Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Sanjan Day Celebrated amidst controversey

Below are two article on the recent Sanjan Day Celebrations.


Conversion issue mars Sanjan Day celebrations

Published by DNA India / Manoj R Nair

The issue of religious conversions raging in the Parsi-Zoroastrian community almost stalled the annual Sanjan Day celebrations that commemorate their arrival from Persia about 1,300 years ago.

Over a thousand Parsis had gathered on Thursday in Sanjan village on the Gujarat-Maharashtra border. The function was held around the memorial column built to mark the spot. Many had travelled from Mumbai.

Apart from members of the local Parsi community, the guests included high priests, Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) trustees and DB Vaghela, the Valsad superintendent of police.

According to those present, one of the guest speakers, a prominent businessman from Ahmedabad, criticised community priests for ignoring conversions to Zoroastrianism. He is reported to have said that new converts were entering the community’s fire temples, including their most important shrine at Udwada, 30 km from Sanjan.

Dastur Khurshid Dastur, the high priest of Udwada where the holy fire brought by the Persian immigrants is enshrined, protested the statement. “He said that the high priests and their forefathers had never allowed conversions,” said Parvez Wadia, a member of Sanjan’s small Parsi community.

Dastur is reported to have walked down followed by a few other guests. The fracas ended when somebody took the mike away from the businessman. The high priest and other guests were called back before the function ended with a traditional Bhonu or feast.

Conversions to Zoroastrianism is a sensitive topic for Parsis. While some eminent Parsis from Mumbai and Pune have approached the Bombay high court to support two priests who have been banned for conducting the initiation ceremonies of children from mixed parentage, a Russian had recently filed a petition in the high court after he was stopped from becoming a Zoroastrian priest.

BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta said, “It was an old man in his seventies who made the statement. The issue has been resolved.” But local members of the community said they were embarrassed by the incident.




Areez Khambhata’s remark sparked ruckus in Sanjan day function

Published in Desh Gujarat

Sanjan, 18 November, 2010

Industrialist Areez Khambhata’s remark about allowing inter-caste marriage in Parsi community sparked protest in Sanjan day function held at Sanjan today.

Khambhata talked about allowing inter-caste marriage in his speech at Sanjan day function today, which immediately sparked protest, and several Parsis rushed to the stage to stop him speaking anything further. One Parsi gentleman tried to snatch away Khambhata’s microphone. The function was disturbed for some time. Almost all Parsis present in the function showed disagreement with Khambhata’s remark.

One of the lading Parsis present in the function said, “Khambhata is known for controversial and offending remarks for long time. Our community has decided not to allow inter-caste marriage, and you saw in the function that the community members were agreed to this. Khambhata spreads wrong impression that Udavada and Iran Shah’s momeds and Dastoors support conversion and encourage it, which is completely untrue.”