All these years they have never asked for any favour from the government. In fact, they favoured the government by building hospitals, colleges and research institutions in the city. However now, the Parsis also want a share in the reservation pie.
With the campaign for the Bombay Parsi Punchayet elections-to be held over three weekends beginning October 3-hotting up, the community’s demand for reservations in government institutions are becoming a major point of discussion. For the first time, the campaign for the more-than-350-year-old punchayet has assumed the proportions of a general election drive and every member wants their candidate to do “something worthwhile for them”
Jimmy Mistry, one of the candidates, said, “At all my campaign meetings, voters are demanding reservations in educational institutions and government jobs. Parsi students are at a decided disadvantage because they do not enjoy the benefits of reservation even though they belong to a truly minority community with just about 40,000 members. I plan to take this up with the Centre.”
According to Dinshaw Mehta, another candidate, the poor and needy in the community are not being able to pursue higher education in the absence of quotas. “Parsis do not even opt for government jobs because it is so difficult to get through in the general category. Like other minority communities, ours should also have quotas in government institutions.” Ex-corporator Rustom Tirandaz also agreed with Mehta that many students do not get admission to colleges despite scoring high in school. “We are only asking for a level playing ground in the absence of which there is considerable discontent in the community, especially among the youth. If Buddhists and Muslims can have quotas, why not Parsis, who have done so much for society?” Tirandaz said.
According to Khojeste Mistree (58) of World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthoshtis (Wapiz), Parsi philanthropists used to donate a huge amount to educational institutions and accordingly, certain number of seats would be reserved for students from the community, but not anymore. He wants all those reserved seats to be restored to the Parsis, apart from granting quotas to them.
Builder Boman Irani said, “Parsis are a proud, but depleting community. The government should nurture them by extending the benefits of reservation to them.”