Areez Khambata Attacks Iranshah High Priests

Respected High Priests,

“Finally the cat is out of the bag” as to why Khurshedji Dastur as well as his Udvada Samast Anjuman did not have the guts to reply to Valsad Anjuman’s letters in connection with the Neha (Gulrukh) Gupta case and why Khurshedji Dastur did not sign the affidavit given by all of you, High Priests, supporting Valsad Anjuman’s stand in not permitting Neha Gupta’s entry into their Agiary and Tower of Silence. It is also obvious now why Khurshedji did not speak with one voice and sign along with all of you, supporting the BPP in the renegade priests matter in the High Court.

You all will be shocked to go through the answers Khurshed Dastur has provided to Teenaz Javat, published in the FEZANA Journal. It was really shocking to read the head-line of that article “No more an option to stay quiet says Dastur Khurshed Kaikobad Dastoor, High Priest of Iranshah.” and worse still, Khurshed Dastur’s replies, that followed. It is a painful fact that this High Priest who should have been the real custodian of our religion is instrumental in destroying the true spirit of our Glorious Religion and misleading the community. Orthodoxy is a crown, which all High Priests wear with pride and follow scrupulously. As they have spiritual inheritance and are trained to perform noble acts for which they are revered by the community. In return they guide the community in religious matters as their mission is service to their fellowmen. Khurshedji Dastur must impose on himself some sort of spiritual discipline as Khurshedji is not a Scholar priest and must follow the advice of our most learned Scholar High Priests Dasturji Saheb Jamasp Asa and Dasturji Saheb Kotwal so that our Glorious Religion and its Tenets and Customs are followed fearlessly.

It is shocking and rather unfortunate that instead of sitting at the feet of, and learning from the present High Priests, who are world renowned scholars in the Zoroastrian religion, Khurshedji has chosen to quote and follow in the footsteps of the late Dasturji Dabu, who was a known theosophist , believed in Reincarnation and other non- Zoroastrian ideas and his opinions on the religion were severely criticised and challenged in the Parsi Avaz and other press, by none other than the scholar priest, the Late Udwada Vada Dasturji Saheb, Hormazdyar Dastur Kayoji Mirza, and other learned High Priests. Therefore the late Dastur Dabu’s opinion even in those days was in the minority.

Khurshedji Dastur has stated in his interview “If a Parsi/Irani girl or boy chooses to marry outside of our faith and does so by way of a civil ceremony he/she has, according to me, every right to continue to attend the Agiary or Atashbehram of their choosing.” Even if Khurshedji believes in this wrong premise, I would like to know how will Khurshedji Dastur in any way be able to ensure, that the girl is married as per the civil law and not as per an alien religious tradition in order to allow her to enter a Fire Temple? From this it has become very clear that he created a scene on the stage on Sanjan Day Celebration only to wriggle out of the situation, when I drew his attention to the fact that intermarried Parsi / Irani ladies have filed sworn affidavits in the Gujarat High Court stating that they freely enter pak Iranshah. At that time Khurshedji should have had the courage to express his views on intermarried ladies openly, like he did in the Fezana journal, instead of slyly twisting my statement and going on repeating that “no convert has entered Iranshah, unless he was brought in by a Parsi”.. In my speech I made it a point to talk only about girls married out entering Fire Temples and not Converts, so Khurshedji has maliciously twisted my statements and as a High Priest this does not suit the exalted Gaddi of his position as a High Priest.

Khurshed Dastur may be annoyed but the Safeguarding of the Pak Iranshah is most important. What I had asked earlier was, how does Khurshed Dastur expect to protect the Holy Iranshah in future, from such “Religious Trespasses”. I had also pointed out the true state of the functioning of Iranshah, highlighting the irregularities on the Religious side and to some extent on the Administrative side. By doing so, my sole object was to enable Khurshed Dastur to take corrective / remedial measures which are presently being neglected by him, which we notice when we go to Udvada to bow before Pak Iranshah Atashbehram Saheb.

Khurshedji says in the interview, that our religion is based on gender equality. If that is true, then can he answer the following?

1) Why is it that in all our Zoroastrian prayers, a humdin’s name is prayed along with either his/her father’s name, and after marriage, with the husband’s name? Why is it not EVER prayed along with the mother’s/wife’s name?

2) Also, why can ONLY A MALE athornan become a priest and serve the holy Fire and NOT A FEMALE, born in that same athornan family?

3) Also why is a FEMALE from the Athornan family demoted to Behdin status if she marries a behdin but the same does not happen to an ATHORNAN MALE who marries a behdin.

4) Why has there never been a FEMALE High Priest if there is complete GENDER EQUALITY in our religion.

Where do the above 4 examples in any way show Gender equality? If there was gender equality in the religion, then shouldn’t a woman also be allowed to become a high priest or a priest, give boi to the holy Fire in an Agiary / Atashbehram and perform Zoroastrian rituals if there is so much equality in our religion.

This of course, does not mean that we do not respect women. It simply means that in our religious structure, men have roles, which women can never have, as the above four examples indicate. Perhaps Khurshedji can explain to us why, in these four examples, one of which is an integral part of our prayer and ritual structure, and the others which are an equally important part of our religious tradition as practised for over 3000 years, do not give equal status to women? Let me make it clear that by pointing out the above, I am in no way endorsing or allowing for intermarriage of a Parsi boy to a non-Parsi girl. I am pointing these facts out only because Khurshedji is bringing the modern western theory of “gender equality” into the Zoroastrian religion, to try and justify his unacceptable untraditional views. As they say little knowledge is dangerous and more so in a High Priest, who is supposed to guide the community.

Our ancestors left Iran to save our Glorious Religion under the guidelines of Dasturji Naryosang Dhaval and so let us keep that alive and pray to PAK DADAR AHURAMAZDA to please help those amongst us who are straying away from the path of our Good Religion.

On the other hand, if Khurshedji Dastur is correctly quoted, then it is quite contrary to his own earlier statements including the one at Sanjan Day Function as well as the learned opinion given by you Scholarly High Priests including even our High Priest of Iranshah Atashbehram, Udvada Dastur Dr. Peshotan Dastur Hormazdyar Mirza. As per a letter written by Dasturji Mirza, a resolution by the Udwada Anjuman states that “priestly families belonging to the Udvada Athornan Anjuman are governed by the Anjuman’s constitution and resolutions made and passed by the Anjuman…… Any member of the Anjuman, who commits the breach of the above mentioned pledge ( Dasturi ) and violates the constitutional rules and regulation of the said Anjuman, is dismissed from the membership of the Anjuman.” I am informed that the renegade priest Faramroze Mirza, a member of the Nav Kutumbi family of Udwada, was dismissed from the Udwada Anjuman and is not allowed to perform any ceremonies in Udwada Atashbehram, because of his irreligious activities which indicates that Mirza is not worthy of giving Boi or doing any rituals in the Udwada Atash Behram nor can he do rituals for members of the the Nav Kutumbi families. Yet Khurshedji states that a priest cannot be defrocked so according to his argument a priest cannot serve the Nav Kutumbi and is dismissed from it because of his sacrilegious acts, but such a sacrilegious priest can continue to serve others in the Community .This is sheer hypocrisy!

More over, you Scholarly High Priests have also made it clear that “Marriages contracted between persons of different faiths may be considered legal by secular state, but recognition of such marriages cannot be forced upon the Parsi/Irani Zoroastrian community. All laws of civil marriage apply only to the civil or legal aspects and not to the religious aspects. In all religious matters the members of a religious community are governed by their religious laws.” Further, “The Special Marriage Act 1954, neither gives any special rights nor privileges to a Zoroastrain entering in to a civil marriage with a non Zoroastrian. It does not and cannot force upon Zoroastrian Religion to accept them as Parsi/Irani Zorastrians after such a marriage. There is no provision in the act that the woman marrying under the act shall continue to enjoy the same religious rights and benefits after such marriage. The Special Marriage Act 1954, confers no special rights to anyone in the matter of religion.” And yet Khurshedji wants to go beyond the law and wishes to give such women these rights which no High Priest with learning will support !

In view of the above I urge you all Vada Dasturji Sahebs to ask Khurshed Dastur to withdraw his irreligious statements given by him in the FEZANA journal in America. Also as High Priests you should advice and guide Khurshedji, who is not a scholar, to move away from his reformist friends who are only using him to attack the Orthodox, while promoting their policy of divide and rule. He should also stop being influenced by his convertist friends of the AFP Tamboli Combine, who are all out to destroy our Glorious Religion and its Tariquats, for which our forefathers left Iran and came as refugees to Hindustan to save our beautiful religion.

Thanking You,

Yours Respectfully,

AREEZ KHAMBATTA

CHAIRMAN – WAPIZ

Published in the Bombay Samachar

  • Rémi

    I’d think that Mr Khambata makes a mistake when he writes : “because Khurshedji is bringing the modern western theory of “gender equality” into the Zoroastrian religion, to try and justify his unacceptable untraditional views.”

    The Haftan Yasht Large Karda 1, para 6, which is no modern western theory, is rendered as follows in Ervad K.E.Kanga’s Khordeh Avesta :
    “Also if (any) man OR WOMAN [Capitals by me] really knows some good things, let him declare them, let him practise them, (and) inculcate them upon (those) others who wish to act properly in that manner (accordingly).”
    Useless one thinks that priesthood and rituals are not “some good things”, I must admit I do believe this is a scriptural evidence of gender equality in pre-Islam Zoroastrianism. But please correct me if needed.

    Besides, Mr Khambata writes “late Dasturji Dabu […] believed in Reincarnation and other non- Zoroastrian ideas”. And at the same time, Ilm-e Khshnoom considers that Behramshah Shroff was the reincarnation of a friend of Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb.
    So, should one understand that the whole Ilm-e Khshnoom doctrine is based on a non-Zoroastrian idea?
    Should Ervad K.N. Dastoor, a staunch Khshnoomist, be banned from Navsari Atash Behram for promoting non-Zoroastrian ideas?

    If anyone has answers to my questions, thank you in advance for helping me to understand all the subtilities in Zoroastrian theology.

  • Dara Mehta

    Respected Dear Areezbhai,
    In this hour of bereavement on demise of your dear sister Soona Burjor Dadyburjor, please accept my condolences in your hour of bereavement. May her soul rest in eternal peace with Sarosh Yazad.
    As a devoted family man that you are, you must have attended your dear departed sister’s Paidast & Uthamna to share the grief of her husband and her family. Her son coincidentally named as Dady appears to be married to a lady named LOU. At first, I could not comprehend whether she is a Parsi Zoroastrian or a lady from China or Japan? At times our Parsi names are often confusing and misleading. I do not know if you will agree or not, but in my view a Fatwa is necessary to prevent parents of new borns from naming kids with names like Karishna, Rukshana, Farzana, Freddie, Jimmy .etc. The resultant confusion can be terribly embarrassing.
    Thanks to the internet & Google I was able to locate LOU on http://www.mylife.com – in Albeny-NY. I assume she is not a Parsee. How can an orthodox family like yours, accept a non Parsi as an integral part of your family? I hope that you did not hurl insults on Dady your nephew, as you did to Dady Mistry of Delhi, at Sanjan. I believe that you could have maintained your dignity instead of creating an ugly scene at Sanjan. “Fortunately Lou was not present at Sanjan, for had she been present, what would she have thought of our community at large my misassuming you as the icon of the community.”
    Since in both cases the names are same DADY, I personally feel that Mr. Dady Mistry of Delhi deserves an apology from you for you being so rude to him. You cannot be partial in religious issues. Further, it is also understood that the grandson of your late sister (i.e. from her daughter) recently married a non Parsee lady.
    I fear for your nephew Dady and your grand nephew Jehan Shroff, since I recollect your slogan that appeared in one of your WAPIZ page in F.P.J. . . . “FARI NAKHSHU, CHIRI NAKHSU –DHARAM SATHEY CHERA KARSEY TENEY.” Please don’t do this to your own kith and kin.
    When you are unable to exercise ‘effective’ control on your close family members, one cannot fathom your obsession for giving sermons contrary to the state of affairs prevailing within your close family. Please accept my apologies for being blunt but many in our community are just fed up of dual standards of persons like you.
    Once again please accept my condolences.

    Now this is really called CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG.

    DEAR Areezbhai you are refering to Late high priest of Udvada Dasturji Hormazdiar Mirza are you aware that same Hormazdiar Mirza defined your friend Khojeste as FRAUD ON COMMUNITY.

    Please confirm with your friend only.

  • Behroze.

    One the one hand, there is an item on the portal urging the youngsters to give respect to priestly class and within twenty four hours pops up another item penned by supposedly a more than 70 tear old elder and an industrialist criticizing not one, not two but three High Priests. While his apparent differences with Dastur Khurshed can be understood, was there a need to express such a criticism in public forum/Press? What example has this aged and (supposed to be mature) person shown to the younger generation?.
    Not only has this elderly industrialist criticized Dastur Khurshed but has even questioned the beliefs of late and much respected Dasturji Khurshed Daboo. Is it ethical to question the credentials of a person who is not present to defend himself as he is in Heavenly abode.? Is this not a shameful and an unZoroastrian act? Is this in conformity with teachings of Dadar Ahuramazda whose name this person mentioned in his ‘memorable’ Sanjan speech?
    And as Remy has pointed out, in the process, credentials of K.N. Dastur, the token head priests of Navsari have been sullied. Perhaps this is due to what advice has been rendered in Parsi Awaaz. I quote:
    “And look at the way Wapiz was germinated and launched. One Madrasi Mogralia said in Ahmedabad that is reproduced from Parsi Pukar Jan – March 2005 issue.
    “Madras Parsis were richer than Ahmedabad Parsis. That irked Ahmedabadi Ariz to display Ahmedabadi
    sweet Rasna cheque of Rs. 1 crore on the opening of Wapiz. (Was it Rasna – orange coloured?). He was
    invoked to place Rs. 1000 cash in the Ashoodad packet of each of the 100 Jashan mobeds. Ashodaad means gift ro the holy (Asho). I know, some of the mobeds looked anything but holy (in our Khshnoomic sense). The five high priests also got packets containing fabulous amounts, it is rumoured, enough to lure them. Arizbhai!it may prove futile. Our “high” priests are known to swing and vacillate. Jamaspasha and Kotwal had threeswings at the time of murder of lal Bag Agiary and “Navjote” of Neville Wadia, respectively.” AND
    “Take it, Ariz, from this 10 years older than you,(Ahemedabadi Baheramgore Dastoor’s
    brother) that you have wasted your good cash money, which you could have well utilised for the poor, Parsis and non-Parsis.”

    What example our elders set for youngsters who are net savvy? Does a person with accumulated wealth entitle a person to indulge in ridiculing all others since that alone is his qualification?
    I leave for readers, young and old to decide.

  • farzana

    //I fear for your nephew Dady and your grand nephew Jehan Shroff, since I recollect your slogan that appeared in one of your WAPIZ page in F.P.J. . . . “FARI NAKHSHU, CHIRI NAKHSU –DHARAM SATHEY CHERA KARSEY TENEY.” Please don’t do this to your own kith and kin.//

    On the contrary, Dara, i believe in the adage -‘charity begins at home’ so let dear Areez Khambatta first tear his nephew apart for marrying a parjat before he dares to try it with others.

    And since Areez has already proclaimed his intentions to -“FARI NAKHSHU, CHIRI NAKHSU –DHARAM SATHEY CHERA KARSEY TENEY” than what are we waiting for? lets fund his trip to Iran, where AhMADnejad has already threatened to pull down Kaaba of Zarthost!!

    Anyway, very well said Dara!! cheerz

  • DSV ” The fake parsi “

    all victorious are profusely thanking god (which they should )and also all and sundry, but forgot to thank the judge.The judge had no alternative but to give this judgment considering that he had to judge within the limits of the deed, may be if the judge had his way he would have ruled otherwise or may be there had been a nostradamus parsi in 1854 he would have foreseen and made a provision in the deed to tackle this unusual case , in that case the judge would have ruled accordingly. for the the victorious the real hero “the 1854 deed” and for the losers the real villian “the1854 deed”. so in total “the deed did all of them in “

  • DSV ” The fake parsi “

    “FARI NAKHSHU, CHIRI NAKHSU –DHARAM SATHEY CHERA KARSEY TENEY” sorry , guys for a moment i thought “dharam” means “dharmendra” of bollywood : )) , this is turning out to be better than a jaspal bhatti series

  • Aspi

    My Dear Fellow Zorastrians,

    It pains to read these type of articles in the press as well as replies, emanating from the same.

    We Zoroastrian’s are supposed to be a wiser lot. Please for God’s sake do not throw mud at each other, nor wash dirty linen in public. If one has differences have conversations and settle the issue. If one thinks it’s affecting the whole community kindly consult the council of High Priests (which I understand is now formed in India). I think the council of High Priests can discuss and address the issues and keep the community at large informed.

    It is shocking to read that people’s name (living and dead) have been openly quoted and criticised.This I feel is not in good taste (even though one can name it as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, etc.) as criticising people in public (of a minority community like our’s) is not helping us at all.

    I think people who have written this article/reply are quite matured enough to understand it’s impact. It will break the community and the young minds will be looking for answers which they will never find. They will be a puzzled lot and will look for easy remedies, which will attract them to other religions. Which we do not want.

    Please, please, please, stop this madness close the chapter and happily move on in life keeping in mind our Great Prophets gift given to us viz. Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.
    If each one of us follow them there is no issue and hence no need of this article.

    Wishing Parsi Community Peace.

    Wish you all Happy Navroze.

    Kind regards

    Aspi Ustad – Vancouver

  • Jamshed Irani

    Just a few words as more are not deserved. Mr. Dara Mehta: Thank you for this expose. Please try and do the same for Khorjeste Mistree and Dinshaw Mehta who will both lose weight once their skeletons are out of the closet. Behroze: Thanks for the details of financial misdemeanors. And, Areez: Bull’s excretions to you. Ti me you crawled into a Rasna pack with your 500CR You make me puke. You and your wapiz team are mentally sick!

  • Adarbahman

    Though we do not know educational qualifications of Areez Khambatta, perhaps he has obtained degree or diploma in Law (probably by Distance education). This assumption is made since he has quoted his interpretation of Law.
    “Marriages contracted between persons of different faiths may be considered legal by secular state, but recognition of such marriages cannot be forced upon the Parsi/Irani Zoroastrian community. All laws of civil marriage apply only to the civil or legal aspects and not to the religious aspects. In all religious matters the members of a religious community are governed by their religious laws.” Further, “The Special Marriage Act 1954, neither gives any special rights nor privileges to a Zoroastrain entering in to a civil marriage with a non Zoroastrian. It does not and cannot force upon Zoroastrian Religion to accept them as Parsi/Irani Zorastrians after such a marriage. There is no provision in the act that the woman marrying under the act shall continue to enjoy the same religious rights and benefits after such marriage. The Special Marriage Act 1954, confers no special rights to anyone in the matter of religion.”

    So well young lasses who are contemplating matrimony with “Parjaat” just ponder. Why not continue with your existing name with that of your father, do not take pains to sign any documents under Special Marriage Act. Just go for live in relationships and if somebody questions your ‘morals’ ask them to contact Elisbrige na Areezbhai.Then you can attend all Religious functions including Scaraments of your grand parents and parents. Who says Areez is a bigot – he is making suggestions for extra liberalism. So you all can become followers of Mrs. Sarkozy.

  • Behroze.

    CAN ANYBODY TELL ME HOW A PERSON WHO IS NOT A TRUSTEE OF PUNCHAYAT OF HIS OWN CITY BECOME
    VICE PRESIDENT OF A FEDERATION.WHO IS HE REPRESENTING?
    NEXT QUESTION: WHY IS THIS LOUDMOUTH MONEYBAGS NOT A TRUSTEE OF PARSEE PUNCHAYET OF HIS CITY OF HIS “EMPIRE”?

  • Rathestar.

    After this outburst,the following issues are pertinent;
    1) Has any person seconded views of Khambatta (hereinafter referred to as “K” in the 8 days after the publication of his Scholarly(!) letter ?
    ANSWER: NO.
    2) Did the surviving son of late Dastur Dabu bother to contest the expression of ‘K’ against his late father ?
    ANSWER: No. Probably Amdavadi tendency.
    3) Have those who deliver sermons in Vatcha Agiari at Fort and Mehella Patel Agiari propounding Ilm-e Khshnoom refuted the insinuation of “K”.
    ANSWER: N O .Why ?
    4) Have the High Priests to whom “K” has addressed this letter replied?
    ANSWER: Not to public knowledge. Reasons unknown.Perhaps the “COUNCIL'” is still in ‘gestation’ stage.
    ————————————————————————-
    So all in all what this ‘ K’ achieved?
    ANSWER: He has only got himself exposed to the saying that elephants have two sets of teeth, one for display and another for chewing in that his own family members being inter married got exposed and he has NOT REFUTED THE SAME.
    The writing on the wall for “K” and those like him (if any) is that one has to shell out a very high price for cheap gimmicks and one is haunted by one’s own family affairs. PRACTICE WHAT YOU EXPECT OTHER TO PRACTICE AND REFRAIN FROM PREACHING WHAT YOURS OWN DO NOT PRACTICE.

  • KANGA.

    Rathestar,
    The lesson to be learnt from this episode is that DO NOT TREAT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY as workers of your factory or Workshop.
    Such tactics as used by Khambatta can at best draw a round of applause from those who received envelopes containing ASHODAD for their ‘labour’ of nodding and murmuring in a Jashan of 101 mobeds. Nothing else.

  • Farsak.Ashli.

    @ Kanga and Rathestar, In some individuals, the tongue works faster than their mental faculties can cope. Thats my analysis. My question to all those ‘fekudas’ Scholars is simple: DID OUR ANCESTORS INDULGE IN SELF GLORIFICATION OF CELEBRATING A JASHAN WITH 101 MOBEDS. WHAT IS ITS UTILITY. CAN A JASHAN PERFORMED BY TWO MOBEDS BE LESSER EFFECTIVE.?
    I TRUST THE COUNCIL OF HIGH PRIESTS CAN ISSUE GUIDELINES ON THE SUBJECT.
    CAN ANY FEKU SCHOLAR OR HIGH PRIEST JUSTIFY SUCH A JASHAN PERFROMED BY YAWNING MOBEDS AS BEING IN CONSONANCE OF SOME TENET/ CUSTOM/TRADITION.
    IF OUR SCHOLAR PRIESTS ARE INDEED CONCERNED ABOUT PROTECTING OUR FAITH, SHOULD THEY NOT DENOUNCE SUCH SHOWMANSHIP. IF THEY DO NOT SHUN SUCH, THE INEVITABLE INFERENCE IS THAT THEY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN BULKY ASHODAD PACKETS. SORRY FOR PLAIN SPEAK

  • Zerxes.

    Khambatta and his supporters would have been overwhelmed by the extent of “support” his letter could obtain on this portal. During last thirteen days NOT A SINGLE person has expressed his or her agreement with the contents of the letter above.

  • Behroze.

    Not a single boarder here to justify the misbehavior of this megalomaniac indicates the extent of popularity and support this person enjoys from rank and file of the Organization he finances.