Jamshedpur Parsis: Prayers at Fire Temple ring in Parsi New Year

It was a day of happiness and devotion at the Fire Temple here on Wednesday. Clad in traditional attire, members of the Parsee community celebrated Jamshed-e-Navroze, the Parsi New Year, by conducting special prayers, greeting each other and enjoying delicacies.

By Parvinder Bhatia | The Pioneer

Dressed in their best, the men arrived at the temple donning the traditional caps while the women wrapped scarves around their heads. Irrespective of age, Parsis greeted each other saying “Navroze mubarak”.

“The Parsee New Year Jamshed-e-Navroze is believed to bring each Parsi an assurance of good health and prosperity,” said Dicky Modi, former chairman, Jamshedpur Parsee Association (JPA). In the evening, special celebrations including cultural programmes were organised at the Parsee Hostel premises.

However, for the Parsi community of Jamshedpur, the dwindling population in the city remains the major concern. The community members while celebrating New Year, Navroz on Wednesday, said that there was urgent need to give a thought to this burning issue.

The alarming situation can be sensed from the fact that two decades before there were around 600 families residing in the city but now the numbers have been reduced to mere 200- 250 members. The practitioners of the world’s oldest organised religion are left in few in numbers.

The decline in the Parsee population worldwide is marked by an excess of deaths over births and a falling birth rate.

When contacted, an official of Jamshedpur Parsee Association (JPA) said that the dwindling population remains the concern worldwide. However, the numbers have reduced significantly in the city.

“Yes in our city (Jamshedpur) the members of the community are left in few numbers since many members have settled in metros or abroad. There was a time when the community was in large number but the times have changed and younger generation is keen for greener pastures. The community played an important role in the development of the city and industries here but unfortunately the numbers have reduced,” said N Dotivala.

“Many Parsees marry late. Others did not find the right match in the miniscule community, which had contributed to dwindling numbers,” said another senior member.

Meanwhile, Jamshedpur Parsee Association (JPA) celebrated the New Year with pomp and fanfare. From hosting cultural programmes to rich Parsee cuisine, the celebration provided a platform for interaction and entertainment. The Parsees presented traditional dances and skit. The celebrations began with religious prayer sessions, called ‘Jashan’, at the Fire Temple.

The Parsee meal that followed was absolutely awe-inspiring. Prepared exclusively by a group of Parsee ladies, the platter was an authentic spread of some home-made delicacies comprising sali-ni margha, a spicy chicken preparation with crispy potato chips, masala dal, a mutton dish and kulfi.