Noshir Dadrewala on the Banning Priests Controversey


August 3, 2014

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Noshir H. Dadrawala writes

I have read with interest the response of sitting BPP trustees, Mr. Khojeste Mistree and Mr. Yazdi Desai to the open letter written by former BPP trustee Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly with regard to wastage of trust funds on needless litigations, particularly the litigation around the ban on the two so called “Renegade Priests”.

From day one, the question that has bothered many is why just these two priests when there are many others who perform prayers for those who choose an alternate system for the disposal of the dead? But, let’s take it that the trustees were “testing the waters” and therefore targeted just these two.

The bravado of these two self-styled ‘defenders of the faith’ is simply despicable. It is so easy to blow up Rs. 3 crores as long as it is not their hard earned money!

The BPP is a Public Charitable Trust and the trustees are expected to manage the funds judiciously for ‘charitable purposes’ and not over frivolous litigations under the pretext of upholding religious tenets.

What these two priests do in their private lives is nobody’s business. How can these two priests be banned from reciting Zoroastrian prayers for a Zoroastrian who is to be consigned to the Dokhma atDoongerwadi, just because in private they also pray for those who choose to get cremated?

If orthodoxy is so important to this duo why don’t they also ban some of the pall-bearers who drink, smoke, gamble and indulge in all sorts of vices on the doongerwadi complex itself? Why do these two self-righteous trustees turn a blind eye to that? Is it out of fear of the Trade Union to which these pall-bearers belong or are they petrified with the thought of who would carry the corpses inside the towers if they are banned from Doongerwadi?
The duo claims that the trustees imposed this ban on the directive of some High Priests. The question is which ones? To begin with, the High Priests, seldom, if ever, speak with one voice. And, on the rare occasion that they do, one never knows who among them will change his stand within a few weeks to a few months.

But, even assuming the High Priests unanimously give such a ‘directive’ to the trustees, where is the ‘discretion’ that every trustee is under legal obligation to exercise?

To cut a long story short, for decades now, the trustees of the BPP have let the community down. However, when history will be written, this particular lot will be seen and written about as the worst among them all.

It has been regime that has wasted funds, rabidly fought with each other and cut the community’s nose in general public. They have collectively ushered in an era of disrepute, acrimony and brought the functioning of this august body to a virtual standstill.

Ironically, this lot was elected by a process of Universal Adult Franchise and somewhere, much as I hate to say it, the community gets the leadership it deserves.

Noshir H. Dadrawala