Vadodra Parsis cremated as vultures dwindle

Vadodara: When Dara Hakim, 89, a former Indian Navy deep-sea diver and prominent member of Vadodara?s Parsi community passed away recently, his family chose to cremate him. Though he did not leave any specific instructions, his wife Roda Hakim

arranged for a cremation instead of the traditional method of placing his body in the Tower of Silence.

By Ramaninder K Bhatia TNN

With the vulture population dwindling in Vadodara, many in this community are preferring cremation as the final rite for their loved ones.

The priest from the local fire temple came to the Hakims? home for prayers before the body was taken to Karelibaug crematorium. "I just knew that he would wish to be cremated," said Roda.

The first woman photojournalist of the country, Homai Vyarawalla had left unambiguous instructions with her lawyer about her desire to be cremated. The Modi family, which owns the popular confectionaries store and restaurant in the city, had cremated their matriarch, Roshan Modi, after she wished for the same, last year. The oldest cremation that the community members recall is that of Dr Rustom Cama, father of Boman Cama, who now heads the Vadodara Parsi panchayat, in the 1980s.

"It is individual choice. The Parsi panchayat has never formally discussed the topic. The families are free to take a decision," says Jal Patel, the immediate past president of the panchayat. "Some families have opted for cremation in the past, although the majority still prefers the Tower of Silence," he adds.

The community members also welcome this liberal approach of the clergy and community elders. "Everyone realizes that the decision to cremate does not mean moving away from our tradition — it’s a very practical solution to a raging problem," explain Modi.

Nikitin Contractor, who hails from one of the oldest Parsi families of Vadodara says, "I don’t think there is anything wrong with cremation. Parsis can also go in for a burial, like J R D Tata did."

The Times of India, Bombay Edition, Page 10.  Monday November 19, 2012.

  • Perveez Mistry

    Does this mean that ‘dadagiri’ of Dhobhi Talao holiness es (!) does not hold valid in Baroda though Ahmedabad is close by?
    Does this imply that the ‘writ’ of our self crowned High Priests is restricted from Bombay to Surat?
    Now will there be a clamour for ‘ ‘Defrocking’ the Priests who performed the Obsequies? Our great BPP wasted large sums on litigation on this issue and now are desperate to work out a face saver to save themselves from criticism of ‘high’ litigation costs instigated by some misguided high Priests. As they say desperation drives persons to take desperate measures and inducements are being brandished to certain individuals and that will be known even to duffers of our community in 2015.

  • Perveez Mistry

    Does this mean that ‘dadagiri’ of Dhobhi Talao holiness es (!) does not hold valid in Baroda though Ahmedabad is close by?
    Does this imply that the ‘writ’ of our self crowned High Priests is restricted from Bombay to Surat?
    Now will there be a clamour for ‘ ‘Defrocking’ the Priests who performed the Obsequies? Our great BPP wasted large sums on litigation on this issue and now are desperate to work out a face saver to save themselves from criticism of ‘high’ litigation costs instigated by some misguided high Priests. As they say desperation drives persons to take desperate measures and inducements are being brandished to certain individuals and that will be known even to duffers of our community in 2015.

  • Cremated? Thank God! This whole vulture culture is really for the birds. Perhaps it may have been sensible a thousand years back, but nowadays, it is just a little less than barbaric.

    Imagine this conversation at a family picnic in a park near
    a Parsi colony that is not far from a tower of silence. Yes, vultures pick at the remains of the dead
    and on occasion have been known to drop body parts.

    Young Boy: Mamma, may I have another kebab?

    Mother: What kebab? I didn’t make any kebabs. Ara! Deekra, that is a testicle!

    Young Girl: What about this baby onion?

    Piloo Auntie: That is someone’s eye!

    Better to be cremated than to continue with this madness. And
    while we are at it, let’s get rid of the cow urine drinking as well.

  • Cremated? Thank God! This whole vulture culture is really for the birds. Perhaps it may have been sensible a thousand years back, but nowadays, it is just a little less than barbaric.

    Imagine this conversation at a family picnic in a park near
    a Parsi colony that is not far from a tower of silence. Yes, vultures pick at the remains of the dead
    and on occasion have been known to drop body parts.

    Young Boy: Mamma, may I have another kebab?

    Mother: What kebab? I didn’t make any kebabs. Ara! Deekra, that is a testicle!

    Young Girl: What about this baby onion?

    Piloo Auntie: That is someone’s eye!

    Better to be cremated than to continue with this madness. And
    while we are at it, let’s get rid of the cow urine drinking as well.

  • Phiroze

    The majority still prefer dokhmenasini. What one does in their own homes is nobody’s business. Doongerwadi should be “EXCLUSIVELY” for those opting for the traditional system and the administrators should do everything and anything required to ensure that it remains so.

  • Phiroze

    The majority still prefer dokhmenasini. What one does in their own homes is nobody’s business. Doongerwadi should be “EXCLUSIVELY” for those opting for the traditional system and the administrators should do everything and anything required to ensure that it remains so.

  • Phiroze

    The majority still prefer dokhmenasini. What one does in their own homes is nobody’s business. Doongerwadi should be “EXCLUSIVELY” for those opting for the traditional system and the administrators should do everything and anything required to ensure that it remains so.

  • Adarbahman

    The word majority implies two or more set of options. When there is no option, the claim of majority is akin to one horse race. Before you mutter your oft repeated phrase, “YOU HAVE CHOICE OUTSIDE THE DOONGERWADI, ask your conscience, if the ‘system’ is working and if your conscience permits you to answer in the affirmative, think why the pro aviary group is going hammer and tongs in secular pan India paper.

  • Adarbahman

    The word majority implies two or more set of options. When there is no option, the claim of majority is akin to one horse race. Before you mutter your oft repeated phrase, “YOU HAVE CHOICE OUTSIDE THE DOONGERWADI, ask your conscience, if the ‘system’ is working and if your conscience permits you to answer in the affirmative, think why the pro aviary group is going hammer and tongs in secular pan India paper.

  • There are two options viz one at doongerwadi and the other outside. If anyone feels the system is not working as well as they want, they can choose any of the options outside of doongerwadi.

  • There are two options viz one at doongerwadi and the other outside. If anyone feels the system is not working as well as they want, they can choose any of the options outside of doongerwadi.

  • Perveez Mistry

    P.P.: Do you have any opinion whether your current ‘system’ is working? Give a straight answer YES/No. The point here is not the mode of disposal alone. The issue is, do our self styled “HIGH” Priests have any courage left in them to ‘ban’ the concerned priests from Baroda.

  • Perveez Mistry

    P.P.: Do you have any opinion whether your current ‘system’ is working? Give a straight answer YES/No. The point here is not the mode of disposal alone. The issue is, do our self styled “HIGH” Priests have any courage left in them to ‘ban’ the concerned priests from Baroda.

  • Municipal Cremation grounds are not personal properties of dhongee bawas. The senile priests have to realize in their life time that what is being faultily called dakhmaneshni is actually partial cremation, cum burial which is anti thesis of the original custom.One has to congratulate the clergy of Baroda in acting without trepidation of their hierarchy.The tone of the remark .’ they can choose any of the options outside of doongerwadi.’ indicates arrogance as if this property is personal asset of dhongees.

  • Feroze Kanga

    Municipal Cremation grounds are not personal properties of dhongee bawas. The senile priests have to realize in their life time that what is being faultily called dakhmaneshni is actually partial cremation, cum burial which is anti thesis of the original custom.One has to congratulate the clergy of Baroda in acting without trepidation of their hierarchy.The tone of the remark .’ they can choose any of the options outside of doongerwadi.’ indicates arrogance as if this property is personal asset of dhongees.

  • P. M.: It is relative for each indiviual’s opinion. Those who understand that birds are just a part of the sysytem and not “THE SYSTEM” have a diffrent opinion than those psuedo reformists who have an axe to grind with the BPP / High Priests. I personally feel that the soul, which is eternal, is more important than the body which is temporary. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

  • P. M.: It is relative for each indiviual’s opinion. Those who understand that birds are just a part of the sysytem and not “THE SYSTEM” have a diffrent opinion than those psuedo reformists who have an axe to grind with the BPP / High Priests. I personally feel that the soul, which is eternal, is more important than the body which is temporary. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

  • You cannot run away from the fact that the said property is meant for Dokhmenashini ONLY. Since it is also not the personal property of the psuedo reformists either, they will have to make do with options outside of the property like it or not. I once again repeat that the BPP should do everything and anything to keep it so.

  • You cannot run away from the fact that the said property is meant for Dokhmenashini ONLY. Since it is also not the personal property of the psuedo reformists either, they will have to make do with options outside of the property like it or not. I once again repeat that the BPP should do everything and anything to keep it so.

  • You cannot run away from the fact that the said property is meant for Dokhmenashini ONLY. Since it is also not the personal property of the psuedo reformists either, they will have to make do with options outside of the property like it or not. I once again repeat that the BPP should do everything and anything to keep it so.

  • In chapter 7 of the Vendidad, it has been explained succinctly that even if a corpse lies for a whole year on the ground, fully exposed to the Sun’s rays, the ground will not be defiled or polluted!

  • In chapter 7 of the Vendidad, it has been explained succinctly that even if a corpse lies for a whole year on the ground, fully exposed to the Sun’s rays, the ground will not be defiled or polluted!

  • Perveez Mistry

    Phiroze Panthaki., I fully agree with you that ‘birds are just a part of the system and not “THE SYSTEM’ So you concede that Aviary as a concept is something the community can do without. Secondly, you have avoided to admit that priests of Baroda who perform such sacraments were not “defrocked”.

  • Perveez Mistry

    Phiroze Panthaki., I fully agree with you that ‘birds are just a part of the system and not “THE SYSTEM’ So you concede that Aviary as a concept is something the community can do without. Secondly, you have avoided to admit that priests of Baroda who perform such sacraments were not “defrocked”.

  • Perveez Mistry,As I said before for me it is the Soul which is important rather then the body which is of no use after death. Let the community decide on the aviary as I am happy without it and also with it. Same about the defrocking as long as it is consistent.

  • Perveez Mistry,As I said before for me it is the Soul which is important rather then the body which is of no use after death. Let the community decide on the aviary as I am happy without it and also with it. Same about the defrocking as long as it is consistent.