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 editorjamejamshed@gmail.com