Actress debarred from agiary revives gender bias debate


March 1, 2011

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Issues | News

An incident last week at an agiary (Parsi fire temple) in Andheri has restarted a debate in the community about bias against women who marry non-Zoroastrians.

By Manoj Nair | DNA India

While there is a deep divide among orthodox and liberal Parsis over whether a distinction should be made between men and women whose spouses are not from their community, Mumbai’s agiaries have generally not discriminated against the women. In Mumbai, most fire temples do not bar entry to women whose husbands are not from the community, unless they have converted to their spouse’s religion. The city’s nearly four dozen fire temples have allowed women to worship, though there are restrictions on taking their kids inside.

But many liberal Parsis saw the Andheri incident as an attempt to change the status quo. The Andheri fire temple barred a television actor from entering the premises to take part in the memorial prayer services for her recently deceased father. The actor has recently separated from her husband, also an actor. She was not allowed to take part in the ceremonies while her brother, who is also a television personality, and the rest of the family were allowed in.

Vispy Wadia of the group Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism (ARZ) said that fire temples in Mumbai usually did not make a distinction between men and women married to non-Zoroastrians. “So, this incident has come as a shock,” said Wadia.

The actor who was not allowed to take part in her father’s funeral rites did not make an issue of the incident. But according to members of the Association of Inter-Married Zoroastrians (AIMZ), a group largely representing women married to non-Zoroastrians, she has a legal recourse. “It is difficult for a person who has lost someone to take up cudgels. But if she has not converted to her husband’s religion and has married under the special marriage act, she can take legal action against the agiary. We have taken opinion and the legal point is very clear,” said Khurshid Narang of AIMZ.

But other members of the community have a different view. Dinshaw Mehta, chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, the community largest apex body and the caretaker and manager of many of their religious institutions said that every trust has a right to make its own rules.

“Even the Doongerwadi (Towers of Silence cemetery) allows women married to non-Zoroastrians to be interred there if she has not converted to another religion and her relatives say that she was a practicing Zoroastrian. Every agiary has its own trust deed and depending on the objects of the trust, the fire temple can make its own rules,” said Mehta


  1. Homi Dalal

    It is absolute discrimination on sex basis and can be challenged in the court of law. These so called Orthodox s twist & turn the religion as per their convenience. No where in the Zoroastrian scripture quotes such practice. very soon we may see a revolt in the community since honest Zoroastrians are being harassed under the name of the religion. I would like to know trust deed which fire temple states so.

  2. Tehmul.

    What is the upright priest expected to do.? What he has done is correct. That this action of the presiding Priest will set a precedent and in future will deter such trespassers from encroaching in our sacred places. Three cheers for the Priest

  3. Burjor Bharucha

    Before a zoroastrian girl or boy decides to marry outside the religion they have to consider all the repurcussions and consequences this decision would have on them, their off springs and all other family members. They have to adapt themselves to the new life style and not expect the religion to bend rules to adapt to thier requirements and problems which future life is bound to throw at them from time to time.

    Now that we have a Council of Vada Dasturji Sahebs in place would it not be prudent and advisable to refer all religious problems and issues to this Council with the clear understanding that any / all decisions taken by this Council would be binding on the parties concerned, whenther reformists or orthodox. Those who do not agree with the verdicts given by the Council will always have the option to have the religious rites performed in the privacy of their homes and not insist on having them performed in Agiaries or Atash Behrams.

  4. kainaz

    Dinshaw Mehta should mind his own business & stop yapping nonsense. Women as well as men have full right if they r parsis practising parsi religion.

  5. Byram.

    Religion is NOT a private Club when a person can enter, exit and re enter at her whims and caprice.
    I agree with what Burjor Bharucha has stated. As for Dala’s comment about revolt within the community, likes of him can continue day dreaming. Yes do go ahead and challenge the action of devoted and sincere priests in a Court of Law and await for its outcome after decades.

  6. Homi Dalal

    Who says Mr. Dinshaw Mehta is orthodox? If he would have been orthodox he would have never agreed to cremate ni bungli. If he would have been orthodox he would not have been member of AIMZ . Unfortunately he is being under influence of WAPIZ leaders. But I know one thing once a reformist always a reformist. There is nothing wrong in Mr. Dinshaw Mehta’s stand on this issue.He seems to be more practical compared to his co trustee/s who claims to be self appointed religious scholar.

  7. Rathestar.

    A.I.M.Z should complain to Human Rights Commission and Statutory bodies for Women Rights on this issue. Is it not ironical that even a stray dog can enter a Fire Temple at will without hindrance but a Parsi female whose Navjot has been performed but has later married a person from another faith is sought to be denied entry.And what if the dog is a bitch and in her menses?. I have witnessed a stray dog entering the main Hall of a South Mumbai Agiari in the late evening and the poor priest trying to drive the mutt away desperately to the amusement of devotees present.
    I have seen many inter-faith married Parsee females. entering Fire Temples covering up their Mangal Sutras. Why this surreptitious entry? If they still profess our Religion and have not cast away their Sudreh Kusti, why fear such vigilantes who are facing music after their ‘adventure’ in Monastrie of M. Master Moos.
    In this case of the T.V. actress had she not enjoyed some sort of publicity being in the glamour world of T.V,no body would have known about her earlier marriage and this matter would never have been an issue.
    Lastly, I have observed that one woman always takes up the issue of perceived injustice or real injustice perpetrated on another female. Why the female Editor of an erstwhile Parsee news paper which is now published weekly does not take up the issue of feminine cause. ANY ANSWERS?

  8. Homi Dalal

    Dear All

    There appears to be some mistake in news reporting . However please continue the debate.

    Dear Rathestar,
    It is very surprising that you don’t know the female Editor? I would say she is not at all an Editor . She is one of the puppets of Wapiz/BPP & publishes what is fed to her. I hope you got an answer.

    Dear Burjor ,
    Firstly the council is not yet formed and is confirmed by none other than Ed. Ramyar Karanjia. If it is a council of so called Wada dasturs than why the three outsiders like Bajan ,Peer & Karanjia are required? They should be now termed as Assistant Wada Dasturs. HA HA HA . I feel it is an open insult to existing Wada Dasturjis. The formation is idea of Sharbatwala’s idea mooted to gag the voice of Wada Dasturji of Udwada. Yes there will be revolt in the community . Better read Constitution of India which is Supreme.–Right to Religion.

    Roshni Maloo gave the Dgongidox a knock out in the first round only. Now there will be many Maloo/D’souzas. My hats off to her guts.. do you think she is the first one to perform the navotes of her Children. There are many who have done so. But she had the guts to do it openly & BPP & its Goondas got a big jolt. Leave aside her case, there are many who have done Navjotes of adopted children. Are you aware about Pious Dasturjis Kukadaru action of doing Navjotes of 17 Juddins. Grand father of Dasturji Jamaspasa performed Navjot & blessed marriage of French Lady Suzzane. How can we forget Dr. Kotwal, doing Navjots of Wadias’
    You dhongidox you have fooled the community so far do you have any answers. Even so called wada Dasturs could not able to answer these questions so how council is going to is a million $ question?

  9. Homi Dalal

    In today’s Hindustan Times there is report of 38% inter-caste marriages amongst our community. The percentage seems to increase every year. So within couple of years the percentage is going to cross half century. I think Dhongidox should know this news. Dhongidox have no solution except to issue stupid fatwas.HA HA HA They seem not to realize the actual problem.

  10. BOMAN.


  11. Yazdy Rusi Palia

    This is really sad. Followers of a religion that created so many firsts, Followers of Zarthost Saheb, who was way ahead of his times so many thousand years ago, are squabbling over whether a lady who has lost her father should be allowed or not allowed to enter the Holy Temple to attend to her late father’s last rites. I request everyone to ponder over ” what would be His instructions if He were alive today, in today’s times. Surely we have enough intelligence to visualize the logic that Zarthost Saheb would apply if He were living in today’s times. I am saddened to say the least.

  12. farzana

    All this makes sense if agiaries are renamed as ‘Parsi Religious Institution’ rather than ‘Zoroastrian Fire Temple’ . Because if we call it ZOROASTRIAN fire temple …than it has to function as per the tenets of Zoroastrianism and not according to any trust deed.

  13. Homi Dalal

    One thing is certain that the Zoroastrian Religion was started in India. Lord was never born in India. There are Zoroastrians in Iran,Tajekistan, Russia, China & elsewhere. I am not meaning Zoroastrians who are migrated from India. The Idiots Dhongidox preaches that only Zoroastrians viz Parsi & Iranis born in India are real Zoroastrians. I have met in Australia a Zoroastrian couple. So if any Zoroastrian coming to India from Iran comes to visit India & wishes to pray in the Fire temples –these idiots will prohibit. This is nothing but foolish action.

  14. rohinton dadachanji

    What the Panthaky has done is the most correct thing under the circumstances. Those marrying out of the religion should know that you cannot have the cake and eat it too………….

  15. Homi Dalal

    Dear mr. Dadachanji
    Even though this incident has been clarified by Panthaky that incident never took place & it was some misreporting in the press.–you are saying that Panthaky did correct thing. Yes Panthaky did correct thing by not restricting her, So you are 100% right. NOW YOU WILL SAY THAT PANTHAKY DID THE WRONG THING. Please when you talk, talk with some scripture’s reference . Do not twist & turn the religion as per your whims & fancy with limited knowledge. I think what you are trying to project yourself is that you are very religious which you are not.

  16. Rathestar.

    Rohinton Dadachanji says “you cannot have the cake and eat it too”.
    So Rohinton, according to you those who marry within DO NOT GET TO EAT THE CAKE?. Thus you concede that inter faith marriages are lucrative/attractive. Before expressing platitudes, just think.
    And though I am not an advocate of inter faith alliances, I have one question to ask hypocrite fake ORTHODOX.
    How many marriages WITHIN THE COMMUNITY whose Ashirwad were BLESSED by ‘High’ Priests have resulted in divorces?

  17. Phiroze

    According to you and barak fire temples are UNZOROASTRIAN as you have tried to prove on fb and the The Udvada land thread on this blog. If so what is the need of any fire temple to function as per the tenets of Zoroastrianism. Could you all please make up your mind if fire temples are Zoroastrian or not first?.

  18. Phiroze


    Homi Dalal is not only leading the revolt but also forming a platoon to storm and demolish the Dokhmas. If you or anyone else wants his full contact details let me know. Last time the editors had deleted the same at the time of moderating my post.

  19. Contra Dhongi


  20. Barak Aga

    While “Parsis” are preventing “Parsis” from entering “Fire Temples”, other faiths have no qualms about allowing Parsis in to their places of worship.

    Astrologer Bejan Daruwala, swears by “Ganesha”.

    Other faiths have openly welcomed “Parsis” within their fold, and in to their places of worship.

    Bejan Daruwala and his son were accorded a warm welcome by the Siddhivinayak Temple when he went with his son to make an offering there.
    Photographers from Times of India were present to record the occassion.

    The Catholic church at Mahin does not drive “Parsis” away from the Wednesday novena service.
    3% of the congregation at the Mahim Church is “Parsi”.

    The Sai Baba temples at Forjet Street and at Shirdi do not drive away or forbid Parsis from entering and worshipping.
    Parsis from priestly families pay obeisance at the Sai Baba temple at Forjet Street.

    Many “Parsis” believe in “Babas” (Godmen).

    In fact many have turned in to “Babas” and “Gurus” themselves.

    In Parel, Mumbai there was a “Parsi” couple which floated a snake cult and called themselves Jimmy the Snake King and Snake Queen.

    Twice in the recent past the Times of India carried full page advertisements honouring one “Guru Dinshaw Mehta” (not the BPP Trustee).

    On one hand, “Parsis” will not allow “Non-Parsis” to enter their “Fire Temples”, but on the other hand they freely visit Churches, Dargahs, Temples of other faiths.

    Will the priests also keep a track of “Parsis” believing in other faiths, visiting places of worship of other faiths, and bar them from the “Fire Temples”?

  21. Z.D.

    @Burjor Bharucha,
    Please let me know, if you can, the Address for Communication with the Council of High Priests. It is already a fortnight from the date of announcement of formation of this Council as reported in a Weekly paper but no announcement has been made about its address. The least that they can do is to provide e mail address of the Council so that those eager to gain guidance can seek authentic advice based on their scholarly knowledge. This would immensely help others too who are eager to avail of their erudite counsel

  22. Dara Mehta

    Dear Z.D>

    I wrote to following ids [email addresses redacted] & got reply from dastur .Ramiyar Karanjia that the council is in formative stage.

    If anybody thinks or expects that, this so called council will reply honestly and as per scriptures than he is living in fool’s paradise. When so called Wada Dasturs so far never cared to reply how they are going to reply now is a million $ question? The council main purpose is to gag honest voice of Wada Dastur of Udwada.

  23. Vispy N. Wadia

    Hello All, We would like to point out the discrepancy / error in the above mentioned newspaper report. The concerned inter-married Parsi lady actress was not stopped or debarred from entering the Agiary. Infact she attended all the funeral ceremonies of her late father in the Agiary. The same was confirmed & clarified to us telephonically & also through email by the concerned Panthaky Ervad Marzban Hathiram of the Behram Baug Agiary at Oshiwara, Jogeshwari.

    We were indeed happy to note from Ervad Marzban Hathiram’s phone call & email that the inter-married Parsi lady was not stopped or debarred from attending the last rites religious ceremonies of her departed father.

    However, Ervad Hathiram is on record when he categorically stated in his telephionic conversation with us that he did not allow the concerned Parsi lady’s name being taken in the Holy prayers solely because she is married to a person who is not a Parsi. This is equally bad and out right discriminative. Ervad Hathiram also categorically confirmed the same when he also spoke to my brother Kerssie Wadia on the issue.

    You may or may not agree with the stand take by Ervad Marzban Hathiram regarding not taking the Parsi lady’s name in the various prayer ceremonies just because she is married to a person who is not a Parsi.

    It is indeed shameful that the name of a daughter (a practicing Zoroastrian & born to Parsi parents) is excluded from her own late father’s last rite prayers just because she is inter-married.

    We have taken various legal opinions in the matter and have been clearly advised that any discrimination on the basis of gender and/or marital status and/or inter/intra marriage is a clear violation of civil rights under the Constitution of India in general and the Protection of Civil Rights Act in particular.

    Hope better sense prevails before it is too late.

  24. Phiroze

    Barak, have you been to the Jagnath temple in Puri or Pashupatinath temple in Khatmandu? It is very easy to instruct others. Instead why don’t you and your matrix gang build something and then invite all? zz has promised to let me cut the ribbon. Remember a zoroastrian promise is a promise. Maybe Homi dabang Dalal can be the gatekeeper to welcome the guests from China, Australia, Russia. Would be a pleasure to watch him control the crowds.

  25. Barak Aga

    Mr. Phiroze. Yes, “Fire Temples” are not Zoroastrian.

    It is the clergy which is responsible for practicing this feint on the community for more than a thousand years.

    Persian Emperor Artaxerxes II introduced Temples in to the faith made cult statues of divinities, and had them placed in temples in many of the major cities of the empire.

    It is the clergy which has to come clean on “Fire Temples”.

    They have reinforced this institution of “Fire Temple”.

    Now they want to deny their own flock entry in to these “Fire Temples”.

    Famed music conductor, Zubin Mehta who has married a non-Zoroastrians twice, Carmen Lasky and Nancy Kovack, and has a son out of wedlock from an Israeli violinist, visits Fire Temples when he is in Mumbai, but none of the priests have had the gumption to stop him.

    Are these not double standards?

  26. zenobia

    Type your comment here…It is indeed very sad that women who marry outside the faith have to always go through this ridicule while men are allowed to indulge in various other practices & are never questioned.Speaks volumes about how we still live in a male chauvinistic society when it comes to us ZOROASTRIANS.Fair enough when women choose to have live in relationships in order to stop such tongues from wagging…

  27. farzana

    According to you and barak fire temples are UNZOROASTRIAN as you have tried to prove on fb and the The Udvada land thread on this blog. //

    Show me where i had said they are ‘UNZOROASTRIAN’?

    You have this fine art of twisting things out of context to suit yourself…

    Ive said, in context of HISTORY that Zoroastrian temples were built during the Achaemenid era INFLUENCED by Temple buildings built by Assyrians and Elamites. Until that time Zoroastrian priests used to pray in OPEN to TEMPORARY fires on man made mounds.
    Therefore for any junk head to say the entry of nonZoro in fire temple is ‘against the religion’ has no basis.

    Is it very difficult for you to understand or is it simply hard for you to get the big picture with your small mind?

  28. Boman

    For a moment let us take the view that entry of non Zoroastrians in to Fire Temples is ‘against the Religion.. Let us assume this to be gospel truth. But are we discussing non Zoroastrians? No we are discussing individuals whose Navjotes have been performed and have not given up Religion and continue wearing Sadra Kasti but have married outside the fold. And here a Zoroastrian can be from Iran or Tejikstan.etc. A well read mind would never utter such crap.Because it is hard for some to understand that while MOST Parsees are Zoroastrians, all Zoroastrians are nor Parsees. Before any wiseacre asks why I have stated that MOST Parsees are Zoroastrians and not all, let me clarify, for I know at least two Parsee families living in South Mumbai who are practicing Catholic faith and one of them has two Flats in a BPP Colony.

  29. farzana

    Boman, i concur with you, the subject is not the entry of nonzoro into agiary per se…however before phiroze gives another twist to my statements made on fb and bring them up here out of context … i just wanted to clarify…

    Ofcoz ethnicity has nothing to do with the religion followed… Parsi is the indianised name for ethnic ‘Persians/Persis’ who were citizens of Persian Empire established by king Cyrus of Anshan/Pars in 6th century BCE…King Cyrus was from PARSA tribes of indo iranian aryan origin…Now since there was no Persian Empire in circa1600 BCE nor did Zarathushtra belonged to Parsa tribes, therefore neither he nor his early followers were ‘Parsis’…All those fruit cakes who go around saying -’All Parsis are Zoroastrians and all Zoroastrians are Parsis’ need to know the history of their ancestors from CREDIBLE SOURCE, before yapping such nonsense…

  30. Z.D

    @Mr. Dara Mehta:
    I am fully aware of the constraints our Priestly class encounters and will encounter while replying uncomfortable questions because it is possible to learn wrong things but impossible to obliterate it from one’s mind and still more difficult to have the decency and uprightness to admit and concede that they preached wrong beliefs in the past. That requires character of highest level.
    The reason I was seeking the Office address of the Council was that I am left confused since last two decades, about one pet repetition of a claim that Dokhmenashi will be strengthened. This is supposed to be the one of the item on the agenda of the COUNCIL. I would like to know from the Council, the steps that would be taken for the same. One self proclaimed Scholar and a High Priest are on record stating that even Solar Panels were not in accordance with the tenets of our religion. Having regard to such statements from ‘authorities’ on our faith, I was anxious to know the exact result oriented remedial measures to ‘strengthen’ the age old system (!). The same should not remain an empty promise and should bear fruitful results in say 12 months or so. Experience suggests that during last two decades, this tall claim has remained an empty promise akin to Election promise of a politician. If the Council cannot communicate the concrete steps they propose to take in this subject, it will be construed that they want to take the rank and file of the Parsees for a ride in the realm of falsehood for a further period of time, as in the past, which would further erode their credibility. I would, of course not like to ask other uncomfortable questions to these old gentlemen to spare them the agony and embarrassment of exposing their limitations due to drastically changed circumstances. These High Priests conscientiously know the compelling circumstances but are fettered by an Organisation which wants to dominate over them though financial clout and use them as Rubber Stamps.
    You would have observed some self appointed protectors of our great Religion talking of debate. And so we should have a debate with High Priests and Scholars and NOT LOUTS FROM NARGOL SARONDA OR SURAT areas who only know how to shout down others when their own mental faculties act as an impediment to answer pertinent questions.

  31. Barak Aga

    Mr. Phiroze,
    We won’t be needing crowd control outside “Fire Temples”.

    Thanks to the clergy who are booting their own flock out of these “Fire Temples”.

    We will need crowd control outside “Dargahs”, “Churches”, “Sai Baba” Temples, and Hindu Temples, which Zoroastrians have been turning to.

    Mr. Phiroze, you and your friends will have to be gatekeepers outside Churches, Dargahs, Hindu and Sai Baba Temples, because that is where the “Parsees” are headed.

    Kindly refer to the post of Mr. Boman above, “2 Parsee families living in South Mumbai who are practicing Catholic faith”.

    Astrologer Bejan Daruwala has turned to “Ganesha”.
    Zia Mody, Soli Sorabjee’s daughter has turned Bahai.
    J. R. D. Tata’s navjote was not performed.

    Mr. Phiroze could you please justify the double standards of Zoroastrians barring entry to members of other communities in to these “Fire Temples”, while they themselves visit places of worship of other faiths?

    What action is proposed against those Zoroastrians visiting Churches, Sai Baba Temples, Mohmeddan Durgahs?

    Does paying obeisance to or following the tenets of another faith amount to renouncing Zoroastrianism?

  32. Dara Mehta

    Dear Barak,

    Well said. I would like to add to your list . Late Darvish Irani was staunch beliver of Sai Baba There was a Parsi named Homi Munshi who used to go to Haji Malang on every Sunday, without fail for decades. I know a Parsi family of Grant Road going since ages to Swami Narayan Mandir at Dadar but never visits Fire Temples. Today we find Photos of Sai Baba & Ganesha in most of Parsi houses. To be honest their photos are there in my house also. It is not case with ordinary Parsis but even so many Priests go to such places.I know a Parsi lady from Princess Street who is bringing Ganpatigi for 10 days in her house. There are so many Fire temples in Mumbai where hardy 50 Parsis must be visiting in a year. To name few Eshburner, Thunthi, Godavara, Iddawalla, Ranji.

  33. Barak Aga

    Thank you Mr. Mehta.

    You have pointed out that there are many Fire Temples in Mumbai where barely a handful of Parsis visit.

    It means the Fire Temples may soon be in financial distress.

    Then real estate developers can make a case before the Charity Commissioner for construction projects in the precincts of financially distressed fire temples on the ground that the Trust which controls the Fire Temples will receive a part of the proceeds of construction of apartment blocks.

  34. Zarathustra Zarthosti

    Dear Zarthostis,

    I am sure the next wapiz add page in FPJ will be printed but will not be distrubuted freely to anyone. This one is going to be an important one with apologies towards one gentlemen if not many, please buy a copy as I think its going to show that the truth does come to light irrelavant of how many lies countered against it.

    And there champion word twister & unofficial spokesperson can lie more just as he did of stating above that I promised him to cut the ribbon for the Agyari for all the people of this world.


  35. Siloo Kapadia

    Stupid people we Parsees are. While our numbers are dwindling we slam our doors shut on those that truly are interested in our religion. While our influence in India is on the wane we are so worried about the status of vulcers and their smaller numbers. One might say that the priorities of our BPP “elders” need revising. People in other religions must think we are crazy. I know of NO other religion that bars admission to new members the way we do. Shame! Perhaps it is time that we do what they are doing in the Middle East, demand a change in leadership and throw out thsoe BPP rascals once and for all.

  36. Phiroze

    zz, are you going back on your promise?

  37. Farsak

    Rest assured there are many individuals who are ready and willing to sacrifice their time and money to make these fake orthodox get a taste of their own medicine.These dhongees will have to taste the remedy they resorted to in coming in the way of developing and restoration of Dadysett Atashbehram,Langrana and Kappawalla Agiaries etc. In the meantime they can day dream and even display their false devotion by their ‘nataks’ of cleaning up some Fire Temple and then standing out for a photo up session to ‘acquaint’ public of their ‘personalities’ as such photos invariably get published in Ad page of F.P.J.

  38. Rathestar.

    Zarathustra Zarthosti ,
    FYKI, if the FPJ is NOT distributed free this time, for obvious reasons, no problem, we can read it on their website, http://www.wapiz as every issue is also put up on the website. And if it is NOT, what is to be done need not be told.

  39. Phiroze

    Siloo, in the middle east people came out openly on the streets to demand the change. Are you going to come to mumbai from US to participate in the street protests? All those here agreeing with you are afraid to even reveal their identities citing reasons like protecting their families and orthodox from shame and embarrassement, can such bring the revolution you want? Let the asli Farsak come out on the streets with the medicine first.

  40. Phiroze

    Barak / farzana, once again it is proved that all you read on the internet and other media is not gospel or in your matrix case “Gathas”

  41. R.Kayani.

    When our own people provide fodder to such journalists what can be done?. Otherwise how was DNA journalists/Reporter to know what happened at Jogeshwari Dadgah?
    These days we have fewer youngsters and most of them are just not interested in futile controversies. So there are elements who want to indulge in propaganda to impress the youngsters who read National dailies by manipulating Reporters so that youngsters will start believing that ostracization is for real.
    this is the level of ‘piety’ of fake orthodox.

  42. Barak Aga

    Dear Mr. Phiroze,

    “Barak / Farzana, once again it is proved that all you read on the internet and other media is not gospel ….”

    I concur with you.

    The WAPIZ page on the internet, as well as in the Free Press Journal, and Vada Dasturji Kotwal’s columns appearing therein, Mr. Homi Ranina’s posts on the internet, Mr. Ramiyar Karanjia’s write ups in Jamé Jamshed are examples.
    We definitely do not believe what’s written there.
    Point noted.

    What about all the archeological evidence that exists till date?
    Are they like the “Crop Circles”?

  43. Phiroze

    Barak, atlast we agree on something ;). The archeological evidence reminds us not to make the same mistakes of assimilating with the local populace and again end up as mere broken stones and pots for someone having a eureka moment to find after a few hundred years.

  44. Phiroze

    R Kayani, try to find out who did and expose that person. Be carefull that it does not turn into a case of the stove calling the kettle black.

  45. Rathestar.

    Archaeological evidence teaches us one truth that in time to come our Religious places will become only heritage structures without devotees. That is the situation of Fire Temples in Bharuch and other moffusil places.
    Wonder whats your thought on Parsee archeology?

  46. R.Kayani.

    @ Phiroze,
    I have no inclination to indulge in investigating the source for such deliberate ‘leak’. The MOTIVE for such leak in secular news paper is clear and even a five year old kid would not doubt who would have intention to indulge in such a malicious mischief.
    You are free to establish otherwise, if you can.

  47. farzana

    Phiroze, Do you know why the Persians witnessing the sunset of their Empire? Because under the Sassanids, the Persian society was divided into a rigid caste system with priestly class constituting a privileged stratum. This made Zoroastrian priesthood immensely powerful with unchecked freedom to modify the religion in a way to serve themselves, causing substantial religious uneasiness amongst the masses.
    Sassanid kings were known to patronize the priest class allowing them liberty to run the empire at their whims and fancy… this policy in turn contributed to discontentment amongst the masses in the society …resulting in the rise of popular reformists religious movements like Manichaeism and Mazdakis [communism]…
    Mobeds along with the Monarchy tried to quell this reformist movements with use of violence, making the Empire weak from within resulting in the final defeat of Persia by relatively weak army of Arabs.

    The scenario which is close to what is happening today in the community…esp Zoroastrian priesthood trying to modify the religion to suit themselves and breeding discontent!!
    History repeats…in 8th century, bigots like Phiroze brought the curtain down on Persian empire, now its on Parsi community…


    @ R.Kayani,
    In fact is it not for Nair, the correspondent of the earlier Report to state the Source who provided this story.Why should anybody take the trouble to ‘investigate’. It seems it was a case of boomerang.

  49. Phiroze

    farzana, according to what i have read and heard some of the sasanians decandent nobility advocated intercast marriages and conversions of such which lead to religious riots, treason, patricied, fratricied and the empire came to an end swiftly. In the last four years ten monarchs ruled over the Persian empire.
    If what you say were true about the Parsi priests then the Parsis would have been wiped out long back. While infact the end may come if you and your anti parsi triade is allowed unopposed. And if opposing you makes me a bigot so be it.

  50. farzana

    Barak , the real reason why Phiroze is so scared of us getting information from net is because he can no longer fool around and twist real facts to suit his agenda…Like he is now trying to do with Sassanian history which is so well documented with no room for ambiguity about the facts…

    Yes darling Phiroze, firstly thank you for finally admitting that some FUNDAMENTALIST Sassanian kings advocated FORCED CONVERSIONS to Zoroastrianism…but thats half the truth, the whole truth is, THESE SASSANIAN KINGS ADVOCATED FORCED CONVERSIONS OF ARMENIAN XTIANS TO ZOROASTRIANISM ON BEHEST OF BIGOT ZOROASTRIAN PRIESTS. Otherwise how did you think the kings managed to convert armenian christians to Z?

    Have you heard of Shapur’s high priest – Kartir? Probably the most powerful priest in Zoroastrian history. He was allowed to have his own inscriptions like royalty and after Shapur’s death was also the king-maker. In his inscription at Sar Mashed he proclaimed how he had forced the King to persecute nonzoroastrians in the empire and build many Fire temples that made priests happy and PROSPEROUS.

    After Shapur’s death, there was a rapid succession of kings,Kirder was still in charge. and at the height of his power… was able to play an important role of a king maker

    During the reign of Bahram I, PRIEST Kartir got Mani, the Iranian prophet of Manichaeism, killed.

    Now read this…

    VALASH 483-487 CE succeeded Peroz and was followed by KOBAD I 487-531 CE

    For a period of 100 years, from Shahpur II’s death to the reign of Kobad I, the Zoroastrian church grew steadily in size and in power. Iranian Zoroastrian society became a feudal system in which most of the land was owned by the church or the nobility and THE COMMON MAN WAS LEFT TO PAY THE TAXES. NEITHER THE PRIESTHOOD NOR THE NOBILITY WAS SUBJECTED TO TAXES. THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM WAS ALSO IN THE HANDS OF PRIESTHOOD, so that in conflicts with the church, justice favored the church. The same combination of church and state which had worked to unify and rejuvenate Zoroastrianism was now working to oppress the masses, often in the name of religion.

    During Kobad I’s reign a new religion, an off shoot of Zoroastrianism was started by Mazdak. He taught that men should not kill animals and eat flesh. He taught that asceticism and withdrawal from worldly attachments was a good thing because it reduced greed. He taught that all men should share everything equally, food, property and even wives! He was the first to teach a communistic way of life, where no one owned anything. TO THE OPPRESSED MASSES WHOSE SHARE IN THE RICHES OF IRAN WAS NEGLIGIBLE, Mazdakism made sense and he had many followers.

    Kobad liked his teachings and supported Mazdak. The noble and PRIESTS opposed this movement and after a few years Kobad was deposed and his brother Zamasp became king. In 528 CE, Khusrow [third son of Kobad ] invited all the Mazdakites to a royal banquet and while they were there he had them massacred, including Mazdak their leader.


  51. Surabhee Pitambare

    Dear Mr Homi Dalal,

    My name is Surabhee, would like to have a word with you if you could please provide me with your mail id or contact number.

    My email id is

    Warm regards,


  52. Phiroze

    Farzana, regret the delay in reply. I am not scared of any thing or anyone here. I have always asked for face to face discussions but for some reason your friends barak, rathestar zz are scared to do so. All I have said about the internet is not the Gathas.
    Farzana darling, you seem to have missed the part of history that barak posted on fb under Pirooz in China. HISTORY TEACHES US THAT CONVERSION AND ASSIMILATION THRU INTER CASTE MARRIAGES WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FALL OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE.

  53. farzana

    Phiroze, this is nothing new, every time you get an egg on your face you resort to divert the subject…

    You know the reason you are in the religion is because your ancestors converted to Z’ism… If you think that was a bad idea you are free to rejoin paganism or mithraism…

    Regarding Pirooz in China, its already done and over the zillionth time…

  54. Barak Aga

    Dear Mr. Phiroze,
    Some more revelations for you.

    I quote :

    “Ashdeen Z Lilaowala walks us through the creation of the hallowed Zoroastrian kusti or sacred thread.

    The Sudreh and Kusti have become universal symbols of the Zoroastrian faith.

    While there are no written records of when the kusti originated and it is not certain who wove or wore the first kusti, it is clear that it is a part of the Indo-Aryan sacred tradition.

    It is seen in the “janoi” of the Hindu tradition.

    The Avestan word for the sacred thread is “aiwyaonghana”, meaning to gird around.

    It originates from the yasna ceremony where a strip of the date palm is used to tie the Barsam twigs, in a ritual of uniting creation.

    The “yasna”, like the “yagna”, is a Bronze Age Aryan ritual which nurtures creation.


    PS: This one is not from your bête noire, ‘Wikipedia’. It appeared in The Times of India, on 26 March 2011.

  55. Phiroze

    Farzana, history (Pirooz) is a great teacher. If we do the same what Pirooz did, we too will end up as stones for some pallan to find. If you, internet or pallan have the answer to why and what happened to these Zoroastrians in China let me know. If you or anyone else here think being a Parsi is a bad idea you are free to get converted to whatever. Do not waste anymore eggs here :).

  56. Phiroze

    barak, unlike you I do not have to depend on TOI or the internet for my religious knowledge. Most Parsis have grown up seeing the whole process that goes into the making of Sudreh and Kusti and taught about its origins and meaning.

    Only those whose religious knowledge is limited to some European scholars translations of the Gathas are dependant on the internet and other media for tit bits of info. It is a well known fact that there is no written documentation of the early years of Zoroastrianism history. Do you know why we tie the kusti around the waist unlike a janoi which is worn over a shoulder? And while you are at it could you also reveal which came first the Yasna or the Yagna?

    PS: Have you ever seen a person care for his janoi?

  57. farzana


    Parsi=Persian, is the ethnicity…
    Zoroastrianism is a religion.
    One can convert to Zoroastrianism not ethnicity… are you so dumb that you are simply incapable of grasping it ?






  58. Barak Aga

    Mr. Phiroze,
    As a lady pointed out to you on this site, the “sudreh” is made from “mull-mull” manufactured in Tata Mills. And she queried, “did we have Tata Mills in the times of Zarathustra?”

  59. Farsak.Ashli

    Barak Bawa,
    Some persons ‘contribute’ to read their own pontific views on this blog and more particularly their Names. Thank
    Ahura Mazda that this portal does not publish photographs of such ‘Scholars’ alike an an Editor of a Community Weakly who invariably does with a Cibaca smile photo of hers appearing each week. Such elements are out to seek. cheap fame and recognition. Now this “Scholar’ is talkng of
    ex communication of Parsees. The question is whose concept of religion is authentic and who are assigned to assess this. Would love to see consequences if half the community members are ex-communicated
    This chap says that he does not depend on Times of India. But yesterday he reproduced what appeared in Jame Weakly. Perhaps reading Mumbai Samachar, Parsiana and other National dailies might have been banned in his house.
    Waste of time discussing with such non entities with frugal rationality. Better flood the High Priests Council with plain but factual questions. If no answers are forthcoming, all the more better.
    Just a friendly advice.

  60. Farsak.Ashli

    It is correct when he declares ‘ It is a well known fact that there is no written documentation of the early years of Zoroastrianism history” The logical question then is : What are his beliefs opps dogmas based on?
    And Barak, if you observe his list of persons on ‘matrix’ goes on swelling.

  61. Barak Aga

    Dear Mr. Phiroze,
    No one is dependent on the internet. The information, the truth always existed somewhere out there. Only it was accessible only to a few, who chose to hide it. Now thanks to the net, the balderdash and humbug stands exposed.

    You have stated, “Most Parsis have grown up seeing the whole process that goes into the making of Sudreh and Kusti” Kustis made today are not the way they were made 4000 years ago. So was what you grew up seeing, the right thing?
    Millenia ago, Zoroastrians used strips of date palm to tie Barsam twigs, which you do not do today, so how Zoroastrian are you? Is Ashdeen Z Lilaowala a “European Scholar”?

  62. Phiroze

    Barak, you and your friends seem to be dependant on the internet. Not all that is on the internet is Gatha/gospel. While info is easily accessible the credibility of the same is suspect.
    You are quick to ask questions but have not replied to the ones I asked on the 29th yet.
    Have you or your internet source seen how the Kustis were made 4000 years ago? Atleast what the Parsis see today is well documented and authenticated by our traditions.
    Millenia ago Zoroastrians travelled on horseback and camels, while today you take a plane, so how Zoroastrian are you? Where has Ashdeen Z Lilaowala claimed to be a scholar let alone being a European?

  63. Phiroze

    farzana, darling u r the dumb one here. U cannot grasp that I say the same thing. Let anyone get converted in Timbaktu but entry to Parsi Zoroastrian institutions is restricted.

    Please let me know how paganism and mithraism qualify as religions and what other religions existed before Zoroastrianism in Iran. Also what according to you is a religion?

  64. Phiroze

    barak, just a friendly advice in case u don’t know, when in doubt stick to traditions or you end up with dogmas. Traditions are transcendental laws.

  65. Rathestar.

    Is there any prediction about the followers of Zoroastrianism in India that ‘there shall be a time when entry into place of worship will be denied to Parsee Zoroastrian females (whose Navjote has been duly performed in childhood) for the ‘sin’ of having married a person of another faith but
    stray dogs not wearing sudreh/kusti,
    with head NOT covered,
    who has not taken a bath for months;
    and whose parentage is unknown,
    will be allowed within the precincts of Fire Temples?”
    I am raising this as I have seen stray dogs freely roaming in Fire Temple premises including the hall outside the Keblah.
    In short the conclusion is that Parsee females who are intermarried are ‘inferior’ to stray dogs. This reflects on those who endlessly brag about Orthodoxy/Tenets/Traditions

  66. farzana

    Phiroze, you can’t decide what you want … one day you say, conversion is going against the divine design…and one has to stick to whatever they are born into or they turn into stones [Sic!]…next day, you say, oh! im ok with the conversion to Z’ism as long as converts don’t enter agiaries…Again on day three, you repeat your original lawaara and on day four, you contradict yourself !

    Besides Mithraism and Pagaanism there was also Aryan Vedic religion that Z and his parents belonged to…I know what is coming… You’ll dismiss all these belief systems as nonsense…and try to prove Zoroastrianism was the first religion… Therefore Z was not not seeking any converts…Old trick … Its exposed before on FB … Phiroze, don’t try too hard, you are already crowned the king of ignoramus…
    Now read this-
    Here is a proof of Zarathushtra trying to persuade Bandhu, a composer of Rig Veda and also Zarathushtra’s arch enemy, to accept Z’ism-

    “Now, Wise One, Bendva always obstructs me the most,
    I, who wish to satisfy the badly protected through righteousness.
    Come to me with good reward and support.
    I am seeking illumination for him through good mind.
    (Gathas: Song 14.1)”

  67. Meheryar Rivetna

    Phiroze, your constant inconsistencies, contradictions, and flip-flops are getting very tiresome. Yes, I know I do not have to read if I don’t like it, but really you seem so confused I am not sure you can tell right from left. You keep repeating your position without any defense from the scriptures, history, or any other discipline that would give credence to your arguments. It just seems like you want everyone to accept blindly what you believe without offering any credible source for us to entertain even vaguely your premise. You ridicule the internet; deride scholars; refute our scriptures; deny historical accounts and challenge anything that goes against your way of thinking. All the resources we put in front of you are invalid, in your opinion, if they challenge your warped beliefs. You tell us we are wrong, but not once, not once, have you given us a sensible argument or reason WHY we are wrong. At that point, the discussion becomes unintelligent, to say the least. Your arguments center on “God’s plans” without telling us where you got the plan blueprints. Where are these plans stashed? Could we get a peek at them?

    You asked Farzana for a definition of religion. I do not mean to preempt her answer, but allow me to offer the Oxford English Dictionary definition:

    • the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power , especially a personal God or gods.
    • a particular system of faith and worship
    • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

    I assume the OED definition is acceptable to you. Or do you dismiss it because it may differ from your definition? The third definition is, of course, non-theological.
    Yes, there was a religion pre-Zarathustra. You can call it by any name, but there was a system of faith and worship. They believed in a super power or multiple deities, but a belief in a higher order existed. Zarathustra was not the first to introduce the idea of a religion; he was the first to introduce the concept of one God and gave the world a new set of beliefs. Your idea of a religion is having a prophet assigned to the religion. You couldn’t be more wrong. Is Sikhism a religion in your mind? It shouldn’t be as far as you are concerned, because there is no prophet in that faith. Ten specific gurus established the traditions and philosophy of Sikhism over three centuries (if memory serves me right.) Guru Nanak was a spiritual leader, not a prophet in the classical sense; historically, he does not fall in the same category as Zarathustra, Jesus, Moses, or Mohammed.

    I say this not to slight you, but I really do not think you are well read on our religious history. Your arguments are based more on emotion and what is passed down accepting without question the reasons behind those beliefs. If you take the time, you will find there are good reasons, but far from what you hold dear. Starting with the Gathas and moving on to Zoroastrian, as well as your favorite European scholars, have all presented enormous evidence that conversions to the faith took place from day one. Have you read Dasturji Dhalla’s “History of Zoroastrianism?” He tells of missionaries being sent far and wide to gain converts. I gather you will say, without any proof, that Er. Dhalla is wrong. I guess he does not know what he is talking about, according to you, because his studies and proofs violate your beliefs.

    Traditions are NOT laws–transcendental or otherwise. If they are laws, who made these laws? Where is the evidence of the person who made the law? On whose authority? Traditions are established as reminders to the laity of the religious principles and/or beliefs. The Catholics, for example, after mass, take communion. Christ did not start this tradition, but it was established after his crucifixion to remind the practitioners of Christ’s sacrifice by partaking in his body and blood. There is nothing transcendental about this or any tradition in any religion. Uncultivated minds fall prey to transcendental arguments.

    No, when in doubt, you do not blindly stick to tradition. Supreme wisdom, which we are supposed to possess as Zoroastrians, calls for inquiry. You seek rational answers and the answers are there if we make the effort to discover them.

    You have the wrong end of the stick when you say or think I am opposed to tradition. I do not oppose tradition; I am opposed to false beliefs ascribed to traditions. I do not believe that not being traditional is being irreligious. As I said, traditions are reminders, ceremonial reminders at times, of the basic religious principles. Some need them; some don’t.

    Calling people dumb only makes us look dumb, especially when we cannot substantiate our attack on another with any credible source to back our assertions. Saying that one steeped in religion does not need credible sources and that one can think for oneself only exhibits one’s folly and certifies the individual’s lack of knowledge.

    Please, please do not pollute our great religion with nonsensical stuff.

  68. Phiroze

    Farzana, I am very sure what I want. I do belive that one is born in a particular religion by God’s will or divine plan and one should respect and accept that. I am not sure about the turning to stone part as that is your addition. The reason being all religions and its followers are equal in God’s eyes. All religions teach us the same thing and lead us to the same goal. If God wanted all to be only Zoroastrians why would he send Jesus Mohamed after Zarathustra? I am sure he did not want his children to wage wars or crusades in the name of religion. This is the religion bit.
    Now comes the ethnicity bit. The Parsi Zoroastrians like me belive that conversion or acceptance is not allowed and entry to our religious institutions, which are private properties, is restricted to Parsis ONLY.
    Where is the contradiction? If someone wants to become a Zoroastrian (religion) I cannot stop him but if later he wants to enter our private religious institutions I will stop him using all and any means at my disposal. I expect him to respect my sentiments about no entry just as I respect his sentiments about wanting to become a Zoroastrian. This my darling is live and let live policy of God.

    You have not yet let me know how or why paganism and mithraism qualify as religions or what is religion as you understand it. Going by your knowledge Zarathustra’s parents were Hindus (SIC) since they followed vedic religion and he converted his own parents. And The cherry on the cake is Bandhu composer of the Rig veda was Zarathustra’s arch enemy, why because rig vedas = paganism or manthraism? Ha Ha Ha HA. Joke of the millenium. Darling tosi gr8 ho!!!

  69. farzana

    Phiroze, where did i say Zarathushtra’s parents were Hindus? You will never research before putting ridiculous comments and making perfect fool of yourself…right? Somethings never change. And of cause expecting you to debate intellectually is asking for too much judging your past record.

    Coming to different religions…let me tell you, 21 percent of the world’s population is irreligious(Agnostic, Buddhist, Jains, Taoist Agnostic and Atheists)… What divine plan you see in it?

    As expected you have never heard of Bandhu, the composer of RigVeda …to whom Zarathushtra tried to convince via Gatha!!… Well once upon a time, Behdins used to look up to Mobeds to guide them… Today Mobeds like you are examples why this community is dying under its own weight!! What times!!! Anyway educate yourself – Gatha Song14

  70. Bomansha Patel

    At the time of B.P.P. elections, the word transparency was much touted as a quality of Trustees seeking election. In the banned Priest case, the community has not been kept apprised. One can understand that proceedings of the Mediation had to be kept confidential by the concerned parties. But now we are in March 2013. The community is certainly entitled to know the cost of this mediation which is but an expense from the revenues of a Charity Trust meant for impoverished..BPP Trustees may not divulge what transpired in the Mediation but what prevents them from disclosing the Cost of this entire episode?