It’s a small but powerful community and Parsis…


November 27, 2006

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It’s a small but powerful community and Parsis in Mumbai are joining hands to protect a 123-year-old community temple.

Built by the Tatas, the agiary on Bandra’s Hill Road is under threat from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

To clear a bottleneck, the BMC is widening a stretch of the road. But as a result, many heritage structures may lose their outer walls.

“When people come here, they come in, wash their hands, do some prayers and then enter the temple. If the wall is demolished, then all this becomes difficult,” said Freddie Khambhata, Head Priest, Tata Agiary.

It’s not just a question of religion. The meeting was attended by many non-Parsis as well, protesting against the damage to heritage structures.

“The widening gives more space for the hawkers to come here and squat,” said a local.

“I have lived here for 80 years and I don’t see the point in all this,” added another.

Joining hands

Old churches like St Peters and St Andrews are also in the line of fire.

“The church would come on the road. We would lose our grotto and our graves,” said Father Vernon, St Andrews Church.

Residents have met municipal commissioner Johny Joseph and the local ward officer. But clearly, the problem is far from being resolved.

“We have met the commissioner also and he gave us his assurance. But verbal assurances won’t do. We need a written assurance,” said Shyama Kulkarni, Chairperson, Citizens’ Trust.

The issue here is not just confined to Parsis and the Fire Temple alone, but that of protecting the heritage of Bandra locality.

Original article here