Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

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[cross posted on news views and analysis]

Todays Mumbai Mirror contains an article about some Parsis getting together to create a fire temple where Zoroastrians can worship universally, irespective of whether they are Parsis or not.

On the one hand, the idea infuriates me. But when I think more about it, can this be a blessing in disguise ??

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If all it takes is this universal temple to rid the Parsi community of these people, then its a brilliant solution.

I think A very poorly researched article. If a group of Parsis want to move away and set their own rules and start their own cult, then so be it. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Why should they want to destroy what is existing to suit their own prejudices ? Why dont they go forth, raise their own money, build their own temples and do what they need to.

It has happened all along history. Christians who didnt agree with the Church, broke away and built their own.

Who is Hafeez Contractor to comment on Parsees. Just because he is an “in”famous architect, does not give him the right to comment on the religion and the culture. And does Mr Contractor even understand what he says.

If Jadav Rana were alive today, he wouldnt want the Parsis to convert?? !!

Hell if he wanted, he would have put his foot down all those centuries ago. He was a true ruler, and allowed us to do what we wanted, and we have survived, and thrived at it for the last 14 centuries and counting.

Hence to all the party poopers, the faster you renounce Parsidom and go forth on your own way, the better. We dont need you.

Here is the entire text of the article.

Parsis open ‘universal’ fire temple

The temple will be open to all Zoroastrians, including non-Parsi spouses of Parsis
Manoj R Nair

A group of Parsis in Mumbai and Pune are planning to start a ‘universal’ fire temple that will be open to all Zoroastrians, including non-Parsi spouses of Parsis who have converted to the religion and their children. Orthodox Parsis called the new body a fringe group that did not represent the views of priests, scholars and a majority of community members. However, others said
the group had the constitutional right to follow their version of the Zoroastrian faith.

The group, called the Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism (ARZ), plan to convert a Colaba apartment into a prayer hall that will be will be open not just for Parsis but also to all those professing the Zoroastrian religion. The hall will be inaugurated on Thursday. The group plans to build a fire temple later that will be open to Zoroastrian converts. Existing fire temples allow
entry only to Parsis.

The group has suggested non-Parsi spouses of Parsis who married outside the community and their children should be admitted into the religion. Dr Keky Grant of the family that runs Pune’s Ruby Hall Clinic, who is a trustee of the new organisation. said: “We want to spread the gospel of Zoroastrianism,” he said.

Kerssie Wadia, a trustee of ARZ said, “We have started the group for love of our religion. The Parsi race could die out in a few decades if the current decline in numbers continue. But the Zoroastrian religion should not be allowed to die,” he said.

The group says that it is not advocating inter-community marriages. “All the six ARZ trustees have married within the community. We are not for full fledged conversions. But we want to accommodate the non-Parsi spouses of community members and their children,” said Vispy Wadia, another trustee.

“If the spouse or children of Parsis married outside want to become Zoroastrians, for god’s sake, do not throw them out,” he added.

The group says that it is possible to be a Zoroastrian without being a Parsi. However, Zoroastrian scholar Khojeste Mistree said that for his community, ethnicity and religion meant the same. “Has Zoroastrianism survived without its ethnicity? This has not happened for 3000 years,” he said.

The group feels that admitting the spouses and children of Parsis who have married outside the community is the only way to save the Zoroastrian faith. “Nearly 40 per cent of Parsis are now marrying outside the community. If we continue to exclude the spouses of these Parsis and their children from the religion, the religion will die out in a few decades,” said Wadia.”Our numbers are going down fast. We have to do something drastic to stop the trend,” said Dr Grant.

Hear this one

I think people should have the freedom to worship in any way they want. If the non-Parsi spouse wants to worship as a Zoroastrian, he or she should be allowed to do so. The community has to think in a less stringent manner if it wants to survive.–Parvez Damania, Industrialist

It is fine if a non-Parsi spouse feels the same way about the religion as the Parsi partner and wants to convert. Our prophet converted people to the religion. If Jadav Rana were alive today, he would have approved of accepting non-Parsi spouses into the religion.-Hafeez Contractor, Architect

This is a mockery of the religion. How can they build a fire temple? They are breaking the rules and hurting the religious sentiments of the community.- Dr Viraf Kapadia,Trustee of Behram Bhika Well