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“Status of pallbearers”

In my earlier letter "Status of pallbearers” (Readers’ Forum, Parsiana, January 7-20, 2020), I had stated that I had approached 16 major Zoroastrian anjumans and punchayets in India for feedback on the socio-economic status of pallbearers and any prospective efforts to phase out the system. At that time, only five associations had responded. I have now received two more replies, from Vadodara and Valsad.         Entrance to Valsad dakhma   The Vadodara anjuman wrote that for several decades there have been no professional pallbearers and that they have done away with this outdated practice. There is a voluntary service offered by the "youth of affluent Parsis.” In Vadodara, they neither support nor encourage professional pallbearers as the latter are eventually ostracized by the very community for whom they perform this yeoman service. In Valsad, the anjuman has pallbearers on their payroll. Relations between these employees, the trustees and the community are cordial. The education of pallbearers’ children is financially aided by the anjuman and they are willing to take up their father’s profession. There are also young men willing to render voluntary service as and when needed. BEHRAM T. DASTUR ...

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