On Navroze Parsis Fight For Survival


March 23, 2010

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Adil Fatakia literally lives in the past; the 65-year-old bachelor takes great pride and interest in the rich legacy of his community. In fact, he can trace his family tree 13 centuries back to when the first Parsis landed in Sanjan near Nargol – fleeing religious persecution in Persia, now Iran.

By Tejas Patel, NDTV, Nagrol, Gujarat

parsideclinegridstory They might have escaped then, but the battle for survival has turned grim again. Worldwide, there are only 70,000 Parsis left – a decline attributed to extreme inbreeding. Parsis marry only within the community. Those who don’t get ostracised

But Fatakia’s lament is the loss of Parsi heritage: "All these buildings belong to Parsis. I feel very sad seeing them crumble. How can we let our heritage disappear? Today we have all become selfish. So be it, but don’t forget your motherland, your past. Why can’t the Parsi Panchayats chip in and do something?"

Walking through the quaint alleys in Nagrol, one passes by many beautiful Parsi bungalows – but not many Parsis on the roads. In the early 1900s, there were 2,500 Parsis permanently living here. Today, there are just 60.

Maneckji Kotwal from Navsari has decided to settle in Nargol, having almost reconciled himself to the change – the decline. "There are very few Parsis left as it is. No one comes here because there is no business here. That’s why there is no one to take care of the property. People have moved to Mumbai or abroad," he says.


For the first time ever, the Union Budget has allocated Rs 1 crore to try and contain the decline in the Parsi population. But mixed marriage – the only way to arrest this decline – is fiercely opposed by traditionalists unwilling to negotiate with the future, who continue to stay in community islands.


  1. Keki Guard

    Yes, it is true that the count of Parsi’s across the world is on the decline, but who is to blame, it is we ourseleves. I have seen so many Parsi youngsters just doing nothing, they are given jobs but from the very first day they want to be treated as Managers, they do not want to dirty their hands doing hardwork.

    The respect which our community has today is because of the hard work done by our forefathers, they worked selflessly, dedicatedly and honestly. As a result they were able to form great empires, TATA’s, Godrej’s, Balsara’s, Wadia’s, Shapurji’s, Batliboi’s and many more.

    None of the Parsi youth wants to be an entrepreneur, no body wants to leverage the family business be it farming or anyother business.

    I really appreciate the efforts of WZCC to organise sessions and encourage our youth for enterpreneurship.

    One more thing it is only when you earn some thing good the father of the bride is going to allow her marry you, who on this earth would like to get her daughter married to a useless, jobless person.

    So Guy’s wakeup before it is too late, get married at the right age and contribute by adding on members to this great community of our’s.

    Long live the Parsi’s — Amin.


    first of all,on auspicious days of navroze ,I wish all my parsi brother and sisters happy navroze and parsi new year and i am totally agree with respected keki guards concern over declining parsi population wich i had already mentioned in many of my comments earlier.it realy pains
    that community[parsis]who are so kind hearted soul and harmless people in all communities india have.and their cotribution to nation is tremendous as compare to their population for which i always salutes these great people and whenever i think of declining population it pains me and if same thing continue then generations to come in future will miss the kindness and wonderful parsis on earth.i would be glad and will be grateful to my parsi brother and sisters if they think on keki guards concern seriously and do something to increase population.
    wellwisher and admirer of parsis.

  3. Siloo Kapadia

    I agree with Keki Guard 1000%!. I can only add to what he has written.

    He is writing mainly about Parsi men. Yes, the bulk are lazy and want high salaries but easy jobs. Those days, if ever they existed, are over with. But what about the Parsi women?

    I have stated many times on this website that I find the younger Parsi women to be hard working but totally selfish, money-minded and snooty. They look down on anyone who is not extremely successful. They see themselves as God’s gift to the coummunity, yet they themselves are not always helpful or nice or even attractive. Of course this is not for all younger Parsi women but all too any I have met fit this description.

    In the US where I currently live I see two types of younger Parsi people; those that are proud of their community, and those that want absolutely nothing to do with it. Not only do they look down on those that are Parsi, they look down on all Indians and to the extreme, all other Asians. Yet they are so loving and friendly to the gora wallas it makes me sick. Wy this reverse discrimination? A lack of self worth, perhaps, that is the only reason I can see for this type of attitude.

    We must not also forget that having children is only one way to add to the community. There is also adoption, conversion, and allowing spouses and children of intermarriage their place in the community. Then of course the racists are all against this and they will be against this until the last Parsi has fallen. At that time the money will belong to who? I have no doubt that various government institutions will eventually eat it all up. Khalas! Toba!

    We are perhaps the only community in the world that is so self destructive. I often wonder why. I am proud to be Asian to be Indian, and to be Parsi. I want to show others my culture and if even just one nonParsi would want to convert I believe that would be a wonderful thing.

    Think about it. The community came from others and if more want to join why not?

  4. Jeannie Antia

    Followers of Zoroaster will never die out – just the way followers of Jesus and Buddha won’t.

    The Zoroastrians of India … the Parsis … they will die out if the young Zoroastrian Parsis don’t start standing up for their religion and conversion!

    Statement from a Zoroastrian Parsi born in Mumbai great town city based in Hamburg cool town city.

  5. K. Tamboli

    @piloo, See its written on parsi khabar itself, ne more good source u require to believe about IT?

  6. Farzana

    Thanx Rajesh , and wish you the same:)

    Keki Guard,
    its simple … Take away security blankets from Parsi youths living in India… and they will be forced to perform…
    Its a common human psychology, we all generally work better under pressure…including me… I fight deadlines daily to churn out masterpieces.

    My professor used to tell us…’with order and disciple all i will creat is a workforce…With insecurity, uncertainty and chaos i will creat a STAR out of you’. So true, ney?
    May be thats the reason why parsees living abroad are doing better than parsees living in India…

    Ive come across number of middle aged mickanglaa Parsee men who blame their bachelorhood on corrupt BPP trustees due to whom they were not allotted a flat in charity blocks…

    And Ive come across number of spinsters who blame their singlehood on not finding good parsi man who works in a multinational, has a hefty salary, and has a big independent spacious flat in a parsi baug…If you ask them why they are hung up on BPP housing and job securities… The answer is ‘ ‘Life ma security toh joye ney?’

    Really?? If Tatas and Godrej’s would have worried about “lLife ma security toh joye ney” factor, they wouldn’t have been what they are!!!

    Its time for a sincere reality check… Today Parsis in Mumbai dont want to accept even those born out of mix parentage because they fear of loosing out their share in multi crore charity trust… But on the flip side this very indulgences of comfort that they have grown so used to, has become the reason behind their decline…

    And Jeannie, i agree with you too… its time… Parsis in Mumbai look beyond Parsism for their own survival.

  7. Zenobia Hadvaid

    Dear Siloo Aunty,

    Aunty because am 26 complete soon to be 27 …and with due respect to you I’d Say Aunty :)

    Gals are not so very flexible I agree but the Guys of our Community are no less. Beleive me since am in the age where looking for a prospective chokra is becoming difficult as the days pass by. If you get to listen to the nakhra’s they have , it would surprise you.

    Hunting for a sensible,matured & trustworthy [chokro] is becoming very difficult. I can tell you this from my experience :)

    However,am Positive that will get someone someday :)

    This is all I could say @ the moment.

    God Bless. Long Live Zarthusthi’s ! Amin

  8. Piloo.

    Instead of just recollecting the past days one must learn from past mistakes and plan for the future.
    Industralisation and urbanisation have taken its toll.
    After half a century what will happen to our consecrated Fire Temples. As it is,most of them wear deserted looks except those which are in the precincts of a Parsee residential colonies or adjacent to colonies. Immediate steps must be taken to eliminate scope for encroachment as has happened on Parsee propeties.in moffusil towns. What is the plight of Nargol will soon become an identical situation in Mumbai in next fifty years. Let us put to use the properties left behind by our previous generations who were true visionaries, for the benefit of our community members rather than creating hurdles for development in the name of Heritage. If buildings for community members are constructed around Fire Temples, there will be automatic flow of devotees.
    There is a move to develop Cama Baug but the ever ready obstructionists are likely to act as stumbling blocks.
    Entrepreneurship is not very forthcoming because of fear factor of LOSS and for that fear factor only the earlier generation is to blame for not fostering seeds of enterprise.By being lackeys of British, the community learnt to wear western clothes and take up desk jobs and thus evapotated the spirit of venture.

  9. K. Tamboli

    @Piloo believe me my friend, my free hearted & fearless replies or posts will always be there ANYTIME & ANYWHERE whenever I think something is not correct, you do not need to teach me what to ignore or not, its absolutely my personal Wish & RIGHT honey.

    Regarding my mission piloo its unfortunate to repeat that its not in a few human beings diameter to understand it, as by the grace of Ahura Mazda its already flourishing by many other humdins doing the good & the needed. If you are uncomfortable with that fact then that’s your problem. But I promise you, it will be accomplished all over the country & loose nuts n bolts really wont matter….

    piloo, well as u Yourself said so that parents inculcate values in their children & indirectly meant that I dnt have manners, then yes, I agree a bit here, I have a habit to say whats in my heart, I bring it out fast, but I would actually consider that as a very special gift from my parents.. & not only that, to the very own basics of life I am proud of my parents that they did not teach me how to be disloyal to my religion like others ATLEAST!! :-)

    Parsikhabar: I hav observed the censorship over me & dnt have ne complains regarding the same, Its just that I don’t understand that why should one be censored when he speaks his mind in a direct language rather those deceivers who do it in a indirect cowardly manner?? If you study very sincerely all my posts & a few of others before mine which were posted then 90% of my post till date have only been a reply to the concerned in the very same language they understand & used.

  10. arzan sam wadia

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Over the last month or so, its been a trend for commenters to get personal, and waver from the topic of discussion in each post.

    The very fact that you are reading Parsi Khabar means you have the good of the community at heart. Your ways and means to solve the problems we face may vary drastically.

    That does not give anyone the right to make personal statement and remarks about the other’s knowledge, intellect or personal life.

    Please refrain from that.

    Parsi Khabar for each of us three editors, is a labor of love. We all have businesses, jobs, families and the other things that life throws at us. We run and maintain this site because we are interested in spreading information and generation constructive dialogue. As much as we try we sometimes cannot moderate each and every comment.

    We do not want to get cornered into a situation where we have to stop commenting on the entire site. That would be completely against the principles on which this site was set up.

    I request all of you to maintain decorum.

    If you feel that you strongly disagree with a commenter, write to them directly. You can request Parsi Khabar for the individual’s email. We will contact that individual to get their permission before we give you their email.

    Looking forward to a constructive, positive and amicable debate and discussion.



    Parsi Khabar Editor.

  11. Jamshed H. Bastani

    Type your comment here…Well said Arzan Wadia !
    This note from your side was long overdue. We hope that moderation from now on will be stricter.

  12. Plioo

    I have preserved your ORIGINAL POST against me in which you displayed your level of ‘decency’ to make comments about my deceased parents. How would you have felt if some one made such ‘decent’ references about your own departed kith & kin?
    I shall certainly use these words of wisom of yours at the right time. I am least concerned with whatever your ‘mission’ is .But I am not the type to get intimidated by abusive and filthy comments directly addressed to me. The line between expression of criticism in the manner done by you and libel is very thin. You may enjoy your ‘pride’ in being crude. Thats your prerogative. I am least interested in further discussion with you or likes of you.Neither do I have the desire to teach you anything. I leave that to Ahura Mazda.And I repeat, I will not attend to any of your future messages addressed to me for obvious reasons why your ‘speking of mind’ forced the Moderators to delete your ‘thoughts’

  13. K. Tamboli

    @piloo congrats, my comments r strictly moderated, u don’t need to fear from now on!

  14. Adi

    I cant take it anymore, its so sad to see so many of your problems, ok so let me try solving just one of your problems if possible, lets have a lucky draw, anyone of you shall be selected, ok and the selected person is……

    Zenobia Hadvaid

    Now lets solve her problem, Its regarding marriage, so as I promised, I have to help her solve it, ok Zenobia Hadvaid, will you marry me???

    I am a simple guy, don’t earn really much, love my community. My house gets water twice in a day(no 24 hours water). Don’t have any big property or assets. English is not so good, education is just ok, very shy person. I don’t know how to socialize but I do know how to prepare maggi. My family says I look like a hero but my friends say I look like amresh puri. My hairs have started to fall very recently, don’t fear I can use a wig. I regularly TRY to exercise, I also know swimming when water is not to deeper then my legs. I also know how to fly kites if some one hands me one. I have a very good driving skill. I love playing games like cricket, badminton, base ball, basket ball all of which I am a expert whenever required, I play them all on my computer. Everyone in my school and college use to fear me, because I use to complain to my teacher immediately whenever someone use to bully me…
    Hope I have not upset ed you at all, I am here to help you…..

    take it as a refreshment….
    Your waiting forever…..
    with flowerish hopes…

  15. Farzana

    HaaHaa Adi, so sweet :)

  16. Keki Guard

    Just can’t beleive this. Really pity the editors. This site is basically to have a healthy discussion and suggest good ideas. But i see it’s just becomming a big joke.

    Just a couple of minutes ago Arzan had to write a mail to tell all to refrain from such acts but it has gone on deaf hears.

    If you are seeking for a life partner please go to kharghat colony, BPP has organised a matrimonial bureau you can definately find a good life partner. This is not the forum for such articles.

    Hope you all agree and don’t become a laughing stock.

  17. Siloo Kapadia

    @Zenobia Hadvaid

    Yes, deekree, I am much older so Aunty is fine.

    I know that the chokrao are not all that great. That does not mean that the chokreeo can be snotty and look down upon others either. So one can say that both sides are at fault. The Parsi women are proving to be more career-oriented and that is fine with me, but putting career above all else is also questionable.

    As for the younger parsi men, what can I say that I have not said before? I believe that I am being polite by saying they are simply lazy. I would be more on the mark by calling many of them low lifes. Not true for all, of course, but for many.

    Deekree, be open to others to find the right guy. If he is not Parsi then make sure he is open to the religion and culture.