söndag 22 november 2009

ARZ’s relentless pursuit

Being deeply concerned about the rapidly dwindling numbers of Parsee Zoroastrians in India, a few individuals having the interest of Zoroastrianism at heart have formed this association called ARZ, in June 2004.

ARZ is a public charitable trust duly registered under The Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950. ARZ is also registered under The Income Tax Act 1961.

ARZ strongly believes that the message of our Holy Prophet Zarathushtra is for all mankind. There are innumerable stanzas in our Holy Scriptures that say so, in very clear terms.

However the Parsees in India have drifted away from the divine universal message of our prophet and have converted our great revealed religion in to a small ‘club’ by following the religiously incorrect school of thought that preaches the so called ‘racial’ purity. In their mistaken zeal to maintain racial purity the Parsees in India have brought our great universal religion to the brink of extinction.

The Zoroastrian population in India is diminishing fast and will diminish faster in the years to come because 35% of its population is in the ‘above 60 years’ age group. In about 20 years Zoroastrians shall be no more than 20,000 in India.

More than 30 Zoroastrian Anjumans(Associations) in various cities and villages of Gujarat, Maharashtra and other states in India are defunct because there are no Zoroastrians left there.

What has happened to the vast Zoroastrian properties including the agiyaries, dharamshalas, etc. in those cities & villages? These have been encroached upon by the local people who have no connection with our religion.

The Agiyari in Diu (Gujarat) is now a Church because Zoroastrians have become extinct there.

With the rapidly dwindling population it is apparent that what has happened in other cities and villages will happen in cities like Mumbai and Pune in the next 20 years.

According to Government of India Census 2002, the Parsi population in India is 69,000 only, and is reducing at the rate of about 1,000 persons per year. As of date our strength would therefore be in the region of just 62,000!!

With this trend continuing, Parsi Agiyaries and baugs are eventually and inevitably going to be occupied by others. It therefore makes sense to allow and accept at least the children and the spouse of inter-married Zoroastrians in to the faith rather than submit religious institutions/properties to people who have no connection with the religion.

If the declining population trend is not reversed, a real tragedy awaits the Parsis. The divine message of the Prophet is likely to be wiped out from our motherland, India if the community continues to turn a blind eye to the imminent danger of extinction.

On an average 3 bodies are consigned to the Dokhmas at the Doongerwadi in Mumbai. Are 3 Zoroastrian babies born everyday in Mumbai? The writing is on the wall. For how long will our Parsees continue to adopt the ostrich attitude?

Over 40% of Parsees in India marry outside the community. This trend seems to have become irreversible now. The children of the Dasturs in India have also intermarried. Yet the so called orthodox continue to bury their heads in the sand, and refuse to see the imminent danger of extinction.

The situation is dangerous. It is therefore of utmost importance that no more inter-married Zoroastrians are lost. It needs to be appreciated that when you lose one inter-married Zoroastrian, you also lose all his/her future generations.

The Japanese have started worrying and planning about their declining population growth though they are 120 million in numbers as against only 62,000 Zoroastrians in India. At the current rate of decline Japanese will not die out in 300 years whereas the alarm bells are already ringing for the Zoroastrians in India. Sadly, in India, the persons in power including the priests are unable to hear these alarm bells.

One sincerely hopes that the Parsee community in India wakes up to this danger of extinction.

Today the situation is such that the Parsee community in India has kept its door open ONE-WAY, and that is, the door to throw people out if they inter-marry. This needs to be stopped immediately. The intermarried Zoroastrians and their progeny have an equal right to worship and follow Zoroastrianism without any discrimination, if they so desire. There is simply no Zoroastrian law or injunction against it. On the contrary stopping such people from following the teachings of our prophet is a grave religious sin.

ARZ desires that in the case of inter-married couples, their spouses, whether male or female, and children, must be initiated into the Zoroastrian faith, if they so desire. ARZ has been performing marriages through the Zoroastrian rites and also performing Navjotes, as mentioned above, through various learned mobeds on its panel.

ARZ also provides assistance to childless parsee couples who desire to adopt children.

The Dokhmas in Mumbai, Pune and all other places across India have failed in the absence of Vultures. The condition therein is pathetic. Yet those in power refuse to provide an alternate means of disposal to the Parsees.

An increasing number of Parsees are therefore opting for cremation/burial. ARZ assists them in the performance of all Zoroastrian prayers through its priests.

ARZ has been trying to bring about awareness by educating the masses about the Universality of the message of Prophet Zarathushtra by organizing lectures of learned speakers and also through newspaper advertisements and articles.

The intermarried parsees and their families in India, are ostracized and are not allowed to even enter the Zoroastrian places of worship by the so called orthodox.

ARZ realizes that all families of Intermarried Zoroastrians need institutional back up and a sense of belonging to the religion.

ARZ is now, therefore, in the process of setting up a Zoroastrian Center in Pune. The Center will act both as a religious and as an educational center. This place will be open to all without any racial or other discrimination. The total project cost is about Rs.16 million.

Voluntary Donations for the cause are welcome.



For any further information you may get in touch with us on

+91 98213 46601.


Dr. Keiki B. Grant
Kerssie N. Wadia
Vispy N. Wadia
Capt. Behram H. Surty
Aspi N. Billimoria
Farhad Bottlewala
Trustees, ARZ.

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