Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

BPP Bypolls In the Aftermath: An Overview

The below is an Op-Ed by Mickie Sorabjee, regular contributor to Parsi Khabar and a good friend and well-wisher of the website.

The moving hand writes and having written, moves on. The Fravashis of our visionary philanthropic forefathers have willed that the juggernaut of unprofessional conduct be brought to standstill and the house of BPP which is custodian of their collective philanthropic charities be set in order all over again. And so, as the twelfth century adage by William of Malmesbury goes, it has come to pass: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

Independent Muncherji Cama has been elected to the 7th vacant seat as the new Trustee of the Bombay Parsee Panchayet and emerged victorious with a count of 5134, over-scoring his main WAPIZ rival by 1624 votes who garnered 3510 ballots out of an overall total of 8829 with 28 ballot papers declared invalid. Candidates 1 and 4 secured 101 and 28 votes respectively. Except for Rustom Baug where the lady acquired a meager 169 votes more than him, Cama’s tally outran hers at all the four other polling centers. Moving northbound the winner’s steadily ascending leads were Khareghat Colony 538 votes, Cusrow Baug 975, Rustom Baug 806 (a negligible dip), DPC 1296, Bharucha Baug 1624 to clinch the winning spot first past the finishing line.

In a lighter vein one may joke that living up to their gastronomic genes even at election time, members of our electorate heartily opted for the all time Parsee hot favorite, the “sweet rotund potato” who wedged out his lean competition. The uncouth dig by WAPIZ referring to Mr Cama’s plus size that drew criticism from civilized quarters, proved to be to the advantage of the targeted contender as he sportingly laughed it off and wittily retorted to it at all campaign meetings. But on a more serious note it has to be conceded that responsible voters have saved the day for our apex body by showing that some among us are still independent thinkers with minds of our own, befitting a progressive community.

From day one since declaration of nominations up until the last vote was counted, WAPIZ has badly miscalculated and botched its own chances at the hustings. To begin with, their pitting Anahita Desai, a little known quantity outside their organization, against Muncherji Cama a guru of Charity Trust management. Unlike the David of folklore who outwitted Goliath, this WAPIZ pawn in a larger scheme of vested interest motivations stood no chance against a gentle giant who towered head and shoulders over her (pun unintended) in credentials and suitability for post of high office to BPP trusteeship. Just a glance at Muncherji’s supporters from among the who’s who in the Parsee community across every profession and walk of life, as comparable to Anahita Desai’s followers from only within the WAPIZ ideology sect, speaks for itself. The biggest blow coming from support withdrawals amid allegations of fraudulent obtaining of said signatures/names by WAPIZ leaders.

The bombastic WAPIZ campaign trail was badly flawed and gave a consistent opposition enough fodder to merrily pick on. The cacophonous and highly slanderous WAPIZ ad page dug its own grave with disreputable journalism entrusted to unethical pens that instead of scoring brownie points for the masters had the contrary effect of showing the community in poor light in a national daily, week after week, which eventually backfired on them. Overzealous WAPIZ diehards who individually tilted at windmills in their closed group discussions only added to their diminishing status.

Although Munchi Cama always dignifiedly spoke only on relevant BPP issues confronting the community welfare without personal mudslinging and won purely on superior merit and his impeccable integrity, Chairman Dinshaw Mehta’s role in supporting his candidature and campaigning shoulder-to-shoulder with him till the final moments, cannot remain unacknowledged. Chairman Dinshaw achieved a hat-trick and once again proved that he is a past master in influencing community masses and whoever he backs invariably comes out trumps. His son Viraf Mehta’s open letter to the community post the disgraceful Rustom Baug ruckus put the final nail in the WAPIZ aspirations’ coffin depriving them an opportunity of fluttering the truce making joint statement between Dinshaw Mehta and WAPIZ ally Jimmy Mistry as a victory flag, and turned away even those among its once ardent supporters. Trustee Arnavaz Mistry’s contribution cannot be overlooked. Besides, Team Cama put up a splendid low-key issue based press campaign from the wings, even as grass-root workers slogged hard throughout the grueling election trail in the last six weeks. All in all, a commendably coordinated team effort.

With elections concluding on a positive note and the BPP derailed train on its way to being put back on track, it is still early days to presume everything will be hunky-dory on board and wish that community will yet not be taken by surprise by more tumbling skeletons from the BPP closet. However it is time to learn from past blunders and move ahead, looking forward to better governance in a harmonious environ in the overall interest of community good.

Yours truly,
Mickie Sorabjee
July 5, 2011.