At a time when population of Zoroastrians or Parsis in India has declined, an effort is being made at the global level to foster new links between community members and strengthen their identity. This is being done under the Zoroastrian Return to Roots (RTR) programme by the UNESCO-PARZOR Foundation. According to the 2011 census there are about 69,000 Parsis in India.
Article by Melvyn Joseph | Times of India
As part of the programme, 14 young Zoroastrian boys and girls from across the world will be spending four days in south Gujarat and visit important Parsi locations in Surat, Bharuch, Navsari, Udvada, Nargol, Sanjan and Bharuch. The youths who belong to countries like US, Pakistan Canada and India, are on a 13-day trip, which began from New Delhi on March 10 and will end in Mumbai on Jamshedi Navroze on March 21.
During their tour, the young Zoroastrians will explore culture, community, and potential opportunities in India. They will also meet local Zoroastrians at the forefront of business, science, government, philanthropy, arts and music. Their programme will also include religious elements like visits to Zoroastrian religious institutions that are open to all and viewing of the Jashan ceremony. Arzan Wadia, one of the organizers of the RTR programme told TOI, “There are three Indians in the group from Dahanu and Mumbai and the rest of the participants are from abroad. The group will be coming to south Gujarat at Nargol on March 16 and will be spending four days at Sanjan, Daman, Udwada, Navsari, Surat and Bharuch. They will be driven back to Mumbai on March 20”
“It is important that these young Zoroastrians from around the world are eager to explore their community roots and we are here to welcome them,” says Yezdi Ichhaporewala, a community leader. Dinshaw Mehta, president, Bombay Parsi Punchayet told TOI, “We fully endorse and support the programme. The Zoroastrian boys and girls living in foreign countries are coming closer to their roots is a proud moment for all of us.”