I consider myself pure Persian. If my son or daughter tomorrow feels a kinship to his Zoroastrian ancestors and wants to become a Zoroastrian why would anyone refuse him or her; if they do then that is racism which I doubt is a tenant of any religion. If racism is a tenant of a religion then that religion know nothing of God and its priest have not only lost their way but also their right to advise others on spiritual matters. Priests are neither kings, governors, nor a spokesperson for prophets nor God, they are spiritual advisors to man.
    Now go multiply and be merry.
    Darius son of Jamshid distant sons of Darius, Cyrus, Ardesheer, Xerxes and all great Persians before me.

  • farzana

    dshafie,

    “There are a couple of questions that confound me. If a number of the Parsee community feel that they must keep their race pure then I ask how do they know that they themselves are of pure Persian blood?”

    Good question…And No, they look distinctly different from Iranians…and closer to Indians in color of their skin and features.
    ————————————————————–

    “do not consider them true Zoroastrians.”

    Anyone who doesn’t believe in good thoughts, good words and doing good to others is not a Zoroastrians irrespective of his parentage.
    ——————————————————————

    “Did god create one group of humans and say based on your genetic code you will be this religion, and you the other group based on your genetic code you will be that religion.”

    Religions are man made groupings…At the tribal stage of human social evolution, which was at the end of ICE Age , religion helped to create group behaviors which enhanced the survival potential of the in-group at the expense of out-groups. Religions are purely political groupings to establish a hegemony of one culture over the other…Its a different thing that -religion has lost its edge and spite in secular societies today…
    Whichever way, ‘God’ has nothing to do with it.
    ———————————————————————

    “Based on my understanding of what lead to the Islamic conquest of Persia, the majority of Persians at that time welcomed the Muslims because at least they did not exclude one group over another; you could be Arab, African, Persian, Turcoman, Chinese or Indian and be a Muslim. My ancestors who enforced class and religious separation lost that argument 1,400 hundred years ago. The ones who stuck to this mentality ended up spread in the various regions as isolated communities of Parsees whose population now has dwindled and is on the cusp of being lost forever.”

    on the contrary to your understanding ‘Zoroastrian texts makes it mandatory for Zoroastrians to be missionaries and spread their religion to seven regions of world… Therefore just like chinese and mexican muslim …there can be chinese and Mexican zoroastrianism too…
    The defeat of Sassanians had to do with their misrule and their misplaced arrogance.
    ———————————————————————–

    “So here are some ideas which I see as some possible solutions. Many Persians like to consider themselves as followers of Zoroaster but they have not had the religious upbringing. A large number of Persian that live outside of Iran, that can express their views freely, want nothing to do with Islam; they consider it a foreign religion imposed on their forefathers. Why not reach out to these Persians and bring them into your community?”

    Parsis in India have no patent rights over Zoroastrianism …Those Iranians who feel connected with Zoroastrianism should adopt Zoroastrianism at their freewill…Zoroastrianism is a religion of freewill… take it or leave it… And stick a middle finger at those who question their rights to do so!!
    —————————————————————–

    “You will achieve two things, one you will make the next generation more pure and you will bring lost sheep back to the flock, if I may use a Christian metaphor. Next, I doubt any Parsee is of pure Persian blood, not even those in Iran, so the question of keeping a pure blood is a non-issue.”

    In fact Nature does not support inbreeding…Those who inbreed give birth to weak off springs …that explains why cancer, diabetes and impotency are common amongst Parsis in India…

    Not only amongst humans and animals.. but inbred plants are also weak and less nutritious…Inbreeding is against natural laws…and such an ill advice can’t be divine…Those who are promoting this are inbred buffoons themselves
    ——————————————————————–

  • Rémi

    Farzana :

    About your point #4 : I have already stated that the Frawardin Yasht (para 94) seems to contradict the “traditional” view on acceptance.

    I have found this : http://tenets.parsizoroastrianism.com/mythconv33.html, but it has not proved satisfactory to me for the following reasons.

    Pervin Mistry analysis falls into 4 parts:

    a) This is “the wise, spiritually progressive laws of the good Mazdayasni Religion that should be spread and increased over the seven regions of the Earth” (quoted from PM’s article).

    b) Religion of each person is pre-ordained by Ahura-Mazda before birth.

    c) same as a)

    d) the best part: “Haft keshvar zamin” does not refer to material regions, but to “luminous orbs”. She refutes the materiality of the regions with following arguments:
    – “keshvar” can be translated as “circle”, a continent or a region is not circular, thus “keshvar” does not refer to a physical region
    – the fact that the primitive vast continent (the Pangea) broke into pieces (7 being incidental) shows that there is no connection between “keshvar” and “continent”
    – Khvanirath is said to be centrally located, and Earth has no center, thus keshvar is not physical.
    – Khvanirath is refered to as “this”, and the other keshvars as “that/those”, so this can’t but prove that keshvars are “rarefied, luminous orbs”
    – Khvanirath is the only keshvar accessible to man.

    the last paragraph advocates the moral conversion from evil to good of all men and women in one’s own religion.

    To my humble opinion, this explanation is definitely not satisfactory, especially for section d):

    a) the niyayeshs refer to the “knowledge, promulgation and glory” of the mazdayasnian faith” (as translated on avesta.org), so PM’s point of view is admissible here. But in Frawardin Yasht 94, it is directly refered to “vanguhi daêna mâzdayasnish” (as translated by Ervad Kanga).

    b) Not relevant with the analysis of the verse

    c) same as a)

    d) Here is the major loophole in PM’s logic : in point a), she explains that the “moral conversion” should spread all over the Earth, what implies that she understands 7 keshvars as terrestrial; she tells us here the seven keshvars are “not the seven terrestrial continents of this Earth”. I find it hard to accept an analysis that gives two contradictory explanations to 2 parts of the same verse…

    Anyway, there are still other issues:
    – Following PM’s logic, the 6 circles of the Holy Roman Empire sould not exist ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Circle ) since they are hardly circular, and the Palace Square in St Petersburg ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_Square ) is a luminous orb because it is not a geometrical square!
    – in Greater Bundahishn, chap VIII-1, it is said “when Sirius produced [the] rain wherefrom the seas arose, [the land,] having seized the damp everywhere, [broke] into seven pieces, — [the lower premises] became [the upper premises, the crown became the bottom;] — one
    piece, as much as one half, is in the middle, and six pieces are around it; and these six pieces are as much as Xhwaniratha; the name’ keshwar’ was applied to them, that is, they had circumference.” (as in avesta.org) What PM finds incidental is accurately described!
    – Earth has no center for sure, but European maps show Europe in the center of the map, Chinese ones show China in the center and so on. That’s something called ethnocentrism. And finding a logical implication of “luminous orbs” from “this/those” requires a fairly huge amount of wild imagination
    – in greater Bundahishn chap XV-27, it is said “Owing to the increase (zayishn) of the whole fifteen races, nine races proceeded on the back of the ox Sarsaok, through the wide-formed ocean, to the other six regions (karshwar), and stayed there; and six races of men remained in Xwaniratha.” and as explained later, those races are no spiritual beings (but Arabs, Iranians, Mazendarans, etc).

    So PM’s explanation seems self-contradictory if you try to put all her arguments together.
    Assuming that the 7 keshvars stand for the whole Earth gives you a simple, constitant and logical sentence.

  • farzana

    {dear moderator, plz delete my reply posted at 4:02pm. Thank you}

    Pervin Mistry writes,
    “Asho Zarathushtra is as hailed “paurvatatem”, the First Revealer (Ha 33.14), and “ururost asto”, the Foremost (ha 51.12). The language in which he taught, the Avestan, specifically the Gathic language, is older than the language of the Vedic Sanskrit! ”

    Rubbish!! Language of Gatha is closest to Vedic Sanskrit and is different from Avestan …So neither Avestan is same as Gathic language nor were Gathas written in Avestan … And needless to say Avestan, Gathic and Sanskrit are all PIE languages belonging to INDO-EUROPEAN family of languages and there is no proof to establish which is older than the other…

    So this shows how honest and credible PERVIN MISTRY’s articles are …. After this, Remi, do you think i would be interested in her write ups from tenet pages?

    She doesn’t own the religion. She is free to say what she wants… just as we don’t have any compulsion to lap it up.

  • Rémi

    Hi Farzana,

    Since I am an alien to all this, I find it important to remain open to all points of view. That’s why I read from time to time articles on tenets site. The loopholes in Pervin Mistry’s articles were nevertheless so huge, that I tried to get in touch with a famous priest (who also writes on tenets pages) to get some clarifications. But no reply since Mid-August…

    Besides, tenets.zoroastrianism.com really is a godlmine : I’ve found a writing which explains that reincarnation is a part of Christian faith!!! If they treat their religion the same way, one could wonder if Ilm-e Khshnoomism should be considered as Zoroastrianism proper or as a distinct, spin-off religion…