By Farrukh Dhondy
Finally the Indian National Council for Minorities (NCM) has got around to what should be one of the central problems facing the country. A member of the Commission, one Mehroo Dhunjisha Bengalee, has mooted the question of the dwindling Parsi population.
A little history: The Arab-Muslim explosion of 714 AD overtook Parsi-Zoroastrian Iran; the last Zoroastrian king, Yazdegard III was defeated. Some Zoroastrians held out in Kerman for a few generations, but eventually fled to India — 18,000 came to the Gujarati kingdom of Jadav Rana and were given land and protection. Today we number 100,000, a five-fold increase over 800 years.
Like Ms Bengalee, I am a devoted if not devout Parsi-Zoroastrian. I passionately believe, as she does, that we are an endangered species. But I am forced to dissent from her so-called remedies and recommendations. She wants them to “encourage the minority community to foster the spirit of joint family, encourage timely marriages, check divorces and increase intensive post-marriage family interaction countrywide”.
Her report has found that “late and non-marriages, fertility decline, emigration, marriages outside community and separation are the main causes of declining number of Parsis in the country. What is lacking is the zeal of entrepreneurship, early employment and strengthened family ties to live together and lead the Zoroastrian way of life”.
My feeling is that these ‘initiatives’ and good thoughts won’t work.
Pockets of Zoroastrians, resisting forcible conversion to Islam fled to Europe, Central Asia and China. They were absorbed into the local population. But surely their genes persisted as Parsi-Zoroastrian? The Parsis who came to India retained, by agreement with the local Hindu king, a racial and religious identity, so racism preserved the species.
Ms Bengalee, all this trash about encouraging “the spirit of joint family”, etc will do absolutely nothing to increase our numbers. I have to inform her (a former Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University, no less!) that there are several factors concerning Parsi procreation that are decisively more important.
A wise Parsi humorist attributed our population decline to the fact that “half the Parsis are gay and the other half are statues in Bombay”. She was telling the truth. The obvious remedy is to welcome the gay gene into the community and ensure that the adopted children of gay couples (whatever their skin colour) are registered as Zoroastrians.
The true cause of degenerative birth decline is the snobbish and selective attitude of Parsi-Zoroastrian females. Many of them teach English literature, identify with Jane Austen’s heroines and so disdain the amorous overtures of Hosi and Meenoo. They, with others who work in banking and the arts, decline to perform the breeding act with feeble and malodorous Parsi males less knowledgeable about premium bonds or Gauguin than themselves. This leads to prolonged spinsterhood on the one hand and a falling birth rate within the marriages that are forced on them on the other.
The remedy is obvious. The uber-intelligent, over-sensitive Parsi female ought to be seen as a priestly species, a sort of opinionated caste of Platonic Princesses preserved for their opinions. The breeding process of Parsi-Zoroastrians ought to be perpetrated by importing several thousand women from the Caucasus and Central Asia who may have had some Parsi ancestry, to breed with Parsi males in Mumbai (and London) and make many where there were few.
Selling land which is today wastefully used for reluctant vultures to eat the Parsi dead will finance the inducement to the Caucasian, Russian and Central Asian beauties to assist with this great experiment in social breeding. I can only humbly offer myself to be one of audition experts of this great civilisational and preservative project.
The author is a London-based scriptwriter
Original article here