Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Parsi body plans vulture breeding to help death rites

The Parsi community of the city — who leave their dead out in the open to be consumed by vultures and were facing problems with disposing their dead with the dwindling number of vultures in the city — are hoping to resolve the problem with an aviary to rear vultures.

By Ashutosh Shukla / DNA

The Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) announced the project at a meeting with the community after the new trutees completed one year. They hope to build an aviary in next three to five years’ time.

It is against the Parsis’ Zoroastrian faith to either bury, burn or submerge their dead as they believe it pollutes the environment. Hence, they leave the bodies at the tower of silence left to be consumed by the vultures.

"Earlier, a proposal was scuttled but we are working on a vulture breeding program. It will also take care of the threat of the drug Diclofenac as we will try and ensure that the human body is Diclofenac-free," said Khojeste Mistree, BPP trustee. It is believed that the vulture population is tapering off because of the intake of drugs like Diclofenac from the human body.

The meet also presented a white paper of sorts and the future plans the BPP has for the community. Among them is a housing project that will see 2,257 spacious flats for the Parsis built in the six colonies in Mumbai. "Of these, 1,457 flats will be allotted free to the Parsis after cross-subsidisation," said Dinshaw Mehta, chairperson of the trustee.

A new logo was also launched with two wind bulls featuring on either side of the BPP. "It is done with a motive to bring healthy interaction and harmony in the community," said Jimmy Mistry. Its symbolic importance represents strength in the physical world, consciousness, and spirituality.

A youth program — Zoroastrian Youth for Next Generation will also be launched with a dedicated website by December that aims to promote healthy interaction, encourage participation, bring a sense of pride in the community, recognise its achievements, promote networking, provide details on scholarship, religious events, jobs, matrimony and lists social events.