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“Outmarried Parsis”

I endorse the views of Darius Ardeshir and the editors’ reply in the letter "Outmarried Parsis” (Readers’ Forum, Parsiana, June 21-July 6, 2019). It is the self-appointed purists and dogmatists of India who have made and want to keep our religion a closed shop. The Gathas state that the Mazdayasni religion is a universal one, that Zarathushtra was a prophet for all mankind and not for the Iranians alone. In the Haptan Yasht "we pray the safe return of our athravans who go abroad for preaching our religion.” Ancient and medieval Zoroastrian princes married princesses from other clans. These self-appointed purists should know the facts of physical anthropology and their effect on demography: only 11 Great Andamanese are left; only 30 Congo Gypsies are left. I agree that the Asha Vahishta, The Zoroastrian Centre in Poona is a step in the right direction and our major anjumans/fire temples must take the lead in two respects: open our doors to the children of outmarried women who retain their religion; gradually do away with the system of pallbearers who have unfairly become outcastes. BEHRAM T. DASTUR...

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Good point Mr. Dastur! However, all issues currently in the discussion (marriage, conversion, funeral rites, etc.) of the Parsi community are "managed" in the reverse order of other communities across the world. The norm is to have a knowledgeable religious hierarchy to provide spiritual guidance while the financial/real estate trustee role sustains the social needs of the community and is managed by lay leaders. However, in the Parsi community, the Anjumans and Punchayets are financial and property management trusts that also have a role in overseeing the spiritual needs of the community. That is where the lay leadership gains an upper hand over the spiritual leaders, who are employees of the lay trustees who interfere in the spiritual aspects and rituals of the community. This begs clearer demarcation of responsibilities between the spiritual and lay leadership. The members of the community are powerless under the status quo, and politically motivated individuals lead the trusts!
- Yezdyar Kaoosji
- 08-Aug-2019


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