Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Need for a Facility for Mentally Challenged Parsi Children and Adults

Below is a letter by our dearest friend and neighbor Dr. Katayun Palia to the Editor of Jame Jamshed. Dr. Palia talks about the need for a residential facility for mentally challenged Parsi children/adults.


Dear Ms. Engineer,

This is further to a letter published in your newspaper ("A Tribute to Jimmy Shroff ", Jam-e-Jamshed, March 4, 2012), regarding the need for a residential facility for mentally challenged Parsi children/adults.

As a volunteer working with mentally challenged youngsters, I feel very strongly about the urgent need for such a facillity. The issue deals with a marginalised section of our community that cannot really speak up for itself!

Let each member of our community pause for a moment, and place themselves in the shoes of those who have a mentally challenged child/sibling/relative to care for. Let each one of us, for a moment, live with the stark, gut-wrenching fear that accompanies the thought: "WHAT will happen to my son/daughter/sister/brother, when I am no longer there, when I am too old to look after him/her!"

I want to place before all of you, a recent conversation with a young mentally-challenged Parsi girl living in South Mumbai (name withheld for privacy). This young girl, who has no siblings, lost her mother to illness a few years ago; her father, who was her sole care-giver, passed away a short while ago. Not even comprehending the meaning of the words she used, or their terrible impact on her life, she said to a family friend: "Aunty, tamey jaanoch, hu toh orphan thai gai" ("Aunty, do you know, I have become an orphan").

I think it is time for each one of us to wake up to the urgency of the issue. There are several developmentally-challenged Parsi individuals who already are, or soon may be, in this situation. Let us set aside our "Khaavanu-peevanu" and "masti-majaa" for a while. Let us set aside our apathy and our indifference to "somebody else’s problem, not mine". Let each one of us – ordinary people, and particularly those in a position to make decisions/generate funds – give our hundred percent, and on a priority basis ensure that this facility is set up as soon as possible.

Let us live by this adaptation of Gandhiji’s famous bhajan: A true Zarthosti "toh tene kahiye, je peed paraai jaane re" ("is one who truly shares the pain of his fellow-men")!

Yours truly,

Katayun Palia

If you agree with what she writes, please write in to stress the urgency of this cause, and generate further support. The editors email address is