Dasturji Jamasp Asa achieves fifty years of service


October 4, 2006

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Tuesday was an important day for Mumbai’s Parsi community.

The high priest of the community, Vada Dastur Saheb Khaikhusroo Dastur Minocher Pamasp Asa, of the 109-year-old Anjumana Atash Behram at Dhobitalao, completed 50 years of Dasturship (high priesthood). Khaikhusroo is the first priest of the community in Mumbai to complete such a long tenure.

The Vada Dastur (high priest) was felicitated by the World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarothoshtis (WAPIZ), at a gala event attended by over 600 members of the community.

Ever since the Parsi community settled in Mumbai over 300 years ago, no other priest in Mumbai has completed 50 years of holy service. Recalling the day he was installed the high priest in October1956, Khaikhusroo said: “I never imagined that I would have the honour to serve my community for such a long time. However, it has been a happy, eventful and fulfilling journey.”

But despite his achievement, the Vada Dastur is worried about certain things in the community. “There has been a steady decline in the population of the Parsi community. More and more inter-caste marriages and over-secularisation amongst Parsis has weakened our community. If inter-caste marriages continue, the religion may not survive successfully in the years to come.”

And there was a message for Parsis who had converted to other religions or alienated themselves from the faith: “Come back to the faith, come back to the religion and we will welcome you with open arms,” he said.

Khaikhusroo hails from a lineage of illustrious scholar priests. His great grandfather, Dasturji Saheb Jamaspji M Jamasp Asa, had consecrated and established the Anjumana Atash Behram over a 100 years ago. Areez Khambatta, chairman of WAPIZ, said, “During the 50 years of his dastoorship of the Anjumana Atash Behram, Vada Dastoor ji has steered the community onto the path of tradition and has upheld the beliefs and practices of the ancient Zoroastrian faith.”

Original article here