Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Shelter over their heads, Surat Parsi couples enjoy parenthood

It may be pleasing news for the members of the Parsi community that many of the newly-wed young Parsi women are in the family way in Surat, which has a population of 3,500 of the total 90,000 Parsis in the country.

By Himanshu Bhatt, TNN

Worried over the dwindling numbers of the Parsis, the Surat Parsi Panchayat had come up with a unique scheme sometime ago of allotting flats to the needy couples of the community so that they concentrated on increasing their population without bothering about issues like housing.

Of the 31 couples, who were given flats, many of them reportedly will see an addition in their families, community sources said, adding that encouraged by the results of the scheme, the panchayat is slated to launch a Rs 2.5 crore 40-flat project at Sherdiwala area in the city. Of the 40 flats, 16 will be provided to young Parsi couples and the remaining to those whose monthly income is below Rs 15,000. These couples will be given the flats at a nominal rent of Rs 200 per month.

Darayas Master, president, Surat Parsi Panchayat, said those youths who have married outside the community are not eligible and also the flats are not transferrable. These flats are panchayat property and have to be returned to it on being vacated. For the couples to get the flats, they will have to produce proper proof of their marriage. We give the keys of the flat to the couple a week before their marriage so that they can settle down immediately."

He said, "We see light at the end of this tunnel. One of the main reasons for many Parsi youth not marrying is economic constraints. So we thought we will help them start a life by giving them a house. We have willing donors and so there are no problems."

Yazdi Karanjia, a well-known stage personality of the city, said, "We give a two-room, kitchen flat to those couples who marry within the community. This support of the house to the young couples will surely be of help in increasing the number of Parsis."