Shernaaz Engineer on the BPP Elections

The below is an article circulated on a newsgroup. It makes interesting reading with the BPP elections in the near future, as the subject matter.

With a heavy heart and a poignant pen, SHERNAAZ ENGINEER chronicles the current mess within the community – and appeals for unity

Was technology invented for us to use, or was it invented to use us? Right now, going by the spate of ‘stink mails’ doing the rounds, it would appear  to be the latter. We seem to be inadvertently allowing ourselves to be used  and abused by the Internet, as unwarranted emails land in our mail box,  forwarded by misguided friends.

Dishing the dirt on one probable BPP candidate after another seems to have become the community’s pass time. Or ‘time pass’, if one wants to be a wee  bit vernacular! What it essentially is, though, is an utter and shameful waste of time. And the fear is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. That as the election date draws closer, and the contest gets more  capricious, the daggers, which are already drawn, will dig in deeper still – and the wounds will be more vicious.

Even the US Presidential elections, keenly as they are being contested  around causes as contentious as race and long-held, painful prejudices, will appear like a gentle garden party compared to our street-fight style of ballot battling.

What a pity, isn’t it? Increasingly, one is becoming disappointed by our lack of grace. For years, one has held steadfast to the notion of all that  we stand for – integrity, impeccable public conduct, personal decorum, a  value-based upbringing that isn’t violated by opportunism, and respect for  others.

All of that seems to have been subverted in the last few years, as a slew of Acrimonious Acronyms slug it out for power. Whether it’s AZA, WAPIZ, ARZ,  BPP, AIMZ, PRG, WZO, AFP, and whatever else, all of them have been embroiled  in petty politicking and desperately trying to outmanoeuvre each other,  whilst simultaneously attempting to manipulate the community into supporting their ideology and actions.

The result is that we are today so fractured, so faction-ridden, so frayed that we have lost the very essence of who we are. And each one of the Acrimonious Acronyms has played its part in the process. In trying to grab  their slice of the community cake, all they have left behind is heap of  crumbs.

The average Parsi is really not concerned with the perennial warring that is being waged between various groups – and publicly at that. While ideologies can be debated and points of view countered, petty personal attacks are pointless. They serve only to sully the ethos and atmosphere of the entire community, filling minds with mistrust and hearts with misgivings.

Today, there is not a single leader, or possible leader, amongst us, who has  not been shred to shards. One isn’t suggesting that dissenting voices be  muffled, or criticisms silenced. But the manner in which it’s being done, week after week, has weakened the morale such that there’s now a surfeit of scepticism amongst us all.

Nobody trusts anybody any more, least of all if the person is proposing to stand for elections. Because the minute even the apprehension of that is apparent, the attacks are launched, fast and furious. This leaves the community confused, cantankerous and crushed. After all, if you cannot trust anybody to lead you, what purpose are the forthcoming elections going to serve?

As it is, nobody gets along with anyone. If the final Trustee Board is going to be a ‘coalition government’, with differing ideologies and personal egos pulling in very contrary directions, with the Trustees themselves having been fatally discredited by their detractors in print and on the Net, what are we thrusting the apex organisation of the community into – irretraceable chaos? 

Perhaps, all those who are whipping up passions like egg whites in a badly  set soufflé need to understand that we’re all falling flat. What we need more than ever before is cooperation and communion. Differing points of view have their place. But not at the cost of our unity. There will have to be give and take, and no issues are so irresolvable that illumined minds cannot sit together and work a way out.

Even if there, sadly, no way out, mutual respect will have to replace rancour and disruptive rivalry. There are far too many issues we need to focus on for our very survival as a community today, and these are far more crucial than our differences. We need Trustees who understand this, and inspire faith in the community that they can collaborate effectively to resolve the issues that assail us. We can sometimes agree to disagree. But to be disagreeably disagreeable all the time is defeating.

May the New Year bring us the unity we so desperately need to hold ourselves together, and the leadership to take us ahead in times to come. Saal Mubarak!

  • siloo Kapadia

    But unity may not be possible. The conservatives are adamant on NO CHANGE, even if it means death to the community. That is why I say that they should be given a portion of the money and be sent their way (and they can take those smelly vultures with them). Of course we can all meet together for certain functions, but their views are no longer the views of the vast majority of Parsees, especially those under the age of 70.

  • Roopy

    Siloo,

    What makes you think that traditional-minded Zoroastrians can be bought out?

    You said, “…but their views are no longer the views of the vast majority of Parsees, especially those under the age of 70.”

    Is this fact? If so, please provide at least 2 credible sources.

  • siloo Kapadia

    Everyone I know says that, deekra. And when the elections come, the whole world will know.

    As for being bought out, I am tyring to appease both sides. If the conservatives lose, will they be happy to leave empty handed? Kona bava nu!!! They will cry and bitch and cry some more.

    There is a gap that is very hard to bridge. So let them go their own way.

  • Kaiomarz Engineer

    Dear everyone,
    I would like to point out Siloo’s Statement which hides her money hungry nature and intentions of plundering our philanthropic funds through her statement—-“That is why I say that they should be given a portion of the money and be sent their way (and they can take those smelly vultures with them). ”

    Maeeji , I really pity your ignorance.

    I would like to point out that first of all Its not us who have to be given money but It’s people like you (who detest every ritual that binds us to be parsis), who are longing to get hold of the funds that our ancestor’s have left in order to preserve our Community and its pure traditions.(which you will never suceed). So I think you messed up your statment intentionally to hide the fact that you are the beggar here.

    And when the question of Views of Vast majority of Parsees are concern, I think your pathetic ideas are the one’s that represent the minority.

    So you can sit in USA and bring your so called reforms among yourself and As long as funds are concerned, you can raise your own……

    And also I would suggest you to bring another reform in you…….Why dont you call your self RParsi (Reformist Parsi) in laymen’s term “Parsis who are no longer Parsis”.

    With all my love , affection and pity towards you.–Maeeje (Cause she calls every one Dekraa, to make her sound a Parsi….really pity her)

  • siloo Kapadia

    Everyone, we will get rid of the dinosaurs with the coming elections. Do not worry. Let them bitch and complain all they want. Let them make wanton attacks on me. These self-proclaimed Parsees who are nothing but bigots, let us give them a slice of the money (something they are not willing to do for others) and let them be on their way.

    Again, the elections will be the final say.

  • farokh

    first bungli than will be the navjote of children of parsi women married to outsiders–the consequenses will be that the so called namesake navjote will enable that child to inherit the tenency rights in mumbai colonies and surely we will have mohamed jallaudin shaikh ,manoj tiwar sanjay pandey staying in our colonies—no maiji no

  • Nawzer Kerawala

    When you mate a horse with a pig what animal do we get. thats the same that s happening, the non parsi pigs want to stay in stables instead of pig pens and they want to use their half parsi panu to say “we need this nad that ” first please have pure blood to comment. Who has stopped any one to go to stinking chandanwadi. you call our veltures stinking then you go away

  • DJ

    The only way the liberals will win is if they rig the election… the vast majority, the silent majority, is conservative. The only reason why you THINK there are more liberals is becuase they are always complaining about what their rights are… after they break all of our rules.

    How come all the election material started flying AFTER the registration deadline… how come if you pay more your vote counts more, what about poor parsis who want their vote to count just as much?

    This whole election is a SCAM

    Siloo, where is your reply to my last post? was it too much for you to handle?

  • Kaiomarz Engineer

    Siloo Maeeje has gone underground, after reading the Profiles of the Candidates for BPP Election…..

    She was under illusion that her Modern REFORMED (Juddens ) Minority idea’s represented the Majority… and would be placed in action after some Juddin like her will win the BPP Election

    BUT Now she has realised that all the candidates are True Pure Parsis, that respect every ritual and rights that a true parsi should follow.

    And to conclude from this, that We Parsis will preserve our pure and true identity, even though people like Siloo will try their best to detest, pollute (by intercaste marriages–refer to siloo’s previous postings) and break our beautiful religion.

    Siloo maeeje, dont waste your time and energy , we parsi’s have survived for thousands to years, and have preserved our identity (Boonak pasbaani)…and we will ..

    Also I would like to “educate you” on some principle on which our religion is standing.

    Please refer : http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/

    It will help you understand “MY AND MY FELLOW PARSI’S RELIGION”, and also remove the cobwebs from your head.

  • DJ

    Yea Kaio! Thats right!

    So many of our youth today are thirsty for religious knowledge but dont have anyone to teach them. They want to follow the right tarikats but find reliable info hard to come by.

    In my opinion, the dinosaurs are the ones in bombay that want change. I know quite a bit of youth in bombay who are not being fooled by the reformist agenda.

    Way to hold it down.

  • hi, perhaps you may like to look at my blog: http://parsi-link.blogspot.com

    got lots of stuff on the coming bpp elections and all that is happening.

    comments and feedback most welcome! thanks…

  • Noshir H. Dadrawala

    WAPIZ has been spreading the lie that I have agreed to a ‘cremate-ni-bungli’! This is a blatant lie. I challenge WAPIZ to substantiate this charge with concrete proof or evidence.

    Yes, I was in favour of the proposal first mooted by Dinshaw Mehta (now in alliance with WAPIZ) to provide prayer facilities to those opting for alternate systems for the disposal of the dead, outside Doongerwadi. And, this was with only one end in mind – bring about a healing touch and peace within the community so that we, as one community, could end this controversy over the dead and departed focus more on the living. At that time when things were really hot, even WAPIZ founder trustee Homi Ranina had agreed to provide post-funeral facilities at the Cawasji Framjee Institute.

  • Noshir H. Dadrawala

    A certain orthodox group has been accusing me of swinging between orthodoxy and reformism? Nothing could be further from the truth. I have always taken pride in calling myself orthodox, especially considering the fact that the true meaning of the term is, “one who walks on the right path”. I would think this definition is also in sync with Asho Zarathushtra’s precept of leading one’s life according to the principles of ‘Asha’.

    I have certain religious beliefs which I have tenaciously held close to my heart for the last three decades. Only a fool or a knave would think that I would forsake them for the sake of this ‘crown of thorns’ called trusteeship.

    My opponents have accused me of being a reformist. In all humility I accept that I am guilty as charged. I am a reformist with a burning desire to REFORM the BPP’s sagging image, systems and governance structures. However, for the record, my religious views remain unchanged.
    • I am not in favour of ‘religious conversions’;
    • I am not in favour of inter-caste marriages – irrespective of gender (I guess this makes me more orthodox than even WAPIZ);
    • I believe in the system of dokhmenashini and I am not in favour of alternate systems for the disposal of the dead at Doongerwadi.

  • Delnavaz

    Hi Everyone, The BPP elections are very important for our small but beautiful community. We need to vote for people who have the time & zeal to work for our community. Most important we need people who cherish our traditions & rituals…Doongerwadi should be protected, marriage within the community only etc. We need to adhere to our faith, time will take care of everything else.
    Thanks
    Delnavaz

  • Noshir H. Dadrawala

    Noshir Dadrawala’s Response To WAPIZ

    Reading the ‘WAPIZ Page’ (October 17, 2008) reminded me of what the French philosopher Pascal once said, “Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood, so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it”.

    According to WAPIZ, I am a “SHAM” and a “self-styled No.1 Charity (Management) Expert”. Fortunately, in my field of expertise I do not need validation from a pseudo and retrograde organization like WAPIZ.

    Scores of leading corporate foundations, International Grant-making Agencies, prominent NGOs, the two leading Business Schools that I teach at, the Institutes of Social Sciences, the American Universities with which I have research affiliations and the Government of India have known and recognized my contribution over the last two decades. That’s all the validation that I need and of which I am legitimately proud.

    And, yes indeed, I am the Chief Executive of my company and once again, I don’t need validation for that from WAPIZ.

    WAPIZ has alleged that I “have been receiving large funds from community charities like ZTFE, WZO and BPP till last year”. I am reminded of the saying, “Truth exists. Falsehood has to be invented”.

    It is a fact that during the year 2005 (and not until last year as concocted by WAPIZ) my son had applied for and indeed received “LOAN SCHOLARSHIPS” for studies in the U.K. I am pleased to inform WAPIZ that with the Grace of Ahura Mazda my son is doing very well in his chosen career and the EDUCATIONAL LOANS received from the BPP and the WZO have been repaid – I have receipts to prove this fact. The few remaining LOANS will be repaid before the end of this year.

    And, just by the way, is it not a fact that Messiah Mistree also went to study at Oxford with community funds. What part of those funds has he returned to the generous donors? The list of donors is long and most of them are very disappointed with him. Would WAPIZ like me to name some of them? They would be most embarrassed, I am sure.

    WAPIZ refers to “huge sums of monies given to me by late Mrs. Silloo Kavarana”. This is hitting me below the belt. But, if I am in public life, I have no hesitation to make myself absolutely transparent and accountable.

    It is a fact that way back in the year 1987 (that’s 21 years ago) I was struck with a life-threatening medical condition. I was just 26 years old and on the threshold of my career. I had lost both my parents by the time I was 18 and all their life-savings were lost in medical expenses. My son had not even started schooling at that time. Naturally, I was in need of medical assistance and Late Mrs. Silloo Kavarana (May her soul Rest in Peace) voluntarily came to my assistance. I still have the records in my possession. Mrs. Kavarana, from various sources had raised a sum of Rs.45,000/- to underwrite various hospital expenses. A few years later, I offered to repay the amount. However, she felt that I should keep it aside in case of a recurrence.

    Yes, I was and will always remain grateful to Late Mrs. Kavarana for her support. However, as I have even told AFP right in the beginning, Gratitude in one thing – Obligation is quite another. Yes, although I was grateful to Late Mrs. Kavarana for her assistance to me, I did not feel obligated to support her when she decided to re-contest for a second term at her very advanced age. The lady is no more and the chapter too is dead and irrelevant to merit further comment.

    Suffice it to state that in their entire campaign of hate and viciousness, WAPIZ has not been able to pull out even one measly skeleton from my cupboard. They have tried to throw a lot of muck. But, throwing muck is one thing. The test is whether the muck sticks to the person it is thrown at.

    It’s not that I have a thick-skin. The fact is quite the contrary. However, happily, I don’t have to put in much effort on my own. Just as oil rises above water, truth always rises above falsehood.

  • armaity tirandas won….you can see some of her victory pics on http://www.armaitytirandaz.com