Clarification on the Actress Debarred Issue

Last week we published an article that originally appreared in DNA India. It was written by Manoj Nair and titled “ Actress debarred from agiary revives gender bias debate “. Mr Nair regularly reports on the various issues that show the Parsi community in a negative light, as has been our observation for many years. The fire temple in question was the Behram Baug Agiary. And the head priest in question was Ervad Marzban Hathiram.

Today the DNA carries a clarification also written by Mr. Nair that actually contains facts that have been corroborated with the parties concerned and not just written based on hearsay.

This is questionable journalism and it just shows the community in a bad light. We at Parsi Khabar would be the first to note that not everything is going great within our community. There are small and large issues that the community faces today that it has not in the years and decades gone by.

However, the biased tabloid journalism and the opportunism of some individuals to constantly push their agenda, without having any connection with the topic at hand only incites the kind of polarizing views that one sees here in the comments on Parsi Khabar and in the local print media and essentially within the actual Parsi community per se.

Hopefully Mr. Nair will, in the future check facts and actually interview people who have something to do with the issue at hand and not a random person.

-Arzan Sam Wadia


Manoj Nair writes:

Last week, this space had reported about the renewed debate in the Parsi-Zoroastrian community about gender discrimination at fire temples. The discussion apparently started after reports that a shrine had debarred a television actress from attending the memorial service held for her deceased father because she had been married to a non-Zoroastrian.

The head priest of the Oshiwara fire temple has since said that the actress was never debarred. The actress has also said that she had been regularly going to the agiary for the ceremonies.

So, where did the talk about the actress being denied entry to the religious service originate from? Apparently, when the names of the family members of the deceased were read out during the memorial service, the actress’ name was not announced. She confirmed this, but added that this was not because she had been married a non-Zoroastrian. She said there were other religious reasons for that.

Vispy Wadia, a member of community group Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism said that it was discriminative if the daughter’s name was excluded because she was married outside the community. But the head priest of the fire temple explained the incident saying that her family had not asked for her name to be included in the prayers. The priest said that there could be ritual reasons for that.

However, in his correspondence to a community member, the priest, who describes his personal views as ‘orthodox’, said that relatives attending memorial services were aware that his agiary had strict rules regarding intermarried Parsis. He also said that his fire temple had the right to frame policies in accordance with the community’s traditions and customs.

In Mumbai, fire temples do not discriminate between men and women married to non-Zoroastrians. But there have been cases in Gujarat where women have been denied entry for the reason. While there has been a divide in the community about the issue, some of the highest religious authorities in the community have very liberal views on the subject.

In an interview to FEZANA, a magazine brought out by Zoroastrians settled in North America, Dastur Khurshed, the high priest of the fire temple at Udvada in Gujarat, one of the holiest shrines, said that a man or woman from the community had equal right to attend a place of worship if they had married their non-Zoroastrian partner in a civil ceremony (meaning they had changed their religion in the process). This view of his, he said, had been derived from a statement made in 1968 by a great religious scholar in the community. The Dastur, however, clarified that he was not advocating or favouring inter-community marriages.

  • Contradhongi

    While not holding a brief for D,N.A., or Manoj Nair, one has to realize that both of them are victims of a set of persons whose only intent is to brainwash youngsters of the Parsi community at any cost that whatever they say is authentic and simultaneously create a fear psychosis that should they act as per their own conscience, they will have to face similar “CONSEQUENCES” as the T.V. Actress. These bunch of persons devoid of traits of uprightness have now realized that their fortnightly dose of mischievous, scurrilous, malicious and insinuating journalism at its very worst in the form of advertisements is failing to have impact on the youth, they fell back on portals like Parsi Khabar. But here too they met stiff opposition to their propaganda. They did try to intimidate some bloggers on this portal but in vain. So these individuals in the guise of protecting and preserving are perverting and polluting an otherwise peaceful atmosphere in the community by misguiding Journalists like Manoj Nair who publish certain concocted incidents in good faith. The aim of these elements who are perverting an polluting is to make youth of the community believe that besides their fortnightly homilies, their concept of Religion is considered ‘authentic’ even by other New papers like D.N.A. which has a better readership among youngsters compared to F.P.J. This is imitation of Nazism at its worst. In fact this incident highlights the poor credibility level of FPJ type of paid journalism and of the Communities own Weakly.


    Usually, it is not my nature to post messages on blogs but when investigative journalism is substituted by motivated investigative journalism, I felt I would be derelict in my duty towards my faith if I choose to remain silent.
    The main question for Manoj Nair needs to clarify the ‘source’ of his original item. Would he have ventured to do similar type of misreporting in case any other Religious community? Inciting communal discord is a cognizable offence which likes of Manoj Nair ought to profitably note. It is clear that decency level of Parsees has been taken for granted.
    There is a section within the community which is frustrated with its inability to foist its own mumbo jumbo version of the Religious tenets on the entire community. In order to ‘create’ a false impression that ‘majority’ thinks like them they have stooped to any extent and in the process some time back even Times group was unwittingly made to join. Many independent Parsees had to write letters to head of Times group to rein in the concerned correspondent from publishing motivated “News’ about our community. Now it is the turn of D.N.A, and Mr. Nair. It is not understood why these so called orthodox elements have to plant stories in secular papers to malign the whole community since they are doing identical ‘mission’ – skullduggery thru fortnightly Advertorial Page in a national daily with comparatively negligible circulation. In the past, these bigots complained that they did not get space within the Parsee Media but that grievance no longer holds true since the only genuine voice of the Parsees – a Weekly has been reduced into a Newsletter by misuse of money power sourced from a megalomaniac. I ask these self appointed guardians of our Religion,- is this conduct in consonance with the tenets of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds? OR is it that they want to even redefine what constitute Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds?
    More damage has been done to the image of the Parsees by these self appointed guardians of religion then by radical reformists. It is time that independent Parsees now complain to appropriate authorities against such motivated journalism just for sensationalizing the divide within the faith and fanning the fire of controversies.
    Independent minded and educated Parsees are just fatigued by such shameful acts of questionable orthodox and it is high time the latter understand the mood of the real majority viz MIDDLE OF THE ROAD PARSEES who do not wish to be shepherded in to that concocted version of religion touted by a messiah who has made Religion his full time vocation. It would be in order for the really devoted to introspect and stand before the Holy Fire of Fire Temple of their choice and recite Patet Pashemani for their misguided actions.

  • Rathestar.

    I agree, it is an instance of NOT INVESTIGATIVE BUT INSTIGATIVE AND IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM sourced by vested interests for furthering their cause of Talibanisation of our Religion..

  • Zarathustra Zarthosti

    Very well said Contra.

  • khoremand


    – Create Discord;

    -Disrupt Communal Harmony.

    Rake up controversies,



  • Shaimak.Madon.

    It is high time for Dhobhi Talao guys to rush to Ahmedabad, ASAP , not for paying obeisance to Emperor of Fruit Juice but to consult Bejon Daruwalla about the celestial position in their hororscope viz position and averse influence of “stars’ on their repute. LOL.
    BTW, if I am not mistaken, Manoj Nair was earlier with TOI group under a boss with W.A.P.I.Z. loyalties.