Ervad Hathiram’s Editorial on the Doongerwadi Incident


April 22, 2010

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Events | Issues

Yesterday we posted a letter from a reader regarding an incident at Doongerwadi involving two priests at a Geh Sarna ceremony.

Here is a follow up post by good friend Ervad Marzban Hathiram. Besides being the Head Priest of the Behram Baug Agiary, he also edits

His response merits a full reading on his site but here is a paraphrase from the same

In the incident which happened recently, a lot of blame has been put on Ervad Jal Balsara, which is totally unfair. If there is anybody to blame it is the priest who did not know how to pray the Ahunavaiti Gatha, and more so the Panthaky who deputed this priest to Dungerwadi. Within Mobedi circles, the “abilities” of Ervad Karanjia are so well known that he has had to move from one Agiary to another. He should not have been deputed for this task in the first place by his Panthaky. Ervad Balsara also has to share some of the blame by agreeing to stand with him, since he knew that this Mobed was incapable of undertaking the rigour of the Geh Sarna ritual. Had he refused to stand with him from the beginning, this incident would not have occurred. But continuing with the ceremony was not correct and although the way it was handled was un-polite, Ervad Jal was justified in stopping the ceremony midway. But he should have immediately clarified his position to the family of the deceased in a polite manner and then immediately called for a replacement Mobed to re-start and complete the Geh Sarna.

Read the entire article at


  1. a.rustomjee

    Why has the concerned Mobed Mr. Bulsara himself has not come out with his version and why does he require a spokesperson to plead his case. If as Hathiram states, in the past some mourners had not paid their ‘dues’ to Bulsara, why does he (Bulsara) not issue receipt so that there is no scope for mischief or misgiving. Better Bulsara should take payment Bulsara through the Panthaky of the concerned Fire Temple where the remainder of ceremonies are performed. instead of taking it directly from the relatives of the deceased. Then every thing will be in black and white.

  2. Khushnaz

    If money is such an issue why pursue a noble priestly tradition- Why not become a stock trader on Wall Street?

    As for the calibre of accompanying priest, if Jal Bulsara has been practising for decades wouldn’t it be more nicer if he simply showed patience, understanding for a fellow relatively inexperienced priest?

  3. Jal Satarawala

    The fact that Ervad Hathiram had to labor with such a lengthy explanation to take up Jal Bulsara’s case shows that there is no merit in the arguments put up. He goes beating round the bush and unfortunately is supporting a wrong cause. An apology from Jal Bulsara could end this debate but egos come in the way.

  4. farzana

    I agree with you, Khushnaz, i’m not even surprised by Hathiram’s coming out with a lame defence of unethical priest at Doongerwadi. There are apologists in every religion on earth that make even the worst putrid part of their tribe come out smelling like roses. Had a mourner been as crass as Balsara, would likes of Hathiram have even accepted so many ‘aggravating’ factors he doles out as an excuse on behalf of Balsara for similar MISCONDUCT?

  5. Malcolm

    I can only feel for the family of the deceased who had to go through this incident. Ervad Hathiram has given a good opinion as to “What and What Not” should have been done (when the incident boiled up). However, reading his long explanation makes one believe that it is a biased view favoring Ervad Balsara. Ervad Hathiram (may be) fails to understand the reason for the gravity of anger levied against Ervad Balsara. I guess the question here is NOT whether Ervad Balsara did the right thing (by leaving the prayers half way through). The question was whether he did it “IN THE RIGHT MANNER”. So by saying Quote “..a lot of blame has been put on Ervad Jal Balsara, which is totally unfair” Unquote, Ervad Hathiram strikes a wrong chord. Sir, I don’t think the readers have blamed (ONLY) Ervad Balsara. But how can any sane person justify that Ervad Balsara cannot be blamed? He is the epicenter of this incident because it was his ACTIONS (or rather the manner in which he chose to act) that has caused this incident.

  6. keki unwalla

    Birds of the same feathers……….

  7. kershasp

    Type your comment here…I donot understand why Er. Balsara start the prayer in the first place when his co priest did know the prayers. How is it that the person conserned was alowed to be the priest in the first place when he did not Know the prayers. I am Sorry to say that Er.Hathiram is wrong in defending Er.Balsara. Our HIgh Prist must take intrest in the matter and see to it that this kind of thing is not repeited.

  8. Hosi.Pardiwala

    @Ervard Hathiram,

    The community has read your letter containing various excuses for the conduct of Er.Balsara.Why no other priest has come to bail him out except you?

    Will you let the community know if Er. Balsara performs ceremonies for all three days in case of NAVARAAS .(i.e. those who have no surviving family members) free of Charge.? That should also include Charoom prayers.

    As you happen to be the only Priest who has come to the
    rescue of Balsara, I believe you are competent to make a factual statement with regard to my pointed question.

  9. Darayas Malegam

    Dear Farzana ,
    I agree fully with you – There is no excuse for Bulsara’s behaviour ; Walking out in the middle of a funeral shows the level of ” PURITY ” of this Dastoor !!!!! Its time we realise that it is our own doings that make our souls gravitate to the realm we belong , it is time that the monopoly of the Dastoor comes to an end , it is time we realise that God is about Love and NEVER judgement or punishment – The dead can do without Bulsara —wondner what Bulsara will do without the dead !!!!!!!!! .

  10. farzana

    True Darayas, but as long as there are people who are willing to give a free ride, there will come those who will take them for a ride!! Can you do anything about dat??

  11. Byram Sidhwa

    Either Er Hathiram considers below his dignity to attend the questions raised by boarders here or perhaps he had not expected such uncomfortable questions and thought he could somehow ‘convince’ the laity with his rigmarole. Any surprise, why our priestly class seldom gets iota of reverence. The cause of all this is arrogance of the priestly class brought up in the false belief that they are SUPREME and no one should question their divine authority.

  12. Hiravan

    So byram sidwa who else is?

  13. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

    @Hosi Pardivala

    1. I am not here to bail out anyone. I am just presenting another point of view. If you don’t like it, then you are entitled to that opinion. This post was written for my personal Blog and posted here.

    2. The ceremonies for any Navaras Ruvan are taken care of by the BPP which has a special Fund earmarked for this purpose. Priests who do the ceremonies for such persons are reimbursed based on a fixed rate by the BPP.