Intermarriage row must be resolved soon

It’s not so much the elephant in the room, no one wants to acknowledge, but rather the unicorn they all imagine-that the global Parsi population isn’t so desperately in decline, but that it has somehow miraculously ballooned to four million.

By Joeanna Rebello Fernandes | TNN

Rubbish, was the emphatic denial of Dinyar Patel, a California-born, PhD candidate in history at Harvard University, who held his largely Parsi audience at Nehru Centre in thrall last evening, when he catalogued for them empirical evidence of their decline, and warned them of their fall.

Dinyar produced Parsi scholarship and demographic surveys to revisit the crisis of the falling numbers of Indian Parsisfamiliar crisis of the Indian Parsis’ falling numbers, while positing more tenable theories for their attenuation than widely-circulated myths about migration and marriage outside the community.

According to Dinyar (and culled from research by demographers like Paul Axelrod, JK Banthia and Leela Visaria), the population is shrinking because of late / no marriages and resultant low fertility rates and low birth rates. He called upon alerting statistics. “One out of five Indian Parsi men and one out of ten women is still unmarried by the age of 50, according to a 2009 study conducted by Sayeeda Unisa, a professor of demography and statistics at the International Institute for Population Sciences ( IIPS), in Mumbai. The median age of marriage among Indian Parsi women is 27, while it is 31 for men,” he said.

The median age of the whole community in 1901 was 24, while the comparable age in 1999 was 48, indicating at a distinctly aging population, a substantial portion of which prefers to remain single. Apparently, Parsis have the highest number of single women in the world.

Dinyar alluded to a demographic survey conducted across 6,000 Parsi households, where interestingly, 81% believed that intermarriage was responsible for falling figures, followed by emigration. It implies a dissonance between scholarship and popular notion, he said. Dinyar quoted another survey that suggested that even if all children born of intermarriage are counted as Parsis, it still wouldn’t benefit the numbers noticeably.

While the population of Parsis in India is estimated to be 69,601, the global count roughly stands between 1,12,367 and 1,21,367-not even the size of a Mumbai neighbourhood, Dinyar pointed out.

He believes an answer lies in the prompt reconciliation of liberal and conservative stands in the matter of intermarriage, and a redoubling of efforts, not only to get more Parsis to marry, but to conceive. “And if all else fails,” pitched a valiant lady in the gallery, “perhaps even institute sperm and egg banks.” It’s radical but, perhaps, requisite.

  • Kkotwal

    If the BPP can take the case of the two parsi mobeds to court forwhat is known as grossly unzoroastrian practicewhich they performed,then they should open their eyes and look around the worldwhere there are parsis living like USA, AUSTRALIA,CANADA & UK where there are no Dakhmas, mostly they are cremated or buried.Moreover theZoroastrians married to the so called JUDDIN (non Zoros) attend all the functions like the Funerals, Navjots(are also performed to one parent being Zoroastrian), Jasan ceremoniesetc. Some of the non parsi parents make really a darn good effort to bring the child up like a zarthusty,and they study and do perform and give our children the knowledge of our religion in our SUNDAY SCHOOLS.It is hightime the BPP acknowledge the reality of todays world and not live in 19th century. 

  • Kkotwal

    If the BPP can take the case of the two parsi mobeds to court forwhat is known as grossly unzoroastrian practicewhich they performed,then they should open their eyes and look around the worldwhere there are parsis living like USA, AUSTRALIA,CANADA & UK where there are no Dakhmas, mostly they are cremated or buried.Moreover theZoroastrians married to the so called JUDDIN (non Zoros) attend all the functions like the Funerals, Navjots(are also performed to one parent being Zoroastrian), Jasan ceremoniesetc. Some of the non parsi parents make really a darn good effort to bring the child up like a zarthusty,and they study and do perform and give our children the knowledge of our religion in our SUNDAY SCHOOLS.It is hightime the BPP acknowledge the reality of todays world and not live in 19th century. 

  • RATHESTAR.

    DEAR K .KOTWAL. DUMP B.P.P. IT IS ALREADY A SINKING SHIP AND AFTER THE ELECTION RESULT THE COMMUNITY WILL WITNESS  THE SAYING ‘KNIVES WILL BE OUT ‘ . JUST YOU WAIT DEAR FOLKS. MEN OF CLAY ARE GOING TO GET EXPOSED AND WE WILL SEE THE  READAPTATION OF JULIUS CAESAR WITH PARSI NAMES. AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE FOR UNETHICAL OBJECTIVES IS ABOUT TO CRUMBLE.

  • RATHESTAR.

    DEAR K .KOTWAL. DUMP B.P.P. IT IS ALREADY A SINKING SHIP AND AFTER THE ELECTION RESULT THE COMMUNITY WILL WITNESS  THE SAYING ‘KNIVES WILL BE OUT ‘ . JUST YOU WAIT DEAR FOLKS. MEN OF CLAY ARE GOING TO GET EXPOSED AND WE WILL SEE THE  READAPTATION OF JULIUS CAESAR WITH PARSI NAMES. AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE FOR UNETHICAL OBJECTIVES IS ABOUT TO CRUMBLE.

  • Phiroze

    The BPP as the name suggest has the responsibility of mumbai Parsis. How and why are they concerned with what is happening in the world. 

  • Phiroze

    The BPP as the name suggest has the responsibility of mumbai Parsis. How and why are they concerned with what is happening in the world. 

  • Icchaporia.

    I agree with Phiroze. B,P.P. is not the actual World Body of Parsees. Even when  a Parsee marries another Parsee, the marriage is Registered  not with B.P.P but at the High Court.Why should two consenting adults bother about B.P.P. when they can overrule their own parents.

  • Icchaporia.

    I agree with Phiroze. B,P.P. is not the actual World Body of Parsees. Even when  a Parsee marries another Parsee, the marriage is Registered  not with B.P.P but at the High Court.Why should two consenting adults bother about B.P.P. when they can overrule their own parents.

  • Farsak Ashli.

    Kotwal bawa if problems are resolved then the Trustees have to do concrete work and men of straw cannot deliver goods keep the issues alive to divert the attention of masses. That is the truth. 

  • Farsak Ashli.

    Kotwal bawa if problems are resolved then the Trustees have to do concrete work and men of straw cannot deliver goods keep the issues alive to divert the attention of masses. That is the truth.