Parsis have civilization; other Indians don’t

Culture is our attitude to beauty and ugliness, to power, to religion, and to family. It shows in our music, in what makes us laugh. Civilization is our attitude to mankind
By Aakar Patel / Mint

Indians have culture but not civilization. Culture is how we entertain ourselves; civilization is how we entertain others. Culture is our attitude to beauty and ugliness, to power, to religion, and to family. It shows in our music, in what makes us laugh. Civilization is our attitude to mankind. It’s defined as social development of an advanced stage, but civilization never actually arrives; it is only reached for. It assumes there is high purpose to life, to wealth, to culture. It believes that man will exhibit the signs of his evolution. He will improve upon man. For this he must build—but what?

The Birlas built six temples (India always being in urgent need of more religion).

They built temples in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna and Kolkata. Most of these are to Lakshminarayan, and these are only the big ones. No Indian family has built more, or bigger, temples than the Birlas, and that is their contribution to our culture.

Mukesh Ambani is building on Altamount Road a structure called Antilla, the most expensive home in history. Its architects Hirsch Bedner say their estimate for it is around $2 billion. That is Rs9,000 crore, and four people will live in this house. That is Ambani’s contribution to our culture.

The Birlas built schools for the rich, and the Ambanis made a school for millionaires. BITS-Pilani’s fee is Rs1 lakh per year, Birla Vidyamandir’s fee is Rs1 lakh per year and Dhirubhai Ambani International School’s fee just for classes XI and XII is Rs7.57 lakh.

At the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital (“Compassionate Quality Healthcare”), a check-up for headaches costs Rs2,850.

At the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (“Every Life Matters”), the wellness check-up costs Rs5,000.

At the Tata Memorial Hospital, which treats cancer, healthcare is free.

Rajashree Birla says Indians “don’t have the mindset to give away large amounts of money to charity”. The act of leaving “just a little bit for their children”, she says, “happens only in the US”.

“It calls for very large-heartedness,” she says, “I don’t see this happening in the Indian context in the near future at least.”
She’s right about our mindset and culture, but wrong in assuming that the problem is about large-heartedness: It is actually about a lack of civilization.

She’s wrong also about this not happening in future: It already has happened in India.

Of Tata Sons’ 398,563 shares, 65.8% is held by charitable trusts (Ratan Tata owns 0.84%). How much money are we talking about? Tata Sons’ net profit last year was Rs3,780 crore. Tata Sons owns 74% of Tata Consultancy Services and 84% of Tata Motors. If wealthy Indians want to give back to society, they need only buy Jaguar and Land Rover, and not Mercedes and BMW. Tata Sons owns 31% of Tata Steel, 20% of Tata Teleservices and 22% of Tata Tea.

Indians should buy their books from Landmark, their phones from Tata Indicom, their television sets and washing machines from Croma; and they should stay at the Taj. They should drink Tetley tea and Himalayan mineral water. They should watch TV on TataSky and get themselves insured with Tata AIG. Why?

Last year, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust gave away Rs201 crore. Sir Ratan Tata Trust gave away Rs153 crore. This is not CSR (corporate social responsibility) or other corporate varnish: It’s pure philanthropy. Witness its quality: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Energy Research Institute (Teri), Indian Institute of Science, National Centre for the Performing Arts. That is civilization.
In Europe, the ownership and efficient management of such a giant corporate by charitable trusts would be stunning.

But we use the phrase “Tata-Birla-Ambani” easily, as if the words were interchangeable. One of them has nothing in common with the other two. JRD sent 81% of Tata Sons’ income to charity. We thanked him by nationalizing his beloved Air India, firing him as chairman and running it into the ground.

The Tatas set up Teri, India’s first green industry initiative, in 1974. Under R.K. Pachauri, in 2003, the name Tata was neatly excised from Teri and replaced with the word “The”. Now, Teri’s magazine and website are testament to the greatness of Pachauri, who will show up to collect any award you give him, including GQ Man of the Year. But that is our culture.

Parsis have civilization, but not culture. They cannot speak old Persian and their Avesta they cannot read. For language, they lean on Gujarati, for music they lean on Brahms. Their beautiful women wear saris.

Their last names are Gujarati: Broacha (of Bharuch), Anklesaria (of Ankleshwar), Surti (of Surat), Mehta (accountant) and Gandhi (grocer). Their first names are great names in history, names that made Athens and Sparta and Corinth tremble—Ksayarsa, Kurush Buzurg and Daarivush. Herodotus and Thucydides called them Xerxes, Cyrus the Great and Darius. Parsis cannot even speak their own first names.

From 500 BC, Parsis fought Europe. They spilt and drew blood in history’s most famous battles: Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea. Hollywood’s cardboard Leonidas looks heroic in 300 (Xerxes is shown as demented), but actually the Parsi Immortals butchered the Spartans at Thermopylae and the terrified Athenians abandoned their city. Alexander the Great conquered the Parsis in 334 BC and the Arabs under Umar drove them from their lands in 644. But the real Parsi surrender came in Bombay when they submitted to the individualism of Enlightened Europe.

We hate sweeping statements about Indians, and generalizations about India. The problem is that everywhere in India the same evidence keeps slapping us in the face. We’ve become good at looking away. We think we are Aryans, descended from the Caucasus. Parsis also believe that.

Zarathushtra’s god was Ahura and his demons were Daiva. But the Rig Ved says Deva must be our god and our demons Asura.

Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media.

Send your feedback to replytoall@livemint.com

Copyright © 2007 HT Media All Rights Reserved

  • Owais Pahlav Khorassaini

    Dear Sir,

    I have a question about the the great iranians and indians. The following statement is true or not, is every fair indians claim we are pure iranian ?

    I quoted the referance from book the THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA MYTHS & LEGENDS OF ALL NATIONS; the writers are H.S. Robinson and K. Wilson.

    ” The group of Aryans who swept into the land of India, long ages ago, were cousins of the Iranians, whose ancient religion has been briefly described in the preceding chapter. One finds in the earliest indian literature deities who go back to the time when the ancestors of persian and indians were still one.”

    The second question is who are the real ancestors of Urdu speaking peoples?

    I am wating your reply

    Thank You

    Best Regards

    Owais A. Pahlavi.

  • I would like to kindly remind the Parsees that before the advent of the Aryans from the south pole, it was in India that we had the best civilization in the form of Harrapa & Mohanjo Daro which were the two best cities in the world at that time, so please do not say that only we Parsees have the best civilization. Yes after the Aryans settled down in Iran That we had the best civilization, but even India had the best culture & civilization at that time.
    Please do not mixed up the History with your own story.
    History is the witness that only india had the best civilization in the world & it is the Hindus that gave the world the best civilizations & the best culture to the world.

  • I am struggling to understand the intent of this article. It’s got a very polarizing stance and I can’t for the life of me understand what purpose it serves.

    “But the real Parsi surrender came in Bombay when they submitted to the individualism of Enlightened Europe.”

    So… we brought knowledge of ship building, steam power and electricity to Mumbai and that’s surrender? We built a hotel open to all and not just white people – that’s surrender?

    According to the sheer idiocy of your rationale, I am surrendering to ‘Western Enlightenment’ by replying to replytoall@livemint.com

    As for race, lineage and genealogy – do a DNA test and figure it out! Everybody is different.

  • keki unwalla

    Really?

    We are just talking about our past glory.

    Tatas, Wadias, Godrejs are not considered Parsees by the standards set by the community akbaras, general parsee population and its priests; one has to go through the Parsee press in Mumbai to really know the extent of our collective stupidity and short sightedness, the Bomaby Parsee Panchayat has no clue as how to manage its own affairs; so what are we are really proud of in the present tense? The bloating, rotting corpses in our dokmas? We are busy fighting over our dead and just waiting for the s**t to hit the fan. When disease breaks out due to this unhygienic practices; will the priests be taking the credit or our community leaders? What happens when the state walks in to stop this unhealthy practice and then where does the community go with its’ dead? Will the law of the land required to intervene and appoint retired judges to settle matters again and again. In the present tense the elite, the educated and the professionals within our community has totally failed us and that is the real tructh, rest is all Taroo & Bsh**t

  • I would like to say that yes you are right but upto certain things.
    As of you saying about Urdu, i would like to say that go through the History of The World & you yourself would come to know that the urdu speaking people were also originaly Hindus.
    As before the Advent of the Mhougals,Urdu was unknown to the people of Hindustan, it was only that there was a Mass Convertions from Hindus that urdu was known as the Mother Tounge of the New Religion called Islam in Hindustan.
    If you go to see then why the Muslims of India have the same mode of Dresses & also the similarities between the Hindi & Urdu.
    Only difference i that urdu is written & read as the same as the Arabic & Hindi is written & read as from the left to right & Urdu from the Right to Left.
    There is no difference in the both, as it was first learned in Hindustan only.
    I hope that it would clear the Doubts.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie.Patel.

  • I fully agree & share the views with you my dear friend.
    I am also trying to say that it was In India(HinduKush) as the region was known at that time, had the best civilizations in the world.
    The History is witness to it.

  • Yes Mr. Keki.,
    You are really right in what you had written.
    I fully endorsed your comments on the above subject.
    Everywhere the parsees goes they just create fights among all.
    Yes, even our community is fighting over the dead & our dear departed ones, which shows what culture & civiliazations we parsees have.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie.

  • keki unwalla

    I wish our dead & dear departed ones, when alive & not yet departed, should choose before departing, how they would like to travel. I for one would not like to hang around the dokmas, bloating & rotting away, piled upon by other bloating & rotting corpses; polluting away to greater glory…..

  • Anti – Dhongidox

    Dear Keki,
    I fully concur with what you have candidly expressed. But there is a fringe group in our community (present even on Parsi Khabar) who brand all those who speak facts as IRRELIGIOUS or as having no knowledge of our Religion.According to them, a STAUNCH Zoroastrian is one who nods his/her agreement with whatever nonsense the representative of this fringe group pompously states. They talk of relying on archaelogy and quote texts of PHORENERS who have published books on our Religion without ever entering our religious places. The name of the favourite past time of this fringe fanatics is, “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” Shower praises on each other, call each other ‘staunch’ and exchange bouquets/shawls and attend functions wearing Dagli, Phenta/ Pugree and grub free food.
    That is their concept of staunch Zoroastrian.

  • keki unwalla

    dear friend,

    why hide behind a fancy name?

    let it all hang out in the open.

    ?staunch?
    Definition: stop the flow of a liquid; “staunch the blood flow”; “them the tide”

  • These born ‘geniuses’ will mention some obscure terms like ‘ Jaher’ & ‘Baten’ to create a sense of false fear in the minds of simple folks. The modus operandi is to ‘discuss’ such ‘scholastic’ issues by hijacking an e mail id of a friend or a relative to make it look like a two way discussion between self styled intellectuals. These ‘geniuses’ measure intellectual level of others by their own standards.

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    If Aakar Patel’s intention in writing this article was to puff up Parsi pride, I think he has gone about it the wrong. Bringing culture and civilization into this serves no useful purpose. Patel would have served the community better if he had simply stuck to the facts. The philantrophy of Parsis is legendary and undeniable, but this is due to the big heartedness of certain individuals. It does not automatically follow that they became philantrophists because they were Parsis. This sort of attitude is self defeeating in the long run. As it is, too many young Parsis today lack drive and ambition; and are content to bask in the achievements of their forefathers. They believe it absolves them from hard work and commitment. Take a stroll down any of the baugs in the evening and you will see what I mean. If left unchecked, living in the past can become dangerously addictive.

  • Dear Firoze,
    I am saying that what our comunity greats had done for the future of our generations has been appreciated by all.
    But at same time i would kindly request you to take a ride through all the Parsees Baugs you would find debris & dirt all on the open Roads.
    Do you call this dirt & fhilth culture & civilaisations,
    Always remembe that where there is clean cvilaisation There is God himself.
    Please think Twice before writing.
    Thanks.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie

  • Dear Ronnie,

    The last time I checked, this was a free country and I am perfect liberty to write whatever I want; nor am I particularly interested in pleasing you.

    The reason Parsis are in a decline is that they continue to live in a dream world of past glories. Parsis may have been top dogs among the ‘natives’ during the British Raj, but those days are long gone. Walk through the same baugs you’re so proud of and you will see groups of jobless young people just hanging around and shooting the breeze in language that certainly does not reflect a great ‘civilization’. Parsis continue to believe they are somehow different and superior to other Indians, when there is no evidence whatsoever to support that supposition.It is probably one reason why more and more Parsi girls are marrying outside their community. The choice available among suitable Parsi boys is severely limited and hardly edifying. The sooner we Parsis get down of our high horse, the better off we’ll be.

  • Meher Daruwala

    I cannot believe this nonsense article. The Parsis settled in India, have adopted Indian ways and they differentiate between people.
    I don’t think he is educated and enlightened enough to know about Indian History and it’s civilization. He should go back to where his ancestors came from.

  • Dear Meher,
    Thanks a lot for your comments,
    I would like to let you know that brfore the Aryans moved from the South Pole, India was already the Establhish civilized country.
    If you do not know that i would kindly inform you to go through the Histroy of World there you woud find that the best cities at that time were Harrappa & Mohonjo Daro which were in India,
    Even i am Aryan,so please do accept the fact.
    Thanks.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Firoze-jee:

    I agree with what you have written. Yes, the community is going down. We all know it. The BPP knows it. The youth know it.

    However, I just want to state that it is not only Parsi girls that are marrying outside of the community. Parsi boys are doing likewise. Partly because of a lack of suitable partners. Partly because that is the norm.

    Yes, our glory days are long-gone. The hogwash of us being “Persian” is just that, hogwash. We are no more Persian than any other Indian, other than the fact a FEW of our ancestors came from that part of the world.

  • Firoze Hirjikaka

    Ronnie,

    “the Aryans moved from the South Pole,”? Since the South Pole has been virtually inhabitable since the dawn of civilization, I’d be fascinated to know what history book you’re reading. Maybe the same one that informed you about the Parsees’ “great civilization. 🙂

  • farzana

    Oh!! I see…”Aryans moved from the South Pole, India was already the Establhish civilized country.”… we are getting to learn something new everyday!! Thank you Mr. Ronnie…where did you get this precious piece of information from??

    And while you are at it pluuueeesssse share with us the map of the ‘established civilized country’ -India, as it was 3,000 years ago!! Thank you. 🙂

    Ps. and and and the name India was known to the world then. 🙂 if its not too much:)
    Sorry for the taqleef and shukriya in advance 🙂

  • farzana

    “We are no more Persian than any other Indian, other than the fact a FEW of our ancestors came from that part of the world.”

    True Silloo, i agree with you completely.

    Do you know where does the word- ‘Parsi’ comes from?

    Sanskrit word for close relatives/neighbors is ‘pars’.
    Hindi word is ‘pas’.

    Vedas refer to aryan parsi tribes living in Uttarapatha [northern Indian territories stretching from kashmir- punjab to kamboj-kabul ] as Parsu [close relatives].
    Some of these Parsu tribes moved to Elam/ Iran and established Persian empire which in turn encompassed number of Indian territories including Punjab,Sindh, Western Gujarat, Baluchisatan besides present day Afghanistan which was once Zoroastrian strong hold.

    So its not as if Parsis are foreign to subcontinent , particularly to India and Indians…We should quit behaving like quitters from Iran… India belongs to us as much as any other Indian since the Vedic times.

    Are you reading this Mr. Ronnie? 🙂

  • Dear Firoze,
    I have being saying the same that you had just written about, The youths of the Parsees are nowadays joblesshave you cared to find out the main reasons behind it, if you have not then i would like to inform you that the main reason is that our young yoths are not intrested in studying hard & they just want become Romeos over night. where as on the other hand our young girls are getting highly qualified degrees & that is the biggest & main reasons that our girls are marrying outside the community.
    Hope that those youngsters wake up from their deep slumber or else all that the Pnchayat has would be gone into the hands of the Goernment which is just waiting lay its dirty hands on all that belongs to the Parsee Panchayat.
    My Adivse to all youth that please do study as the young girls of our community are studying than only we would be able to be called a civilized.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie Patel.

  • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    DEAR FIROZE , RONNIE & OTHER READERS ,

    WELL REGARDING THE SOUTH POLE COMMENT.

    GENE FREQUENCY MEANT ON AN AVERAGE OCCURANCE ( COMMONLY FOUND GENE) OR IN OTHER WORDS A PARTICULAR GENE DESITY AMONG A GROUP OF PEOPLE OR REGION.

    THIS WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE ALSO SAID THAT THIS GENE M198 – WHICH EXIST WITH HIGH DENSITY THROUGHOUT “SOUTHERN IRAN COAST & CENTRAL IRAN EXIST IN EQUAL MEASURE ACROSS PEOPLE OF BALOUCHISTAN , SIND , RAJASTHAN , & GUJRAT , THOUGH THIS GENE DENSITY REDUCES FROM SOUTH GUJRAT , NORTH RAJASTAN & PUNJAB & GRADUALLY DISAPPEARS BY THE KARNATAKA BORDER ( SOUTHERN MAH.) , THROUGH SMALL TRIBAL COMM. & CASTE COMM. DO EXHIBIT SIMIAR GENES PATTERN IN POCKETS OF INDIA.

    THIS GENE GOES WEAK TOWARDS NORTH IRAN ( THERAN & SURROND AREAS ) – INFLUENCE OF MIDDLE-EAST , TURKISH & IRANS ORIGINAL GENES.

    PARSIS MIGRATED FROM KHORASTAN , IT MEANS FROM CENTRAL ASIA CARRYING SAME M198 GENES & SOME FROM SOUTHERN IRAN.

    IT IS STATED THAT KHORASTANI & CENTRAL ASIA’S ZORASTRIANS ( BUKHARA ) HAD MANY FIRE – TEMPLE , & BACK THEN ;-

    SOURCE :- WIKIPEDIA

    Despite these economic and social incentives to convert, Zoroastrianism remained strong in some regions, particularly in those furthest away from the Caliphate capital at Baghdad. In Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan), resistance to Islam required the 9th century Arab commander Qutaiba to convert his province four times. The first three times the citizens reverted to their old religion. Finally, the governor made their religion “difficult for them in every way”, turned the local fire temple into a mosque, and encouraged the local population to attend Friday prayers by paying each attendee two dirhams.[8] The cities where Arab governors resided were particularly vulnerable to such pressures, and in these cases the Zoroastrians were left with no choice but to either conform or to migrate to regions that had a more amicable administration.[8]

    Among these migrations were those to cities in (or on the margins of) the great salt deserts, in particular to Yazd and Kerman, which remain centers of Iranian Zoroastrianism to this day. Yazd became the seat of the Iranian high priests during Mongol Il-Khanate rule, when the “best hope for survival [for a non-Muslim] was to be inconspicuous.”[12] Crucial to the present-day survival of Zoroastrianism was a migration from the northeastern Iranian town of “Sanjan in south-western Khorasan”,[13] to Gujarat, in western India. The descendants of that group are today known as the ‘Parsis’ – “as the Gujaratis, from long tradition, called anyone from Iran”[13] – and who today represent the larger of the two groups of Zoroastrians.

    HOPE THIS REDUCES TO HALF THE DISPUTE OF HOW IRAN & INDIA ANCHESTORS WERE COMMON ( MAINLY OF THE REGIONS I MENTIONED ) , BARRING A FEW OTHER DISTINCT IRANIAN GENES FROM INDIAN , M198 IS JUST ONE GENE MENTIONED THERE ARE STILL A DOZEN GENE COMBINATION WHICH I HAVE NOT MENTIONED HERE , A PART OF CENTRAL ASIAN ZORASTRIANS ARE NOW PARSIS ( THOUGH I WOULD CALL THEM INDIAN ( GUJRATI GENES AS TESTED AMONG THE COMMUNITY ) BECAUSE OF GENERATIONS OF GENES LOSS , BECAUSE OF WHICH SOME DISTINCT INDIAN GENES (FROM FEMALE SIDE) ARE FOUND AMONG PARSIS), & BACK THEN SOUNTERN & NORTH IRN. ZORASTR. WERE FIERCELY PATRIOTIC TO THEIR RELIGION , COMPARED TO OTHER PARTS OF IRAN ( PARTIALLY BECASE BEING AWAY FROM CAPITAL BAGHDAD ) , & IT IS TODAY ONLY IN THIS PART OF IRAN THAT MAJORITY OF FIRE-TEMPLE, ZORAS. / AVEST. STILL LIVE.

  • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    DEAR FARZ. , RONS. , TO ALL RADERS IN SHORT ,

    THERE WAS NO PARSI IRANIAN CIVILIZATION , PARSI WAS A TERM USED IN INDIA FOR THE OUTSIDERS AS THEY USED TO BE KNOWN BACK THEN , BRITISH ARE KNOW TO USED THIS TERM FREQUENTLY.

    REGARDING SOUTH POLE , ITS A MISTAKE IT SHOULD BE SOUTH AFRICA FROM WHERE THEY LANDED IN SOUTH INDIA , BUT THEY ARE HARDCORE DRAVIDIANS NOT ARYANS , ARYANS MIGRATED FROM RUSSIAN STEPPS & SURPRISING A CITY DATING SOME 3000 B.C.) HAS BEEN FOUND IN TURKMENISTAN & IT SHOWS FIRE – TEMPLE AS ONLY PLACE OF WORSHIP ( INDIAN & IRANIAN BOTH PRAYED FIRE THEN ) & CONSUMPTION OF SOMA PLANT AS LIQUOR , PROPHET ZORASTER , WAS LIKE GAUTAM BUDDHA , PREACHED THE SAME FIRE – WORSHIP ALBEIT WITH SOME PURITY STANDARDS , & CALLED THE ARYAN GODS AS PART OF GOOD FORCES ( JUST LIKE WHAT THE BUDDHA SAID ABOUT INDIAN GODS) & THE FIGHT AGAINST EVIL FORCES.

  • KERSSIE WADIA

    None can deny that the philanthropy of the Parsees has been legendary.

    However, today the scenario is quite different. Our glory days no more exist. They are long gone.

    The average Parsee youth seems to have lost the drive and ambition to succeed. Hard work seems to have become a thing of the past.

    We are facing a number of problems today. Our numbers are declining very rapidly.

    1.The average number of children a parsi couple has is a dismal 1.

    2.Over one-third of Parsees are unmarried.

    3.Again over one-third of them marry out of the community.

    4.Over 40 % of Parsees are above 65 years of age.

    5.While about 1000 parsees die every year, only 150 children are born.

    Where are we leading ourselves to ? Our extinction is imminent.

    Our so called leaders claiming “scholarship” over the religion and the community, seem to be clueless. Except for making untrue statements like, “we are not decreasing”, “we shall never become extinct” etc., no concrete steps are being taken to arrest the declining population. Is this our civilization ? Is this our culture ?

    This is neither “civilization” nor “culture”. For how long will we Parsees continue to bask in the past glory and refuse to accept and solve the problems that we are facing today ?

    And….about the terrible state our Dokhmas. THE system of Dokhmenashini has failed completely. No body is against the system of Dokhmenashini if it is functional. Today the bodies our our dear departed lie rotting and stinking in the Dokhmas. Is this Dokhmenashini ? Don’t we need to alter / change the system so that a dignified disposal takes place ? Is it too much to expect from our so called leaders who claim “scholarship” over the religion to provide us with proper alternatives ? Is this our “civilization” ? Is this our “culture” ?

    With hope that better sense prevails…

    Kerssie Wadia

  • Very true Kerssie, we are indeed heading for extinction of the Community but the blame for the same is exclusively on the short sighted electorate who exercised their voting rights based on the food served by each prospective candidate rather than on the merits and qualifications of the candidates. Community gets the ‘government’ they deserve. To expect moral integrity from self styled Scholars is just expecting too much.

  • Kerssie Wadia,
    I differ with your perception that average Parsi youth has no desire for hard work. In this country, Reservations have caused frustration amongst the youths. With 90% marks it is impossible to secure admissions in Medical or Engineering Colleges. On the other hand our youngsters try to emulate others who grow up on easy money.Even some of our community’s netas ‘earn’ thru doles. What encouragement our community youths receive for higher studies? I wonder why our Punchayets of Mumbai, Surat and Pune can not reserve some paid seats in institutes of higher learning for deserving studious youngsters. I feel the elders alone are to be blamed.
    As for your remark about the state of affairs for disposal of mortal remains, nothing short of a sustained campaign against the ‘Traditionalists’ would free the community from arm twisting coterie which talks of ‘package deal’ and denying prayer facilities to those who choose to opt for an efficient disposal. In fact, on reading PTA edit in Bombay Samachar of 20th inst, should open the eyes of those who attended and applauded at the Dadar Parsi Gymkhana meet a couple of months back.
    For those who talk about observing the provisions of respective Trust Deeds, one wonders if Charity Trust like Fire Temples are allowed to make money by selling
    Well Water to water Tankers. There is absolutely no check on number of tankers filled up by the tanker drivers.
    I propose to take up this issue with the Office of Charity Commissioner since such sale of Well water by Fire temples would not be in consonance with the provisions of relative Trust Deeds.

  • “Where are we leading ourselves to ? Our extinction is imminent.”
    Yes, Kersi Wadia, the community elders and akabars are catering to whims of a few fanatic bigots and those having ingrained qualities of double standards.Community is indeed heading for self destruction. I agree with you fully in context of facts and statistics though I feel conversion is not the solution for increasing our numbers.
    As for disposal of mortal remains,what is required is a pioneering effort to set up a prayer Hall in the City with amenities for 4 days prayers. Absence of such a infrastructure is the biggest handicap which is sadistically exploited by the bigots who relish imposing their cult on all as if they are God sent messengers and divine interpreters of our Holy Scriptures.

  • a.rustomjee

    Piloo and Voice of Reason,
    You have expressed the view that majority of Zoros in Bombay hold but are too scared to utter.Fervent prayer that the Almighty listens to wishes of thousands and brings relief in form of outcome of Originating Summons.

  • farzana

    Y_A_W_N MR RONNIE or WHOEVER YOU ARE,

    migration of HUMAN POPULATION began with the movement of Homo erectus out of Africa across Eurasia about a MILLION YEARS AGO…
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/22/MN5RV6L1C.DTL

    Fyi, THIS MIGRATION HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH DRAVIDS OR ARYANS!! THIS WAS A COLLECTIVE HUMAN MIGRATION? SAMJEY? AND THIS HAPPENED A MILLION YEARS AGO!!

    INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION STARTED APPROXIMATELY SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO…
    ON WESTERN PARTS OF SUBCONTINIENT WHICH ARE NOW MOSTLY IN PAKISTAN.

    THIS CIVILIZATION WAS STATED BY ELAMITES/ DRAVIDIANS WHO WERE SPREAD IN THE AREAS STRETCHING FROM MESOPOTAMIA AND IRAN TO SUBCONTINIENT WHICH ENCOMPASSED DRAVIDIAN CULTURE ALSO KNOWN AS ELAMITE CULTURE…BEFORE THE MIGRATION OF ARYANS TOOK PLACE

    BTW THE ORIGINAL NAME FOR IRAN WAS ELAM, [YES IN TAMIL ‘ELAM’ MEANS ‘HOMELAND’]…

    AND ELAMITE WAS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IN PERSIAN EMPIRE.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elamite_language

    GOES TO SHOW THAT GEOGRAPHICALLY ‘ELAM’ INCLUDED AREAS OF IRAN TO WESTERN INDIA AS ONE COUNTRY, BEFORE THE ARYAN MIGRATION TOOK PLACE APPROXIMATELY 3,000 YEARS AGO FROM CENTRAL ASIA…. THAT STARTED THE VEDIC PERIOD.

  • KERSSIE WADIA

    We Parsis have achieved the dubious distinction of working against the tenets of our own religion.

    1. Our religion is based on cleanliness. Yet some of our leaders who claim “scholarship” over the religion would want the bodies of our departed rot in the Dokhmas, in the name of the religion !!

    2. Our religion tells us to apply our good mind and good mind alone to any situation in life. Yet some of us vote for our leaders based on the food served by them, and ignore the truly accomplished candidates in the process !!

    3. Our religion teaches us Manashni, Gavashni, and Kunashni. Yet our leaders who claim “scholarship” over the religion ban the poor priests because they pray for those departed who opt for cremation or burial !!

    All this happens because our so called vada dasturjis have miserably failed to act in a non partisan manner for reasons unknown and unexplained to the masses. They too seem to have fallen prey to worldly materialistic thought process having ceased to use their Good mind.

    Is this our ‘civilization’ and ‘culture’ that we brag about so often ?

    KERSSIE WADIA

  • farzana

    The gist is, 6,000 ago India did not exist as one country as we see it today geographically.

    Certain parts of western india, pakistan and southeast iran formed one entity that had a common culture namely Elamite. Therefore its incorrect to contribute INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION to India alone… It is s as much pakistani and as much Iranian parsi as its indian.

    If there was no Parsi civilization according to our cut paste scholars- Mr Ronnie and his other pseudo… ; than Indus valley civilization is not an Indian civilization either…. Go figure.

  • Jayant Kulkarni

    Hi !
    The gentleman has stated

    “Indians have culture but not civilization. Culture is how we entertain ourselves; civilization is how we entertain others”

    I think he has forgotten that this very culture ( according to him ) has entertained Parsis when they were thrown out of Persia. No where in this universe you will find culture (according to him) giving political asylum to any community which landed here to seek it.

    I don’t know what to say about this gross inability of this gentleman at least to thank this CULTURE !

    Jayant

  • farzana

    Jayant bhau, chill.

    The gentleman in question is some Aakar Patel..doesn’t seem to be a Parsi in the first place…

    Secondly the piece is a covert attempt at creating communal wedge between Hindus and Parsis by some sick minded individual …

    and best of all, no Parsi here agrees with him.

    Well, and regarding your post, Parsis were not thrown out of Persia.

    There has always been Hindu and Buddhist minority living as equals in Persia [ esp in areas of afghanistan and pakistan] for thousands of years while it was under Parsi establishment…the same way as Parsi minority has been living in India.

    Tolerance to each other’s beliefs has been mutual.

    thank you

  • Siloo Kapadia

    It is interesting to know that more members of the community are interested in the well-being of vultures and the disposal of mortal remains than they are of propagation of the faith and acceptance of new believers.

    Yes, Piloo, deekree, I agree with you 100%. With “enlightened” thinking such as what we see, it will be a miracle if the community will be around in South Asia after 50 years.

  • Jayant Kulkarni

    Hi !

    I agree with your views. In fact the recent study shows that the Indus civilization which met with calamity due to drying up of the river saraswati migrated to Persia and India. Thus the similarities in their culture. I will post a link to this study at a later stage as I don’t have it now.

    By the way I like Parsis and have studied a lot about the ancient Persia. I can certainly say that wine was invented in Persia which was called jehar-e-khush ! :-)))

    Regards,
    Jayant

  • farzana

    Jayant,
    wine was invented by one of our common ancestors – King Yim , the same dude as Yamraj in Vedas …So goes the story in persian… Anyway who cares about it being authentic or not as long as we all have a good excuse to party-sharty and enjoy good things in life…:)

    regarding Indus civilization,…unearthed Indus seals depict scenes with rhinos and elephants amidst plains of wild grass and trees, goes to show that Saraswati [Herahwati] valley was once a green belt bursting with nature full of varied life forms…It may have dried up eventually due to overuse of natural resources and cutting down of forests mindlessly turning it into Thar desert. It really saddens me to see…how even today most of us use up our energy in ego fights over silly past, silly religions, their silly books and their silly authors… when its more imperative for us to get our priorities right and make united efforts at preserving whatever remains of nature around us for our own survival… and survival of our civilization…

  • farzana

    very well said, Kersee:)

  • btw did u forget to mention … pieces from history of mumbai ?

    making of the city was funded by parsi’s too …
    #BSE
    JJ Hospital ?

    but we must not think of AMBANIs as whole of india?
    in my opinion it needs a revisit …

  • Dear Farzana,or whatever you may be.
    For your kind information India was already a estabhlished country, but what about Iran, at that time Aryans were unheard about, only it was when the Aryans felt their homes in Arya Nam Vaijo that we got to learn about the Aryans & it was first that the Aryans settled in Indus valley, One group of Aryans sttled down in Iran & the other group moved to GHermany, it was for this particular reasin that Hitler accepted Swatika as their Emblem & was proud to be an Aryan.
    From where did you get the other story i dont know, but i think that your History has been made by you only.
    Please learn before you write any dammn thing.
    Jai Hind.

  • It was a part of My Beautiful India Formerly.
    It was the Britishers who are main culprits for dividing the Two Sons of One Mother & that the name of the Mother is & was & will be known as Bharatmata for your kind information Farzana.
    So, naturally Indus valley was & would be in the future again a part of my mother Bharatmata.
    Jai Hindustan.& not your Pakistan.

  • farzana

    “For your kind information India was already a estabhlished country, but what about Iran, at that time Aryans were unheard about, ”

    Dear Mr. Scholar,
    Can you show us the Map of India as an establshed country during indus valley civilization (ie. before the aryan migration took place)?

    And the name it was known by?…

    no, it was not ‘Bharat’…

    Bharat was an ARYAN CLAN named after its leader and ruler, you should have known this, dear scholarjee!

    ==> “From where did you get the other story i dont know, but i think that your History has been made by you only.
    Please learn before you write any dammn thing.”

    Hmmm who said i know anything… I know nothing, that is why im looking forward to get answers from you, dear scholar and self style historian jee

    So when will i get to see the map and the name i requested, dear scholarjeee?

  • farzana

    Oh! Wow! we’ll have a Family get together in the future… Mother Bharat [?] will get united with all her sons… -Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh!!
    What a profound thought!!
    though, I wonder what Mother Bharat will do with appox 2 billion Muslim grand sons!!

    Btw, Mr Bharat, do you usually go to forum like this to entertain forumers for free? 🙂

  • farzana

    [Dear moderator, plz delete the above double post sent by me at 11:16pm. Thank you]

    Oh! Wow! we’ll be having a family reunion in the future…

    Mother Bharat [?] will get united with all her sons… -Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh!!
    What a profound thought!!
    though, I wonder what Mother Bharat will do with appox 2 billion Muslim grand sons!!:)

    What do you think Mother Bharat should do about her son- Germany? Should she annex it?

    Interesting Phamily!!

    Btw, Mr Bharat, do you usually go to forums like this to entertain forumers for free? 😀 just asking:D

  • Nawazish

    Hello Everyone,
    I must say that this article and it’s following comments got quite ugly and belligerent quickly. Intrestingly we have covered, genetics, rationale, dead bodies, condition of the country, Geography, Indian people, Money, religion, faith, color and a whole bunch of other relevant matter in this reading.
    Please keep in mind, that we are all writing this with an emotional bent of mind and probably not very logical. We, as individuals, believe what we must based on common sense, knowlegde (or lack of it), nurture and experiences. So none of us who have contributed or the silent ones, are either terribly correct or wrong either.
    Here is a suggestion; watch a documentary called ‘Journey of Man’ – A Genetic Odyessey by Spencer Wells. I’ve seen it and it explains to aa large extent the movement of mankind from Africa to South America throo Persia, The Indian subcontinent and so on.
    ‘Pars -i’ – I sure do like the explanation for the word coming from sanskrit but here is another one. Give me your thoughts on this. ‘Pars’ coming from the province/region ‘Fars’in Persia and ‘i’ meaning from that place in india. Eg:Bihar – Bihari, Gujurat -Gujurati. Could it have meant that the Indians called the foreigners, people from Fars morphing over to Parsi over the years.
    For what it’s worth, land is no mans to keep. So yes, we have to be grateful for the region of india that has graciously embodied us in many ways. Secondly, are we actually being racist in determining that we are superior or better in any miniscule way at all? It’s worth thinking about.
    So everyone is talking and debating about the very roots of the parsis. Start with religion as it’s called in India, used to be faith in Persia, or simply a way of life. That has transposed to being veyr brutal about Parsis vs. Iranis in India. What happened to culture and civilized behaviour there?
    Some shun others and some create dintinct classes, and this is still within Parsis, let alone the Hindus and others.
    In Iran, anyone is allowed in a fire temple but not in India. In Ira, as suppressed as the public is, it’s ok for a muslim to marry a zoroastrian but not in India. We have forgotten that we as a race or creed, come from the same roots. So why Iranis, Parsis, and the remaining sub-castes?
    Are we not all Zarthustis that read the same book, and try to follow a humble way of life, notably good thoughts, words and deeds? Hey, Try those to begin with as somehow all differences go away and all you see is gray. Try being a decent person and in many ways you will relive the ideology of Zarathustra from a long time ago.
    We all have answers to everything it seems, specially evident in this discussion, but no one asks the right questions.
    Cheerio.

  • I simply wish the Parsees remain in India as long as India exists. They are Indians as any other Indian so it’s irrelevant where they came from.
    I am so much fascinated by this community ( maybe because I come from Jamshedpur).

    I feel quite sad everytime I hear talk of the Parsee population declining.

    There is simply no denying the fact that Parsees are the most ethical of all the communities in India.

    Radical moves are required to reverse the declining population and ensure survival of both the community and the religion.

  • Vivek G

    Brilliant article! As an Indian, I am not offended. I actually agree with the author. In fact, I would argue that Indians neither have culture nor civilization. There is no country in the world that I am aware of where people urinate and defecate in the open ( even the so-called “educated” ones do this in India ). Persians are indeed cultured as well; it is just that their culture has been repressed by Arab savagery but by Ahura Mazda’s grace they will rise again soon. Regards.

  • Indian tamil

    Brilliant article! As an Indian, I am not offended. I actually agree with the author. In fact, I would argue that Indians neither have culture nor civilization. There is no country in the world that I am aware of where people urinate and defecate in the open ( even the so-called “educated” ones do this in India ). Persians are indeed cultured as well; it is just that their culture has been repressed by Arab savagery but by Ahura Mazda’s grace they will rise again soon. Regards.
    ///

    oh persians are civilized, fools

    if indians are not , then persians wont be

    it was the indians who civilized persia, the real pronounciation of parsis rooted to the parthava, the other name for india and the name of the indian tamil king pandian

    ancient tamils practised different burial systems and one among it was throwing the human bodies to the vulture(mentioned in third sangam literature 300 bc to 200 ad)

  • Pingback: Some very interesting links « Parsis, Iranis, Zarathushtis – ALL Under One Roof()

  • CONTRADHONGI

    Just sit back and relax. Those who called down to earth persons as DEFORMISTS are now at the receiving end from true Orthodox I am enjoying the expose of Dhongees being done by genuine Orthodox. For me no need to mention names of hypocrites who wanted to mislead the community in the name of Aviary hogwash since last five years.

  • CONTRADHONGI

    Just sit back and relax. Those who called down to earth persons as DEFORMISTS are now at the receiving end from true Orthodox I am enjoying the expose of Dhongees being done by genuine Orthodox. For me no need to mention names of hypocrites who wanted to mislead the community in the name of Aviary hogwash since last five years.

  • CONTRADHONGI

    Just sit back and relax. Those who called down to earth persons as DEFORMISTS are now at the receiving end from true Orthodox I am enjoying the expose of Dhongees being done by genuine Orthodox. For me no need to mention names of hypocrites who wanted to mislead the community in the name of Aviary hogwash since last five years.