Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World has a word of advice for his daughter Lara Balsara, a director in the company, who is soon getting married to KaizadVajifdar, a young pilot with Air India. It is to embrace motherhood at the earliest.
Article By Pritha Mitra Dasgupta, ET Bureau
While Balsara is looking forward to becoming grandfather three times over, the real reason is to encourage young Parsis to marry and start a family early to save the community from extinction.
With a Rs 10 crore aid from the Government of India, Madison World and its creative agency Madison BMB has designed a campaign called ‘JiyoParsi’, which will be launched this week in the Parsi press. This is a project of the Government of India to be executed through Parzor which is a project for the Preservation and Promotion of Parsi Zoroastrian Culture and Heritage and Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP).
“The government took this initiative seeing the decline in the Parsi population in India. For 800 Parsi deaths in a year, there are only 200 births. The Jiyo Parsi project focusses on providing advocacy and medical IVF treatment at subsidised rates to those Parsi couples who want to conceive but cannot,” said Balsara.
For the campaign, his daughter provided crucial insights as to why some young Parsis were staying unmarried or marrying late. “I do believe that the insights we have used in the campaign are real. Most of them I would say are my beliefs. I know so many Parsis who live in huge houses, single, with no close descendant. It can’t be a very good life,” says Lara.
And although Dr Shernaz Cama of Parzor wanted her to promise to have three babies, Lara quips,”Honestly, it’s too premature to have such conversations.” She does see the merit in her father’s advice. “Parents of any community would love for their children to get married within the community. But contrary to what my Dad has said, it is quite difficult to meet a ‘good’Parsi boy; I got lucky!”
The campaign targets the youth through 16 provocative print ads. “Some of my personal favourites are “Break up with mom”, “Will your boyfried be Ratan Tata?” and” Parents won’t be around to babysit,'” says Lara.
This is the first ever campaign in India that talks about saving a human community from extinction. “Sometime ago I remember reading about a campaign in a small European country asking its citizens to have more sex to tackle this issue. Our campaign does not do that because the issue is early marriage and kids,” said Balsara.