Some members of Parsi community protest the Udvada Utsav,

Some members of Parsi community protest the Udvada Utsav, as it ‘violates the sanctity of the place’

The festival, sponsored by the Gujarat government, is held in Udvava, which has long been considered a major site of pilgrimage for Zoroastrians.

The Iranshah Udvada Utsav (IUU), a biennial religious Zoroastrian festival to be held from Saturday to Monday, is being boycotted by some members of the Parsi community this year as they believe that the festivities affect the sanctity of the place.

The festival, sponsored by the Gujarat government, is held in Udvava, which has long been considered a major site of pilgrimage for Zoroastrians.

Some members of the community appealed to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, the chief guest of the festival, to not attend the event. Hanoz Mistry, community activist, who wrote to the Vice President, said that he had also written to the Prime Minister, asking him to not approve the festival. Yazdi Desai, chairman, Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), the community’s largest representative body, said that he would also be boycotting the event.

“We believe in maintaining spiritual purity at Udvada, and with 2000 people attending the festival, it is not feasible to do that. Which is why we won’t be going to Udvada,” said Anahita Desai, wife of Yazdi.

Jehangir Patel, editor of Parsiana, a semi-monthly magazine catering to the international Zoroastrian community, said events such as this help popularise the place. “It is being backed by the Gujarat government because it will boost tourism in the state. There is a small section of the community opposing the event, but I am sure it will be a success,” he said.