A day after the Tata group sacked Cyrus Mistry as chairman and appointed Ratan Tata as interim chairman, there is widespread dismay in the Parsi community at the way events unfolded.
“This is a very sorry state of affairs for the community. It was not expected from somebody who is holding a stature this big. People have gone on to say he [Ratan Tata] is not the way he was in the past. The way Mistry was removed was disgracful,” said Dinshaw Mehta, ex-chairman, Bombay Parsee Panchayat, adding, “He could have done it with grace. The way he [Tata] removed him [Mistry] was not smooth.”
Jehangir Patel, editor of Parsiana, the Zoroastrian community’s semi-monthly magazine, said the episode was shocking considering the bonhomie within the community. “It seems more of a difference of opinion rather than a corporate tussle. The community is not in a condition to take sides as it is difficult to do that as an outsider,” said Patel.
Patel also said the community was saddened by the news and hoped the issue was resolved in a reasonable manner with no animosity among the two giants.
Zoroastrian scholars are surprised with the way things panned out. “Everything happened in no time. The community will need some time for the news to sink in. They are confused as something like this has never happened before,” Khojeste Mistree, community scholar who also runs an organisation of Zoroastrian studies.
“Besides, Tata is the icon of the community. It seems strange to witness such an issue.”
Some members of the community were unaware, and felt the episode would be forgotten with time. “There is no question of the community getting affected. If he [Mistry] is removed, then he must have done something. It was the Tata committee who chose him and now they chose to replace him,” said Beji Khan, a member of Parsee Gymkhana, Marine Lines. “We will know what exactly happened when the dust clears. People also tend to forget soon. In a week’s time, they will forget this episode too.”