Parsis to meet Heptullah in July over reservations

The trustees of the Bombay Parsee Punchayet (BPP) will meet minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah in the first week of July to discuss reservations for the community in medical and engineering colleges and jobs in the government sector.

By JYOTI SHELAR | Mumbai Mirror

Najma-Heptulla-gets-Minority-ministry Heptullah recently expressed concern over the dwindling population of Parsis. BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta said with the diminishing numbers, the community was a “microminority” and reservation would help.

“The BPP office is flooded with calls from the community members who fail to get admission in medical and engineering colleges despite scoring very high. All these years, we have not been able to help them as no quota was kept aside for Parsis,” said Mehta, adding that BPP had hopes from Heptullah because she had recently acknowledged the need for doing something for the community. According to Mehta, Heptullah was approached recently and she has welcomed all the trustees to meet in July.

The BPP had first tried to root for reservations two years ago and had approached Mahrashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. “Nothing moved ahead at the time,” said Mehta, adding there was tremendous pressure from the community to get reservations.

While the Parsi community holds the minority status, they are yet to be granted the benefits in the government sector. As per 2001 census, there were 69,000 Parsis in India, of who over 46,000 live in Mumbai. The figures are estimated to go down to 60,000 in India and 40,000 in Mumbai, as per the 2011 census. The community’s decline can be gauged by the vast gap between the birth and death ratio. In 2013, there were 174 births against 735 deaths.

“The community has produced some of the best professionals, especially doctors, but today we hardly see anyone opting for medicine or engineering. Reservations are a must for Parsis, at least in the education sector,” said Homee Dalal, a community activist from Andheri. Another member from the community said either there should be no reservation or it should be for all minorities and Parsis more than qualify for it.

Jehangir Patel, editor of community magazine Parsiana, however, opined reservations based of religion, caste and community were not good. “The Parsis can be given a preference in the institutions founded by Parsis. But I wouldn’t root for reservations outside that,” said Patel.