Sonia buries ‘drug’ for Parsis

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s intrepid letter writing activity, one particular missive — in no way as contentious as her intervention on FDI in retail — stands out for reaching out to a small but important community in India, the Parsis.

In a letter to health minister Anbumani Ramadoss in May last year, Ms Gandhi backed the ban of the veterinary use of Diclofenac, a drug that caused massive wipe-out of vulture population. The drug caused fatal kidney failure in the birds feeding on the carcasses of cattle treated with the anti-inflammatory preparation.

The issued a notification for the drug’s ban within three months. Diclofenac was replaced by Meloxicam by August 2006. While the environmental evidence in support of banning Diclofenac was substantial, the vulture population’s near extinction was being keenly felt by the Parsis.

The Zoroastrian Parsi community observes a sky burial ritual, where its dead are committed to be eaten by vultures or birds of prey in the tower of silence.With the decrease in vulture population, the powerful but numerically small community has been forced to look for alternative burial methods such as solar burning. But many of the conservative Parsis could not come to terms with it.

The Zoroastrian faith sees the vulture as an important religious symbol and not as scavengers as characterised by dominant western traditions. The ban of the drug is seen as a significant step in the direction of saving India’s vultures.

Studies indicate that the number of the birds have gone up in Punjab since the ban. The Congress government in Haryana has undertaken captive breeding of the endangered birds. However, it is too early to say if the ban has worked in Mumbai, where the largest Parsi population in India resides.

This move to integrate herself further with the ethos of Indianess, though perhaps not thought out in these explicit terms as this has been largely a conservation problem, fits in with the manner in which her public image has shaped up over the last few years.

The foreign-origin issue has been buried and talk of Ms Gandhi’s kumbh forays do not kick-up the kind of ruckus they did back in 2001. She has also been projecting herself on the international stage through the prism of ‘Satyagraha’ — Gandhi’s non-violent resistance method focusing on the quest for truth.

Original article here

  • RUSTOM JAMASJI

    Wonder what the ‘close the doongerwaadi’ coterie has to say. Sadly the Parsi’s who called the doongerwaadi a dumpyard did not have faith to stand by Zoroastrian beliefs nor wisdom to set things right. They must now be busy desperately searching for other excuses even though we can trenghten the dokhmenishini system. Ofcourse even a fully operational aviary GIVEN TO US ON A PLATTER would not make them happy.So what can we accept even though now we have Govt of India’s help.
    In short they were fighting for their ego’s and will continue to do so.Till then the Zoroastrian religion and Zoroastrians will have to face the brunt of myopic nouveau modern philosophists.
    It will be a ironic drama to go thru the ritual of the gentlemen doctors, lawers, business men and ex trustee of the B.P.P who keep blackmailing the community by knocking on the doors of law to riducle and find faults with the system instead of taking advantage of what Sonia Gandhi did and garnering world support on vulture aviary’s.
    5 years back when I spoke at the Rustom Baug anjuman about getting the govt involved and taking advantage of the world movement to save the Vulture population that enebles us to achieve our goals, a B.P.P Trustee said that an aviary is not pragmatic.He even stepped down momentoraly and when his goals were not met . jumped back on the seat. They are busy practis8ing politics within the punchayat.

    How wrong he is is proven by 6 aviary’s operating in India.
    How wise are the eminent doctor, lawer and the association that tries to revive Zoroastrianism by not standing and fighting for the beliefs in Zoroastrianism is for all to see now!..