Tomorrow, the World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthostis (WAPIZ) completes a year riddled with controversies. But not one without achievements though.
“Of 54 anjumans (group of people heading the community) in India, 50 are with Wapiz,” said Khojeste Mistree, a founding member of the organisation. Wapiz, says Khojestee, was formed to oppose the idea of conversion to Zoroastrianism and inter-religious marriages.
“We believe that conversion is going against the faith. Some people, (our opponents) say that inter-religious marriage into the Zoroastrian community will increase numbers of the community. But we have found out that only one child in 100 of mixed parentage will marry within the community. How will this help numbers of the community?” asks Mistree.
Announcing the achievements of the organisation during the past year, Mistree said, “We have crossed the 4,500-figure membership mark, within a year. It is because people think that we are right, that so many of them have joined,” said Mistree.
Various schemes that took birth during last year were announced while it was declared that these would be strengthened during the coming year.
One such is the financial scheme for mobeds (priests). “We need priests to manage our fire temples which are situated outside the metropolis,” said Mistree. The priests who have registered with this scheme will be paid Rs. 15,000 per month for the three months during which they will be required to pray in fire temples outside the cities. “Then for the following three months, they will come back home. We will be paying them Rs. 5,000 a month for this period, and they are free to work wherever they want to. Then the subsequent three months, they will be sent to a remote fire temple,” said Mistree.
The next scheme is to provide employment and a better life for economically underprivileged Zoroastrian residents of villages in Gujarat. “The old women will be supplied with wool to make kastis (sacred thread). The poor Zoroastrians will be provided food packages every month, and their houses will be renovated and money provided to start their own business,” said Jamshed Mohta, another member of the organisation.
Then there is an educational scheme, which Wapiz has started for youngsters between the ages of nine and 18. “Seventy-seven youngsters have already registered. We will be offering scholarships to these students as well as providing work opportunities in various institutes run by Zoroastrians, including schools and printing presses,” said Dr Mehroo Bengalee, a founder member who is in charge of this scheme.
Other than that, Wapiz plans to address old as well as new issues relating to the Zoroastrian community during the next coming year.
Original article here