Members of Parsi community in Lucknow on Monday urged the administration to free their properties of encroachments and help in its preservation.
Speaking at the book launch of ‘Bharat Ka Parsi Samaj’ by Dr Naresh Singh, president of Avadh Girls’ Degree College, Zarine Viccajee, whose family was one of the first settlers from the community in Lucknow, said: “Parsis have contributed to the country’s development and continues to do so in different fields. But the community’s strength is dwindling. Today, 40 Parsi families reside in the city as compared to 300 earlier.”
“Be it Lucknow or Delhi, we mingled with people wherever we settled. At a time when only limited number of Parsis are there to keep their heritage and culture alive in Lucknow, a few places like 73-year-old Parsi Anjuman and the graveyard need to be preserved,” she said.
“In our religion, we let the bodies of the dead decompose naturally. This is why Mumbai has the ‘Tower of Silence’. Lucknow has no such place, therefore, we go for burial,” Viccajee added.
Highlighting the history of the community, president of Lucknow Parsi Community Homi Sipai said it was Nauroji Damkewala, a trader of silk and pearls from Gujarat, who first settled in Lucknow during the times of third king of Awadh Mohammad Ali Shah.
“Gradually, a number of families started settling in the city. Most of the families stayed in the compound of Parsi Anjuman. We made Lucknow our home and embraced the city’s lifestyle,” he said. The members also expressed concern over the fact that their festivals, Navroz and Khordad Sal, were not declared public holidays.