The Parsi community wants the government to encourage universities to start courses on Zoroastrian studies. At a recent meeting with the National Minority Commission, the Parsis put forward their request to start such courses that will cover the rich history and the dying dialects of the community.
Zoroastrian scholar and trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, Khojestee Mistree, said that the idea was floated when the commission team met with the community members on Friday. “In a city like Mumbai, there should be a full-fledged department of Zoroastrian studies under which courses on Parsi history, heritage and linguistics can be offered,” said Mistree, citing an example of University of London that is the only university in the world to have a Zoroastrian studies department.
The community members told the commission that universities should start cultural studies on Parsis, ancient Zoroastrian scriptures and also linguistic studies to save the dying dialect of Parsi-Gujarati that is a mix of middle Persian language called Pahlavi and tribal Gujarati.
The commission chairperson, Naseem Ahmad, has now asked the Parsis to submit a formal memorandum for the demand.
According to Mistree, when Dr Mehroo Bengalee was the vice chancellor of the Mumbai University, the community has approached her to start a course or a department of Zoroastrian studies. “However, the idea fizzled out,” Mistree said.