We Are Getting Wiped Out

[Note: The following article expresses the views of Dr Fredie Mehta, the well known executive in the Tata house

Are we imparting any religions knowledge to our children? Dr Fredie asks. Every other community does it, but not we. Our youth has no idea whatsoever about our own Religion and the way of life taught by it. One of the fatal consequences of this is inter marri ages, the surest way to dissolve the “Self” of the community in the vast ocean of the humans on the globe. Upto, at least, the fourth decade of this century practically all the Parsis, from the highest to the lowest, had the same thinking and the same attitudes, the present lack of which is so ably lamented by Dr. Fredie. They had the same burning feeling of preservation and protection of the Community on the solid foundation of the Zarthoshti Din and its tenets, traditions and teachings. They had the same strong apathy for mixed marriages. Since about last fifty years, these currents started reversing their direction; and by the last decade of the century, nobody bothers about the threat of being wiped out.

Dr. Fredie Mehta’s views are like a sprinkle of ice-cold water on the hot and parched soil of the Parsi lethargy. The article is by courtesy, Parsiana magazine – Editor]

We are dead and dying community. 62 percent of the boys and girls in colleges do not know one thing about our religion other than that Zarathushtra was there and he was a very great prophet. As many as 25 Percent of our women – and I may say – as many as 18 percent of our boys every year marry outside – w hile proclaiming that they love Zoroastrianism. The trick is a very simple and very clever one but it ought to be exposed. So many boys who marry non-Parsi girls do not register themselves in the census as Parsis. These Parsi boys have forgotten what it is to be a Zoraostrian, they have forgotten what it is to be a Parsi. Do our Parsi parents spend even half an hour teaching Religion to their children? The Catholics take their children to the church every Sunday. The Muslims do so religiously on a Friday. Where are the Parsi boys and girls ?” Unless and until you plant the knowledge about o ur religion into our boys and girls, do not expect them to feel proud about their community or to feel knowledgeable about their religion. You get a person like Freddy Mercury who was absolutely brilliant, who left Rs. 72 crores as a legacy, but not one rupee to the Parsi community. Why? Because. Freddy Mercury had never been taught by his parents what is the Zarathushtrians Religion. What is the use of having brilliant people who don’t feel they are Zarathushtrians. The priests have been reduced to poverty and ignorance, almost to a joke; and therefore, all this tall talk about conversion is nonsense. Your can produce a brilliant chemical technologist. You can produce a brilliant orchestral conductor. But if they don’t feel that they are Parsis, what the hell are we ? They are great as individuals, we salute them as individuals. But as Parsis what are they?

Pherozeshah Mehta said that you have to make your contribution to India but you are also to remain a Parsi and you do not have to be integrated out of existence by intermarriages. If everyone starts intermarrying, then this is what is going to happen; but like Pherozeshah Mehta you will have to say, “we are not going to be integrated out of existence. We are going to remain and maintain our identity.”

Finally let me tell you what Mr. Govalkar, one of the greatest founder members, and close to 32 years, the president of the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) said in 1973 : “I do not understand why the Parsis want to modern­ize. I do not understand why they want to integrate themselves out of existence. I do not understand why Parsis are ashamed of their Sudreh and Kusti… Why do they want to do that? Why don’t they want to keep their identity? We Hindus don’t want to convert the Parsis, as we don’t want Parsis to convert us.

Why do you want to modernize yourself? Foreign technology, yes. Foreign capital, yes. Foreign education, yes. But not at the cost of extinguishing our community. No. : Are we going to remain as Govalkar said, “long after the Hindus have ceased to be Hindus? I hope the Parsis remain the last Hindus of India”

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Why is our community lacking in any religious zeal? Very simply, too many of us care more about money than we do anything else. Money, career, status symbols, all these things are all-important. But God, religion, etc. all take second place.

    Perhaps we should take a lesson from others as to how to place our priorities. I am not saying that working hard and creating weatlh is bad. On the contrary, it is great. However, when wealth becomes our god than are we really Parsees/Zoroastrians anymore? Religion is now a form of fashion to too many of our so-called members. And when non-Zoroastrians take a REAL interest in our religion, we tell them to take a hike! Gottala ma gos!

    These are all recipes for disaster down the road. Intermarriage is fine, but give the “outsider” and the children a chance to enter the religion. Money is fine too. But make sure that God and the community come first.

    I am always shocked to go to Parsee gatherings where religion is NEVER the main topic (or any topic) of any conversation. Too many are too interested in showing off, either their careers, or relatives’ careers, or to discuss their new homes, etc. The younger members usually seem totally devoid of anything other than their careers.

    So the remedy to this starts in the home. We need to make again God a major part of our lives. We need to set good examples and when non-Zoroastrians take an interest, we should be proud, to the extant that we will welcome them into the community.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    One more note:

    Let us be willing to mix with other Parsis regardless of their economic strata, their wealth index, their careers and titles, etc. When we gather let us be open to each other, so that we can be open to non-Zoroastrians as well.

  • shrek

    there has to be a prioritisation of ideals and culture….the need to impart wisdom should be of primary concern right now….

    as said above economic factors more than religous ones is wiping out the population…the need to lead a perfect life is forcing many parsees to abstain from marriage and those who get married are not willing to produce more than 2 kids ..and worse still parsees have the highest divorce rate among any particular community in the country…more broken families..lack of Perpetration of the zoroastrian ideology

    so you have the right ideals based on the wrong structure and that leads and in such a situation only chaos will prevail..