Udvada Atash Behram : Fire temple will now warm up inter-faith love

For Parsis, all roads will soon lead to Udvada in Gujarat. Udvada, a small town in South Gujarat, where the Parsi community consecrated the first fire temple of Gujarat in 1742 after their arrival to Sanjan, is to be conserved as a Parsi Heritage site and developed as a global centre for inter-faith peace, love and harmony.

Now, when Parsis in Gujarat are gearing up to celebrate the 1290th anniversary of the installation of the sacred Iranshah fire at Udvada, they plan to make Udvada a centre where Parsis across the world can meet, exchange ideas and help conserve the Parsi culture.

Importantly, Udvada, under threat due to commercial activities and unplanned industrial growth, can heave a sigh of relief as the state government plans to set up Udvada Area Development Authority (UADA) to control and regularise haphazard development in the area.

"It is good news for Parsis. Growing industrialisation adjacent to the holy temple was a threat to the sanctity of the area. Now, the state government has taken measures to protect it. With formation of UADA, the state government promises to control development and ensure that the Sacred Iranshah fire is protected," said Behram Mehta, MD of Aava Water who along with his wife Tina Mehta worked passionately to make this possible.

Jehangir Cama, Parsi community head, said that finally they have realised their dream of setting up a Zoroastrian Information Centre at Udvada, which has been funded jointly by the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat through Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC). "We propose to make Udvada a place where Parsis can meet, mingle, exchange ideas and celebrate occasions," he said. He added that a committee will now will be formed to plan further development of the area.

Recently, Parsi community members honoured chief minister Narendra Modi, and invited him to the Iranshah fire installation anniversary celebrations. Chief minister Narendra Modi gave assurance to the Parsis that like King Jadav Rana, he too would ensure protection of the sacred fire. Modi was desirous that Udvada should project itself as the global capital of inter-faith peace, love and harmony to the world.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Good. I hope the temple also welcomes interfaith couples and their offspring.

  • Jeannie Antia

    Viva the religion of Zarathustra!

  • Delnaz

    Please can blogger provide the source of this article

  • Delnaz

    The article was published here http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_fire-temple-will-now-warm-up-inter-faith-love_1523822

    and has no author attribution. It is an agency article.

  • arsad bariaName

    i echo the said sentiment. i hope the fire temple will accept intermarried spouses, their children and grandchildren, and this forms an example for india .
    question: what would our count be, if the above disenfranchised and discriminated against parties were counted?
    i would guess at least twice the present count in india for certain, and elsewhere. i dont want to be the last of the followers of a great faith.

  • Burjor Bharucha

    This is an encouraging step in the right direction as further developement and making Udwada specially the area around the Iranshah a concrete jungle by construction of residence colonies and contaminating Industries will not be allowed.
    However, there is one worrying factor and that is “besides Udwada being declared as a Heritage Site it will be developed as a Global Centre for Inter-Faith peace, love and harmony.” Great caution needs to be exercised by the authorities concerned to ensure that the purity of our religion is not contaminated. By the grace of Ahura Mazda let Iranshah become instrumental in encouraging the feeling of peace, love and harmony for other religions. Hopefully in time to come Udawada would become a real Paradise one earth. Amin!!!!!!

  • Rustom

    Hopefully the very small faith will be able to maintain its distinction and itself within the interfaith love especially when the love to convert others out of their own roots and faith is gaining momentum…

    Also lets also see how the younger generations of intermarried couple find it that Zoroastraism talks of non idol,animal,worship and has an ideology based on mazdayasni and not devyasni…….and if the zoroastrian principle are not asked to change as many zoroastrian rules emiting thru its phiosophy will not suit the foreign spouce…

    so yes the gahs will be akined to the namaaz prayers, the yasna ceremony to the yagna…and the muktaad with lent or someting….

    Alas the natural princple of the smaller merging with the bigger will take its course…..and atash behrams and agiaries will change according to the whims and fancy of peoples wishes…just like zoroastranism, the rules of makers of the atashbehrams and agiaries and dokhmenishini are thirsted to be changed or nulified…

    All in the name of resurecting Zoroastrianism…..ironically by changing it first…

    Ever wonder why smaller demography socities maintain their identty and rues applied therein to keep it distinctly different,,…by not giving citizenship, or property buying rights…..or even political rights…..or ever study why the vatican or the emcca, or main hinu temples or tibetans ones limit entry to outsiders of the faith….

    Of course not , because we all have to suit our intermmaried children , brothers, sisters and their spouces…..even if it means undoing what ou ancestors built, disrespecting the wills and wishes of the makers, having no responsibility to continue ones traditions….and lastly to suit the foreign spouce…

    Lets see how many faiths change their rules for the members of their intermarued zoroastrian partners….if already they havent converted out fo zoroastrianism…

  • Siloo Kapadia

    @Burjor Bharucha: Bawaji, are you saying that you don’t want interfaith couples? Or are you saying that the religion will become corrupted by having interfaith services, if that were to happen?

    As for the former, that is what we need to keep from dying out. As for the latter, time to wake up and smell the gass nu chai! Where do you think 99% of all the “Parsi” rituals are from? Iran? They are from Hinduism, deekra. I don’t think that the original Zoroastrians were into drinking cow piss and tillies and saris and coconuts, etc.

    Once again I would like to remind everyone that our religion has already gone through substantial change. It is already altered, already changed, already different. So what you are asking is will it be further changed from its already different form! I doubt it. And if it is, it is. What we are practicing is, from the most orthodox stance, already a “corrupted form” as it is.

  • Jeannie Antia

    Mr. Burjor Bharucha, no religion can be contaminated. You are not talking of Atomic Energy Plants which at present are contaminating our world ! The religion of the Prophet Zarathustra is as pure as any other religion or philosophy! Enjoy your day!

  • Eric Patel

    It is heartening to note that things for Udvada and our Zoroastrians is moving in the positive direction. We are thankful to the Zoroastrians and all others responsible for this. But one thing that really requires to be done now is to accept the inter-faith couples and their offsprings into Zoroastrian faith. How can we have inter-faith peace alone without accepting inter- faith marriages? A lot of Zoroastrians are in favour of this, but are afraid to speak, lest they be targeted and singled out.

  • Phiroze

    Siloo, arsad,

    Sorry to dissapoint you but there are no plans to build any such club.

    @ Burjor Bharucha,

    The headline of the article is misleading and mischevious as usual.
    The developement threat to the sanctity of Pak Iranshah has been deleted or removed thru control of the UADA. The information centre will be a place where Parsis can meet and exchange ideas.

  • Maneck Daruwalla

    Type your comment here…
    Please under the guise of inter faith love let not the religion suffer. Only Parsees born out of both Parsee parents and those not having married outside the faith should be allowed in the Iranshah premises. Every Religion follows its own doctrines . Muslims and Christians are willing to die for their religion then why only Parsees want to sway away from the teachings of Lord Zarthushtra or the High Priests like Meherji Rana. Were they fools to guide the community ?
    There are certain tarikats in every religion and are followed religiously by the faith then why only Zorastrians want to be modern ? If one has married outside the caste, let them be happy in their own life. God is one. They can sit in their homes and pray. Why do they need entrance to Iranshah for themselves and their children and create controversies. There are certain doctrines in religion which have to be honoured. What do they achieve in destroying the sanctity of the place in the name of modernisation ? I sincerely appeal to the Organizers who are working hard for Udwada not to hurt the sentiments of the majority. In fact, if Udwada should be developed it should be done with all its sanctity and not only to promote inter-faith. Please do not mess around with Iranshah -though God is merciful, Nature is not.
    Nature takes its toll in one form or the other baffling even the most learned of the lot.

  • Aernevaaz

    Lets talk India – We talk of inter faith marriages, just check out how many of your Hindu ,Muslim, Christian friends have married outside and if they have, 75% + will have a Parsi spouse!

    Why can we not love the great faith we have been born in and endeavour to keep it pure just like our friends.

    Why don’t we try to raise our standards of education, lifestyles, “parsipanu” to meet expectations of the young to enable them find their spouses from within the community than look beyond and then cry for the “parsipanu”.

  • Jeannie Antia

    Isn’t there a law in India to jail people who discriminate others for sake of their religion, colour, status etc.???
    All this talk of … pure … religion is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard! Amen!

  • Maneck Daruwalla

    Type your comment here…
    I think Jeannie Antia is either not a Parsi or herself married outside the community or her children have done so. What does she mean by saying religion is the most idiotic thing.
    Madam, no one is forcing you to be a Parsi. Instead why don’t you convert yourself to any other religion of your choice which you feel would not discriminate others. You have a free will and free mind. You can definitely do so. Though the Parsi community is small, it won’t make a difference if some people with your mind set leave the Community rather than stay in it and corrupt it. If you cannot respect the tenents of your own religion what are you going to respect others ? Please remember your being born in a certain religion is not just by chance. You have not been dropped accidentally by God. There is a great meaning behind it which is too deep and I am sure if you contact any of our high priests, they would answer your query. So why not accept God’s decision and love and respect your own religion. Why can’t Parsees love their own religion and work towards the betterment of education, medical aid, etc. rather than go on and on attacking religious sentiments??????

  • Phiroze

    Mr. M Daruwalla,
    I agree with you. Today the biggest threat to our religion is from these supposedly Gatha experts within the community. Aaitu joiech! If they are so convinced about their understanding of the religion let them build there own clubs and invite all and sundry to be the club members.

  • SHERAZ BHESANIA

    Now stop acting like little children and battling over our lovely religion, which is open to all, all over the world except in India.No religion is based on purity and cannot be decontaminated. In our lifetime we are not going to see Udvada coming up as a tourist centre and what our children will do will be what they want to do. If all of you survive the Acocopylis (wrong spelling) of Dec. 22, 2012 – then start your bickering again and for the time being let Ahuramazda do what he intends to do.

  • SHERAZ

    Sorry guys – get so high-winded reading all the comments that instead of typing contaminated – typed decontaminated. And I think it is spelt Apocolypse 2012 .

  • tina mandviwala(Cape Town)

    Majority of religions accept others into their religion.If you accept the religion,understand it and practise their beliefs it makes the religion proud.Why do only the Parsi`s have a problem accepting others into the religion.As many Hindu`s, Chritians,Muslims etc.will confirm it is that those married into the religion that has more respect and knowledge of the religion as they had to learn it and did not just copy what they saw while growing up.It would be to our advantage if others could make our religion stronger.

  • Icchaporia.

    Those who criticise others for claiming some thing “AIITU” should themseves establish their ownership rights on the relative infrastructure.Ancestors left certain assets for entire community and not just for a handful of bigots.

  • Phiroze

    As a member of the community it is our duty to preserve and protect the assets left by our ancestors. All those who want to invite guests should establish their own clubs.

  • Rathestar.

    @ Icchaporia,
    Those who allege and accuse others of claiming things “AIITU” are themselves parasites on Charity. They want their monopoly to Trust funds not being jeopardized.

  • Phiroze

    All those who walk the moral high ground should first come out in the open with their true identity. Only those who have skeletons in their cupboards hide behind pen names.

  • Piloo.

    On Face Book some persons put up a picture of a dog to reveal their ‘true identity’ !

  • Zarthosty

    I f you don’t know what is religion please do not show up your knowledge.

  • Zarthosty

    I f you don’t know what is religion please do not show up your knowledge.

  • Cyrus Mirza

    Dear Maneck, you are great I am absolutely agree with you and with your sujestion to Jeannie Antia. Thanks very much.
    Cyrus Mirza

  • Cyrus Mirza

    Dear Maneck, you are great I am absolutely agree with you and with your sujestion to Jeannie Antia. Thanks very much.
    Cyrus Mirza