Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

The Movie Shooting Controversey and Doongerwadi: An Open Letter.

The below is an open letter by Arzan J. Ghadially, regular reader of Parsi Khabar, on the recent incidents about the movie shooting at Khareghat Colony and the subsequent parking of vehicles, etc at the Doongerwadi premises.


The Trustee of the Bombay Parsee Panchayat Funds and Properties

Kind Attn: Mr Yezdi Desai – Trustee BPP.

Subject – Open letter with reference to ‘Shootout at Khareghat’

1) Has WAPIZ and Free Press being appointed as the sole spokesperson or a media partner to the BPP as I increasingly find published matters that are related to the BPP board meeting being discussed in your paid advertisement in a National Daily.

2) I am shocked to read in Free Press dated Oct 14, 2011 that Khojestree Mistry has proposed that commercialization at Dungerwadi should be stopped. Mr Yezdi Desai – What are you proposing? Stop firing the Gun from another shoulder. No shooting nor commercialization as claimed took place at the Tower of Silence only permission to park vehicles were given which is not commercialization as anyone visiting the Tower of Silence can park the car. There are non Parsees who palm the security guard at the main gate and allow them to park inside for short periods. What is committee heading the TOI doing about it. The manager is merely taking a salary without doing any work. If only he would have been doing his job. He would have noticed the shamiana and cooking food that took place for 3 days and stopped it but it continued for 3 days in his presence because he either allowed it or he was negligent. Issue him a show cause notice for his failure to curb.

3) Out of curiosity I ask. Where were you when the decision was taken to rent out the place for a film shoot? Even if we are made to believe that a decision is taken by a Co Trustee should you not support and stand by the decision and resolve it rather than playing the role of a problem digger? If you feel the need to criticize the BPP in your paid page should it not be prudent for you to resign and fight rather than be a part of the board and keep critizing the BPP like Noshir did which WAPIZ objected.

4) We noticed 2 persons belonging to WAPIZ merely loitering around and when asked they replied that have been coming here since 2 days. There are eye witnesses to substantiate the discussion. What role did these 2 men play in resolving the issue?

5) Being a Trustee Mr Desai in your paid advertisement of WAPIZ write against the functioning of the BPP and creates and impression that all is not well at the BPP. It reminds me of Noshir Dadrawalla whom the same WAPIZ criticized for discussing internal matters with AZA and publishing it and now the same WAPIZ that is caught indulging in the same.

6) People on the Board were aware of the permission being given to shoot and an amount of Rs 5 lakhs was paid by the production house and a lakh was paid to the Association. Mr Khojestree too in his clarification to Parsi Times on Oct 15,2011 mentioned that permission to shoot was given at Khareghat Colony though he has not claimed it was given by Dinshaw Mehta. Since the residents created a ruckus the permission to move the vehicles from the Khareghat colony to the Tower Of Silence was given. I was present at that time and as a community member had on my own accord had given the crew an ultimatum to clear the premises within 45 minutes or the cops will move in and trespassing charges will be put on the production house but was later briefed that a permission was indeed given to them and hence the compromise to remove everything except the vehicles was taken. The proceeds went to the BPP and not in the pocket of the Trustee who gave the permission. Learn to work as a Team. All Trustees should be punctual for the Board meeting every week and not come as and when they feel like at whatever time. This also could be one of the reasons for people not being present when decisions are taken.

7) A very good friend Mr Karl Sahukar ( His wife and he had campaigned for Wapiz ) in his email claims to have spoken to some of the Trustees whom he does not name but claims in writing that the Trustees were not aware of the permission given. It is shameful that Trustees indulge in such cheap thrills and back door politics to malign co Trustees.

8) Finally I am no fan of Muncherji but believe in giving due Credit where it needs to be given. In Godrej Baugh during a WAPIZ election campaign, a WAPIZ canvasser had asked a question to the residents of Godrej Baug amidst thundering applause which goes something like this ‘ Do you want a Trustee who cant climb 4 floors ( Referring to Munchicama )or do you want a Trustee who can…………..( referring to Anahita Desai). Finally on that day at Dungerwadi none of the Trustees including you who can climb 4 floors came to resolve but a Trustee who had a back problem and cant climb 4 floors as claimed by WAPIZ came to supervise at 2.30am at the Tower of Silence.

Having said all that I am of the strong view that there should be no commercialization at the Tower of Silence. No Trustee or Trustees elected have any right to give any permission of any nature for commercialization at the Tower Of Silence. They are caretakers and not owners. In colonies with consent from all permission can be granted and income generated but not at the cost of disturbing the peace of the colony. The Tower Of Silence is a sacred place and the community is quite touchy when it come to such issues and people on Board at the BPP should stop this blame game and work in harmony and not indulge in cheap gossip and sensationalize them by publishing community matters in National Dailies as it harms the entire community whom people hold in high esteem. In fact WAPIZ was justified earlier for printing in Free Press because Jame – Jamshed would not publish their articles but now with the change of management in Jame – Jamshed I am sure they would not hesitate in publishing your side and with folded hands I request the Free Press page be discontinued and let matters remain within the community. WAPIZ is doing a good job but the negativity spoils all the good work done.

Yours sincerely

Arzan J Ghadially

Cc: The Trustees – BPP

Cc: Jame Jamshed

Cc: Parsi Khabar