On new year, Delhi Parsis talk change

NEW DELHI: There are 734 Parsis in the NCR Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. And about half of them turned up to celebrate Navroze, the Parsi New Year, at Delhi Parsi Anjuman on Thursday evening. One piece of statistics must be haunting them in the past 18 months, the community had one birth, 21 deaths and one marriage!

By Rachit Anand / Times Of India

Acutely conscious of the threat to its existence, the community is now talking of change even as it preserves its culture and heritage. At the gathering on Thursday evening, there was a vibrant display of sarees worn in the typical Parsi style and long white attire of the men. Even the old who turned up were not short on the spirit of the day. After a sumptous meal which included traditional dishes, a dance party was organised.

On this occasion, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia was felicitated and scholarships given to many children. "Money has never been a concern for the people of our community. We want to make sure that children are given proper funds,” said Dadi Mistry, president, Delhi Parsi Anjuman.

"Our biggest strength as a community is the fact that we have blended with the fabric of India. Chief Justice Kapadia is a shining example of the success of our community,” he added.

"Zorastrians are imbibed with an essential virtue of integrity, which has helped me reach where I am today,” said CJ Kapadia, addressing the gathering. "The impact of the Parsis on India is inversely proportional to their numbers.”

"We have to procreate and there are no two thoughts about it. But we don’t force our young ones into anything like we were forced by our elders times have changed and we have to change with it,” said Mistry.

"On the contrary, I advocate inter-marriage. It is the only way to save our community. Our forefathers have done this mistake and we won’t follow them. I have a Christian daughter-in-law and a Muslim brother-in-law, and I hope that the community will follow my leadership.”

"In the midst of growing diseases and migration of Parsis from the country, my biggest concern is to keep the spirit of the Parsi culture alive. And it is only through events like this that we can accomplish that,” said Mistri.

The Parsis are said to have first arrived in north India during the reign of Akbar. At the old Parsi cemetery there is an inscription dating back to 1869. The Delhi Parsi Anjuman was formed in 1925 with just 40 Parsis. The Anjuman today runs the Parsi Dharamshala, a community hall that showcases Zoroastrian history and culture and an agiary or fire temple where the celebrations began on Thursday morning.

  • nairika

    Thank you Chief Justice Kapadia for encouraging many to embrace the right kind of change.

  • Zarathushtra Zarthosti

    Well said Mr. Dadi Mistry.

    KHSHNAOTHRE AHURAHE MAZDAO

  • ahsanrafiquebutt

    To make the situation aligned you will have ask for early marriages, will have to give prizes to mothers rearing large number of children. In Muslims it is ecessary to arrange marriages of their daughters as soon as possible. It saves them from adlutry on the one hand and saves their community on the other.

  • Sheraz Bhesania

    Thank you Chief Justice Kapadia. Wish you could get all parsis to think like you. I have 3 Canadian son-in-laws and they all love our prayers and ceremonies and all of them wear Ashofarhoars round their neck. Two of my grand-daughters have had their navjotes performed and the other 4 we will have to wait and see. It will be their choice. When a man of your Stature speaks others have to listen – especially our BPP directors sitting in Mumbai.

  • Delnavaz

    Hi Nairiki,
    please read the above article carefully. Both Chief Justice Kapadia & a Dadi Mistry from the Delhi Anjuman have been quoted. However, the quotes recommending change, intermarriage etc. are not that of the Chief Justice, but It is Dadi Mistri who has been quoted as having a Christian daughter-in-law etc.
    Thanks

  • Delnavaz

    HI Mr. Ahsanrafiquebutt.

    I am all for early marriages, but at the same time think it is essential to ensure their education & consent before marrying them. Anyone, a man/woman who has been pressurized into marrying at an early age is going to be an unahappy person, thus bringing up very unahppy children. Thanks

  • farzana

    I would prefer my son to marry a nonzoroastrian if he finds one…I see it as the only way to save the future generation from dying from genetic inbred diseases like Cancer

  • cllrmaravala

    Mr. Dadi Mistry, President of the Delhi Anjuman is very well known for his outrageous anti Zoroastrian doctrinal views. I once met him in Houston for the the 2000 World Zoroastrian Congress. The views that he holds and propogates are one sure method of totally decimating the Zoroastrian population worldwide and leaving our future generations totally bereft of any cultural, doctrinal heritage and lineage. If he and his ilk truly want to ensure our survival, then the answer must lie in us Zoroastrians encouraging our children to marry into our own fold. Mr. Mistry should not use the amount of non-zoroastrians he has in his family as “a badge of honour” and as a reader has pointed out the views expressed by Mr.Mistry are his and his alone and not to mix them up with that of Chief Justice Kapadia.

    Councillor Filly K Maravala
    Former Mayor
    London Borough Of Redridge

  • phiroze

    Could Mr Dadi Mistry please clarify why only 734 Parsis are existing today in Delhi NCR inspite of advocating inter marriages by the DPA for the last couple of decades.

  • Dorab.

    Phiroze,
    While your question is addressed to Phiroze, but since it is on the discussion blog, I would like to ask a counter question. Since inter faith marriages in N. Delhi have not increased the number of Parsees as insinuated by you, then the issue is why raise so much hue and cry when a born Parsee woman married to a member of another community wants to enter our Agiaries? And same question applied if children of such women whose Navjot is got performed enetering a Fire Temple as as such numbers would be insignificant.

  • Dorab.

    There is a slight error in my ealier post and hence pl ignore/cancel the same and place on record the message herebelow.

    Phiroze,
    While your question is addressed to Mr. Dai Mistry but since it is on the discussion blog, I would like to ask a counter question. Since inter faith marriages in N. Delhi have not increased the number of Parsees as insinuated by you, then the issue is why raise so much hue and cry when a born Parsee woman married to a member of another community wants to enter our Agiaries? And same question applied if children of such women whose Navjot is got performed enetering a Fire Temple as as such numbers would be insignificant

  • phiroze

    Dorab, since this was my first post on PK I had not ticked the followup comments box hence the delay in reply.

    Most of the debates are on conversion/intercaste marriages. I have been looking for proof that both of these are the answers to the so called extinction of Parsis.

    My counter question to u is why not build your own Agiaries. Then u may allow anyone and everyone to enter. This will also have no bone of contention within the community. Let the orthodox do what they want in their agiaries and u do what u want in yours.

  • Dorab.

    Phiroze,
    According to my knowledge, in Delhi Fire Temple all Zoroastrians are allowed free entry and not necessarily Parsees.
    Secondly,your suggestion ‘why not build your own Agiaries. Then u may allow anyone and everyone to enter.’ is very pertinent. Good that you raised it. Personally, I have no direct interest since I and my family are born Parsee Zoroastrians. Since you appear to be religiously inclined, you would have surely not failed to observe the appearance of the persons who look after cleaning etc of Fire Temples. Are ALL of them, choost Parsee Zoroastrians born from both parents being Parsees?.
    Secondly, if you happen to be from Mumbai or Surat, you would have observed the number of devotees visiting many Fiore temples would be in single digit. Would it not be putting an end to all controversies if in SOME Fire Temples allow entry of children of mixed marriages. That will also help the holy fire to continue glowing. Just give a thought.

  • phiroze

    Dorab,
    U r absolutely correct. The same is true in Karachi London Hong Kong Us Canada and other parts of the world where parsis have settled. My question is then why are there only so few left. Why does everyone say that conversion and acceptance is the only way to save the Parsi com from so called end when it has not worked in all these places?.
    Going back to your post of 22 sept, would it be right to change for as u say insignificant few of those born to non parsi men? We did it for those born to non parsi mothers and are paying for it now. Should we repeat that mistake again? And how will you control once such numbers get significant? Think about it calmly. Put indiviual egos aside before making such irreversible changes.