Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Bangalore’s only fire temple is being slowly smoked out

bangalore-fire-temple-agiaryIt was built in 1926, and the Bangalore Parsee Zoroastrian Anjuman (BPZA) is keen to preserve the sanctity of the only fire temple in the city, now uncomfortably located at a busy intersection, en route to Shivajinagar Bus Terminus.

By Daily Bhaskar

The Queen’s Road-Cunningham Road junction, which has a major BMTC bus stop and also serves as a halt for autorickshaws, is not quite the ideal location for quiet worship. The 800-odd Parsi men and women in the city worry that the throng of commuters, hawkers, and autoricshaws, just outside the gates of the temple, will overwhelm the peace of the place of worship.

Trustees of the BPZA have knocked on the doors of civic authorities, but have found no respite. Ever since Cunningham Road was made a one-way, the temple has faced the brunt of converging traffic.

Office bearers of the BPZA have already approached the Karnataka Lokayukta, justice Santosh Hegde, as well as the chairman of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission. They have also sought the intervention of governor HR Bhardwaj. They have asked additional commissioner (traffic) Praveen Sood to look into the matter.

Sood agreed to post a constable at the front gate of the temple to ensure that bus commuters do not crowd outside. That measure, however, lasted only a few weeks. Trustees approached former Karnataka chief justice Rama Jois, explaining that the problem could be solved if the major BMTC bus stop was shifted.

Shereyar Vakil, secretary, BPZA, said, "We believe in non-violence. We don’t want to protest. We have been facing a lot of problems during peak hours, and the congestion and pollution disturb our prayers."

Another perennial nuisance the BPZA faces is that film posters and other pamphlets are routinely pasted on the temple’s compound wall, as it’s a crowded area.

"It has come to such a point that people feel nothing about entering the temple precincts and smoking and chewing pan. This is offensive to us, it desecrates the sanctity of our place of worship," explains Yazdi Unvalla, treasurer, BPZA, adding that the Parsis are a minority with a faint political voice. And they would like to have their very genuine grievances heard without having to take recourse to protests or demonstrations. This place of worship is looking for some peace