Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

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