Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Faith-building lessons for Parsi children

By Naomi Canton for the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, April 26

VOLUNTEER TEACHER Sethari Irani (26) asked a group of 20 Parsi children why bad things happened to good people.

"Because Ahriman (the god of evil) doesn’t like them.” replied one of the children.

"No." she said. "He is brainless. He attacks people randomly, same as the 26/11 terrorists."

This was part of a one-day event, at the Alexandra Girls High School in Fort on Sunday, to educate Parsi children on Zoroastrianism

On the blackboard, the words "sky’, ‘water’, ‘earth’, ‘fire’, ‘plants’, animals’ and ‘man’ were written, all revered by Zoroastrians, as they believe they are the Lord’s seven creations.Children learn about Zoroastrianism at the Alexandra School, Fort on Sunday.

"How can you treat the sky well?" volunteer teacher Binaifer Sahukar (39) asked.

"Don’t use fire crackers or smoke," the children aged six to eight shouted.

Next-door, Zenobia Buhariwalla (41) was explaining to a group of five-year-olds that by performing good deeds, they could remove evil from the world.

"It’s important to ten them about the basics of our religion as many of them go to cosmopolitan schools where they are taught nothing about this and their parents don’t have time to teU them," Buhariwalla said.

Farhanaz Hazari (7). whose grandfather had sent her, said: "I don’t know much about my religion but I am proud to be a Zoroastrian."

Firoza Mistree, who coordinated the classes, said they were teaching them ethical values and what it meant to be a Parsi because in India’s multicultural society "manyParsis were losing their identity."

Children were also part of a ceremony to thank the fire, the birthday of which Zoroastrians celebrated on Friday.

A group of 40 Parsi adults was also lectured on the basics of their religion by Khojeste Mistree, co-founder of Zoroastrian Studies, which organised the event.