A Zoroastrian priest – who was banned from praying at the Towers of Silence and fire temples because he has been conducting Navjotes (initiation ceremonies) for children from mixed marriages and offering after-death prayers for cremated Parsis – said he will continue to offer religious services regardless of the ban.
In a letter published in the latest edition of community weekly Jam-e-Jamshed, the priest Khushroo Madon said that he would continue to perform those Navjotes, and even solemnise weddings of Parsis to those from outside the community. And said that he did not consider those rituals ‘irreligious’.
“I will keep performing the Navjotes and weddings of mixed Parsees as the same is approved by the highly-learned and revered Vada Dasturjis (high priests),” Madon wrote in his letter.
Last month, trustees of Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), which manages the Towers of Silence or Doongerwadi on Malabar hill, had issued an order barring Madon and another priest, Faramroz Mirza, from conducting prayers at the cemetery and at fire temples controlled by the trust.
“He may say whatever he wants to. But does he have the scholarship to make the contention that his actions are not irreligious. Madon is welcome to his personal point of view, but we have to look in terms of what the community wants and the majority are with us,” said BPP trustee Khojeste Mistree. “The previous board of the BPP had also taken the position that the two priests should be banned from the Towers of Silence and fire temples controlled by the trust. We are only implementing the decision of the earlier board. Whatever has to be done will be done,” he added.
But Madon said he was not worried about the ban.
A decade ago it was estimated that one out of every three Parsis married out of the community. And now, the figure is said to have risen to almost 40 per cent.
“For the last ten years, I have performed Navjotes of children born to inter-religious couples. I have also offered prayers for Parsis who opted to be cremated. I will continue to offer these services,” he said. “I am not bothered by the ban. I do not practice at the Towers of Silence or at fire temples. I do not want anything from there. Those who call me for prayers usually decide the place.”
Original article here.