Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Section of Parsis Cry Sin As More Opt For Cremation

Cremation among Parsis see rise

Article by Ashutosh Shukla | DNA India

The information by weekly magazine, Parsianna, stated that the number “Parsi/Irani deaths recorded at the new Prayer Hall in Worli were 33 for the months of September-December 2015. The corresponding deaths for the same period at the Bombay Towers of Silence were 229”.

413636-parsisA day after a report said that high priests of the Parsi community were against mixed marriages or being open to children of non-Parsi fathers, a Parsi community magazine has published statistics that show a jump in the number of people opting for cremation as compared to the traditional practice of laying the dead in the Tower of Silence.

The information by weekly magazine, Parsianna, stated that the number “Parsi/Irani deaths recorded at the new Prayer Hall in Worli were 33 for the months of September-December 2015. The corresponding deaths for the same period at the Bombay Towers of Silence were 229”.

It added that “around 14.41% of Parsis in the last quarter of 2015 have opted for cremation. This figure is more than double the earlier percentage (5.67%) of Parsis opting for cremation for the entire year of 2014”. In 2015, 658 people opted for the traditional way of cremation.

“The figures for cremation are tabulated from Chandanwadi crematorium and the two priests who conduct rituals. These could be a little more too but are generally the approximate figures,” said Jehangir Patel, editor of Parsianna.

The Prayer Hall in Worli was opened in September in 2015. “The figure will only rise considering that it is not one year. I think people were looking out for a change and facilities that can be provided. Now that they have, they are opting for it. People understand that the Doongerwadi system has collapsed,” said Vispy Wadia, trustee of Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism.

“People have been opting for cremation because there is a facility and the four-day prayer that is important can now be conducted there. The figure may only go up in times to come,” said Dinshaw Tamboly, chairman of the Prayer Hall Trust.

“I think it is a personal choice to go for cremation, though religiously it is totally wrong. As per religious theology, to consign a corpse to the fire is the most heinous sin. It is one of the worse sins. I do not know how they opt for it. In other religions it is different, but in ours, fire is seventh son of God. I know people opt for it but they shouldn’t. It is their individual choice,” said Yazdi Desai, present chairman of Bombay Parsi Punchayet and member of World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthustis, which is an advocate of traditional means and opposes any reforms.