Udvada Pak Iranshah Under Threat

The Udvada Samast Anjuman would like to inform community members all over the world, about the possible threat that our sacred Shreeji Pak Iranshah is presently facing.

The tenure of a huge plot of land, around 200 acres, situated directly behind our most sacred Shreeji Pak Iranshah Atashbehram is in the process of being changed from Agriculture to Non-Agriculture, after which it is proposed to set up an Industrial Estate / redevelopment of residential colonies.

If this change of tenure is permitted and an Industrial Estate is allowed to be established in the vicinity of Shreeji Pak Iranshah Atashbehram it will completely destroy the sanctity of our holiest place of worship.

Additionally, such a misadventure will create havoc with the environment at Udvada and create an ecological imbalance. The infrastructure at Udvada, is as it is very limited, developing an industrial estate will create havoc with the same, the wells will become saline bringing to an end all ceremonies in which well water is required. Facilities such as sewerage, drinking water etc. will also be adversely affected.

We have already written to Shri Narendra Modi as also to the Collector of Valsad District and other government departments highlighting the damage that would be caused to the sanctity of our sacred Iranshah if a huge industrial estate is permitted to come up in its near vicinity. An initial meeting has already been held with the Collector on 18th October 2010.

We have also requested Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat for time to meet with us. Shri Narendra Modi has always been a friend to the Parsi community and we do hope that he will move with alacrity and act decisively in ensuring that the religious sentiments are not affected adversely.

It will be recalled that it was he who has maintained that Udvada symbolised one of the finest examples of the cultural tradition of our country, showcasing the glorious history of the Parsi community of over 1300 years and thereafter took the initiative to project Udvada as a place of harmony, religious tolerance and opportunities provided to a miniscule community to realise their full potential.

It was upon his initiative that the Government of India and Government of Gujarat established the Zoroastrian Information Centre at Udvada through Gujarat State Tourism Corporation by the setting up of ‘Foundation for Development of Udvada’. It is now over two years that the Zoroastrian Information Centre has become operational. Parsis as well as members of sister communities from within India as also from all around the world have visited the Centre and have nothing but praise for the same. This is borne out by comments made in the visitor’s books.

Given that our sacred Shreeji Pak Iranshah is enthroned at Udvada, it is also necessary that Udvada should be declared a ‘Heritage Village’, for which we along with other institutions and eminent individuals have already taken up the matter and are following up with the government authorities at Gandhinagar.

We are grateful to the support extended to us in our endeavours by Trustees of World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust, Foundation for Development of Udvada, Surat Parsi Panchayat, Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, Bharuch Parsi Panchayat, Ankleshwar Parsi Panchayat and others.

The intention of this press release is to create awareness amongst community members all over the world and seek their support in preserving and maintaining the sanctity of our sacred Shreeji Pak Iranshah. We invite individuals and institutions to address appropriate letters jointly to The Chief Minister of Gujarat, the Collector of Valsad District, Revenue Ministry, Urban Development Ministry and forward them to us for onward transmission to the authorities.

It is hoped that members of the community, irrespective of their ideologies will unite for the common cause of protecting our venerated Shreeji Pak Iranshah.

May Shreeji Pak Iranshah continue to reign in splendour and continue to shower His blessings on all in our community for eternity.

For & on behalf of

Udvada Samast Anjuman,

Dasturji Khurshed K. Dastoor

  • Delnavaz

    I hope & pray that we can thwart the plans of an industrial estate in Udvada. Maybe we can start a signature campaign to help maintain the sanctity of Shreeji Pak Iranshah.

  • theparseevoice

    This refers to the online petition ‘SHREEJI PAK IRANSHAH UNDER THREAT’ signed on behalf of Udvada Samast Anjuman by Dasturji Khurshed K. Dastoor, addressed to the Chief Minister of Gujarat State, urging Parsees to unite to save Holy Iranshah from the threat of Industrial Estate / redevelopment of residential colonies on land in close proximity to Iranshah.

    While we do agree that this development, so close to the holy environs of Iranshah, is indeed a threat to His sanctity, there is more to this petition than meets the eye.

    1. This land originally belonged to Udvada Anjuman When and why was this land sold by the Udvada Anjuman to its present owner, who in turn is now selling it to the new owners, who want to convert the land user from Agricultural to Non-Agricultural?

    2. The Jame Jamshed Weekly dated 26th September 2004 carried a letter by Dastur Khurshed Dastoor clarifying certain points raised by The Parsee Voice. Para 2 of that letter is reproduced below:

    “The apprehension that creating a heritage precinct will introduce unforeseen controls by outside agencies is also unfounded. However, since the fear psychosis has already been planted in the minds of local residents of Udvada, it has been decided to respect their sentiments and drop the concept of declaring Udvada as a heritage precinct.”(emphasis ours).

    If indeed as claimed in his letter, the concept of heritage precinct was dropped, why has the same been surreptitiously resurrected in this petition??

    Dear Humdeens, the infamous FDU (Foundation for Development of Udvada), which, thanks to the community’s protests, had to beat a retreat from its agenda of making Udvada into a world Cultural cum Tourist centre, is desperately trying to make a comeback and reintroduce its infamous agenda! And that is what we as a community need to be vigilant about and prevent! It is important to read between the lines and not get carried away emotionally.

    Definitely lodge your concerns with the Chief Minister of Gujarat and Collector of Valsad against this conversion of Agricultural land to Non-Agricultural, but please do so independently of this petition.


    The Parsee Voice team

  • Boman Patel

    Do we need to differ even on this vital issue. It seems that if we have five Parsees and six opinions.
    As for the statement that “This land originally belonged to Udvada Anjuman When and why was this land sold by the Udvada Anjuman to its present owner, who in turn is now selling it to the new owners, who want to convert the land user from Agricultural to Non-Agricultural?” may I ask the authors why they did not raise this issue at the relevant time itself with the Office of Charity Commissioner or in a Court of Law applying for an injunction.

  • Shaimak Madon

    By latesat count,we have 2414 Parsees (a large section from abroad) expressing their concern over this likely sacrilege and we have Awaaz, Pukar & Noise guys (whose numerical strength is unknown) making a Noise displaying that we are NOT UNITED IN OUR ENDEAVOURS. Any wonder they are more heard and less seen like the saying, Englishman in his bathroom is to be only HEARD and not seen.In all probability their vocabulary has different connotation of the word “Constructive”
    Even a fifth grade School child will opine as to who is the cause behind disunity/discord.
    Yazda Panahabad.

  • phiroze

    @ Boman, you are right as to why this question was not raised earlier but it still needs an answer. Let the truth be told.
    @ Shaimak, could you please let me know where I could join these 2414 parsees from abroad to express my concern on the issue

  • Shaimak Madon

    Since you have asked for details of the Online Petition, you can join thusands of Zoroastrians by signing on .petitiononline.com/Iranshah/
    Ever ready to cooperate for greater good.

  • phiroze

    Thanks and same here.

  • aftab

    Dear Brothers & Sisters,
    I would like to ask one thing to all of you that have you all inquired if the new buyer of the land is going to develop the land for industrial use or not…?
    I know them personally! Considering the Sacred place they have planned to specially develop the front side 30 acers of land exclusively for Parsis.
    More over they have planned the main entry of the land from other side of the farm so that the holy place wont get disturbed.
    I would like to ask that when these people are so co operative & so much positive for the Parsi community & for the whole of Udvada town then why are the community members going against them.. ?
    Such a behavior is against the humanity & does not suit the Parsi community…

  • Viraf Gazdar

    Type your comment here…
    While I fully agree to protect the Iranshah Atashbehram,
    why in the first place the surrounding land was sold out and not kept as a buffer zone for the sacred Atashbehram. This only shows the short-sightedness of the trustees who sold the land.
    Having said that, now I would like to appeal to the entire community to step forward and bail out the situation by buying back the land and thereby protecting our sacred Atashbehram. Honestly, I dont see any other solution, as I dont really think that Gujrat Govt will be able to help us if the other land owner will press for non-agri status and develope the land in the way he wants it. Remember parsi vote count hardly matters.

  • Barak Aga

    The High Priests and those opposing the project are duplicitious.
    I have a question for the High Priests, and those who are opposing the project.

    Zoroastrians themselves have constructed numerous buildings, cottages, hotels, etc., in the vicinity of the Iranshah Fire Temple.
    Satellite imagery sourced from the Google Maps service reveals innumerable housing developments barely a stone’s throw from the fire temple.
    Housing projects close to Iransha firetemple, promoted by Zoroastrians, continue to be advertised in the community paper, Jame Jamshed.

    Page No. 2 of the Jame Jamshed issue dated 7 November 2010, contains the following advertisement in the classifieds column, under the heading “Accommodation Available”
    9979529347” sic.

    Page No. 2 of the Jame Jamshed issue dated 14 November 2010, contains the following advertisement in the classifieds column, under the heading “Accommodation Available”

    Why have the High Priests and those opposing the project not protested against the construction activities that went on in Udvada, all these years?
    Why haven’t the High Priests and those opposing the project protested against the construction of “Row Houses” and “Raw Houses”, which have been advertised in the Jame Jamshed?

  • Barak Aga

    Will the High Priests and those opposing the project in Udvada clarify whether they will also target for demolition, the cluster of apartment blocks, hotels, and cottages built and occupied by “Parsis”, within a stone’s throw of the Iranshah fire temple?

    No, they won’t. Because according to the High Priests “My Pollution Is Good. Your Pollution Is Bad”.

  • Barak Aga

    A while ago, a trustee of Cama Baug, who also happens to be a founder member of WAPIZ, floated a scheme for the re-development of Cama Baug, and construction of a residential apartment block, where the Cama Baug now stands, on the grounds that the Government would acquire the land, if no building was constructed.

    The silence of the High Priests on this issue was deafening.

    How is it that the High Priests did not demonstrate the alacrity which they have opposed construction in case of the proposed Udvada development, and raise a hue and cry about the proposed demolition of Cama Baug, and construction of a residential tower?

    Would not the proposed residential tower at Cama Baug, affect the “sanctity and solemnity” of the fire maintained there?

    It was said, “Parsi, thy name is charity”.
    Now it will be said, “High Priests, thy name is Hypocrisy”

  • Barak Aga

    In Udvada, a residential project is proposed near the Fire Temple.

    In Godrej Baug, at Napean Sea road, the opposite happened.
    A fire temple was constructed right in the middle of high rise apartments, and residential blocks.

    Why did the “Parsi” High Priests, not protest the construction of the fire temple at Godrej Baug, Napean Sea Road, on the grounds that the “sanctity and solemnity” of the fire temple would be affected?

  • Barak Aga

    At present in Godrej Baug, another apartment block is being constructed.

    Why don’t the “Parsi” High Priest protest construction of the apartment block in Godrej Baug, on the grounds that it would affect the “sanctity and solemnity” of the Godrej Baug fire temple, and it would also perhaps offer a direct view of the “Dokhmas”?

  • Barak Aga

    In Udvada, every “Parsi” likes to have a “Parsi Peg”, in the evening, after visiting the Iransha fire temple, and submitting his / her Charter-of-Demands to Ahura Mazda.

    The High Priests are aware that sale of liquor is prohibited in Gujarat state.

    Why haven’t the High Priests protested the sale and consumption of bootleg liquor in Udvada, on the grounds that it affects the “sanctity and solemnity” of the Iransha fire temple?

  • phiroze

    The developement plan for CAMA BAUG has be cancelled. Also note that except for the Udvada Atash Behram all other fire temples are under respective trustees and so the High Priests have role to play.
    As regards sale and consumption of alcohol in Udvada this question is to be answered by every indiviual PArsi who is guilty and not the High Priests.
    The main question is as per your DEVINE KNOWLEDGE fire temples are unzoroastrian, so what business is it of a parjat?

  • Barak Aga

    “Devine” is spelt “Divine”.

    Why did the High Priest keep quiet when the Cama Baug demolition was announced?
    As usual no answer.

    The project was cancelled much later, and as an afterthought. But by then the damage to your credibility was done. The High Priests stand exposed for their double standards
    Applying your standards, in Udvada too the High Priests have no role to play in the sale of land from one private owner to another.
    What the purchaser and seller of the land do with it is none of your business, and none of the High Priests business.
    It is private property and the owners are free to do with it as they please.

    Can you name the Fire Temple which existed in the times of Zarathustra.
    It is not my divine knowledge but historical fact, that there were no Fire Temples during the times of Zarathustra.

    Can you list the names of the “High Priests” during the times of Zarathustra, considering the fact that it took 14 years for him to get his first disciple?
    No you cannot. Because there were none.

    Phiroze what is your answer to the fact that in Godrej Baug a Fire Temple was constructed in the midst of a residential complex, and is surrounded by high rises.

    No answer.

  • Barak Aga

    What about all the housing complexes, hotels, cottages, row houses and “raw’ houses constructed by “Parsis” in Udvada?

    Why don’t the High Priests protest against those too?

    Why haven’t you started an online petition for demolition of hotels, apartment complexes, cottages, row houses constructed by “Parsis” near the Iransha Fire Temple over all these years?

    No answer?

  • Faith94

    The day will not be far when forget the well near Iranshah but even the nirag will be polluted.

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