Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Where Vultures Dare

Soon there shall be 150, yes, 150 vultures at Doongerwadi . This is not a Gustad Gossip story. It is true. Just as we thought that BPP had abandoned its vulture aviary project (for the uninitiated, to breed vultures in captivity), the Chairman and Khojeste Mistree have achieved a minor miracle.

By Berjis Desai | Mumbai Samachar

For Rs.Two and a half crores, 150 birds will be bought and introduced over the Dokhmas. A giant net over the wells (Adi Doctor to tell us if such net is permissible or is it obstructive of KhurshedNagirashni, that is, rays of the Sun) will prevent escape. It will also prevent the birds from dropping pieces of flesh or bones in neighbouring areas. (Residents of neighbouring skyscrapers will, therefore, be able to eat their Eggs Florentine in peace, without them being garnished by some little Parsi finger).Our sources inform that each bird can consume upto 300 grams of meat per day and, therefore, the consigned bodies will be adequate to feed all 150 birds and also ensure instantaneous disposal of the dead bodies, possibly within hours. If enough bodies are not available, goat meat can be fed.

The economics make sense since BPP will save on solar panel electric power and maintenance cost, ozone spraying cost and of course ‘other expenses’ to keep things quiet. But what about diclofenac? This drug has 400 applications and is widely used, particularly for renal failure. Interestingly, Parsi patients are administered this drug in large measure due to the age profile of our population. The principal cause of vulture extinction is this drug. It cannot be banned as it is life saving and has no equally efficacious substitute. The BPP says that we shall educate the community and Parsi doctors and hospitals to avoid this drug. This is patently absurd. Let your kidney vanish but let not our vultures perish, may be the BPP slogan but none will pay heed to it. Our sources say that 8% mortality rate (for the vultures, not the Parsis) per year is acceptable but unfortunately this drug can be deadly fatal to the vultures. Herein lies the catch. But that may not deter our heroes.

Elections are due in 2015. If in 2013 and 14, Dokhmenashini in its original, pristine from is booming again without stench or embarrassment or controversy, who will not elect the persons who successfully restored the system and allowed many a would be crematee to depart from the serene surroundings of the Towers with full prayers and tradition. However, if this results in a disaster with the birds wiped out in six months and crores wasted, the heroes will turn into zeros and fare badly at the elections. Will they dare? Will they take the Diclofenac Gamble? Not so easy to eat a Parsi and yet stay alive. Watch this space.