Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Banning Priests Controversey: Dinshaw Tamboly Further Clarifies

From Dinshaw Tamboly to Parsi Times with c.c. to BPP

July 28. 2014

Editor,

Parsi Times,

102, Vikas Building,

11, Bank Street,

Fort,

Mumbai 400 001.

Madam,

This is in response to the write up by Messer’s Khojeste Mistree and Yezdi Desai published in your issue dated 26th July 2014. Their response to my letter is all too typical. They have sought to kick around a lot of dirt in the slim hope that in the confusion they hope to create, nobody will realize that they have not actually addressed the issues raised.

I am not going to get sucked into a debate on the issues raised by these gentlemen in respect of proceedings before the Court. Suffice it to say that there is already a judicial pronouncement by the Division Bench of our High Court which very vehemently holds against what these two Trustees are canvassing,       and which is now the subject matter of the Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court.

I am not going to comment on the merits of a matter which is sub-judice.

A lot has been written in the past ad nauseam about my so called radical views. The Trustees in question have once again sought to do the same, in an attempt to sling enough mud toward me so that the attention gets completely diverted away from the current scenario. However in doing so they have overlooked one simple fact. I, unlike the two of them, have no political aspirations. They on the other hand will have to justify to the vote bank at the upcoming elections as to why crores of rupees have been spent on legal fees, in respect an issue which, now by their own admission, does not even have unanimity of opinion amongst all the BPP Trustees themselves, let alone the High Priests.

The allegation that if the Trustees do not continue with such actions then the funds of the community will fall prey to the tentacles of converts is outrageous. One would expect that Trustees of BPP would be aware of laws that govern a Trust. Surely our dear Trustees should be aware that where a Trust provides that its funds can only be used for helping Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians, persons who are not born as Parsis or Iranis can never lay claim to those funds, however much they may convert to and embrace Zoroastrianism. This is an all too often made attempt to scare the masses that if conversion is not stopped at the threshold level then the funds meant for “us” will soon be used by “them”. Funds and properties of a trust can only be used for those persons who are described as beneficiaries in the Trust Deed. The fact is that if the Trust Deed provides that only Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians are to be beneficiaries, then no non Parsi or Irani, who has converted to Zoroastrianism can ever claim aid from such a trust.

The attempt by these two gentlemen to once again show the WZO Trusts’ in poor light, in the weak hope that it will deflect the attention away from their current administration is laughable. In spite of several such attempts over the years, the work done by the WZO Trusts’ has carried on unfettered for many, many years now. The issue of a cheque issued by WZO Trust to Mr. Rusi Dhondy, erstwhile editor of Jam-e-Jamshed keeps on surfacing time and again whenever I am sought to be criticized. As mentioned many a times in the past, the fact remains that the issue of the cheque was first published in the now defunct publication ‘Parsidom’ (issue dated April 15, 2000) edited by late Mr. Dara Kadva based on half baked information. Subsequently, on learning of the true facts of the matter, late Mr. Dara Kadva was man enough to publish a retraction in ‘Parsidom’ (issue dated May 22, 2001). The worthies who bring up this matter from time to time conveniently forget to recall the retraction, which is illustrative of their mindset.

This bogey does not take these two gentlemen anywhere. Although the allegation is blatantly false, it begs the question – Are these two Trustees seeking to justify the current expenditure on the ground that the WZO Trust had allegedly done something similar in the past?

The comparison of the present issue to the Prayer Hall being constructed for those who opt to be cremated, is childish at best. Spending monies on a cause for which a trust directs, as in the case of the Prayer Hall Trust, and spending monies on something extraneous to the administration of the BPP are two completely different issues.

The allegation that my letter addressed to the Trustees is an attempt to further my so called radical views, is completely false. Again this is a card played once too often by the radical orthodox when they have no answer to a pressing question. Their motto seems to be: When one raises an inconvenient question, sling enough mud in their direction and hope to escape without answering it.

A reading of the write up in question by these two trustees makes two facts abundantly clear:

  1. The BPP did not affect the ban in question on the two priests of their own accord, but it acted on the “directives” of some of the High Priests. Are we to understand that the administration of the Punchayat affairs is being carried out by the High Priests by remote control?
  2. The BPP has spent crores of rupees on this litigation, and the spending is not over. Moreover there is a divide amongst the Trustees themselves as to whether this litigation should continue. Is such expenditure, which is coming out of the collective pockets of the community and not from the pockets of the High Priests or Trustees,  justified?

Perhaps a harder and more introspective look is required at the practicality of the matter from within the Punchayet. This will be possible only when some Trustees realize that they are elected to serve the interests of the community and not their own interests as self proclaimed defenders of the faith.

Kind regards,

Very Sincerely,

Dinshaw K Tamboly


Copy to:

Trustees,

Bombay Parsi Punchayet,