100-year-old sacred fire to be relocated from Bharuch to Navi Mumbai


August 6, 2019

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A 27-year-old dispute within the Parsi community came to an end last week, after the Supreme Court (SC) allowed the Atash Adaran — a 100-year-old grade-two fire — at Pestonji Aslaji Doongaji Agiary in Bharuch, Gujarat to be relocated to the Shirinbai and Khurshedji Hormusji Doongaji Daremeher at Kopar Khairane in Navi Mumbai.

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This is the first such instance in 20 years, after the shifting of a sacred fire from Navsari in Gujarat to Godrej Baug in south Mumbai.

Around 27 years ago, a suit was filed to move the fire to Godrej Baug, as the agiary in Bharuch was being shut down. However, a district court had restrained the trustees of the from moving the fire at the time. Following this, the fire was proposed to be moved to the Navi Mumbai agiary. However, three years ago, community members objected to the relocation. A grade-3 fire was then installed at the Navi Mumbai agiary last year.

The court last week said that the relocation would take place under supervision of the community’s five High Priests. Owing to the distance between the two cities, the sacred fire will be transported in a truck, after ensuring due rituals and procedures are carried out.

“Affidavits submitted by the high priests of the community stated that there are only 85 Parsis residing at Bharuch, whereas approximately 450 Parsis reside in Navi Mumbai. The honourable court passed the order, as it is a crucial aspect of faith that the sacred fire needs to be kept burning continuously,” said Debmalya Banerjee, appearing for trustees of Doongaji Agiary.

Community members have, however, raised objection, claiming that moving the fire in a truck would “desecrate it.”