Zoroastrian Stree Mandal of Hyderabad and Secunderabad: Sticking together

There is probably an inverse relation between a community’s population and its togetherness. The Parsi community doesn’t defy this relation and is an exceptionally close-knit community. With a population of about 1,100, the Parsi community has a sizeable population.

By Amar Tejaswi | Deccan Chronicle

Parsis’ business acumen drew them to the city a couple of generations back and they have remained here since with a lot of the members having businesses of their own. But the business acumen is diminishing with time as current generations move towards jobs in IT industry and elsewhere.

Parsis in the city, like anywhere else, are quite conscious of their community and its number and have thus initiated a range of schemes for themselves. Schemes to alleviate poverty and child educational incentives are some that are active. The Zoroastrian Stree Mandal, a group of Parsi ladies have been doing some good work on the charity front.

But Parsis are, generally, an affluent set of people and are known to believe in charity and so, these schemes are no surprise. But, noteworthy is the bi or tri-annual ‘Gambhar’, which is free feast for any Parsi who wishes to attend. The purpose of this, Parsis say, is to bring the affluent Parsis and their poor counterparts on a common platform, so as to bring a sense of equality among the all the Parsis. And because Parsis are pretty famous for their eating habits, no surprise they chose a feast for the purpose! In the words of JD Batliwala, Secretary of the Anjuman Fire Temple, Secunderabad, “Parsis love their food and are a very gregarious set of people.”

Zoroastrianism is also known for its distinct rituals and religious practices. The dead are usually left to the vultures on Towers of Silence but vultures can’t be spotted in the sky anymore, solar concentrators are being used. According to J.D. Batliwala, death rate among Hyderabadi Parsis is about 20 to 25 a year.

As a community, Zoroastrianism is non-proselytic meaning, conversions are not possible. And Parsis are a little particular about marriages within the community but don’t outright oppose inter-community alliances. And because a few Parsi ladies are marrying outside the community, it is turning into a matter of concern. But, to ease the marriage hunting process, they have matrimonial meets on a regular basis. And such concerted efforts, in recognition of their meagre number in the city, is said to be paying off.

If a ratio of the contribution to the society upon the population of the community is made, Parsis would stand first. Narrowing down to the city, many enterprising Parsi businessmen reside here