Indian Parsis decide to marry early to stem their declining population
Bardoli | November 20, 2005
The population of Parsis, who have settled down in India for centuries, has been steadily going down. According to the 2004 census data, their population was just under 70,000 people, far less than that of 76,000 a decade earlier.
The Parsis have now decided that early marriage is the best way to stem their community’s dwindling population.The wedding of Shahjaad of Bardoli with his Mumbai-based bride, Gulnaar, which took place in a spectacular ceremony at the grooms hometown on Saturday, was an example of such marriages.
“I want to say that everyone in our community should marry early. If we get married early, we’ll be able to have more children and it will definitely result in an increase in the Parsi population,” said Gulnaar, the bride, who is in her early twenties.
It was for the first time in the last 50 years that a Parsi wedding was being solemnised in Bardoli, a Parsi-dominated town, giving another reason to the newly wedded couples to smile.
The highly educated community is on the verge of extinction as its population ages due to a low birth rate, increasing inter-community marriages and rigid rules about not accepting children of Parsis married to non-Parsis.
The community has made substantial efforts in adding more heads to their dwindling population. The Mumbai Parsi Panchayat (Council), an apex body looking after community affairs in country’s financial hub has promoted free medical facilities for young Parsi couples.
“The Parsi Panchayat (council) in Mumbai has started schemes to lure couples to give birth to more children. Whenever they face any problem, they are given free medical help. There have been 27 childbirths since the drive was started. I think our population is going to make steady increase,” said Khozatse Mistry, a renowned Parsi scholar, who had specially come from Mumbai to bless the couple.
According to estimates, there are 1,20,000 of Parsis in the world, and about half of the population is settled in western parts of India.
Though Parsis account for less than one percent of India’s billion people, the community controls more than 15 percent of the market value on India’s main stock exchange.
Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Parsi community, is the oldest revealed religion in the world and the basic tenet is the law of purity and righteousness. (ANI)
Original article at web123india