Understanding Parsi Population Decline: Video and text now available

Below is an email received from Dinyar Patel.

Dinyar writes

As many of you know, I recently gave at talk at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai on the topic of "Understanding Parsi Population Decline: A Historical Perspective." This talk, similar to the talk that I gave in Houston in December 2010, consults the scholarship of professional demographers in order to clear up popular confusion in the Parsi community over why, precisely, our population figures have been declining over the past few decades.

It highlights the fact that ALL professional demographic studies show that intermarriage, or migration to the West, is not the prime reason for population decline. Rather, the defining reasons are late marriage and non-marriage in the Parsi community, and the resultant few number of children born. This has translated into smaller and smaller generations of Parsi youth, and a larger proportion of aged persons, something starkly obvious here in Mumbai and elsewhere in India.

Thanks to Kainaz Amaria, a US photojournalist currently based in Mumbai, this talk was videotaped and is now posted online in three different parts and can be viewed below.

In particular, I would like to direct you to 33:23 of Part 3, where Dinshaw Mehta, chairman of the BPP, acknowledges the seriousness of the demographic problem and pledges that the BPP will give it the attention it deserves. I have been in touch with Mr. Mehta since then.

The chairman of the BPP has acknowledged our demographic crisis. Now it is time for those of us in North America — who face additional challenges caused by a geographically dispersed population — to give this critically-needed attention, support, and funding.

This really should be the #1 priority of FEZANA, and the later that we put off decisive action, the greater our number of lost opportunities, and the smaller and weaker our future community will be. All other issues and concerns pale in comparison with the stark reality that we are currently not doing enough to ensure a robust "next generation" for the community. The seriousness of this crisis is readily apparent from the "Promoting Marriage" survey report I sent around late last month.

A PDF copy of my Nehru Centre talk, with graphs and figures, can be downloaded here.

It is time to move from talk to action.

Best regards, Dinyar

Parsi Population Decline in India: Dinyar Patel/Harvard Pt. 1 from Kainaz Amaria on Vimeo.

Dinyar Patel from Harvard University presents his scholarly research on "Understanding Parsi Population Decline in India: A Historical Perspective." Nehru Center, Mumbai May 7, 2011

Parsi Population Decline in India: Dinyar Patel/Harvard Pt. 2 from Kainaz Amaria on Vimeo.

Dinyar Patel from Harvard University presents his scholarly research on "Understanding Parsi Population Decline in India: A Historical Perspective." Nehru Center, Mumbai May 7, 2011

Parsi Population Decline in India: Dinyar Patel/Harvard Pt. 3 from Kainaz Amaria on Vimeo.

Dinyar Patel from Harvard University presents his scholarly research on "Understanding Parsi Population Decline in India: A Historical Perspective." Nehru Center, Mumbai May 7, 2011

  • qasim

    they tend to have small families

  • qasim

    they tend to have small families

  • qasim

    they tend to have small families

  • Dinaz

    Actually many Zoroastrian couples, especially those over 30 years of age (like other couples of various ethnicities) face medical infertility. If you read full responses to Dinyar Patel’s marriage/relationship survey, you’ll see quite a few stories of couples who’ve tried for years to conceive, naturally and by fertility treatments. http://parsikhabar.net/documents/Promoting_Marriage_Survey-All_Responses.pdf

    Quite a few Zoroastrians are investigating egg and sperm donation. Some have tried unsucessfully in the US and Canada. Others are going to India.

    Yet in India, doctors have a perception that Parsi Zoroastrians, as a highly educated community, won’t be interested in donation. This is a wrong assumption! Because in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc, the more educated you are, the more you can research and understand the pain of childless couples. Zoroastrians know our numbers are small. So shouldn’t we all want to help?

    What can we do to encourage Zoroastrians to step up to the challenge, and at least consider egg or sperm donation? If you want to help your community, it’s an altruistic and beautiful way to do it.